Rough Waters

Dozens of cookies we made last year out of inspiration and time!!

Dozens of cookies we made last year out of inspiration and time!!

Cookies, cookies and more cookies....last year!!

Cookies, cookies and more cookies….last year!!

2 Samuel 22:5-7 says,

“The waves of death swirled about me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me. The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me. In my distress I called to the LORD; I called out to my God. From His temple He heard my voice; my cry came to His ears.”

I have been wading through some rough waters lately – waters of parenting teenagers, doing my part to help our daughter deal with adoption pain, rough waters of communication struggles in our marriage, loneliness in leadership, and the racial tension we are facing in this country just to name a few.

Sometimes I feel that if I don’t stay engaged with the above mentioned situations, then I will be taken over by them. I know, I know, sometimes that only makes things worse. However, at times I felt like I was drowning. Have you ever felt like that?

I debated about giving this blog post the title, “It Takes A Village”, to quote a famous politician from several years ago. Her message really was “it takes a village to raise a child”. She is right. It does take a village to raise a child. However, my world is bigger than that of parenting and I imagine yours is as well. Learning to navigate rough waters in every aspect of life is normal. From work to relationships to health and illness. I believe anything that has the potential to be impacted by the world, the flesh, or the devil is a great place to foster rough waters. As I go up and down with every swell of waves, I’m tired. No, I’m exhausted. I need someone to throw me a life ring. I just want to close my eyes and sleep.

And then it happens…….

I am reminded in Jonah 1:4, “But the LORD sent a strong wind on the sea, and the storm was so violent that the ship was in danger of breaking up”. I know God allows these things in my life and as I feel like I am in danger of breaking up / aka: crashing, I know the Truth that God is holding me right now. “Nothing touches my life without going through His fingers first”.

In Job 37:1, I am told, “The storm makes my heart beat wildly”, almost making me want to throw up. BUT GOD calms my spirit with His.

When Psalm 48:7 says, “…like ships tossing in a furious storm”, I am sensing dread but am reminded of 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind”. These rough waters are crazy!!!! Back-and-forth-back-and-forth, I feel tossed.

Because God is a keeper of promises, I choose to trust that He will do what He says He will do in Psalm 107:29, “He calmed the raging storm, and the waves became quiet”….and I can trust Him because He has done this for me before and will do so again. At other times He has calmed my inner spirit so as to strengthen me for a particular storm in my life.

Oh, how I craved the quiet waters and the peaceful sunset.

Oh, how I craved the quiet waters and the peaceful sunset.

Proverbs 10:25 also says, “Storms come, and the wicked are blown away, but honest people are always safe”. I can be safe. I am safe. Are you?

We are in the throws of the Christmas Season right now. Just a couple of days away in fact. As much as I have enjoyed the hustle and bustle, to some extent, I have found myself often close to tears, physically tired, and sometimes even clenching my teeth.

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So I let the tears flow and I cry out to Jesus. He hears me. He reminds me of His love, peace and presence and that He is sending His Son as a baby in a manger as a greater reminder of things to come. God is my Rescuer. My disappointments and struggle lead me to believe that I only need a village. Yes, I do need others. But first I need Jesus to strengthen, heal and help me surrender the pain some situations and some people are causing along the way.

This doesn’t necessarily mean the storm will go away, but for me it means He will give me His peace and His joy. The rough waters need to run their course, as the LORD shapes me to look more like Him. In the meantime…..I hang on for dear life and perhaps look around for what village He is calling me to be part of.

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I want to close with this truth from 2 Samuel 22: 17 – 20.

“He reached down from on high and took hold of me; He drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the LORD was my support. He brought me out into a spacious place; He rescued me because He delighted in me.”

My comfort in these weeks has come from saying,

“I CHOOSE joy. I CHOOSE peace. I CHOOSE Jesus!!”

He is seeing me through my storm and He wants to do the same for you.

Will you trust Him for that Peace and Joy you crave deep in your spirit?

Whether you are in the swells of the rough waters or diving into the depths of the struggles. My prayer is that you will finish out this year well and know and believe that you have a Rescuer Who hears you.

Christmas blessings to you and yours,

Kinita

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“I did it too!!”

IMG_0363You’ve done this too, I am not alone!!

Whether we are sitting at a wedding, at the mall, in church, a restaurant, standing in a long line somewhere….wherever.

We are people watching.

For some of us, we make a game out of it. Names withheld. It is engaging. Sometimes inspiring, annoying, funny, or possibly even rude, if you are the one being watched. People watching is for all walks of life. Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, you can participate. See, I told you I know you’ve done it. Well, I did it too. (SN: I do NOT do this in church. I would much rather come up and chat with you….and I do!!)

In extreme cases (aka. boredom), I have been known to make up stories of those strangers. What? I’m a writer!!! Would you rather that I said, “I prayed for them?”…yeah, me too.

I recently discovered I did something else when at a friend’s wedding, I stereotyped. Yup, I confess, I put someone in a category of my choosing (aka, my understanding) based on how they looked, dressed, talked and lived their life. Don’t be shaking your head….you’ve done that too. It doesn’t condone stereotyping, it just makes us “not alone”.

Looks like we are going to walk this story out together, eh?

At this wedding, we decided to sit at a table with the only other couple we knew at the wedding. It was fine because the people who were supposed to sit there were absent anyway (in case any of you brides were getting miffed about wedding ettiquette gone ary). Ok, so as we joined our friends, there was another family at the table. It was a different family structure than we were used to, they appeared quite “together” and the stories they shared didn’t match their “stereotype”. As I listened, and learned and asked questions, I really enjoyed getting to know them. Yet inside my mind, there was a conflict going on. “Why did this whole thing seem so strange?”, I found myself asking later on. As I unpacked it with my husband, I realized that my flesh wanted to pigeon-hole them. My flesh wanted to decide that “I knew them already” (aka – judgement and stereotyping). Yes, my bad… and very wrong. Yes, I confessed it to God and He cleared my conscious.

As I talked this out with a friend of mine, who has knowledge of the psychology behind some of this, she reminded me that if we follow the evolutionary perspective of the human condition, we are conditioned to do it. Stereotype, that is. Realistically, if we got to know the story of every person at the mall, then we wouldn’t get anything else done in our day. So we choose to keep our thoughts ordered which sometimes means we want to put people in neat categories for our peace of mind.

That day we had a great conversation, but she had me at “evolutionary perspective”. Yuck. I don’t believe in evolution. I believe what the Bible says in Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning, GOD created the heavens and the earth…”.

If stereotyping is part of an evolving theory of the human condition, then I don’t want any part of it. I want to be “transformed by the renewing of my mind” (Romans 12:2). My human condition is prone to wander…and so is yours. But I am have been redeemed by the Blood of Jesus Christ and am being made new each day. Are you?

I choose to walk in that Truth…..will you join me?

So, “yes, I did it too. I am sorry, will you please forgive me?”

Thank you for journeying with me.

Kinita