Who is steering the boat? JESUS!!
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30 (MSG)
In February 2020 I began the SOULWELL journey. I was thirsty. Wanting more in my walk with the Lord. I had been spinning my wheels and going no where spiritually. My best friend had shared the journey with me. I knew it was life changing for her, and I wanted that! I had no clue what God had in store for me when I arrived that first weekend. Over the next six months God healed my heart, redeemed my story, and set me free! He gave me the tools to continue my growth with Him. I learned to be still (yes, shocking, I know) and listen to His voice. I experienced His love in ways I never had before. That journey was truly (and continues to be) life changing for me. One way in particular was as a mom.
I realized I had been hanging on, to all things in my life, with my fists clenched tight. I needed things to be “ok”. As long as everyone was good, I was good. I was a control freak. Those closest to me experienced this all to often. I began asking God to help me live in full surrender to Him! I asked him to show me that He “had” my kids! I mean seriously, his hands are sooo much more capable than mine. I asked Him to help me let go.
As I began the final weekend of the journey, there are three in total, our daughter Callie had just gone away to college. She was dealing with an awful roommate situation and her heart was HURTING. She was struggling and there was nothing I could do. I knew I needed to give her to God and trust that HE would take care of her. Brian was there for her and I needed to do my own work with Him.
In order to be present I literally gave my phone to someone else so I wouldn’t be tempted to pick it up and go into fixit mode.(Side note, CCU has a white water rafting trip for their freshman each year. I had been praying that Callie would go. Asking God to take care of her. That she would have a blast, connect with her peers and feel seen. I only shared this prayer with a few who were closest to me.).Throughout that weekend and the entire SOULWELL journey participants are given the tools to deepen their relationship with God. Tools to help us experience Him in the most powerful of ways, including learning to listen for His voice. Friends, we have settled for mediocrity in our Christian walks. We rarely experience dynamic encounters with Him. The problem is not with God. It is with us. We limit God in our lives.
As the weekend was winding down another participant shared with me a picture that God gave her for me. (I have to say here, that I did not know her at the time. She has since become a sweet friend). The picture that God gave her was of Callie. She said “I see your daughter and she’s rafting in the mountains.” Eyes wide, I tuned in. She proceeded, “you and your husband are watching from a distance. Your daughter is looking off and she is SMILING, and Jesus is in the boat”. I am sure she said more but I instantly started bawling, shocked that God would show someone I didn’t even know such a specific picture for me! He loves me that much! He sees me! He sees my mama’s heart! Thoughts raced through my head. “Did she really just say that?” “How did she know?” “Maybe someone told her”... I was completely blown away because no one had told her anything about Callie. God gave her that picture for me. He sees me. He sees my pain. He sees you. He sees your pain. He is with us and He is for us. My heart rested knowing that my God had our girl. Jesus is in the boat.
Well that’s just the beginning. (I know you’re thinking oh no, I promise, keep reading. It’s worth it).
After that weekend I couldn’t wait to share with Callie what God showed my sweet sister for me. Because it was also for Callie. He sees her. He is with her. He is for her. God blessed Callie as well. But we were both even more blessed when she sent me the photos taken on the rafting trip.
At the bottom of this post is the image she sent me. Zoom in, take note.
Examine the faces of those riding with her. They are scared. The rapids are fierce. Callie is smiling. And Jesus. Is. In. The. Boat.
The message is clear and it is for all of us. Jesus is in the boat! So many times we feel in over our heads. Like the rapids will overtake us. But we can rest knowing, God’s got us. Jesus is in the boat! He’s got our kids, our loved ones, our jobs, those hard and painful situations. Jesus is the guide! He’s navigating the rapids. He will steer us through. He’s in control. We do not fear.
I held onto that gift God gave me that day. I shared it with friends when their kids were struggling. Jesus is in the boat. He’s got them. He’s got us. I knew God had given me a gift regarding Callie. Little did I know what the future would hold with my boys.
One year ago today, I sat in Jakin’s ICU room, staring at the pumps, monitors, and tubes that kept him “alive” not sure if he would live or die (or if he lived, what his quality of life would be like). I had no words. Tired. Still. And Broken. I sat. My phone buzzed. I looked down to find a text from a sweet friend.
Jesus is in the boat.
A reminder. Yes, Yes He is.
I had shared that story with her as her daughter was going off to college months before. She reminded me of it that day. Jesus is in the boat! He’s got him! No matter what our circumstances look like. God is bigger. He’s in control. He won’t let us go. That is where my peace comes from. It isn’t in my circumstances. It is in HIM! Things may not always turn out the way we hope for. But we know, God’s got us!
That image continued to serve as a constant reminder last year. The day before Shade’s wedding, he was in a horrible UTV accident. His wrist was crushed requiring emergency surgery. My heart broke for our son and his bride. The first months of their marriage were not what they both had dreamed of. They were hard. During those hard times I had to remember, Jesus is in the boat. In November when my mom suffered a pulmonary embolism in back surgery and was on a ventilator, I had to remember, Jesus is in the boat.
Sometimes we feel like we are being swallowed up. Overwhelmed. Our circumstances can feel hopeless. But remember Jesus is in the boat! What are you focusing on? Who are you looking to? For me, the SOULWELL Journey gave me the tools to keep my eyes on the Father. Look to Him! He loves you! Friend, He is WILD about you! He is WITH you and He is FOR you! He WILL carry you through. No matter what your rapids look like.
Jesus is in the boat!