20 Jun

I Don’t Want To Miss the Water Walking

I leaned on the counter and just watched. Listened. Drank in the moment.

This is what ministry is about, I mused in a sing song voice in my head.

Colorful tables. Door prizes. Food. Speakers. Music. Jesus’ girls.

{Oh, and chocolate.}

That was a beautifully exhausting night but it was not my destination. Oh trust me, at the time I thought it was…I had unpacked by bags and set up shop. God had called me to women’s ministry and when I got there I quickly settled in.

But I prayed a prayer, somewhere in there that God honored…and continues to change my life. Turns out women’s ministry was not a destination it was a journey and we were just getting started.

We had a Pastor once that talked about the most dangerous prayer to pray. “Use me.” That asking God to use your life…your skills…you,  would lead down roads that we can’t even imagine. I was inspired. Challenged and completely naive.

I prayed that prayer. Over and over. In my heart I really wanted to become a woman that followed Jesus…wherever that lead. In my head, I pictured where it would lead — to the pink and frilly worlds of women’s ministry.

In my head, being in ministry meant Bible studies (or LIFE groups whatever you want to call them), brightly colored themed events and meeting all the women at church. And sometimes…in real life that is part of the picture. But through a series of set-backs, changes and God-sized miracles I’ve come to know a different side to ministry — loving women through the hard moments of addiction and rage; searching for words that speak Jesus to weary heart in a chemo-ravaged body; Bible study into the wee hours of the morning and pages of notes in hopes of teaching others about God’s Word; putting my problems on hold when the phone rings during someone else’s crisis; holding a woman’s hand while she receives her Savior. And it is here…in the depths of “ministry” that I thought I found what God’s called me to…His girls. His Love.

Funny how often I think I’ve arrived to where God and I are going….I forget the journey part. I forget that my only destination is Heaven and everything on my road there is just drawing me deeper into Jesus so that He’s what the world sees in me.

As the waves crashed against the sides of the boat and the other disciples still shook with fear, Peter had his eyes on Jesus. “Lord…tell me to come to you on the water.”

What??? A lot of things have been said and written about our dear friend Peter, but can I just say, WOW! I would not even have had the thought to ask to walk on water…let alone get of the boat (but I’m getting ahead of myself)!

And what does Jesus say? “Come.”

You know, that’s the truth of our relationship with Christ right there. That He wants us to join Him in the extraordinary, the supernatural, the only-God-can-do-this-kinda-stuff stuff! And I would be willing to bet that there are opportunities all the time (daily even?) that Christ sets out before us to get out of the boat…to join Him in the really?? did that just happen coolness of Christ’s love….but do we get out of the boat? Geesh, I know I don’t get out of the boat…I don’t even ask for the chance.

That dangerous prayer that pastor talked about. That “use me” prayer…that was my Peter moment. The Lord let me join you request. But when I prayed that prayer I didn’t dawn on me that God would answer it in the only way God does things…with a choice. With an opportunity. A chance for growth. A get out of the boat moment.

I have had the pleasure over the past few years to attend a conference called She Speaks (for writers, speakers and women’s ministry leaders). Last year I took some of the speakers classes…and walked out thankful that God didn’t’ call me into speaking!

So, back to Peter. Jesus has just told him “come”. And what does he do? Well, my translation says “he got down, out of the boat”.

Got down? Oh, yeah, we’re not talking a canoe here, this was a decent size boat being tossed around in the waves. Most research I found said the sides were 3′ to 4′. He had to step over and/or climb down off the side of this boat that was moving around in the waves. Go stand on your dining room table…now imagine you are in the middle of a large body of water in a storm, imagine climbing over the edge down on to the stormy waters. Hmm….

But oh the triumph on the other side of that momentary fear…walking toward Jesus!! Eyes on your Savior. Doing something only He can do through you!! Right there, that is the gift of ministry.

So this year, I’ve stepped out of my boat. Remember that whole, glad God didn’t call me to be a speaker thing?? Yeah, well. This past school year God has opened the door for me to do a couple of devotions at a local homeschool support group, and while my nerves upon saying yes nearly killed me. I have been amazed by how easy the speaking came; how the message was just what someone needed to hear; and how crazy sweet and support the ladies have been. Climbing out of the boat nearly did me in, but walking with Christ in what He calls me to is worth every vulture sized butterfly flying around in my stomach.

But, my ankles are getting wet.

You see, Peter walked on water as long as he kept his eyes on Jesus. But when he let life and doubt (and, oh, um waves and wind) distract him he began to sink.

God has opened another door for me this fall. And wouldn’t  you know, it is a speaking engagement for a ladies retreat. When I focus on Jesus and His girls, of sharing whatever He wants them to hear…I’m fine. But the minute I begin to focus on the billions of other details (number of attendees, length of messages, what I’m going to wear, whether they will realize I am bundle of nerves wrapped up in an awkward, fragile package….) I hear the wind,  I watch the waves…I realize my ankles are wet.

Don’t get me wrong. I know that my Jesus will (and always has) reached His hand out to touch me, to hold me, to save me, whenever I call out to Him. I don’t fear drowning. I fear missing the water walking with Jesus!!

So where are you? In the boat? On top of the water? Or trying to ride out the storms of life with your eyes on Jesus? Wheverever you are, I hope that you pray dangerous prayers and get ready…because we were made to follow Jesus (even across the water)!

{by the way, you can get down off the dining room table now….he, he.}

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