dancing in the deep.

i have always loved the bible story where peter walks on water because it seemed like such a fun and adventurous thing to do with Jesus. it was a miracle unlike the rest because it wasn't fulfilling a need, like multiplying bread and fish to feed the hungry or healing the sick or even turning water into wine. it was just peter, leaning in, and saying to Jesus, "if that's You out there, then i can do it with You. invite me out." in all my visions of what it would've been like, had it been me instead of peter, i always keep my eyes on Jesus. if you have enough faith and boldness to step out, i thought, then how do you not have enough faith to stay on top of the water once you're out there?

the story is told in matthew 14, but as i read each version (in mark and john) about what happened that night/early morning, i couldn't help but see how much it also tells the story of my real life in this season. it's common to call this type of waiting a 'wilderness season,' but i think it's more accurately described as 'walking on water.' which is not as much fun as i always imagined it would be. it's more of a terrifying kind of thrill, if i'm being honest.


i first stepped out of the boat in september of 2015, when i left my comfortable and secure full time job. although, looking back, i would say it was more of a dysfunctional comfort and false security. i was in a boat, in the middle of the sea, a few miles of course, and straining to row. in the midst of the wind and the waves, i spotted Jesus. like peter, i wasn't looking for Him to come closer, but for an invitation to step out. i had been singing songs like "oceans," which always feel like prayers as much as they are worship.

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
let me walk upon the waters
wherever You would call me
take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
 

Jesus said the same thing to me that He said to peter. "come." that's the thing about telling Him you'll go – He always replies back with, "okay then, let's go." so i quit my job and stepped out.

it wasn't until a month later, that i first called it was it was. i sent my mom an email, continuing a conversation we'd had on facetime, explaining that i didn't know how i would pay my upcoming bills, but that i wasn't asking for help because i didn't think i needed it. i had quit my job, but i still hadn't gotten another one (not for lack of trying), but somehow small jobs kept coming out of nowhere and adding together to provide what i needed.

"it sort of feels like i have the opportunity to see what it's like to walk on water," i wrote. "i don't know what i'm doing, or what i'm supposed to be doing, or how i'm going to pay my bills. but God promises i won't drown, so He has to show up."

i went on to say that her offer to help me felt like her coming up next to me in a boat and asking me to get in. let me help you. let me protect you. let me save you. i remember holding my breath as i typed the words, "i don't want to get in your boat." because, as much as i loved and appreciated her willingness to help me, i felt like God was telling me, "this is it." but, quite honestly, "it" looked a lot like nothing.

the thing i'd never noticed about the story of peter walking on water is that it was in the midst of a storm. the same winds that had caused them to struggle and veer of course were the same winds that caught peter's attention out on the water. it wasn't just an isolated gust of wind that caused him to doubt, as i'd always imagined it to be. (listen, i always pictured it to be daytime too, completely ignoring the clear details written in scripture, so. i don't know what i was thinking either.) but that changes everything, doesn't it? i mean, i'm going to be honest, i don't know that i would have even stepped out of the boat if i were peter, let alone remained focused enough not to sink.

when i found myself sinking in march of 2016, there was no confusion about what was happening. i had stepped out of the boat, but i wasn't walking on water. i was treading water, and i was exhausted. Jesus wasn't letting me drown, because of course He wasn't, but He was asking, "you of little faith, why do you doubt?"

i've written about this before, about march, but i eventually hit a point where i had to face that question. why do i doubt? do i trust God and believe Him to be who He says He is, or do i not? it feels elementary, on paper. and i think most people skim right over it because the obvious answer is yes. and yet, when you're in the deep and you're sinking, it doesn't matter what you say. the fact that you're sinking means you're lacking faith and there's no pretending anymore.

after that, my whole situation changed because i chose to completely let go and really believe that God is who He says He is, even if nothing looked like i thought it should. i got a job. and when that one ended, i got another one without even trying. and i thought that was it. but i should've known better, after singing a new song.

set my feet upon the sea
'til i'm dancing in the deep


here i am, two years later, in a parallel season. just like what happened in 2016, i finished out the year before on a christmas tour, and i went home for a few weeks without knowing what the new year might bring, but confident that something would come. after a busy season at the end of the year, it felt like things were finally moving. and yet, the new year isn't unfolding like i thought it would. things have come, but nothing that allows me to see more than a couple days (sometimes weeks) in advance.

i am now, as i was in 2016, what you might call a "freelance" nanny. in quotes, for the way nannies are generally known for their consistent work with the same family. i work with the same handful of families, but the work is as-needed and very much inconsistent. sometimes i'm on tour with musician parents and their babies. sometimes i'm babysitting for toddlers who are too sick to be sent to daycare. sometimes i'm nannying for parents who have temporary jobs. sometimes i'm babysitting for parents who need a date night. it all depends on the day.

the winds didn't die down until Jesus and peter got in the boat, and i can tell you the winds in my life haven't died down either. it's hard. it's exhausting. and i'm tired. i'm ready to be done. watching God move in my life every day is awesome, don't get me wrong. but getting a miracle requires needing a miracle, and needing a miracle means you're in an unfortunate situation, which is uncomfortable.

but the difference between now and two years ago is that i'm not sinking. i'm not afraid. i'm not paying attention to the winds, to the voices that tell me i should be making different or "more responsible" choices. and i'm not saying things like "God has to show up;" i'm declaring the truth that He is already here.

i'm not trying to walk on water; i'm doing it. and i will keep going 'til i'm dancing in the deep.


i know this won't last forever. they get in the boat. the winds die down. and they get where they're going. in fact, john 6:21 says that when Jesus got in the boat with them, "immediately the boat was at the land where they were going." immediately.

i don't exactly know where i'm going, but i know that when we're done having our deep sea dance party, it won't be long.

e a s t e r | 2 0 1 8

IMG_0009.jpg

this is easter, twenty eighteen.

luca is 4.5, jack is 1.5

the photo struggle was real this year, since jack is old enough to know what he doesn't want and walk away but still too young to understand what it means to cooperate – that the sooner you do, the sooner it's done – even with a bribe.

luca was happily sitting as close to me as he could possibly be in our photos, while jack just needed me to move my arm and not be touching him at all. luca didn't need treat bribes this year, but that's what jack's looking at. he would stand there, in the frame, but he needed a bunny snack and for me to not get too close. we have many hilarious versions of this where you can see him whining and twisting out of my arm. it's always nice to get a good photo, but also – this is what real life looks like. jack and i may be best friends, but that doesn't mean his love language is physical touch. the best photo i got all weekend is that one with me and my OG bff.

the many (many, many) photos of them two together are quite comical. the best one of them all involved a lot of cropping out moving hands and feet, but look at their faces! i can't get enough of them.

we went to church on saturday night, which freed up sunday for all the easter festivities at my parents' house.

like the easter egg hunt.

and dying eggs.

034.jpg

and, of course, a photo shoot.

the rest of the trip involved trips to the park and picnics and donuts and playing outside with the boys during the day, and the greatest showman and bonfires and late night chats with T and lee at night.

Q1 | books of 2018

001. the sacred enneagram / christopher l. heuertz.

great next step after reading the road back to you.
(some parts were kind of boring to me though.)

002. writing down the bones / natalie goldberg.

THE BEST if you're into writing (or creativity).
still worth skimming even if you're not.

003. it's okay to laugh / nora mcinerny purmort.

if you've ever experienced grief, or know someone who has.
one of those crying on one page / laughing on the next books.

004. if you only knew / jamie ivey.

must read if you grew up in church.
must read if you didn't grow up in church.

005. someday, someday, maybe / lauren graham.

if you're into fiction, are interested in (or at least fascinated by) the acting life, a fan of lorelai gilmore and/or sarah braverman.

006. what to say next / julie buxbaum.

if you're into young adult fiction (like me, apparently?).
fascinating insight into asperger's syndrome.

charlotte | for a week.

for reasons i won't unpack here, i spent an entire week in charlotte in march. although, i will say, it was nice to have extra time, since i missed a visit in february.

it felt good to arrive and settle in and not have to pack up and drive back after a few days. it felt good to go about our days, setting alarms and working and switching loads of laundry, and end them each together, around the dinner table. it felt good to tell luca, when he asked when i was leaving not long after i arrived, that i would be there for all the days he went to school and even for the one after that.

 photo by luca, age 4.5, who so kindly left a spot for us to photoshop J into the picture.

photo by luca, age 4.5, who so kindly left a spot for us to photoshop J into the picture.

my first day was H's last day. we only had a few hours of time together, but i'm thankful for even the tiny bit of overlap we had.

mornings with luca/santa.

while jack napped and T was being an adult (and paying her bills), luca and i built a fort. when jack woke up, he joined in the fun.

this week wasn't a vacation visit, but an everyday life visit. (partly why my phone/camera was MIA for most of it.) everyone carried on as usual, and i jumped in to help my mom at work and T with her new project.

on the one day i worked at the office, i got a super delicious cookie from panera that was as big as my face. and yes, i ate the whole thing by myself. which definitely gave me an instant post-whole30 sugar headache, but i have no regrets.

the rest of the days, i worked from a makeshift desk in T's office, with the best view. i would say i don't know how she gets any work done, but her monitor conveniently blocks her view of the door, which i don't think was an accident. because when he's standing there, how can you not??

date night with luca.

after jack went to bed, we printed out about twelve pj masks coloring pages and got to work. update: he is still my favorite artist/colorer.

date day with luca. we sure did take full advantage of our time together.

this day, we went to the library and he picked out a few books, all of which were non-fiction. 100 facts about cheetahs, and that type of thing. i somehow tricked him into wandering the aisles with the storybooks and he humored me (aka followed me around, not browsing himself) for about five minutes before asking if we could go back to the other section. i was so surprised at his utter lack of interest in anything but non-fiction, except now i have no idea why because even i rarely wander into the fiction section.

the thing about luca right now is that he's very into african cats, animal facts, and the planet earth documentaries. his free play involves reenacting scenes from the documentaries (almost always on all fours, walking around or climbing on furniture and jumping off), including the narration. and it's not just that he's obsessed with it, but actually pays attention and dishes out facts in later conversations that never fail to catch me off guard.

at four and a half, he's already smarter than me. (and a much better colorer.)

lee was making jack laugh and i have about 75 of these photos because i can't get enough of that face. (or how great of a dad lee is. he can make those boys laugh like no one else can.)

another work day. another visit from jack.

he always wanted to come in, even if T wasn't in there. and i always let him. how could i not, with that peanut butter face??

we are best friends. who have the same taste in fashion.

playing tag. and realizing luca is old enough to play this game for real. he is fast!

before bed, luca will ask if i will wake him up in the morning. i don't actually know what his wakeup routine looks like anymore, since he's always awake before i am, but he used to ask that when someone always went to get him in the morning or from a nap. (now he's old enough to get himself up.) i think he just wants to know if i'll be there. i always tell him he'll wake up before i do, but he can wake me up.

and that he does. (jack's still in a crib, but these two are the only two people in the world i'd say that to. you're allowed to wake me up at any time of the morning.)

on this day, both boys came in and took turns giving me kisses. the best way to wake up, if you ask me.

IMG_4394.jpg

i worked for a little bit on this day, but T didn't. so i had two visitors waiting for me outside the door.

luca finding his belly button was such an event (and one of my favorite memories), so we were waiting for that day with jack. T said he'd already found it, and knew where it was if you asked, but on this day he gave us what we were looking for. he was suddenly obsessed and excited and you have one too? and luca and mommy too?

IMG_4402.jpg

group outing to see i can only imagine. (my mom really does love popcorn at the movies, but we all shared that bucket. in case you were wondering.)

and that's it. (i think T included more photos and stories in her post about it.)