Before I explain the title, I wanted to share that I'm finally feeling a little…shall I say…myself tonight? I'm not sure if it was the McDonalds strawberry smoothie Steve brought home, or the fun conversation I had with a friend, or one of my students coming over to help with the boys, or the fact that UK had a great game (even if there were some BAD calls in my opinion)…or enjoying a chocolate pretzel from my stash after visiting my office quickly (THANKS MELISSA!!)….but I'm feeling not sick at the moment! I wish I knew what I did so I could keep on doing it! It could just be the chemo finally wearing off beating that this has been my longest break since treatment started. Regardless, I'm feeling good and actually got the smoothie and 1 chocolate pretzel down safely…I cried tears of joy…seriously, I did. Eating is in my DNA…and if you know my family, you know that to be true!!
Back to the whole “Getting Wet” thing. I have been trying my best to keep up with my daily Bible reading and I am beyond thankful that the app I use for this (www.youversion.com) allows the Bible to be read TO YOU! This is perfect for me right now, just like the text-to-speech app I use, it helps when I have trouble reading – and that time being now. As I looked at the passage for today I smiled, it was Matthew chapter 14. I knew that chapter too well…I was the only kid dumb enough to challenge Bill, our youth minister at Southern Acres, when he initiated the challenge to teach the class one Sunday. Any normal high school student would see the challenge as a warning – I am the teacher, I prepare, I know that I'm talking about…you don't. But I wasn't a normal high school student and I missed the entire point, so I stepped up to the challenge and found myself six days later at around 8pm on a Saturday night trying to put together a lesson about Matthew chapter 14 for a group of high school students…and oh yea, I was a freshman. That was my first real lesson in ministry…and my shortest lesson to date. But, you gotta start somewhere.
My focus today was found here:
Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake, while he sent the people home. After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone.
Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves. About three o'clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, “It's a ghost!”
But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don't be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!”
Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it's really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.”
“Yes, come,” Jesus said.
So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.
Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?”
When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped. Then the disciples worshiped him. “You really are the Son of God!” they exclaimed.
After they had crossed the lake, they landed at Gennesaret. When the people recognized Jesus, the news of his arrival spread quickly throughout the whole area, and soon people were bringing all their sick to be healed. They begged him to let the sick touch at least the fringe of his robe, and all who touched him were healed. (Matthew 14:22-36 NLT)
Maybe you are like me and you have read this story, you can sing the Audio Adrenaline song and you've read Ortbergs book…I read and heard this story way too many times. I thought this reading was a piece of cake. But God moved in one of the more weirder ways for me. I'd like to blame it on my medication and lack of sleep…but I started to daydream a bit. The kids were gone with Steve and I just cleaned a bit of the house so I was completely exhausted.
I pictured being a part of the crowd of the 5000 that Jesus fed just a few short verses before this one. As Jesus was talking I could hear one of the disciples telling Jesus about the death of John The Baptist…Jesus knew His time of death was near and perhaps the time he wanted the most to be alone, these people wanted him closer. He turned to his disciples and told them to feed these people, after all, they needed to learn that they could do ministry through Him…but they didn't get it yet. Here Jesus knowing that His time was running out was teaching His disciples what they could do through Him…they passed out the bread and the fish after He blessed and broke it. They filled up the extra baskets. One would think they would have gotten the point. Then Jesus sends the disciples into a boat and out onto the lake as He dismisses the crowds. Jesus eventually gets time by Himself, as the disciples quickly find themselves in the middle of a storm. Jesus comes walking on the water to them around 3am in the morning…I'd probably think it was a ghost too. But then Peter wants to walk with Him on the water…we all know the story…Peter gets the opportunity of a lifetime to walk out of the safety of the boat and walk on the water with Jesus. Eventually, Peter gets distracted, takes His focus off of Jesus, loses faith and begins to sink. Jesus saves Him, asks why he doubted and they both return to the boat safely.
BUT my story had a little twist…you see, I was on the boat, Jesus was on the water and I asked Jesus for me to come…I knew what me walking on water was going to look like…it was being a part of a growing church making a huge difference in the community, it was organizing mission trips to places that needed help the most, it was leading kids and families to Christ through countless amazing baptisms, it was Christian Standard with my picture on it reading “Women In Ministry Rock!” That's what walking on water looked like to me…but I cringed to the edge of the boat and yelled at Him saying, “I'm not supposed to be dealing with two stupid brain tumors, radiation, chemo, CIDP wrecking my life, a pace-maker at age 29, dealing with how to explain to my kids that mommy is sick, fighting with doctors to get second opinions, trying to stay in touch with my ministry kids and families, losing control of my life…THIS ISN'T WALKING ON WATER!” As I envisioned myself out of breath, wet, exhausted…I felt a hand lifting up my face and my eyes meeting His. I don't remember what He said, but I remember feeling safe. I remember saying, “See, I can't walk on water while dealing with all of this!” That's when He smiled and said “Bethany, you already are” and my feet were on the water by His.
Pretty cool, eh?? I'm on some pretty nice medication I admit, but that dream really spoke volumes to me today…though it still cracks me up! Sometimes I get mad at God where He has me in life and that my story isn't going the way I think it should go…and, well, it isn't! But that's okay…any my dreams for ministry are still there…maybe not the whole Christian Standard deal, but the others are there and more. The thing is, God knows our hearts, our longings, our desires because, HELLO, HE put them there! Even in the midst of this storm, perhaps the biggest storm I've ever gone through in my life, He is still there…and get this, He loves me so much He is willing to use my storm as a new form of ministry…my story is being written into HIS Story…and I like the ending of HIS Story better anyway.
I look at this blog and the readers…YOU…that have taken the time to actually write or call me. Many of you have passed this link onto a friend or family member that needs that spark of hope and encouragement. I have given up looking at the counts
and emails still keep pouring in…I'm still way behind! I've gotten a few people serious about publishing my story…and another person who wrote in just last week telling me that they found Jesus from my blog. WHAT??!! It takes the wings of chemo and radiation, the rain of 2 brain tumors and lightning bolts of CIDP to lead a Kentucky girl that enjoys writing to one day start a blog and start off on a new adventure sharing it with the world…it takes all of that to walk on water?? It's not exactly what I thought either when I signed up for this relationship gig…but that's how mine turned out.
I'm wet…and taking one step at a time. I've lost it a few times and found myself sinking crying out for help (I said I was wet, right?). But I got to admit, living life on the dry boat just leads to boredom and as my brothers know -getting seasick. I'll take the walk with the risks anyway…because like I said before, I know how His story ends and life is way too short to stay in the boat.
Thought you would enjoy and this was the perfect time to share being that I'm feeling a bit better tonight. No church for me tomorrow…it's going to hit me hard not being with my church family. To my PBCC family…I really do love you and miss you all so much!!!!!
I LOVE MY IPAD!!! SEE IM DOING MINISTRY!!!