Seeking Seashells and Finding Starfish

I have not posted in a very long time.

A lot has happened in the past year or so. Currently, I am in my second semester of graduate school (what?!). I did not see that coming, but the Lord has been gracious. Although I do not always “expect” from God, he has continued to surprise me (I wrote a blog about that once–you can check it out here).

This theme of surprise–of delight, of exceeded expectations–has come up over and over again in my life in the past several months.

In January of this year, my family took a trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina (my home away from home) for a little getaway before I returned to graduate school for my second semester. One day, as my parents and I were walking down the beach, we began looking for seashells. I am always amazed by seashells–all of the various colors and shapes and sizes, each one its own masterpiece. As we were meandering along the beach, stopping every few feet, I became slightly discouraged. My parents were finding some really cool shells, whereas mine seemed to be a little more mediocre. I realize this sounds silly now, but in the moment, I was actually a little bit jealous of my parents’ shell-finding abilities. As a walked along, hunting, processing these thoughts, God interrupted me. I heard his voice clearly:

“Patience, my child. You’re about to see something awesome.”

(Yes, the word “awesome” is a part of God’s vocabulary)

I was slightly amazed by this, and was a bit excited, wondering what I would see (anticipating a unique shell). As I continued on, examining the mass of shells stretching out in front of me, I stopped and looked down.

And there, right at my feet, was a starfish.

“A starfish!” I exclaimed.

(I really am like a kid when it comes to these things)

I showed my parents and, as the starfish was still damp, I had to opportunity to throw it back into the ocean.

And this is what I love about God: he delights in us, and he delights to delight us.

This also reminds me of when Jesus told his disciples, “Seek and you will find” (Matthew 7:7; Luke 11:9).

It is all too easy to miss the small things that God puts in front of us–those glimpses of him that we will not see if we are not looking.

I was seeking, and when God spoke to me, I thought I knew what I would find.

It is tempting to place God within a box: the box of reason, the box of experience, the box of our own limited and biased expectations. But God is an out-of-the-box God. He calls his followers out of their boxes and into his kingdom of freedom and abundant life.

Jesus did not call his followers to seek in vain. Notice what Jesus said in Matthew 7:8 and Luke 11:10:

For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.

-Matthew 7:8 ESV (emphasis added)

For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.

-Luke 11:10 ESV (emphasis added)

Two different gospel writers confirmed this statement of Jesus’.

If we seek, we will find. We just may find something entirely different than what we originally thought we were seeking.

I sought a seashell, but I found a starfish.



Surfing in the Suffering



Water is extremely heavy.

I learned this the hard way.

One summer, my parents and I were vacationing in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

(This is, apparently, the way all humourous stories from my childhood begin.)

I distinctly remember that is was a perfect “beach day”: blue skies, ample sunshine, warm sand and waves that were just right for boogie boarding (also known as “bodyboarding”).

My parents and I had spent some time splashing around in the ocean and we were all ready for  break (i.e. time to reapply sunscreen). We took a rest, and then I decided to get back in the water.

Confident in my boogying abilities, I ventured into the sea. I loved the feeling of catching a wave and riding it to shore, yelling all the while.

Basically, I thought I was cool.

In my mind, I had a handle on this bodysurfing thing. I thought I was a pretty good selector of waves. I thought I had some technique.

So, when I spied a wave that looked like the perfect one, I went for it. The wave was rolling in fast, and I came in from the side, trying to maneuver myself in front of it. I was aiming  for the crest of the wave, or even the face of the wave. Instead, I caught the trough.

The bottom of the wave.

According to an article published on,

The trough is often constant for waves traveling in the open ocean. When they’re about to break, waves have deeper troughs.

Well, the wave I was attempting to ride was breaking. Thus, when I positioned myself in front of the wave, I was instantly sucked under.

The force of the water yanked my board from my hands, shoved me down, spun me around and then ground my face in the sand.

The whole episode lasted for probably less than a minute.

When I came up out of the water, I couldn’t feel my face. I just knew something was broken. Like my nose.

My parents, who were sitting on the beach, noticed something was wrong and came running over. I was standing there, shocked, awkwardly trying to pat my nose and simultaneously tell my folks what happened.

Thankfully, my nose was not broken. My face and my teeth remained intact.

I was, however, spitting blood and saliva. When the wave knocked me over, I bit the inside of my lip pretty hard. Miraculously, the injury wasn’t as bad as it seemed.

All I could tell my parents was, “It felt like an 800 pound man fell from the sky and landed on my head.”

I’m sorry if that offends you, but that was all that came to mind at the time.

And hey, that estimate may not be too far off base. tells me that a gallon of saltwater weighs about 8.5 pounds. I’m not sure how many gallons of water crashed down on me that day, but I’m guessing there were several.

This reminds me of something I read a few days ago.

Oswald Chambers writes,

The surf that distresses the ordinary swimmer produces in the surf-rider the super joy of going clean through it.

I didn’t experience the “super joy” of riding the wave that day, because I didn’t know how to ride it correctly. I thought that I understood the wave. I thought that I knew how I should respond to it.

So much for thinking.

Using the wave metaphor, Chambers reflects upon Romans 8:37. In this passage, the apostle Paul writes,

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. (ESV)

“These things” that Paul refers to are: tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger and sword (Romans 8:35).

In this broken world, suffering is unavoidable.

Often times, our trials feel like the waves of the sea. Immense. Threatening. Heavy. Bone-crushing.

We want God to take away our pain and suffering. We want the waves to cease.

Sometimes, God does exactly that. Sometimes, he calms the storm.

And sometimes, he does not.

As Chambers points out, the best surfers are not afraid of the biggest waves. Instead, they are energized by them. Yes, this may cause some people to think that these surfers are nuts (self included). But any fear these surfers feel is superseded by the thrill of victoriously riding a monster wave.

God may not remove the waves of heartache from our lives, but he can certainly teach us to ride them.

Chambers writes,

The bedrock of our Christian faith is the unmerited, fathomless marvel of the love of God exhibited on the Cross of Calvary, a love we never can and never shall merit. Paul says this is the reason we are more than conquerors in all these things, super-victors, with a joy we would not have but for the very things which look as if they are going to overwhelm us. … tribulation, distress, persecution, produce in us the super joy; they are not things to fight. We are more than conquerors through Him in all these things, not in spite of them, but in the midst of them. The saint never knows the joy of the Lord in spite of tribulation, but because of it.

When a surfer chooses to ride a wave, he or she takes a great risk. One wrong move or one wrong estimate can result in broken bones or far worse (for more on this subject, check out this article from the Huffington Post).

It is far safer to remain on shore, for a surfer cannot control the ocean. It is entirely unpredictable.

But a surfer without surf is no longer a surfer. A surfer without surf is just another person standing on the beach.

At some point in our lives, we have to decide whether or not we will allow God to teach us to surf. He will not force us to learn.

The waves are going to come. We can try to escape them. We can try to fight them. We can try to handle them in our own strength.

Or, we can entrust ourselves to the One who has power over the waves. The One who created them knows how to ride them, for he has ridden them himself.

So, if you are ready to learn to surf, go grab your wetsuit and your board.

Jesus will meet you at the beach.









Don’t Touch the Sea Oats


Once upon a time, many years ago, I decided that it would be a great idea to do something daring.

I was on vacation with my parents in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. We were sitting in a gazebo (either taking a rest or eating lunch, I can’t remember), which was surrounded by sea oats. If you aren’t familiar with sea oats, they are a grass-like plant that grows on top of/around sand dunes, and they help to hold the dunes together. In the Outer Banks, there are signs advising curious beachgoers to KEEP OFF THE DUNES and to leave the sea oats in peace.

Sea oats, to a young child, are quite mesmerizing. They are tall and graceful, with fluffy ends that wave in the breeze. They just beg to be touched.

So, I decided that’s what I would do. Reach out and touch them.

The problem was, the sea oats were a bit too far out of my reach. I needed something to stand on.

That’s when I considered the bushes.

In addition to being surrounded by sea oats, this particular gazebo was ensconced in thick, matted bushes that formed a circle around the wooden platform.

The bushes would provide the bridge that I needed to reach the sea oats. They looked sturdy enough.

You may be able to guess where this is going.

I took one step, two…


The only thing I accomplished was creating a me-sized hole in some bushes (and probably angering whoever maintained the gazebo and the surrounding shrubbery).

That day, I chose to lean on my own understanding…and I fell down (and could’ve been hurt).

Let the reader understand: if you lean on your own understanding, you are going to fall over.

In the book of Proverbs in the Old Testament, King Solomon writes:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.

-Proverbs 3:5-8 (ESV)

When King Solomon penned these words, he knew what he was talking about. He had experienced the heights of wealth, pleasure, and fame, and found them lacking. After many years, Solomon realized that God’s wisdom was the only kind that satisfied (for more of King Solomon’s reflections on this subject, see the book of Ecclesiastes).

Since graduating from college nine months ago, my “own understanding” has been tested. I have questioned my calling, my motives, my current jobs…and God’s plan. I have thought myself into a frenzy, trying to figure my life out.

I’m a planner. I’m a recovering perfectionist. I don’t do well with unknowns.

In his commentary on Proverbs 3:5-6, Matthew Henry writes:

…we must believe that he [God] is able to do what he will, wise to do what is best, and good, according to his promise, to do what is best for us, if we love him, and serve him. We must, with an entire submission and satisfaction, depend upon him to perform all things for us, and not lean to our own understanding, as if we could, by any forecast of our own, without God, help ourselves, and bring our affairs to a good issue. Those who know themselves cannot but find their own understanding to be a broken reed, which, if they lean to, will certainly fail them.

Be it a broken reed or a broken bush, my understanding is finite and extremely fragile. It is neither solid nor dependable. It looks secure but proves otherwise.

In this season of my life, God is asking me (once again) to give everything over to him. To just take one day at a time. To be content where I am. And to realize that he is always working, even if I don’t “feel” him.

As I sit, trying to think of a way to conclude this post, a thought comes to mind:

God has not called me to write the story.

He just wants me to keep turning the pages.












That Sinking Feeling


I have a confession to make.

I can’t swim.

This was never more obvious than at summer camp some years ago.

As an active member of my youth group, summer camp was one of the highlights of my year.

A week with my friends, laughing and having fun outside? Sign me up!

There was one part of summer camp that I always dreaded, however.

The swim test.

Or, more accurately: the get-large-groups-of-kids-into-the-lake-at-one-time-and-see -which-ones-sink-and-which-ones-float test.

OK, so maybe it wasn’t quite like that. There were plenty of lifeguards and staff around. In fact, I think that swim tests are a great idea (especially if you can already swim)!

One particular summer, I was determined to pass the swim test. I was tired of being embarrassed and feeling like the awkward kid. So, my friend and I decided to take swim lessons together.

When the (dreaded) day finally came, I splashed into the camp’s lake with a group of other kids, eager to swim out to the floating dock and back. I wasn’t going to try to race, I told myself. Just make it.

I swam as hard as I could toward the dock, where kids were allowed a rest before turning back.

I was clearly behind the rest of the pack as I tried to paddle back to shore. I was having trouble staying afloat, and I was tired. But I was making it.

Then I got leg cramps.

I couldn’t swim anymore.

I could see the shoreline and a lifeguard mere feet away.

In a terrifying moment, my head dipped under the water and I began thinking, “I am going to drown.”

I popped back up and tried to get the lifeguard’s attention, but seeing as I wasn’t yelling or splashing  — just panicking — that wasn’t going very well.

Thankfully, the lifeguard saw me and moved towards me with his flotation device.

“Need a lift?”

Ya think?

Once I had latched on to the flotation device, the lifeguard then informed me that I was four feet from being able to stand in the water when I had cramped up.

A kid that reached the shore just before me (sans lifeguard with flotation device) turned back and said, “Did she fail?”

Yep, I sure did.

So, swimming is not my forte. But the crazy thing is, I still love water! I love going to the beach and playing in the surf.

Water, however, can be quite dangerous.

I find it interesting that in English we use the expression “that sinking feeling” to describe  feelings of apprehension, dread, or anxiety.

The prophet Jonah, quite literally, experienced that sinking feeling when he was swallowed by a “big fish.” (Jonah 1:17)

Jonah describes it this way:

For you cast me into the deep, into the heart of the seas, and the flood surrounded me; all your waves and your billows passed over me. … The waters closed in over me to take my life; the deep surrounded me; weeds were wrapped about my head at the roots of the mountains. I went down to the land whose bars closed upon me forever;
yet you brought up my life from the pit,  Lord my God.

-Jonah 2:3, 5-6 (ESV)

King David, in the Psalms, also wrote of God’s “waves and breakers” sweeping over him him. (Psalm 42:7)

And in Psalm 139, King David writes:

If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. If I say, ‘“Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,’even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.

-Psalm 139:9-12 (ESV)

What I find interesting about David and Jonah’s words is their assertion that God is always present in the darkness.

The deepest part of the ocean in world is the Mariana Trench, according to a article. The ocean floor is nearly seven miles below the ocean’s surface.

The bottom of the sea is a place of immense darkness and tremendous pressure.

Yet, the darkness is not dark to God. The depths are not too deep for him. He can withstand the pressure.

C.S. Lewis writes in his book, Miracles:

In the Christian story God descends to reascend. He comes down; down from the heights of absolute being into time and space, down into humanity; down further still, if embryologists are right, to recapitulate in the womb ancient and pre-human phases of life; down to the very roots and seabed of the Nature He has created. But He goes down to come up again and bring the whole ruined world up with Him. … one may think of a diver, first reducing himself to nakedness, then glancing in mid-air, then gone with a splash, vanished, rushing down through green and warm water into black and cold water, down through increasing pressure into the death-like region of ooze and slime and old decay; then up again, back to colour and light, his lungs almost bursting, till suddenly he breaks surface again, holding in his hand the dripping, precious thing that he went down to recover. He and it are both colored now that they have come up into the light: down below, where it lay colourless in the dark, he lost his colour too.

Jesus is the deep sea diver that went on a rescue mission without an oxygen tank.

We are the “dripping, precious” things that Jesus went down to recover.

Jesus stripped himself of his kingly rights and became like his creations. He experienced mental, emotional, spiritual and physical suffering. He was tempted and tormented. He experienced death to give us life.

Jesus knows what it’s like to sink.

When Jonah was sinking, Jesus was with him. When King David experienced the depths of despair, Jesus was with him.

And so it is with us.

















Sea Glass and Sanctification

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything.

A lot has happened in the past year. College graduation (what?), job hunting (double what?), and entering the work world for the first time as a bonafide adult (triple what?).

Well, I don’t know about the bonafide adult part yet, but we’ll see.

Anyways, I’ve been thinking about writing. Therein lies the problem…I’ve been thinking about it, and not doing it!

As I sat pondering, trying to come up with…something, my thoughts turned to sea glass.

Although I have never been a sea glass hunter, the occasional bits I find on the beach (usually a whitish color) pique my curiosity. Where did they come from? How old are they?

What sorts of stories could these teeny pieces of glass tell?

As aforementioned, I am not a sea glass expert. So, I turned to — you guessed it — Google for some insights. offered some helpful information:

Worn by waves, recycled by the sea, sea glass is a product of both nature and man. Bottles, jars and glass carelessly discarded are tumbled by the ocean to form these colorful gems of the shore. … Sea Glass is reverse gem. Traditional gems (diamonds, rubies, emeralds) are made by nature and refined by man. Sea glass is originally made by man (bottles and jars) but refined by nature to become smooth frosty beach found gems.

Sea glass is, quite literally, battered into beauty. Think of it — a small piece is worth much more than the bottle it originally was a part of. It is valuable because it has endured so much.

Never before had I thought that sea glass and sanctification have so much in common.

When someone comes to Jesus for the first time, he or she is justified — made right with God — through Jesus’s sacrifice  on the cross and triumphant resurrection from the grave three days later.

And quite soon thereafter begins the process of sanctification — the process of being made into the image of God’s Son: Jesus (2 Cor. 3:18, 2 Cor. 4:16). To be sanctified literally means “to be set apart.”

According to the creation narrative in Genesis 2, God created man and woman complete. In Eden, Adam and Eve lived in perfect communion with God and with each other.

But when Adam and Eve decided to purposefully disobey God’s instructions (see Gen. 3:1-6), their relationship with God was severed. No longer could they “walk with God in the cool of the day” (Gen. 3:8). Unholiness could not dwell with holiness.

Many years later, when Jesus began his public ministry in Jerusalem, he began telling people how they could have their relationship with God restored.

He was the way (John 14:6).

Jesus endured the most brutalizing, humiliating death imaginable. He was stripped naked, beaten beyond recognition, and publicly executed: hung on a cross between two criminals.

The Apostle Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5:21:

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (ESV)

Originally created pure, humanity became tainted by sin — the desire to live independently of God. Through Jesus, humanity is made pure again.

Sea glass is created by relentless grinding, pounding, scraping and exposure to the sun.

Sometimes, this is what the Christian life feels like. Yes, Jesus promises his followers abundant life (John 10:10), and complete joy (John 15:11; 16:24), but he does not promise that life on earth will always be easy.

King David, a psalmist and a man after God’s own heart (1 Sam. 13:14; Acts 13:22) wrote these words thousands of years ago:

Deep calls to deep at the roar of your waterfalls; all your breakers and your waves
 have gone over me. -Psalm 42:7 (ESV)

Here, David laments his sufferings, feeling that the very hand of God is against him.

I found the nautical imagery here to be intriguing, so I turned to my friend Matthew Henry to see what he had to say about it (*Note: Matthew Henry has long gone home to glory. He is merely my friend in the literary sense).

Henry writes:

He [David] was overpowered and overwhelmed with a deluge of grief, like that of the old world, when the windows of heaven were opened and the fountains of the great deep were broken up. Or it is an allusion to a ship at sea in a great storm, tossed by the roaring waves, which go over it. Whatever waves and billows of affliction go over us at any time we must call them God’s waves and his billows, that we may humble ourselves under his mighty hand, and may encourage ourselves to hope that though we be threatened we shall not be ruined; for the waves and billows are under a divine check. The Lord on high is mightier than the noise of these many waters. Let not good men think it strange if they be exercised with many and various trials, and if they come thickly upon them; God knows what he does, and so shall they shortly.

Our sufferings are not pleasant, no. But neither are they futile. Instead, they make us look more like Jesus.

Because day by day, we are being ground, pounded and scraped into the image of the Son.

Just like sea glass.


If you are interested in purchasing some unique sea glass jewelry, check out Border’s Beach Shop @ (I’m not the owner, just a fan!)











On Light and Lighthouses

NEEDTOBREATHE is my favorite band. Hands down. So, I’m going to do something I haven’t done yet since I’ve started blogging. I’m going to ask you to listen to the following song, “Brother,” (just click on the word) before you read the rest of this post (make sure to crank up the volume, and clap along if the Spirit leads. Sing as loud as you want, even if you’re off-key. Don’t worry, I can’t hear you from here).

Did you catch this line?

Everybody needs someone beside ’em//Shining like a lighthouse from the sea.

For centuries, lighthouses have guided many a frazzled sailor to safe harbor. Standing like sentries, lighthouses are built to withstand the onslaught of both wind and waves, their bright lights warning of danger, pointing the way home.

As the guys of NEEDTOBREATHE so eloquently put it:

Brother let me be your shelter//I’ll never leave you all alone//I can be the one you call//When you’re low//Brother let me be your fortress//When the night winds are driving on//Be the one to light the way//Bring you home.

Everyone needs a lighthouse.

This truth has especially been impressed upon me this week, not only by news media headlines, but also by family and friends who are struggling and suffering.

This earth is not heaven. That’s for sure.

Lighthouses are beacons of hope. They pierce the darkness, letting frightened sailors know that they are not alone, showing them they way they should go.

As a follower of Jesus, I am called to be a lighthouse.

I cannot be a lighthouse on my own, however. I need the Light to light my light.

In the beginning of his gospel, the apostle John writes,

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.                                                               John 1:1-9

Life and light go hand in hand.

This is something early sailors understood (Hmm. Maybe they understood theology more than we care to realize). Darkness=death. Light=life.

Out on the open seas, with howling wind and angry waves, a lighthouse meant all the difference between life and death. A successful voyage, and a failed one.

Jesus is the Light of the world. He is the only one who can turn the darkness into light. He actually transforms it (see Psalm 18:28).

And let me tell you if you haven’t figured this out already: this world is full of darkness.

Sin. Struggle. Suffering.

It can seem overwhelming.

When I begin to think that the Darkness is winning the battle, I remember the apostle John’s words:

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.        John 1:5

Back to the lighthouse analogy.

Choosing to follow Jesus means that I have a Light. But not only do I have a Light, but I am now a conduit of Light.

He is the Light. I am the house.

Before you start thinking I’m getting a little too new-agey, let me explain.

Or rather, I’ll let Jesus explain.

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.                                                                                                             Matthew 5:14-16

Those who have chosen to follow Jesus have His Light in them by the Holy Spirit.

And, as His followers, we who call ourselves Christians are to shine His light of hope into an extremely dark, chaotic world.

We are called to be lighthouses, to those who are our sisters and brothers in Christ, and those who are not.

My dear reader, if you are not yet a member of Jesus’ family, let the Light guide you home.

And if you are already a part of His family–go be a lighthouse.

Wastin’ Time Tied to the Dock of the Bay (or, If You Want to Follow Jesus, You Have to Get Off the Dock)

Summertime and the livin’s easy.


Time to kick back, relax, and enjoy the sunshine. Which brings one of my favorite summertime tunes to mind, the classic by Otis Redding that goes a little something like this,

I’m sittin’ on the dock of the bay//Watchin’ the tide roll away, ooh//I’m just sittin’ on the dock of the bay//Wastin’ time.

-“(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay,” Otis Redding (1968)

As I am a beach/ocean/water lover, I picture myself in the song. I hear the gentle lap lap lap of the water against the pilings of the dock as I run my hand over the rough wooden boards (careful, there may be splinters), evening-golden sunlight shimmering across the bay. An easy breeze is blowing, and a fishing boat, far in the distance, heading somewhere, stirs up a white wake as I wiggle my toes in the not-quite-green but not-quite-blue water.

I am happy, I am content, and I am not going anywhere (I’m also a sap, but that’s beside the point).

The scene that Otis Redding’s lyrics create in my mind is one from childhood. When I was a little girl, my grandparents lived on the Chesapeake Bay, and I fondly remember sitting on the dock, watching the tide roll in and out (I also remember being stung by a pink jellyfish and the terrifying feeling of beginning to sink in some black quicksand, but I’m going for the good vibes here).


Point being: on the dock, I was safe. I was happy. I was secure. But once I left the dock and was in the water, anything was possible.

Like pink jellyfish and black quicksand.

Many years later (i.e. two days ago) I read something by Oswald Chambers that got me thinking.

If you yourself do not cut the lines that tie you to the dock, God will have to use a storm to sever them and to send you out to sea. Put everything in your life afloat upon God, going out to sea on the great swelling tide of His purpose, and your eyes will be opened. If you believe in Jesus, you are not to spend all your time in the calm waters just inside the harbor, full of joy, but always tied to the dock. You have to get out past the harbor into the great depths of God, and begin to know things for yourself….

-from My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers

Dang it.

Y’all, I’m just gonna be honest. I struggle with this.


While I may not physically be “tied to the dock” at present, I am often “tied to the dock” spiritually. The dock of safety. Of security. Of control. Of fear. Of uncertainty, anxiety, and worry.

My dock’s not sounding so great right about now.

Jesus is out on the water, calling to me, beckoning me to follow.

I’m standing on the dock, scanning the horizon. Any hint of a storm and I’m high-tailing it back in the house.

Jesus waits patiently. Smiling.

I inch forward.

He assures me that he will be with me the whole time, but I have to step off the dock.

I stop.

He promises adventure.

I take three steps in his direction, closer to the edge of the dock.

He says it will not be easy–even painful.

I take two steps back.

And so we do this dance, Jesus and I.

Well, I’m really the only one dancing. An electric-slide with two left feet at that.

Jesus isn’t moving. He is at peace, not in a hurry. The very picture of the security I long for.

It’s then I realize that my dock is shaky. Not as stable as I thought it once was. The wood is beginning to rot and there are splinters everywhere.

Jesus warns me that my dock isn’t safe. If I don’t jump, it’s going to collapse with me on it.

I have no other choice.

After what feels like an eternity (to me, not Jesus), my little girl toes are curled over the edge of the dock, gripping so tightly that they’re turning white.

Maybe he’s wrong. Maybe my dock really is okay.

I tell him I want to know the whole plan. Will I be safe if I jump? What about the pink jellyfish? What about the black quicksand?

What if, what if, what if?

He just tells me to trust him.

The dock creaks and I feel it shift. I look at Jesus and then back at the dock.

Now or never.



“Follow me.”

I suck in a gulp of air (holding my breath so as I’m resembling a puffer fish), squinch my eyes shut, flail my arms, and leap, expecting certain death (and if not death, at least a horde of jellyfish or a quicksand monster).

But death doesn’t come. Neither do the jellyfish or the quicksand monsters.

Arms. I feel arms around me. Someone else’s arms.

I open my eyes.

Jesus looks at me, grinning ear to ear, chuckling.

And then I realize that I am with him. On the water.

Walking on the water, Jesus places me in his boat. He steps into the bow and takes the wheel.

I am in the middle of the bay.

Instantly, I am at his side, turning the wheel this way and that, trying desperately to get the boat to head toward the land, but getting nowhere.

Jesus gently takes my hands from the wheel, and kneeling down, looks into my eyes.

“My child, this is my job, not yours.”

My eyes ask a thousand questions, but no words come.

I settle on the seat beside him and content myself with wondering.

He turns the ship, and suddenly, we are headed toward the horizon. Where the sea meets the sky. The edge of the world.

“But, Jesus! Where are we going?” I pipe out anxiously, clutching a life preserver…just in case.

Jesus gazes at the horizon. Calmly, steadily, confidently, as if he’s been this way before and knows what’s up ahead.

“Out there.”

My eyes widen.

“Where?” my insatiable curiosity asks before I give it permission to.

“You’ll see.”

3,000 Pounds of Hope

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.

Hebrews 6:19a (NIV)

I bought a journal the other day that says “Hope is an Anchor” across the front (I know, I know. I’m a cheesy Christian girl. Don’t judge me).

So I began to think about the fact that anchors are big.


Seeing as I have little to no knowledge of anchors, it seemed wise to do a bit of research on them. So I did what any other savvy, millennial blogger would do.

I googled them.

Yes. I actually googled them (Now you can judge me).

According to an article published by USA Today, a very large anchor was discovered four years ago by a team of archaeologists off the coast of North Carolina.

But this was not just any old anchor (Well, it was old, anyway).

This was Blackbeard’s anchor.

That’s right, that scary pirate guy who lit his own facial hair on fire to terrify anyone who dared stand in his way.

So, this anchor was a pretty big deal.

Thought to be one of the anchors used by Blackbeard on his ship, the “Queen Anne’s Revenge,” the anchor weighs in at a whopping 3,000 pounds, is more than 11 feet long, and has “arms” that are more than 7 feet across.

That thing is bigger than Goliath, people.

So now as I think again about hope being an anchor, I realize that hope is not wimpy wishful thinking.

Hope is grounded in God’s reality. It is solid. It is immovable. It is unseen yet it is even more sure than any 3,000 pound man-made anchor.


What a completely humbling thought.

Considering the fact that I am no theologian, I was curious to see what my dear friend Matthew Henry had to say about Hebrews 6:19 (Note: Henry has been dead for many years and I never actually had the pleasure of making his acquaintance. But nevertheless, I still consider him a friend. We literary types tend to do that).

We are in this world as a ship at sea, liable to be tossed up and down, and in danger of being cast away. Our souls are the vessels. The comforts, expectations, graces, and happiness of our souls are the precious cargo with which these vessels are loaded. Heaven is the harbour to which we sail. The temptations, persecutions, and afflictions that we encounter, are the winds and waves that threaten our shipwreck. We have need of an anchor to keep us sure and steady, or we are in continual danger. Gospel hope is our anchor; as in our day of battle it is our helmet, so in our stormy passage through this world it is our anchor. It is sure and steadfast, or else it could not keep us so. First, it is sure in its own nature; for it is the special work of God in the soul. It is a good hope through grace; it is not a flattering hope made out of the spider’s web, but it is a true work of God, it is a strong and substantial thing. Secondly, it is steadfast as to its object; it is an anchor that has taken good hold, it enters that which is within the veil; it is an anchor that is cast upon the rock, the Rock of ages. It does not seek to fasten in the sands, but enters within the veil, and fixes there upon Christ; he is the object, he is the anchor—hold of the believer’s hope. As an unseen glory within the veil is what the believer is hoping for, so an unseen Jesus within the veil is the foundation of his hope; the free grace of God, the merits and mediation of Christ, and the powerful influences of his Spirit, are the grounds of his hope, and so it is a steadfast hope. Jesus Christ is the object and ground of the believer’s hope, and so it is a steadfast hope.

Matthew Henry

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

I am thankful for my Savior who continues to blow my mind with His truth. He is my hope. He is my anchor. And He will never be moved.

Before I sign off, I must leave you with one last quote from a familiar, time-worn hymn.

Just as I am//Though toss’d about//With many a conflict//Many a doubt//Fightings and fears within, without//O Lamb of God, I come!

-“Just As I Am,” Charlotte Elliott

Come to Him. You have 3,000 pounds of hope at your disposal.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

In honor of St. Patrick of Ireland, I am reposting a prayer that is frequently attributed to him (at least parts of it).


As I arise today,
may the strength of God pilot me,
the power of God uphold me,
the wisdom of God guide me.
May the eye of God look before me,
the ear of God hear me,
the word of God speak for me.
May the hand of God protect me,
the way of God lie before me,
the shield of God defend me,
the host of God save me.
May Christ shield me today.
Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit,
Christ when I stand,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

(Thanks to: for this text!)

So…yeah. I started a blog.


Yes, you there, on the other side of that fancy technological device.

This is a little bit weird.

Nice to meet you…?

*Insert virtual handshake here*

Yes. I started a blog.

Why, do you ask? Or maybe you didn’t ask. But you’re sitting here reading this anyway, so I might as well tell you.

I’m stuck.

I’m a landlocked beach bum with a seafaring soul.

OK, landlocked might be a stretch. But the closest beach is three hours away. So there.

I feel like I belong at the beach. It’s my home away from home. The call of the sea and all of that.

I’m living in one place and longing for another.

Which is, apparently, not so uncommon, this longing for another place.

Check out this passage from my favorite New Testament book, Hebrews:

All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. (Hebrews 11:13-16)

While the beach is an amazing place (and some might even argue, God’s country), it cannot even come close to the country, the heavenly city that God has prepared for those that love Him.

So, I’m a landlocked beach bum with a seafaring soul. A renewed spirit living in a corrupted, fleshly body, ultimately longing for the day that I am reunited with my Savior in a glory so magnificent that I can’t even comprehend it.

Like the beach. But infinitely better.

Welcome to the voyage.

Sail on (metaphorically, of course, unless you are actually aboard a seafaring vessel at the moment, to which I must say that I am very impressed that you are sailing and reading a blog at the same time).

-A Seafaring Soul