Getting off the Boat

If I was asked to choose a biblical character that I related most to, it would have to be Peter. His passion and full on sprint towards Jesus connects and relates to my heart unlike any other.  I love that he wasn’t afraid to get back up after failure. He had some really public ones that all generations get to know about and learn from. I’m so beyond thankful that my failures aren’t remembered and talked about for generations! With all his failures I have to believe it only caused him to fall more and more in love with Jesus. To vow to chase after Him harder, love deeper, learn more of Him, because I know that is certainly what it does for me.

When I read of Peter in Matthew 14:22-33, this is when the disciples had left at Jesus’s instruction so he could go into the hills to pray alone, they find themselves in a bit of trouble out on the water. These are experienced sea men, not the casual Sunday boater, so this is some really serious crashing waves and wind.  At three o’clock in the morning which I find significant, this isn’t just night but the dead of night, the loneliest stretch of night, and the waves are crashing all round. Does this ever sound like your life? It sure does mine, the darkest of dark when everything is happening at once, crashing in on me. But behold sisters, who is on the horizon of edge of the boat, Jesus. Oh Jesus, He arrives at the perfect moment but the disciples are afraid, they think he is a ghost.  Hmmm, again much like life, we call out, we want His response to our crisis, but when he shows up it and isn’t how WE planned, we are alarmed with how his rescue looks.

So Jesus responds in verse 27 with “Don’t be afraid, take courage. I am here.” Well Peter responds with a response I think would be like me “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.” Yep, like me I want proof, I want to know that He has really arrived, I can’t just trust one sense, in this case for Peter it’s his sight-I mean Jesus is STANDING in front of him….ON the water.

Don't be afraid

Jesus, in his loving and grace filled, ways went along with Peter’s need for an extra step of proof. He said to Peter “Yes, come.” So Peter dove over the side of the boat, in my mind I picture no hesitation, just gathering up his robes in one hand and feet almost tripping over the other in his hurry to get onto the water. He takes a few steps probably the thought of “I’m doing it, I’m WALKING on water towards Jesus!” races through his mind. Then the edge of a wave catches his attention out of the corner of his eye, he then full on looks to his left and sees these huge waves feels the strong winds on his face and panic flutters in his chest. His eyes remain on the waves, he forgets to focus back on Jesus. Just like that his toes are under water, that panic grows its filling him now, more of him is falling under the water. Full panic has set in yet, his eyes haven’t landed back on Jesus yet. He calls out “SAVE ME, LORD”  From our vantage point it seems obvious we are mentally saying; “Peter look at Jesus, TRUST Jesus, and you wouldn’t find yourself sinking.”

Jesus replies while reaching out to grab him “You have so little faith, why did you doubt me?” Oh I think how many times has Jesus said this about me. “Winter, why do you doubt me. Winter, why do you have such little faith when distractions happen?”

I love that Jesus doesn’t criticize him for getting out of boat, for taking those initial steps on the water, or even wanting to have that proof, that it was really Jesus there on the water. He does draw Peter’s attention in the form of correcting him of the fact that he knew Jesus was right there, that Jesus has already shown that he is capable, heck just that day Jesus had fed 5,000 people on 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish all of which came after Him healing the sick. Yet Peter removed his eyes from Jesus, he showed little faith. He allowed his fear to be bigger than his faith. Faith comes at a great cost, it comes at the expense of being willing to get out of the boat. To try again and again, to chase after Jesus in ways that others will believe you to be crazy.

faith

Faith is tested in the storms of our lives. If you’re in the place that the waves seem as if they will drown you sweet sisters, let me tell you, Jesus is in the midst of the waves and wind. He isn’t on the shore or up above looking down. He is IN it with you, His hand is already extended out, ready to grab you. If you are on the edge of the boat, on the precipice of stepping out in faith will you be like Peter scrambling to follow Jesus out onto the water? No matter which position you are in you’ll notice that Peter had the wind and waves, on the boat or on the water. We are not promised a life or faith walk without waves or wind only that Jesus will be found in the midst of our storm. He promises to rescue us, to wipe our tears, listen to our fears and to stand over us in protection.

You can find me linked up at:

http://www.w2wministries.org,

http://holleygerth.com,

http://somuchathome.blogspot.com,

http://jenniferdukeslee.com/

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Holy Grounds

Everyone needs a sense of purpose, a sense of direction in their life, well mine seems to be misplaced, or so it seems. Today I realized I seem to be going through life without a solid defined direction. I was thinking why do I seem to be feeling as if there is no intentional route I’m taking? I was thinking how after I closed the photography business, I did that in order to have more time for my family and for the youth ministry,I felt a sense of loss, sense of no longer being defined as a photographer. Then when last month I put down the youth ministry I had this sense of loss again, a sense of no longer being defined as a youth leader, a sense of not being needed by anyone. So I have been floating without a sense of purpose.

Then today while in the shower and I’m pondering these great reflections, let me add here that my shower is holy ground I have been spoken to and felt more alive with the spirit of the Lord around me there than even in church. So I’m in the holy grounds of my shower pondering this sense of empty, drifting when I’m reminded of this event I was at 2-3 years ago I was seeking the Lords confirmation of his intention to place me in ministry. Yet I felt his call was to just love my family well, my response was well I’m already doing that I want to serve you bigger Lord. So I continued pretending that His plan was to use me in a bigger way, then the fall of 2013 came and I decided that in order for Him to use me in a big way I better make some room so I closed the business. I did focus more on my family at this time and dived into the youth ministry of my church, after all my sense of purpose comes from my doing. I have to do, do, do, I’m definitely a Martha.  So this Martha did what was in front of her, serving and growing this ministry that was in front of her. Loving my family still, seeking the Lord for the ministry’s direction but fully focused on what to “do” for this ministry. Then 4 months ago God started to remove my grasp on this ministry, this ministry that defined me, that fulfilled this part of me. He caused such a strong stirring in me I could no longer be apart of this church. He grabbed my shoulders and turned me away, I didn’t understand how this was the plan, He was going to us ME. How could this happen and continue without me?

Today in the holy grounds of my shower I’ve began to understand, He had to strip me bare in order to be a Mary to show me that I don’t have to do, only be. I need to BE a godly wife, I need to BE a godly mom and most importantly I need to BE a godly Winter that sits at the feet of Jesus. My friend over coffee last week said would you have left your church and ministry if this huge stirring hadn’t happened? I said no way, that this church was my family, my best friends, we didn’t just attend we were involved all the way, Jesse plays guitar every service, we served the youth together, our kids have grown up there. Never would we have left, she said then maybe that’s why this drastic change took place because God had to get your attention and move you out.  For a week that has swirled in my brain, of ok that makes sense, but why, why would He need to take me out of this ministry, why wouldn’t he want to use me bigger?

Today it was answered, I was reminded of that event when I was shown the direction I needed to move and I didn’t like the answer. I wanted to do, I just didn’t understand the concept of Mary. The idea of sitting at Jesus’s feet, the idea of being Jesus here on earth to my family only. I have always been a big or go home kind of person so to me I want to live out Jesus bigger, serve Jesus bigger, yet today after nearly two and half years of being allowed to move in that direction the Lord said enough and I finally heard him. I heard just BE, don’t do, don’t look for a to-do list, don’t overlook the gift in front of you, just be with me [Jesus], just be with your family.

This seems so difficult and challenging to me, but through Jesus I can be Mary. Today I seek to only be. I will be with Jesus and I will be with my family. Even when it doesn’t seem like it could be enough, I will remind myself of the heartache of not following what the Lord asks of me. Yes good came out of those two and half years, because God always brings goodness, but what could have come out of obeying and being satisfied by the Mary mentality. Are you Martha or Mary-is God calling you to be more like Mary too?

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Just Love-Even When its Ugly

So lately I have really been pondering the thought of peoples views and why they think/respond the way they do. Example being: someone made a comment of how you need to be on time/early even {whaaat} to church, if your not your basically not being a proper christian {i need to insert i’m not real sure what a proper christian looks like, i think its way messier then what we picture it being!}. When I first heard this I immediately got my dander up a bit…i’m generally ALWAYS late when one) its early morning and two) when i’m getting 2 children motivated and moving {by myself since the hubby has to be there prior to me}. So I took a bit of offense to this until I thought hmmm maybe this is how in his mind he shows his love/respect/worship to God. I don’t show these things to God in this way but i do by rocking out to worship music and giving it all to him…another area i’m sure some think i’m crazy for but when i get to worshiping i just can’t hold still! We need to remember to think about the other persons point of view before we judge, just because its not how we view or think doesn’t mean they are wrong.

The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:14

When we stop loving and get to judging our mouths then get to flapping so we really begin to stir the pot….don’t deny it you know you’ve done it. Some one has gotten under your skin so your high tailing it to your friend saying “are you kidding me can you believe that just came out of their mouth.”  We are only digging ourselves deeper and deeper into this incorrect thought process, we need to stop and think before we speak to avoid the hole! What an opportunity we may have if we can stop long enough to even ask the person “hey what did you mean by this because i heard this” maybe the real issue is we aren’t listening we are just in too big of hurry to assume what they intended to say.

Don’t speak evil against each other, dear brothers and sisters. If you criticize and judge each other, then you are criticizing and judging God’s law. But your job is to obey the law, not to judge whether it applies to you. God alone, who gave the law, is the Judge. He alone has the power to save or to destroy. So what right do you have to judge your neighbor? James 4:11-12

Much love ~w

election day is tomorrow need to be in prayer for a God guided vote and results. No matter the outcome He is still King of Kings.