Stepping Out of the Boat

This is a guest post written by my dear friend, Sarah Springer. Sarah moved to Prague just before my husband and I did and is now back in the states following God's leading into new roles and responsibilities. Even though we live on different continents now Sarah will forever continue to be a my dear friend. I'm happy to be able to share her with you all today.

I’ve been on a journey for around 13 years now in “finding myself”. Interestingly, part of finding out more of who I really am, started when I began to learn about who God is. I became a Jesus-follower when I was almost 18 and from that point forward, I have honestly sensed God’s involvement in my life. I have been on an incredible adventure of following Him, in real-life issues, challenges and decisions. I’d like to share how a story from the Scriptures has touched my life in a very real way. As you read Matthew 14:22-34, try to visualize the story of Peter and how he stepped out onto the water in the midst of a storm to walk towards Christ.

22Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24but the boat was already a considerable distance[a] from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

25During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear.

27But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid."

28"Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water."

29"Come," he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!"

31Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?"

32And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God."

34When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret. 35And when the men of that place recognized Jesus, they sent word to all the surrounding country. People brought all their sick to him 36and begged him to let the sick just touch the edge of his cloak, and all who touched him were healed.

This is actually pretty crazy. The fourth watch of the night, means it was around 3 in the morning! I don’t know why Peter did it or what he was thinking. Ultimately I believe he stepped out of the boat because he trusted Jesus; Peter really believed that Jesus would take care of him and support him. Years ago I came across this passage, in a season of transition in my life. I was laid off from work, in the midst of uncertainty, trying to find my calling in life. After reading this passage I realized a few things.

I realized that there were other people in the boat. They were disciples of Christ, believers of His teachings and truly followed Him. These people watched this whole scene with Jesus and Peter. On the other hand, Peter risked it all. He had to trust in Jesus and nothing else. God still loved those who were on the boat. God did amazing things through those followers. But, Peter, was a little different. Peter, unlike the others, knew the actual experience of following Jesus onto the water and even what it was like to fear and be caught by Jesus. I became very inspired by this. I decided with certainty that I want to experience following God and not just observe the things God can do in a person’s life. After reading this, I told God that I wanted to be like Peter, and step out of the boat, into life, in such a way that I can only trust in Him alone.

And, shortly after, my husband and I decided to church plant in Prague, Czech Republic. I had lived my whole life in the Chicago-suburbs; although I moved often, I was very familiar with Midwestern America and that’s about it. It was a huge move and a huge-cultural shift. The motivation that brought me to say “yes” to this adventure was that I imagined myself leaping into Jesus arms and trusting Him alone with my life. I wanted to know Him more though this decision. It was hard to be a “tree” and be replanted in a new culture, new language, and to build brand-new friendships. I cannot imagine where my life would be if I hadn’t faced my fears and in my own way, like Peter, stepped out on the water to trust Christ. We were in Prague for 3 years, and I learned so much, grew in incredible ways, and faced some truths about myself that helped me mature. And, even more than all that, my faith in God grew.

We moved back to the States in June 2009, and now, a year later, I am still feeling in transition. This last year, in many ways, seemed crazier and more adventurous and unknown than our journey heading to Prague! We moved back to a bad US economy where my husband didn’t have a job, I was 6 months pregnant, planning on a homebirth, unsure of a midwife and had no place to deliver my child; we were in temporary housing arrangements, uncertain of exactly which state we’d land in, and in the midst of reverse culture-shock. I could share many details about all that, but again, in the midst of the unknown, I experienced what God can do in a life that trusts in Him.

And now, I’m in a new season of trusting in God. As of yesterday, I have part-time job leading a ministry at my church for families who have a loved one with special needs. God has touched my heart deeply about this ministry and ultimately that my calling is to love God and love people. That’s what I believe life is all about. I have the opportunity to love people who are often ignored, overlooked, or even avoided. I have a chance to help others grow in understanding and loving these people as well. I have the chance to get to know God’s heart more. Who He is. How He loves. What He cares about. I am excited about this. Once again, I feel that I have followed God into this. I believe again, that I am stepping out of the boat like Peter, trusting Jesus to be there when I fear and to be with me in the unknown.

As I transition my family into a new rhythm, one of my concerns is how to continue providing natural, “real” food for my family in the midst of working 2-3 days a week, coming home around 5pm. I’d love to hear feedback on how any of you do it. How do you prepare your food in advance? What kinds of meals do you make that take just 25-30 minutes to prepare?

Thanks for reading. (And if you have any resources or experience or a loved one with special needs, please share! I’d love to learn all I can.)

Here is a blessing/prayer for those of us in any kind of transition:

God, circle us with your unending love.

Calm us with your strong embrace.

Give us the wisdom and discernment we need to

remain centered as things swirl around us.

Be our constant O God.

Keep us above the waters of Life that sometimes want to pull us down.

Give us peace that passes understanding.

Give us moments of refreshment and delight,

Calm our nerves and quiet unwelcome worries.

May we be blessed as we endure

Bless us as we love others, serve and lead.

May we not fear but trust You are with us.

As we put our Hope in You, may we rise up with wings like eagles

And know we are Yours.

May it be well with our souls. Amen.

Photo on 2010-07-01 at 22.30 #4I am a wife since May 2000, a mother of two, a sister to a few and a friend to many. I love spending quality time with people, sharing stories and learning more about ourselves as we’re together. I love being with my husband and children, doing whatever. I enjoy cooking, sipping tea, sitting in my papasan chair and reading or journaling. I love researching and learning new things--lately it’s all about food and various things about the food industry. I believe the core of who I am is loved and accepted by the Triune God, and that has made all the difference. I hope that somehow as I continue on the journey of life, I can encourage others and help them see Truth and Beauty in themselves.