Tuesday, November 8, 2016
It's a scary thing. When it feels like you're losing your grip on yourself. It's a scary thing. When the time you had all the sudden becomes time you lost. It's a scary thing. When there are dark spots where important memories should be, and you can't figure out why they are missing.
And yet in these scary moments, one memory keeps resurfacing. An old one. A childhood one.
I'm maybe eight and I'm in the ocean with my sister. Laughing, swimming, playing. The beauty and the innocence of our youth surrounds us, and there is nothing that could ruin this moment. Kayli and I are body surfing, gliding over salt-water waves. Bellies full of laughter, swimsuits full of sand. I look over at my sister, her smile wide, her eyes shut as the waves carry her inward, and then I no longer see her. my eyes blur with water, my nose and throat burn from sucking down salt. I can't breath, can't catch my balance, my head is heavy. The under-current has a hold of me and I am spinning and sinking and drowning. My chest is tight with panic and fills with more water as I open my mouth in a feeble attempt to scream. I close my eyes, knowing this is it. this is how I go. and in the moment when I think there is no breath left, that the darkness is going to take me, there is a hand on my ankle and it's pulling, pulling, pulling me to the surface. My back is being drug across the sandy ocean floor. my face finally hit the cool ocean air and my lungs are hungry for oxygen. I open my eyes and see a hand, white-knuckled grasp on my ankle, the hand attached to the arm of my sister. Her breath matches mine. Heavy, labored, exhausted, relieved. She pulls and pulls and pulls until we are on dry sand. She collapses next to me. And I can't tell if I'm crying out ocean water or my own tears. And she's holding onto me in only the way a twin sister can. "You're safe. You're safe. You're safe."
And in my struggle to understand why this certain memory has resurfaced and been in and out of dreams and moments, I am asking questions and seeking out answers. And this morning, staring into my mirror, as I felt myself retreating into my brain, I spoke "Jesus, I can't get lost in there anymore." and I felt like Jesus was leaning in close, whispering in my deaf ear words only I could hear. "Listen, Beloved, I am here. And I am there in that ocean water with you. Tumbling through under-currents, holding you tightly and I have given you the strength. Let me grab a hold of your ankle. Set your feet on the solid ground. And hold you in only the way a Savior can."
Change is a part of life, no matter who we are, no matter how we try to spin it. Change is going to happen whether we like it or not, especially when it comes to Jesus. We can never go before Jesus and expect to stay the same, He is in the business of transforming and molding, and making us lovely and new. We enter into His presence, knowing He meets us where we are at, but in the process of digging deeper and discovering Him, He chips away at the things that keep us from becoming and then changes us. It's growth, it's slow, it's painful, but no one is ever meant to stay stagnant. Change is constant. And it will happen.
Where I am at now is not where I thought I would be, but it's no surprise to God. And I've realizied that God's been giving me glimpses of things I have asked for, and I sit here and look at it wondering why I didn't get the whole thing.
How often do I only expect or ask God for glimpses, for little snippets and then complain about not receiving the whole thing. I get stuck in the under-currents of life. I too often let the world pull me under, because the enemy is clever. he prowls, he watches, he waits, then when I think everything is good, when I've caught my breath and wade back into the ocean, he attacks and I am pulled under the current.
These days I'm feeling reckless - or honest, maybe. Sometimes, it's hard to tell the difference. But I am finding that in my moments of loss or in the things I think I've lost, there is this insurmountable amount of grace that covers what I wanted and replaces it with what I needed. That even in the moments where I feel like I've lost myself. There is grace. When I feel like I lost a moment. There is grace. When I feel like I lost a memory. There is grace. And I feel like if God could run out of grace, He would've for me by now. And yet every morning I wake up, He says. "There is more, there is still more."
And Jesus just blows my mind. He takes the most ragged, unlikely wanderers and puts us on the front-lines to flex His glory, wield His love, to heal people just like us. Even when we can't believe we can. He believes we can. He's always doing things like that. His heart is so patient and pursuing.
I love Him with a weak and tattered heart, prone to wander and stumble, but I need this love that I do not deserve, this grace that I have not earned, and forgiveness that I have not sought. I need it and I need it and I need it till the ned.
And after typing all this out, my edges feel less sharp and my heart less heavy. And I don't know if there is anything in this worth a darn, but I know that there is grace for even my messy words on computer screens.
So I'm wading back out into the ocean with my Savior, for He is above, below, and beside me, and sometimes He carries me. I am wide awake, may the dark corners of my mind begin to see His light. I will no longer be lost in there, because He walks with me, He already knows what's in there and I am already found.
"No, in all these things we are more than conquerors THROUGH HIM who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither present nor future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus." -Romans 8: 37-39
not even under-currents
His and yours,