I sat in our old blue rowboat in a sea of sweet summer grass, the wildflowers on our property waving in the warm breeze.
I like our simple little boat, its oars lost at sea long ago. My husband and I rescued the abandoned thing off an island seashore that was a dumping ground for dozens of wrecked and forgotten boats. After years the city had finally posted a notice that they were scrapping the whole hazardous wasted beach and carting off all wreckage.
We waited until an hour before the ship undertakers were due to come, then we walked across the rust and debris like doctors on a sunlit battlefield…listening for heartbeats, choosing who to save.
Our boat landed in our project queue, and there I was: tucked in the empty hull in our open field in the foothills that slumber at the feet of the Northern mountain range.
My fear had grown like the summer grass on those long days. Years of chronic health problems and depression had left gaping holes in my life plan, culminating in one long, painful summer.
And so I sat in the boat, frozen. I was Peter in the storm, buffeted by the wind and waves while Jesus felt just beyond my reach.
I closed my eyes and began to think back, the sun like a lit match against my eyelids.
I used to pray for healing all the time. Everything in me felt like it was breaking down, so I paused life. I stepped into the boat and sat, waiting for things to get better, mourning my old self, day after day.
I hadn’t moved forward in months. Not quite broken, yet not quite whole. Not able to keep myself from thinking about the future. Thinking about it, but no longer able to plan for it in this body, terrifying in its unpredictability.
I had tortured myself for years with thoughts of what could be, but I had grown weary. I yearned for things to be better. My prayers had been full of supplications for my circumstances to change, but what if they never did?
Jesus, are you here?
“But Jesus immediately spoke up: “Take courage! It is I. Do not be afraid.” (Matthew 14:27)
For too long, I’d been looking up hoping Jesus would look down on this battlefield, just as I’d looked at that shoreline of broken boats. That He’d see this rust covered body and listen for my heartbeat. Choose me. Raise me up and give me new life. But I’d put my whole life on hold, waiting for, hoping for healing.
My days were ticking away while I stayed still. It felt like I was dying while waiting to live. But Jesus calls us to choose life. Jesus calls us to rise.
“Immediately Jesus reached out His hand and took hold of Peter. “You of little faith,” He said, “why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:31)
Was it my circumstances that needed changing, or was it my heart?
Maybe I could be Peter. Maybe I could walk on water. Maybe I could rise.
I could choose to change my prayer. Rather than waiting for healing, I could pray instead that I live well in the body I’m in, as is. Not later: now.
Hours, days, months were passing me by while I waited on God to fix me. But what if He was waiting on me? To have more faith in Him, in myself, in my ability to live well despite the uncertainties? Waiting for me to stop seeing ghosts on the water, to recognize Him in the storm and claim the life He gave me?
The sea rolls beyond my control, but I control how I move within the storm. I could choose to move, but I had to choose: choose to leave the safety of the boat. Choose to walk out on the water. To keep my eyes on Jesus instead of drowning in doubt. To unpause my life and start living again.
I could choose to try.
The last rays of summer fell behind the treeline as I looked out at the wildflower waves.
I got out of the boat.
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