I wonder if like me you find yourself doing ok with life, maybe you are even on a bit of an upward trajectory, and then bam, you find yourself on your knees in the dirt again ? My initial instinct is always to blame myself for the fall. I beat myself up with negativity and focus on all my failings, past and present.
As I shared in my last post, during my time away with my family I really got excited about seeing God’s Kingdom grow, and I started to listen out for what my part in it should be. But for several nights, over the same time period, I dreamed about ‘the other’ with whom I had a relationship outside my marriage. I woke up thinking about him. I couldn’t get him out of my head. I was frustrated, and upset. I was reminded of the hurts and the pain again. And I told myself I was foolish to think myself useful in the Kingdom when I can’t even seem to get past my own past.
And then I went to the beach with my husband, and while he sat on the sand I went into the sea for a swim. It was the day before a storm blew up and the waves were growing larger. The sand banked away quite sharply from the edge of the water, so as the waves rolled in the depth of the water increased significantly. I moved past the breakers and allowed myself to be lifted by each incoming wave before dropping down again until the next wave came.
Each time I was lifted I had a bigger view. A longer view. A wider angle. I saw the horizon and the boats out in the distance. I could see to the far edges of the bay. It wasn’t hot but it was warm and I was happy. The sea does that for me. And as I was lifted by each wave I thought about how God’s love is endless, like the ocean, and how we sing about waves of mercy and waves of grace, and how huge the scale of God’s love for me is.
And then the wave dropped me and I hit my feet on rocks. I was still swimming, but the waves were doing their thing, and that meant highs and lows. And as the tide was coming in, instead of a sandy bed at the bottom there was shingle and shells.
My toes really hurt. For a moment they distracted me from the pleasure of being in the sea, in a sandy bay in the west of France on a sunny day. They turned my thoughts inward and all I could think of was my pain. My sore body.
I felt the whisper of God.
‘This is like your life when you think it’s gone wrong again. You’re just stubbing your toe. It’s nothing more, nothing less. It distracts you and you forget where you are and what I’m doing. You look down. Even when looking down achieves nothing like now in the sea because your toes are hidden by the water. So look up. Stay in the waves. Swim in the ocean.’
I’m home now but the feeling of those waves and the whisper I heard stays with me. Today I’ve stubbed my toe again. Nothing more nothing less. It’s life doing it’s thing. But I’m not castigating myself.
Instead I’m remembering to look up. To fix my eyes on Jesus.
I’m staying in the waves. I want to have the big views. The wider angle.
I’m not leaving that ocean. I’m not missing out on the beauty that’s out there.