Do you tiptoe or dive into the pool?

This photo is a screenshot of me attempting to jump on a float in the pool. I will spare you the video, but let’s say it didn’t quite go as planned.

So, it is with life, especially 2020.

I’ve been quiet and absent because I’ve been waiting for a good and stable time. A time when there’s a familiar pace, maybe even a time when I know more or understand more. A time when life doesn’t feel wobbly and unfamiliar. Things have been scary and intimidating.

They still are.

When my child posted the video of me jumping on that float in our family group chat this week, I watched it over and over. I laughed. Sure, I had thoughts like “geez, I am fat!” But I also realized this video depicts what this year has felt like: Me jumping into the unknown, and wondering if I will miss the mark. Water may go up my nose. It may hurt. What if I regret it? I may fail, or worse, drown.

Fear has kept me by the edge of the pool for years. I long for security and safety, and I am highly triggered when I don’t have it.

A lot was peeled away this year, and I am in new territory. I arrived here, kicking and screaming, but here I am.

And I am not alone. If anything, I have sensed the sweet love of Jesus in surprising ways. I can’t say I’ve always handled things well. I’ve cried and had all night long pity parties, and His grace still met me.

His grace is sufficient, especially when you’re desperate for it.

Letting go is not easy, but sometimes He calls us to let go of the things that keep us from our purpose. They may be good things, but sometimes good things keep us from depending on His goodness.

Truthfully, I spent many moments this year with gritted teeth and clenched fists, wondering, “Why? It is not fair! God, please. WHERE ARE YOU?” I didn’t want to let go. I wanted him to help me. I wanted him to rescue me.

Sometimes, He rescues us by helping us to let go.

Maybe we have to let go of the things that have become our identity. They bring us comfort and security. We go to them before we go to Him.

Let go.

Are you in a season of feeling like you have taken a plunge into unknown waters?
Are the plans you made on your lovely 2020 planner you bought in January turning out different?
Does the Vision board you made in December look anything like your reality?

You are not alone. There is hope.

In Psalm 34, David shares his testimony of deliverance.

In just the first few verses, he shares the key to thriving when things are not going well.

I will extol the Lord at all times;
his praise will always be on my lips.
I will glory in the Lord;
let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
Glorify the Lord with me;
let us exalt his name together
.

Let the afflicted hear and rejoice. His praise will always be on my lips.

Praise.

When I was frustrated, I praised Him.
When I was overwhelmed, I praised Him.
When I was angry, I praised Him.
When I was miserable, I praised Him.

Praise did not change my circumstances, but it changed my outlook.
This song is one of the songs that changed everything for me.

Are you in a difficult and challenging season? What song has seen you through? Please share in the comments below. I would love to pray for you and add more songs to my 2020 playlist.
Let us exalt His name together.

Let’s dive in.

Song #1 Speak The Name by Koryn Hawthorne featuring Natalie Grant

the ledge of love

I thought I was a little overwhelmed before.
Standing in the chasm of the unknown.
On the edge
With a tiny toe over.
Do I leap?
Or back fiercely against the stone wall?

There is no where to go.
The wall behind me is solid
No entry allowed.

So I must leap
Two toes over
I think I can
I think I can
Like a little train
In a tunnel
Choo-chooing
Towards any light .

I will leap.
One foot is out now
Extended in the open air
I will jump
And trust
That He will carry me

We have a history.

But the wall behind me
I know that wall.
It’s not comfortable
But it feels safe
Simply because it feels
Known.

Should I just jump?
Leap into the open air?
Go for it?
I can do this.

He will carry me.

We have a history.
One, two, three,
On your mark
Get set …

Corona

The wall behind me
Is the wall in front of me
Or is it?
Walled in.
No air.
No open space.
Toes bent in tension

Quiet.

The quiet is
Like cymbals inside my ear.
Clanging
But only I can hear them.

Awake.
Eyes open at night
Wishing
To wake up
To the ledge again

Disoriented.
Doubt seeps in.
Nerves exposed
In fears
what if’s.
No control.

Breathe.

Be still.
This is inside work.
Preparation
Strengthening the core
Of mind and spirit.
Breathe.

Waiting.
With Hope.
Remembering
His Faithfulness
We have a history.
This is a new chapter.
This is a new day.

Remember His faithfulness.
Remember His goodness.
Remember His love.

You are held.

A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over my life so much that I nearly drowned.  (Mark 4:37 rewritten) 

I immediately panicked and put on the nearest life vest floating on the water.

Then I grabbed buckets and furiously worked to dump the water out as quickly as possible. 

I cried and screamed until my throat hurt. I pounded my fists and through gritted teeth I finally yelled, “God, wake up! Are you asleep? Please help me! Can’t you see I’m drowning here? I’m sinking and there’s nothing else I can do.”

In exhaustion, I quit! I threw the life vests and buckets overboard and waited as the water continued to pour and rise.  

I thought I was going to die. Just before the water got up to my mouth I whispered, “I give up.”

Immediately I felt him hold me in his big arms and I heard him say, “Good, let’s get to work.” 

I laid there numb as the water stopped pouring. The waves were completely flat with just ruffles of movement. The dark clouds parted, and the sunshine warmed my face.  Everything was beautiful and bright. I was so tired that I fell asleep peacefully in his arms.  

When I woke up, I thanked him for coming to my rescue and saving me. He smiled and laughed a little when he replied, “Michelle, I was right here the entire time, but you were so determined to save yourself. You’ve always felt like you had to protect your world and everything in it. That feeling of needing to be in control helped you survive your childhood. It’s like a reflex for you.”

But now, that desperate need for control holds you back. It gets in your way and it paralyzes you. It doesn’t serve you well at all anymore, and it’s so automatic for you it’s hard for you to even see it.”

Now let’s try this again.

My eyes widened as the sky grew dark.  The clouds boomed and the lightning lit up the sky.  My heart started to race and I struggled in his arms.  The more I pulled away, the tighter he held me.  I winced as the water came up to my ears and this time instead of screaming I started to sing. I clapped my hands and raised my arms in worship as if the booming thunder and lights were just a part of the concert.  

A funny thing happened.

As I sang, my heart rate slowed down.  My eyes met His gaze. The panic and anxiety slowly left, but the storm raged on. 

It was as if I was floating on the furious waves. They continued to pound me, but I didn’t sink.  The water continued to rise but I didn’t drown. The wind blew with fury, but I hardly moved.  

Tears of Joy welled up in my eyes as I finally realized I was safe in the arms of my Heavenly Father. Safe in every season and in every storm! 

I simply had to let go.  

I had to learn how to part with fear and control, and how to link arms with faith and praise.  

It wasn’t easy, but when a new storm arrived and made my heart pound instead of looking for a way to control it or manage it, I looked for his arms.  

I remembered his faithfulness in prior storms. 

Even though I still get scared, I sing out loud in my shaky voice.  I lift my arms in praise through tears.  I say His name over and over, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.”

Music keeps me focused on being held. The praise keeps my focus on Jesus and not my circumstances.  

Jesus simply looked at the waves and commanded them to be still. Just like that! When there’s chaos, seek him, praise Him and let His presence usher peace and calm into your life. 

You are loved.

You are safe. 

You are held.  

Do you remember the last storm that swept into your life? What did you do to stay focused on Jesus? What song do you sing when your life is spinning out of control? What promise do you cling to in His word? As the storms rage all around you, how did you sense His presence?

Are you in a storm right now? I would love to pray for you. Please comment below or email me at journeypink@gmail.com.

Take Me to the King by Tamela Mann is a song that has blessed me in all of my storms. I pray it blesses you.

Dearly Loved Daughters

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Ephesians 5:2

The lens of Childhood Sexual Abuse affected my life and my vision. It distorted my perceptions and impacted my decisions. It filled me with fear and paranoia. It absolutely covered me from head to toe with shame. When I looked through that lens of brokenness, it affected how I saw God and how I saw myself.

But when I began looking through the truth of God’s Word, I could see. The truth set me free. Looking through the truth of God’s word will set you free.

The truth is I am a dearly loved daughter. Do you long to live as a dearly loved daughter?

Last weekend, I shared my story at the Boundless Sisterhood Conference. Click below to watch “Dearly Loved Daughters.”

You are His dearly loved daughter. Hold your head high, straighten your crown and walk in that love.

This was a song that I kept #onrepeat last year: “Dearly Loved” by Shaylee Simeone. I pray it blesses you.