30 Oceans

Mar 8th
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One of my favorite songs in recent years has been “Oceans” by Hillsong United…the words sink down deep and call me out of my comfort zone.

I’ll add all the lyrics at the bottom of the post for those of you who’ve never heard the song (you should totally download it!), but the lyrics of the chorus resound in my mind these days:

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

My 30th birthday was on February 17th and it came and went without much pomp or mourning, no “dirty thirty” party or pouting that I’m old (what?! no way)…it came with reflection on where I am versus where I’d thought I’d be at this age.  That’s brought me back around to Oceans.  I feel like it’s a song I’ve been singing in my heart for most of my young adult life, long before the words to the song were ever written.  Ten years ago, Colby and I were standing in the beautiful countryside of Swaziland, Africa committing our lives to ministry.  My heart sang out that I would go to a scary place, without borders, and my heart would learn – in time – to trust in Him.  I didn’t realize it at the time, but in my mind, I had determined those uncharted waters I was to walk on while bravely trusting in Him.  I thought by age 30, Colby and I would be living a life somewhere in Sub-Saharan Africa that resembled Katie Davis’ (Kisses from Katie) with a houseful of little brown faces calling us Momma and Daddy.  I knew it would be hard, but I could step out of that boat on Faith and be made stronger by it…my feeble attempt at humility was so proud!

The deep waters and borderless trust that God had in mind for me, for us, looked much, much different.  I never imagined we would be looking down the at the face of a premie, special needs child that would send our plans reeling.  I couldn’t have imagined another newborn just 11 months later.  I would never guess the hard times and hopelessness searching anew for meaning and purpose in His Kingdom work, and the disappointment that comes with an unsurrendered heart. I didn’t anticipate the struggle to find real community in the Texan suburbs or the loneliness of a Christmas table set for four.  And I never thought for a minute that on my 30th birthday, we’d be staring wide-eyed at a sudden ministry job loss brought about by hard financial times; concerned at how we may squeak by, but worried sick about how this may effect bringing our sweet Titus home.  I wanted our “hard times” to be glamorous and gritty; placed on a pedestal for those living the “American Dream” to see…I’m ashamed of that, so ashamed and repentant.  Even in my false humility, He was guiding, shepherding me, back to His heart.

Sometimes my heart longs for the dream in my twenty-year-old heart, but then I take a moment, and recall all my Ebenezers.  You see, an Ebenezer, by definition according to Webster, is: a commemoration of divine assistance.

A commemoration.  I will stop and commemorate His Faithfulness unto me!  If I’d have walked my own hard road, how would I have known the fierce love one tiny, little four-fingered hand could inspire at just 20 weeks gestation?!  It showed me His love for me as Father and Defender.  How would I have ever known the blessing in a beautifully, perfect Ray of Sunshine beaming her love into my life 11 months later?!  Or the Grace and strength to mother these two “Irish twins” on tiring days that ran into nights that ran into days?!  It taught me His patience and willingness to endure, even when I am like a helpless, needy infant.  How would I have ever known the joy that comes when a stubborn heart turns back to Him and sees Him, arms open wide, running full speed towards me, His prodigal daughter?!  It taught me His ever-faithful, never giving up character that has endured through the ages and will ever more.  How would I have ever known the comfort that comes when you find community- random, hardly-anything-in-common-yet-everything-in-common community- coming into your home to share a meal…especially a Holiday meal?!  It taught me afresh His perfect design for friendships and how breathtakingly beautiful the Body of Christ really is.  How would I have ever known His nearness to me in the midst of heartbreak, questions, bewilderment, anger, disappointment, sadness (you name it, I’ve felt it lately!)?!  His nearness.  If I had chosen my own “hard road”, I would have missed out on His presence in my life.  My desperation for Him every moment to come through like no one has ever, nor ever could, come through, would have never appeared.  I am so far from perfect or getting anywhere near close to learning all that He wants to show me, and I battle with fear of the immediate future every.single.day.  Sometimes hourly…or less.  But I’m slowly learning what “trust without borders” really means.  Slow.ly.

The other day, Colby and I were remembering back to our move out to California.  All our worldly possessions loaded up on a little Budget moving truck with two big, huge stupid grins pasted on our young faces, giddy with excitement about the future and what it would bring.  I remember the sun shining on the long road ahead and looking at him and saying, “Can you believe we’re doing this?!  That were really doing this?!”  I told him I kept feeling like we’d been standing on the banks of a mighty, rushing river for years and we’d just jumped in with both feet.  We didn’t know where this river would take us, but there was no turning back now.  The current was strong and, we could try and fight it and struggle, but it was so much more enjoyable to just surrender and flow along with it.  It was intense and scary, but we didn’t envy the folks still on the shore…we wanted to know where it was going and where it ended up.  It’s funny for us to look back now and realize that all Rivers lead to the Ocean, beckoning us to unconditionally trust?

Not gonna lie, 30 is looking pretty unpredictable (read: SCARY!) from where I stand now.  But I am trying with all my might to experience His nearness to me and stop struggling and just float right on.  And I am confident that He’ll be faithful and cannot even imagine what the joys of reflecting back on my 30th year will be like this time next year.  His Faithfulness unto me is for His glory- not mine- and I want to savor and remember each and every moment.

(If you’d like a bit more information on our adoption, about our ministry job loss or how our ministry job search is going, and how to pray for us, we’d love to connect with you individually.  This is a sensitive topic with others’ hearts on the line, and we want to be respectful.)

As promised, the Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) lyrics:

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

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