As I look back on that time period in my life now, I smile. Not because I can't believe I actually survived it (the wind and the waves freaking out the disciples would have been more welcome than this experience), but because I understand so much more and am beyond thankful because of it.
There's a Hawk Nelson song that puts this into perspective for me any time an inkling of doubt creeps in. In the refrain he sings, "If you want to know how far my love can go, just how deep, just how wide. If you wanna see how much you mean to me, look at my hands, look at my side." You can't deny the theology behind those words.
It's pretty easy to get caught up in a performance mentality where we actually believe we earn God's love and approval. We think we have to do a, b, and c to be counted worthy but the reality is, any a, b, and c we do is a response to the love we've been shown, not a rental payment to keep it.
At the very beginning of this time period, I was certain that God did more to tolerate me than anything else. I was convinced that I'd missed so much that I would be playing catch up for the rest of my breathing days. For the girl who constantly feels behind anyway because she puts some pretty heavy expectations of perfection on herself and walks around feeling beat up most of the time, this was not exactly a promising future.
Anyway, I walked in to church, put the kids in their classrooms, and heard our pastor at the time say that the Holy Spirit had him convicted that the message he planned to preach was not what he was supposed to deliver and that if nothing else, he needed us to understand two things.
1. God loves us.
2. That love is personal, it's about us.
Although I'm thankful I didn't, I could have died at that moment a very happy woman.
I'll be honest, I have no clue what his sermon that night was about. He could have stood up there and sang Yankee Doodle and I wouldn't remember. I was entirely too in awe of what I'd just heard. What I do know beyond a shadow of a doubt was that at that moment I understood Hagar's words in Genesis 16:13, "You are the God who sees me," for she said, "I have now seen the one who sees me."
Please know that whatever we are going through right now, we are not alone. We have a Father in heaven that is watching over us diligently, protectively, and without hesitation. He isn't waiting for us to do something in order to keep his love and we can't do anything that will remove it. He loves us because he knows us, made us, and thinks the world of us. And as if that weren't enough, he also thinks we're worth dying for.
Drops in the Ocean by Hawk Nelson