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Just a twentysomething living my life and, as most my age, figuring it out as I go,

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Faith Like Peter

"During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. 'It is a ghost', they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: 
        'Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid.' 
        'Lord, if it's you,' Peter replied, 'tell me to come to you on the water.' 
        'Come,' he said. 
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out 
        'Lord, save me!'
Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. 
        'You of little faith,' he said, 'why did you doubt?'
And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, 
         'Truly you are the son of God.' " 
                                            Matthew 14:25-33

I bet by now you're thinking,  Wait a second. Isn't the title of this 'Faith Like Peter'? Wasn't that story about his doubt? Yes and yes.

I have been having a faith like Peter lately. Peter is the first to jump out of the boat and onto the water. He has such a great faith that Jesus can help him walk on water that he eagerly calls to Jesus and willingly climbs out of the safety of the boat and into the torrent of the stormy sea.
I am Peter.

A year ago, I decided that God had put a nudging on my heart for missions, and it was my responsibility to see where that nudging led. Now, a year later, I am in the midst of support raising to move to England for a year to share the Good News! I eagerly jumped out of my safety in America, into the storm of a new country, new culture, new friends. I trusted that Jesus was standing beside me all the way, helping me to walk on the water.

And as soon as my feet touched water, I panicked. I looked around at the wind and the struggle that is ahead of me, and I started to doubt myself and, more importantly, to doubt God. I knew in my head that God can do the impossible. That He could provide support for me to go; that He could surround me when I felt alone in a new place; that He could lead me exactly where I needed to be. But my heart doubted. I began to sink.
I am Peter.

It wasn't until a few days ago that I finally gave up my stubbornness and cried out "Lord, save me!" Just like Peter. I rushed in with such faith, but my doubt overwhelmed me. My faith seemed to be overshadowed by my doubt in myself. Just like Peter. And in my sinking, God looked at me and said "You of little faith, why did you doubt?"

I just got my first official supporter last week. I was having dinner with a friend, catching up on life, and she looked at me and said that she had money for me for England. Which I was so grateful to hear. But that's not good enough for God. My friend told me the story that this amount of money fell into her lap, as she had been praying about being able to support me in this ministry opportunity. She said she reread my support letter and that the money was exactly what I had asked her to give. I, firstly, couldn't believe that I had my first supporter, but I was even more amazed that in the midst of my sinking and doubt, that God was at work. I could not be more grateful for the story that comes with this first commitment of support. It is such a beacon to me, standing in the middle of the torrent, that God is faithful--even when I have faith like Peter.

We sang this song at a retreat I was on last weekend, and the words stuck out to me as we sang. But I forgot about it, until this morning at church, when we sang the same song. And the story of Peter ran through my mind. It's called Oceans, by Hillsong United. It's a great song about following God into the uncertainty, but I want to share a few of the lyrics that have stuck out to me. The second verse says
"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"
I think the first step to getting over the doubt is to recognize it. So as I realize my doubt while I'm sinking in the water, I am remembering these words from Oceans and God's faithfulness to never fail me. I know that while my feet may fail me and I may fall short, God never will. He doesn't have feet. And He can't fail.

So if--like me--you have faith like Peter, take heart. Jesus still loves Peter, despite his doubt out on the water.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Pieces of Manna

At the end of 2014, I took on a grand total of 3 part time jobs. It was crazy, it was fun, it was tiring. I know several people who have worked multiple jobs, just like I was. And I shouldn't say anything, but I was also beginning support raising for London, had friends that I like to keep up with, and enjoy the occasional (or binges of) Netflix. I know, I know. I can live without the last one, but c'mon, "Friends" just came to Netflix!!!

Now before you stop reading, because it sounds like I'm about to complain about how busy I was or how many thing I have going on, hear this: I am not complaining. I love it! I love this little infinity I've been given (any of you TFIOS fans will understand that one). I've seen so many blessings in this year of work after graduation. It's been incredible so far, and I know it will just continue to be a fun, crazy, difficult time of transition into working life.

That being said, I was exhausted. I would run place to place, work crazy hours at 2 (then 3) jobs, exhaust my alone time by being with friends or taking care of other errands. And by the time I got home at the end of the day, I was pooped!
I'm sure you can relate! And so, I slept later in the mornings, I chose selfish ways to spend my free time-which usually consisted of Netflix and laying around. And I took my pieces of manna and expected them to last me days or weeks, or sometimes even months. I would maybe get up early once a week and have some quiet time with God and call it good for the next few days so I could sleep in. I would sometimes skip church on Sundays so I could sleep in and then get things done around the house, but tried to substitute God-focused conversations with people for the real thing.

I've now dropped one job, and am beginning 2015 with a better idea of time management. But still, I spend my time unwisely.

And my manna goes bad. Just like the Israelites in the desert, my manna only lasts for one day. I can't store it up, like I foolishly try to do. And I certainly can't substitute imitation manna for the real thing.

I was talking to my support raising coach a few weeks ago, and at the end of our call, she prayed that I would come to seek God daily and that He would give me just enough energy for one day-not for several days or one week.

That's all I need!

I just need enough manna for one day. For 24 hours.

And after that, it's time to throw out the old, rotten manna and start fresh with a new day. Recently, I was talking to a friend who is still in school. She was feeling overwhelmed by work, by school, by social events, etc. And I told her, take it a day at a time. That's all you can focus on. That's probably one of the best lessons I've learned in life. It does NO good to worry about anything past today. And who knows if you even get anything more than today's manna anyway?

So join me in praying that we ask only for enough manna to last through today. That we approach God daily, asking for the energy and strength and peace to do what we need for the next 24 hours. And at the end of the day, we throw out anything we weren't able to do, and start fresh again for tomorrow.