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.