Monday, August 27, 2012

Stormy Seas

Matthew 14: 27-33
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.”

I was reading this familiar story last night and something hit me.  I cannot take my eyes off of Jesus when the storm starts to blow.  I'm sure you're thinking "Duh! you didn't know that Nicole?"  And I do know that, but I just can't seem to put it into practice.

I know most of you can't keep up with how I'm doing.  I never know from day-to-day.  I try not to just write on and on and on about the bad days and how I still have them quite often.  So, I usually just omit most of that stuff.  I'll tell you, last week was not good.  I felt awful again.  I couldn't even sleep - there was no escape from the roller coaster.  If I wasn't lying awake in bed rocking back and forth then I was dreaming I was on a carnival ride, cruise ship and even a homemade airplane one fitful night.

The last week or so my brain has felt like it was trying to push out through the top and sides of my skull.  There is so much pressure and it just keeps me rocking.  I did feel well enough to go walking yesterday and I had to be very deliberate about my steps.  I kept veering off to the right and had to focus intently to keep myself walking a straight line.  I'm glad you can't get a WUI (walking under the influence) because I surely would have been stopped had an officer seen me walking along.

So, the storm keeps raging on all around me.  It comes and goes... sometimes its a tropical depression, sometimes it's a Category 3 hurricane.  And I hate to admit but on the days when I just feel bad, like I don't want to do anything I catch myself looking at the storm and not keeping my eyes fixed steady on Jesus... and then I sink.  And for me, it's an emotional sinking.  I lose heart and lose drive.  I can say that I never, ever give up hope that He's working in me.  Deep down I always still believe that.  But I let the wind and waves obstruct my vision and clarity.  And I don't know the answer.  But I will keep trying. 

Now I know that this is such a struggle (now that it has hit me between the eyes) I can at least work harder against it.  I can sing, pray and read more on those days - even though those are the last things I want to do.  I can visualize myself on the waves (and since I usually feel that I'm on some unsteady surface that's easy) and look through the storm and stay intent on the face of Jesus.  It's like when I go out to give our dog, Gator, a Milk Bone and he knows I have it in my hand he will not budge.  He won't look to the left, right, up, down.  The kids can come out and play and he will not move.  He's afraid if he acknowledges the distractions then he will miss out on his Milk Bone.  Nothing can make that dog change his gaze because he wants the treat, the reward, that badly.  That's the same deliberation I need to have during the storms and distractions, on the bad days.  I've got to look to my Master and forget the things going on around me.

If only the things God revealed to us were easy to put into action.  But then we would never become more like Christ if life was easy and we would not cherish the good days without the bad.

I'm in my 10th month of "refinement." I will be at my Mayo Clinic appointment on my Meniere's one-year anniversary... whoopee!  As of right now, we'll be flying out on October 11th.  I have appointments on Friday, Monday and Tuesday and we'll fly home that afternoon, the 16th.  Jonathan has been telling me how badly he wants the two of us to get away together.  He told me a few weeks ago I could pick the place.  Guess what honey?  We're going to Rochester, Minnesota!  We will have the weekend to ourselves so I'm looking for something low-key yet fun to do.  We'll be about an hour from Minneapolis so I'm sure we can find something.

Thank you for still praying.  I feel your prayers.  Even though I have bad days I feel an overwhelming sense of peace and purpose in all of this.

I'll close with two little nuggets that I got from my 6-year-old son this week:
1) Two nights ago, I put Beau in the shower and went to get washed up for bed myself. I went back to get him out and he was dancing around with his hair bone dry (he should have been ready to get out). I was exhausted so this jumped all over me.
Me (furiously and exasperated): "What on earth have you been doing in here?!"
Beau: "beats me"

My first nugget: I don't want to give God an answer like that when He asks what I've been doing with this training time and the resources He has given me.

2) Last night the kids and I were upstairs kneeling at the bed ready to pray when Beau heard Jonathan walking up the stairs.  He said, "Daddy's coming!"

My second nugget: Jesus will return.  How joyful it would be for him to find me on my knees when He comes!

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