In this current season of my life, I feel that God is doing a huge healing in all different areas of my life. I feel that this has turned into a time of restoration, mending, and harvesting.
This past weekend, some new friends, Sydney, and I went white water rafting down the Nile River. What an unreal experience. Now, this wasn’t your average, low-budget, relaxing rafting. This was extreme, grade five level, I-might-die-right-now, Jesus-help-me, please-don’t-drown, white water rafting. I have no regrets whatsoever.
It started out with going over safety rules, trying on helmets and lifejackets, and being super pumped. It wasn’t until our group got into the raft and began going over what happens when we flip out overtop of sharp rocks and crashing waves that I began to get extremely anxious. Of course, I tried to play it cool. But I honestly wasn’t understanding any instructions because I was getting too pumped and nervous to actually pay attention. Although I asked a million questions, which made me feel like a complete idiot and I couldn’t stop nervous laughing, nothing stuck. As a result of my lack of attention, I was totally confused.
The very first rapid was a grade five, two and a half meter drop. That’s cool.
We watched as the other group went before us, completely flipping their raft, and being completely consumed in the waves. That’s super reassuring.
Our instructor gave the instructions, to which I was just going with whatever everyone else was doing, and held my breath. I could feel my body shaking with fear and adrenaline. I was so ready for this, and so not at the same time. We tipped forward, and crashed into the unbelievably strong rapids. Oh yeah, you better believe I screamed.
I suddenly realized that I felt like Peter; concentrating more on the storm, the wind, the waves, the overwhelming fear of sinking deep.
But after every storm, there is a calm.
We had about twenty minutes between each rapid, which was spent snacking, drinking water, talking about the last rapid, taking a swim break, and/or rowing. Lots and lots of unified rowing. It was in those few, quiet moments we spent rowing together that it hit me; this river was once blood. This is the same river that Moses was sent down, and God protected him. It truly astounded me; it still does.
Every rapid we approached, I fiercely prayed over and over again that God wouldn’t let us flip, which we didn’t and that in itself is pretty incredible! But two of my favourite songs continually scrolled through my head all day. The two songs that God has used to speak to me in so many different obstacles, trials, testings, hardships, etc. over this past year: “You Make Me Brave” by Bethel, and “It Is Well” by Bethel. Both of which carry lyrics about the seas, storms, and trusting.
“You make me brave, You call me out beyond the shore into the waves. You make me brave…no fear can hinder now the promises You made” – You Make Me Brave
“Seas that are shaken and stirred can be calmed and broken for my regard…So let go, my soul, and trust in Him: the waves and wind still know His name” – It Is Well
Powerful words that have always spoken to me. But after seeing and feeling legitimate waves and winds crash into me while rafting, I have discovered a whole new light to these songs that make me fall that much more in love with them, and with Christ.
I have been going through a pretty intense year, there’s no doubt about that. It’s been full of unreal changes, experiences, encounters, struggles, failures; waves. So many waves have been crashing down onto my broken spirit, but Jesus has been mending me.
As I was saying in the beginning of this blog entry, I believe the season in life I am entering is a time of mending, restoring, and harvesting.
I can see the calm after the storm.
For those of you who have read my past blogs, you would know that I have shared my struggles, especially having to do with purity and my broken, sinful past. I have suffered through so much turmoil, temptation, guilt, shame, failure, and condemnation for quite some time. But Jesus has truly put His arms of love around me. Although He began to restore and mend my brokenness the moment I fully received Him into my life, I am now finally experiencing the joy and peace we all long for at the end of every hard, long trial. And it’s indescribably more than I could have ever imagined.
I see this time as a harvest. At the IF conference a couple weeks ago, I truly experienced a Jesus-encounter beyond description. Different aspects of my life began to really make sense, and answers were given to me. But these three words profoundly overwhelmed me: rest, surrender, trust. God gave me these words, not just as an encouragement, but as a beautiful command. This whole week, I have been consistently reminded to not worry about what the future holds, to rest in His timing and His promises, to put on all my armour and stand firm against the enemies’ schemes, to not be anxious or fearful in the midst of attacks. I firmly believe that God has been truly blessing me with His unexplainable joy and peace as a result of obeying His leading. I believe I am harvesting fruits of obedience, even through the midst of current trials. And I cannot be more blessed, or thankful.
I am in the calm, rowing to my next rapid.
I am savouring this joyful time. I am surrendering my life; surrendering that I have no idea what the next rapid is going to look like, or if I am going to flip out of the raft. I am trusting in His leading; trusting in His instructions and directions as we get closer. I am resting that He holds my future; putting my paddle down and taking a cool swim.
But this journey is not over.
He is making me brave for what is to come.
I know there are more rapids to come; more hardships, trials, temptations, failures. But I know Who keeps me safe. I know Who my God is. I know Who got me through my last rapid, which definitely felt like the never ending, grade five hundred rapid. But He was still in control all along,
and He is with me.
So as I continue to paddle forward, anxiously and excitedly awaiting my next rapid, I choose to remember this:
This is the calm after that last storm, enjoy this time. Surrender, rest, trust; go to Him for strength and wisdom,
“‘Lord, help!’ they cried in their trouble, and He saved them from their distress. He calmed the storm to a whisper and stilled the waves. What a blessing was that stillness as He brought them safely into harbour!” – Psalm 107:28-30
“The floods have risen up, O Lord. The floods have roared like thunder; the floods have lifted their pounding waves. But mightier than the violent raging f the seas, mightier than the breakers on the shore – The Lord above is mightier than these!” – Psalm 93:3-4
“Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living. Wait patiently for The Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for The Lord.” – Psalm 27:13-14