Crossing your Jordan
Of course they were human and had their moments of outbursts, or human breakdowns; but as a child I remember thinking my dad was the absolute bestest and greatest Firefighter of them all.
He climbed mountains, and scaled rocks. He knew how to start a fire from twigs and rocks together which to me seemed magical. He always was up for an adventure or going out to do 'fun' things. Bike riding, body surfing, exploring; you name it! He even knew how to pick the prettiest of wildflowers to make bouquets for our mom, so he was charming too.
Growing up in a home where Dad had to save the world from bad guys or fires that were threatening buildings with trapped grandmothers in them; it seemed normal to me to have a father gone every other day. He was a firefighter by trade so they worked shifts of 24hours on followed by 24hours off. It was normal for him to miss Thanksgiving OR Christmas each year.
Of course, I knew some kids at school who would only get to see their dad's in the summertime, or on the weekends; but for the most part all the dads I knew would come home after work to a home cooked meal on the table and watch TV or play games at night with their family. I didn't really grow to understand how divorce worked and what shared custody was until I was a bit older into my childhood years; and the luxury of having a dad gone every 24 hours to the firehouse was that we could have girls' night and play dress-up as much as we wanted without boys ruining our "girl time." Besides, I knew he was doing noble things; like rescuing kittens from trees and rushing people into the emergency rooms that were too sick to help themselves. My Dad was a HERO.
There was this one time though; we were out with friends camping and one of the hikes we were doing included crossing a river. I remember I was too little to take those steps across the boulders under-water. Because of the pressure and speed of the rushing waters; I would have easily been swept away. The older kids could barely make it from one side to the other, but I don't think our dads wanted to chance it with the younger kids...
And so with a scoop up under my knees, I hugged my dad's neck as he took the first step out onto that first rock. It was HUGE so it wasn't going anywhere, but it was about 4-5inches under the water.
To my surprise what I DIDN'T know was that rocks submersed under-water could be slippery and mossy. Well, neither one of us were prepared for this to be the case because upon the second step my dad took, he didn't have a chance to tell me to hold my breath and he lost his footing and we both went under. Needless to say the water was FREEZING (it was snowmelt from the rockies!) and it was also DEEP. . . The water went completely over both my dad and I's heads that moment!
I remember exclaiming the words "help me" as bubbles of air were escaping my lungs... (sounding more like a fish underwater "H-e-e-e-l-l-pppp M-e-e-e-" the bubbles and words came out)
It must have only been 30 seconds before we had popped up gasping for air as the waters were pouring over the rocks and splashing our faces; but it seemed like a few minutes under water and everything flashed before me. My dad slipped? We both went down? Are we going to be ok? Is my dad ok? Who is going to help us?
One of my dad's friends quickly grabbed my arm and yanked me out of the waters and I remember someone helped my dad out too. Minutes later we were wrapped in towels absorbing the shock of what just happened. I was totally freaked. I think my dad was too.
Cold as a bone, in this sober moment, with big eyes staring down at the ground, purple lips, wet hair, and a towel wrapped around my body I kept playing this over and over in my head.
My dad slipped. We both went down. But He caught me.
Crossing Your Jordan
So there's a story in the bible that Joshua has to cross the Jordan in the midst of flood season. Now unlike the waters my dad and I had to cross, in this story during flood season, you can imagine the water was raging! Like more than waist high; perhaps even neck high or over their heads high and at incredible speeds. It says it was flooding OVER the river banks. So with the story of the Israelites crossing the Jordan, in order for the waters to stop running and actually start to back up, the priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant had to set foot into the waters FIRST in faith and see that the water would stop and not sweep them away. Unlike the miracle Moses experienced where he parted the Red Sea with his rod by striking it into the ground and lifting his arms, Joshua knew it would be different.
Can you imagine the anticipation the children of Israel had building watching the priests approach the river? The excitement that they had been waiting a lifetime to see God move. The older generation of Israelites unbelief caused them to wonder 40+ years and the current generation had probably been waiting most of their life to see if God would fulfill his promise again.
As with any longing to see God move, we can all relate to the anticipation of excitement when the day finally arrives for that 'thing' we've been waiting for to come to fruition. The day you signed papers to move into your new home. The day you got to walk across stage and accept that diploma. Your Wedding day? The day you got your drivers license even?
But when you stop to think back, perhaps you also remember the handful, or who's kidding; the dozens of issues and problems you had to confront along the way to that BIG moment. The complications of the official closing date for your home. The endless papers you had to write before graduation and that final grade you desperately hoped would change. The scary moments that totally freaked your parents out when you were learning to drive. The venue reconstruction issues the week before your wedding or the weather 'permitting' We can all remember problems before something spectacular happens as if theres an opposing force working against you to get you to give up!
This past spring in a matter of weeks I remember struggling with losing my voice while coach rehearsals were going on in front of our superiors, and then even getting injured all in the same time period. It felt like everything was discouraging me from moving forward. And while its not too difficult to to look back and remember that time period of struggles, when I was going through it; it was devastating. I questioned everything! Should I be coaching if Im losing my voice? Should I even be doing this - I cant even stay healthy? Is the Shoulder injury a sign?
For some of you, you remember the questions looking back to the places you HAVEN'T seen God move, or the times you DIDN'T see things come together or fall into place the way you hoped.
- You're in your 30s and you're still waiting for "the one" - Did you somehow miss your chance?
- You thought you would be at least mid fifties before confronting a major life-threatening cancer or illness and wow life looks different right about now.
- He left and you thought he might come back, for the kids, but he hasn't and now you're doing single mom. I didnt sign up for this! You think as you continue to trek along.
Its in those places of looking back to see what went wrong, or how we somehow didn't see a fulfillment of what was so desperately longed for, or why certain things haven't come into completion; I look at the story of the Israelites crossing the Jordan and take several things to heart.
It's challenging but here's where the cup becomes more than 1/2 full....
The Israelites were told to gather 12 stones as "memoirs" of where they had come from. This would be for when their children and children's children would ask years down the line what they were delivered from, they wouldn't necessarily have to talk about the struggle they lived in, but they could talk about the triumph they saw! Instead of focusing on the negative; they were encouraged to focus on God's delivery through miracles or lessons they took from the trials!
Instead of looking back to see the memoirs of defeats, trials and tragedy and perhaps how crazy or hard your past was; look back to see the memoirs of miracles! You know; where God delivered, showed up, surprised, blessed and took care of you time and time again!
WRITE IT OUT! Write out those yucky moments for the sake of the exercise, and then look to see where God WOW'd you! The places and times things worked out and how he took care of you. Then exchange those hard moments for the grand moments where you could see him weaving your tapestry together. These are the places perhaps he's working to prepare something awesome for 2016, or simply to remind you He Still has Your back - He hasnt Left you and He's still in control!
Look forward in HOPE to Wonder!
Like Joshua with great faith said to the children of Israel: “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you” (Josh3:5). The Israelites CHOSE to hold on to that hope that they WOULD BE DELIVERED!
Today, We too get to CHOOSE to hold onto that hope. . . In Isaiah 30:15 it says "In quietness and trust is you strength"
For me; instead of recalling just how tragic it was to have years worth of ideas and a proposal laid out before my executives implemented without my input, on a national level, and the car accident with $1500 damage that immediately followed this other 'blow', I can choose to see the lesson or delivery from this very moment! An encouraging phone call with an offer that was once in a lifetime (just to show me God was in the details and working!) What could've left me paralyzed and defeated, wanting to get stuck on the details of how everything went down; seeing the way God delivered even in that situation was the ICING on the Cake!!! And even better, as I continued to wait on God, I was given a once in a lifetime chance to interview artists and bands on the red carpet at a music awards show in Nashville.
THIS WAS MY MEMOIR! Instead of looking back to the defeat or the misery; I get to keep the memory of the miracle in how God showed up and did immeasurably more than I could ask, hope or imagine, in light of that horrible trial.
Taking that Step - You'll never know!
Lastly, the biggest thing of that story that continues to pop up every time I read it is how the Priests actually had to step INTO the rushing waters and in faith and TRUST the waters would stop. And continue to stop. And continue to build up so the entire nation of Israelites could pass before them on dry ground! Then they had to finish crossing the Jordan and step out of the river before they could look back to see the miracle of God in the waters that day!
What a beautiful imagery of the power and provision of the Lord! When He is calling you into something GREAT; something perhaps beyond your comfort zone; to TRUST HIM! Sure God doesn't move the same way every time, just like we see with the Israelites delivery from Egypt and then their journey across the Jordan. He didn't part the Jordan the same way he parted the Red Sea and I doubt he will deliver you from your area of struggle right now the same way he has in the past.So the question is; Is He is calling you to risk???
In the days to come; I encourage you sweet friend; seek the Lord! If you're waiting to hear him tell you to go, then seek him in that. If you know what you're supposed to do, but just afraid... In 10 or 20 years will you still be asking "What if I would have____?" Do you know that He is calling you? Perhaps its the simple act of surrender? What are you waiting for before taking that step? (*If you're waiting for your sign, then this is it;)
So, my dad slipped and we went under completely. The worst part? The fear and cold that lingered. BUT he still caught me. From that one incident I didn't give up hope on my dad. I didn't think he would drop me again, and I didn't for one moment think he was less of a hero! He was my dad, we just slipped and got a little bruised. But he was with me in that moment.
Just like your heavenly Father; He will be with you in the trials to come! I bet if you had a chance to look back to some of those gnarly memories of the past you could see the moments God was with you in the darkness or delivered you from it. Going forward as I continue to trust my God to be the good good father that He is; I am choosing to look forward with hope that I WILL see my Lord do wonders! Those longings I so desperately want to see fulfilled could be just around the corner!
And, I am choosing to risk more by following that prompting, surrendering my all to Him and trusting that he will show himself faithful and there every step of the way; even the craziest of moments.
TRUST that he will show himself faithful my sweet one.