To me, the ocean feels like paradox. It is beauty and it is terror. It excites me and causes me intense anxiety simultaneously. It beckons me to come and it warns me to stay away.
My husband Doug, on the other hand, has a love affair with the ocean. Once, when he came home from a day of body-surfing in the Pacific, he told me he had felt that he had been in the womb of God. Perhaps it excites and terrifies him too, but he seems more comfortable with mystery than I am.
For our 10th Anniversary (in 2007), Doug’s parents sent us on a trip to Hawaii with his sister and her husband. His beautiful sister, Danna, was pregnant with her second baby, and we were getting close to completing the paperwork to adopt our second baby. We had no idea what was to come that year, but God gave me an incredible experience in the ocean that I feel compelled to share with you today.
In fact, at the time I penned this journal entry, our Kayla Joy was in the womb of her birth mother. God was at work, knitting her together, even as I pondered when I would have the joy of bringing our long-awaited second child home to my arms, to my heart, where she belonged.
So here it is, taken from my journal in January, 2007:
“I snorkeled today. I ventured out into that wild ocean, and with Doug’s help and instruction and presence, I was able to experience an incredible view of creation, something I would have missed if I had refused to face my fear.
I saw reef in shades of blue, green, coral. I saw fish that were bright yellow, deep blue, and black with “glow in the dark” stripes. Words can’t do it justice. I felt myself floating on the water, heard my deep mouth breathing. The water felt warm and soothing. It was peaceful and clear and absolutely beautiful. I saw a part of the earth that I’d never seen before and, once again, I am in awe of the works of my Creator.
I had gotten a bit overconfident out there in the ocean, and at one point, I decided to head back toward the beach on my own. When I poked my head up out of the water, I had lost my bearings. I couldn’t see Doug anywhere. The beach seemed an eternity away. I felt like I couldn’t breathe and I started to panic, fearful of how I could make it back. I cried out for Doug and he seemed to appear instantly to rescue me. He came to me out of nowhere and gently told me what to do. “Take deeper breaths–your short, quick ones are making you feel light-headed. Just relax and breathe. Rest on the reef.”
As soon as he was there, I was okay again. I felt secure, safe, sane (because for a few moments my mind was playing tricks on me.)
Doug took me back to the beach. He held my hand, firmly and tenderly, the whole journey back to land. His words soothed my fears. His presence dispelled all my panic. He was there with me, so I knew all would be well.
This was such an intense experiential metaphor of my life with Jesus as He is calling me into the uncharted territory of adoption, waters where I’ve never swam. It is beautiful and it is terrifying, both of which I wouldn’t experience if I stay “on the beach” where my feet touch the ground.
When I was panicking and didn’t know what to do, Doug’s presence, his voice, his touch felt like the presence of God. And He was saying, “Christy, you can trust me. As long as you hold onto my hand and stay close to me, and listen to my voice, you will be able to deal with anything.”
I felt protected. I was so aware of my need. It was incredible that God revealed this to me through my husband’s body-his eyes, his touch, his words. What a gift. The confidence, the tenderness, the courage, the firm physical hold on me…all ways he was leading me.
And I surrendered.
I didn’t fight it or suggest another way. In that moment, I knew better. I just followed, knowing that I could trust him.
And I know I can trust God.
Sometimes I do feel a sense of panic in my soul when I think about this adoption journey–“Do I really have what it takes?” I wonder.
God answered so tenderly as He spoke to my spirit, “Of course you have what it takes because I am in you. You have Me and all the limitless resources that are at My fingertips.”
As I look back on this, five years later, with my little five-year old (not ten!) “dream come true” Kayla Joy in our backyard jumping happily on our trampoline, I have one of those “kairos” moments, where chronological time slips away and what matters most is so clear.
Is there something God is calling you to? You feel terrified and excited, all at the same time? Is it time to step out in faith, knowing that He is with you? All the great stuff in life is risky. You can’t have joy without the possibility of pain. They are two sides of the same coin.
You are not alone. God is with you, tenderly and firmly leading you, one breath at a time. Grab onto him and go where is leads. You will never regret saying yes to Him.
“This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him!” Romans 8:15-17, The Message
Note: I originally wrote and posted this in July of 2012, but wanted to re-post in honor of National Adoption Awareness Month.
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