I once heard a speaker compare life to a kayak trip downriver. Sometimes the waters are smooth and we can enjoy a leisurely journey, admiring the beauty all around us. But every now and then we hit the rapids and we’re suddenly thrown into a mad scramble to stay afloat. As we navigate past rocks and other dangers, overwhelmed with fear, we wonder if life will ever be serene and peaceful again. Eventually the river smooths out and we sail back into calmer waters. And if we’re wise, we will have learned some valuable lessons that can prepare us for the next patch of rough water. Here’s what I learned on last year’s voyage:
Our family hit the rapids last June when my husband suffered a heart attack. He has fully recovered now, and we’re back to smooth sailing. But during those weeks of frantic paddling, I learned that life is fragile and precious. God can call us home to Himself at any time. More than ever, I want to hold my loved ones close in the coming year, and not squander a moment of time that I have with them. I need to remember which things in life are really important and which ones aren’t worth fussing about.
In my faith walk, I came into some challenging waters last year when our church hired a new lead pastor. He is a wonderful preacher, and our church has welcomed and embraced him. But he is challenging us to get out of our comfortable ruts so we can think more like Jesus and serve more like Him. I much prefer to float in a lagoon with people who are just like me—but Jesus longs for me to reach out to those who are different, those who may be drowning in the rapids, and offer them a helping hand. Yes, the comfortable ministries I’ve been involved with in the past have been good ones. But for the sake of the kingdom, it’s time for me to stop doing “church” and get involved with the world around me in the same way Jesus did.
My writing life has been mostly calm this past year. And yet . . . I have felt God challenging me not to settle for safe waters. As an act of trust, I need to take new risks and move out into deeper water. One way I’ve been doing that is by self-publishing an out-of-print novel of mine called “Fly Away.” It took a lot of work and required learning new things—and you know what they say about teaching old dogs new tricks! But a letter from a reader made it all worthwhile when she wrote to tell me how much “Fly Away” has blessed her. Why start a new venture when I’ve been successful with a traditional publisher? Why not stay in safe waters? Because sometimes complacency masks a lack of faith. I don’t like change—does anyone? Yet I know from experience that my faith grows the most during times of change.
I wish I could see around the bend in the river at what lies ahead for 2018—but I can’t. So, I’m choosing to sail forward into the unknown, comforted by one of my favorite verses from Isaiah: “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you” (Isaiah 43:1-2). Bon Voyage!
Thanks, Lynn, for sharing your heart and experiences. You’re always an inspiration. I loved Fly Away, by the way.
I’ve been challenged to get outside my comfort zone also. Your words affirm and encourage me to keep on keeping on. He’s with me, so it will be a grand adventure!
Your writing has inspired me so very much during 2017. My family hit several “ rapids” that included my moms lung cancer diagnosis, my mother in law falling ill then passing away, and my niece dying in her sleep. And these were just the most intense “ rapids”. Please don’t ever stop writing & doing what He asks you to do or even write about! He is leading, guiding and growing each of us!
We currently are in a “ peaceful stream” and boy am I thankful!!!!
Just what I needed today, Lynn! I have been in a spiritual slump for the last 5 years and I have been feeling the pull to step up my game this year and do more for God. He will respect what we expect, and I’m expecting great and mighty things from His hand this year. I know that means I will have to do my part by stepping out in faith, but He promises in His word that He will honor faith. Yours is a timely post and definitely spoke to me. Thanks, again! Blessings….
I have some idea of what you all went through with your husband’s illness. Back in 2000 I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer out of the blue. And had no insurance at the time. I told God “I don’t want to die, but if that is your will, I accept that”. God got me through it and back to my usual robust good health. I could never have done surgery and chemo without His help. I’m very glad your husband recovered too.
Lynn, many of your books have really touched me in various ways. Wings of Refuge truly hit home for me, so much that I bought a copy for a long time friend. Please keep on writing your truly inspirational stories! Most of us have “lost” close loved ones, but let us remember that we will see them again with no more pain or sickness with everlasting life and love forever. It’s right in the bible and I truly believe this will happen for us! Thank you for your books, Lynn. You are truly special in my eyes.
These Rapids and storms are sure hard, but there is a fellowship with the Lord during those times that is so precious. I’m waiting on surgery to bring back my sight in my right eye, and God has sent me encouragement from every direction including your words today. His WORD embraces me in a whole new way. Praise God for healing your husband. We would be consumed without his Mercy and Love. It’s new every morning.
I have so enjoyed, and been inspired, by every one of your books, Lynn! I have bought many additional books for my daughters and friends. We’re going to Israel in March and I love your book on your trip there. Don’t think I’ll be climbing mountains like you, but I’ll enjoy it more because of your writing.
Blessing to you and your family!
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