Tossed by the Sea

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I love the ocean. My first five years of life were spent close to the beach. Any time I want to dream of a stress-free place, it is an island with a hut, a fire pit and a hammock. When I went snorkeling for the first time (in the Red Sea, no less), I felt like I was coming home. The tranquility below the surface of the water was without compare. The slow, rhythmic breathing required ensures a peaceful place. I love the ocean. It’s that simple.

Yet I have been on boats and ships that have caused considerable seasickness. On that snorkeling excursion in the Red Sea our ship’s engines stopped. For nearly an hour the ship listed with each wave side to side. So many became sick. I myself was having the time of my life! However, I did get sick on a seemingly smaller body of water: Lake Michigan. Friends of mine have a 25 foot sail boat, and we’ve gone sailing a couple of times over the years. I think if I could have helped and moved about I would have been fine. But Lake Michigan is a very choppy place. I was queasy. Still I loved the time on the boat and with my friends.

Over the last few days I have felt like I was on a life raft in stormy waters, taking on more water than is safe or comfortable. Queasy would be a good feeling to have in comparison to the gut wrenching turmoil inside me now. The intensity of these waves is greater than I could have imagined. I have felt all too often like I’m sinking.

The financial wave is hitting  hard. I can’t describe what this is like. I think about the way everything has come together to bring me here, how clear it is. Yet I struggle with the seeming lack of financial validation to the call. People have stepped forward who see the vision or at the very least believe in me. For them I’m more grateful than words can express. But it’s not enough. Not yet, anyway. Then I think of all the jobs I applied for, hoping for some additional support, but they haven’t come through. I must say, though, that I will be working a few hours a week for a gentleman starting Friday, but that won’t put gas in my tank today. I have so much work available to do now, but I’m in a black pit financially. It just doesn’t seem to fit.

The loneliness wave has taken me by surprise. I’m so incredibly alone, even in the midst of those who are helping and working with me. Loneliness is nothing new; I’ve learned how to live with it since I was a child. But something has changed in the last few months that makes this reality almost unbearable in a way that I haven’t felt in years. I know these times pass, but this one seems to be lingering, if not actually growing. I have no solution, and  I KNOW without a doubt that there are far worse things than being alone. I’m not willing to settle for something less than God’s plan just to placate a feeling. It would not work, anyway. Every negative thought that feeds such loneliness is breaking over me all at once. I have a strong sense of self and don’t take things personally, but this feeling of loneliness is very personal and seems to attack the core truth that God loves me. At times I feel unloved and unloveable.

I don’t say these things to prompt a response from anyone, nor to feed any self-pity. Just the idea of pity, self or other, makes me nauseous. Very nauseous. I tell you because I committed to complete honesty in the blog and chronicling this journey. I’m also telling you because I’m in a battle for faith and I need prayer. I see this as a very real fight, a fight of Biblical proportions. God has led me to read through the Psalms, Proverbs and right now James. Each is feeding me for this fight, yet I feel at times like I’m losing the battle. But let me say this, I AM NOT LOSING. I WILL WIN. I just don’t know how or when.

How many stories do we read in the Bible of people who persevered, who defied the very odds of reality in obedience to God? The entire Bible is about such people! People who have succeeded and people who have failed. Look at Job who did absolutely nothing wrong, yet was attacked by Satan. In that instance, God was actually bragging on Job about his steadfastness and integrity. How about Jeremiah and all the other prophets who spoke the truth and paid the consequences. Didn’t most of them have to physically demonstrate what God was telling his people? Or Hosea being married and continually faithful to an unfaithful wife just to show Israel how God loved them?

Hebrews 11 is in the Bible for a very specific reason: so we can have real life examples to keep us moving forward. I look at Paul who was put through so much and yet learned how to be content in all circumstances. That is the faith I am fighting for. I’m not living in denial. I keep myself open and pursuing options, but when those options do not present themselves, then I must conclude that God does not want that. Why? I don’t know. But I trust God. No matter what Satan might throw at me, I know that no matter how battered I might get or how close to drowning I might be, I will not give up. So all my distress and crying out and weeping simply serve to release the pressure and to galvanize my resolve. I will win. The end is determined. But I want to win with a sense of victory and triumph.

It’s God’s reputation on the line. Not mine. He will take care of himself. And he will take care of me. But I need to pray and remain faithful in this fight. Pray with me. Fight with me.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.  That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do. James 1: 2-8

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