Sunday, August 14, 2016

Navigating Choppy Water

Last Sunday at church I ran into a dear friend I had not connected with in some time.  After the service, we did a quick “catch-up” and explored the possibility of getting out on the water that afternoon in kayaks.

Later, Sue contacted me and we made plans.  Keep in mind, I am incredibly blessed to live 3 blocks from Lake Michigan plus one more block to a kayak launching area.

Sue came over and we loaded up my 2 kayaks and other necessary stuff.  It was an amazing day to be out on the water.  We put the kayaks in near the public beach, an area somewhat protected by the wind.  We paddled about, enjoying our time together, the feel of the breeze and God’s amazing beauty.

Sue and I spent the first part of our kayaking on calm water, water easy to navigate.  Because the harbor was relatively smooth, I could choose how hard or easy I wanted to paddle.  After kayaking around the yacht club area, Sue suggested we head around the island which meant heading out into more open water. (Our local public beach is located on an island with a small bridge providing access from the main part of the lake front park.)

We agreed we could always head back to the safety of the harbor but the wind direction led us to believe we could easily get around the island.  

Feeling adventuresome, we headed out and as we rounded the end of the island, paddling into more open water….guess what?  It began to get more choppy and wavy.  Oh well…..  We kept going.  By the time we realized the wind had probably shifted, we were well into it.  We had to do some serious paddling!

I must disclose, although I don’t often put my life jacket on, I do when I encounter rough water.  I never felt really threatened; the water was warm (we have had a lot of hot days), my life jacket would have kept me afloat and my cell phone was protected in a water proof bag attached to my kayak.

But we had to really work!  When it’s rough out on the lake, it is so much easier to either go directly into the wave or to position the kayak to allow the wave to carry  it toward the shore.  Going sideways is scary…lots of buffeting about, kind of a tippy feeling as the kayak bobbles in whatever direction.

Isn’t life like that?  Sometimes we choose a life path that looks like fun but with no guarantees all will go well.  Don’t we sometimes get into situations we could not fully predict?  When that happens….then what?

For example, we get married with great hopes and dreams… and then life happens.  What do we do with the inevitable challenges that come?  Or we decide to have a family, believing that our children will grow up to be strong, healthy God lovers…and then children go their own ways, not necessarily what we choose for them.

Perhaps it’s a new job.  I once pursued a job I thought I would love and had skills for and I ended up hating it.  That period in my life was one of the lowest times I have had to date.

God tells us in His Word, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble.  Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea…..  The Lord of hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our fortress.”  (Psalm 46: 1, 2 & 7)

We can head straight into the waves of life; we can approach those rough waters with confidence, knowing God is our ultimate “life jacket”, that He has our backs. We can bounce around on the waves of life without losing sight of land (or of Him).  We do not have to drift around sideways; as we approach troubling times, we can move into them headlong.  He will guide and direct us.

Sue and I landed safely that day.  We worked hard at our paddling; we laughed at the switched wind and we left the lake that day with muscles that had been stressed.  When we allow ourselves to paddle with God (whether it’s straight into the waves or being carried by them), we are assured we will come to a place of safety.  Always.


  1. Replies
    1. Carolyn, thank you! Everywhere I speak I encounter women, like me, who have great need of the Savior and His ability to bring us through those rough times. I love sharing about what He has done for me.