Standing on the Edge of the world
Have you ever had an experience that just completely changed how you look at life? An experience so surreal that you have to look at pictures to convince your mind that it really happened?
In August of this year I had such an experience.
Last week a prayer that I've had in my heart for over a decade came to pass. I was able to take my three children to Jamaica to see my grandmother who is now 102. This was the first time that she was able to meet them. The experience was so beautiful!
My daughter and I sang hymns to my grandmother and she began to hum Amazing Grace along with us. This was so special because she and my grandfather had a church for over 60 years in Westmoreland, Jamaica. I grew up listening to her sing and my grandfather preach. She was dedicated to the work of God for over 6 decades and even now at a 102 she holds on tightly to the promises of God. As my mother sang to her mother, my grandmother would sing out Hallelujah! It was so amazing to see how my grandmother had walked out her faith for so many years. I saw her bible which was worn with love. I can imagine how she has clung to the Word of God through hard times, good times, losing my grandfather over twenty years ago and praying for her own children and grandchildren. She has left an amazing legacy.
While my daughter sang to her I could see that it was a blessing to my grandmother and I hope that my daughter could see what a gift she has inside of her to bring light and peace to others through her music!
Along with wonderful visits to the beach and Rick's Cafe with the children, we enjoyed an abundance of delicious natural foods from the island. My husband, who suffers from IBS-D told me that his stomach didn't hurt all week! He was even able to try different foods like Jerk Chicken - a miracle! I also benefitted from eating unprocessed foods all week and came back a few pounds lighter!
Every time I go to Jamaica I get a new appreciation for my heritage. I know that life is harder there in many aspects when it comes to jobs and opportunity but in some ways, it shows how starved we are here in America in some ways. Many of us aren't able to slow down and enjoy the sunshine and really immerse ourselves in God's nature. We sit at computers inside cement walls and are assaulted by media and advertising constantly. Our foods are GMO'd and over processed and it's killing us slowly.
We also are a leader for Human rights, business and pushing boundaries.
So there are good and bad things in both cultures - every culture really. I want to take the good things about Jamaica back home with me and remember to stay connected to the earth as much as possible.
The last night in Jamaica my husband and I decided to go to Couples Swept Away in Negril where we spent our honeymoon. It was surreal to walk the same pathways we walked almost 15 years ago as newlyweds. We had no idea the trials and triumphs that would lay before us. We were so young and naive! HA! We started out the evening walking on the beach and watching the sunset with tropical drinks in our hands. Next, we enjoyed a 4-course meal at one of the all-inclusive restaurants and enjoyed one of the local singers. We watched as older couples danced the night away. I just loved to see THE LOVE that has stood the test of time!
After dinner we went back to the beach and my husband asked me what I wanted to do. As I looked out at the ocean I said that I've always wanted to stand in the ocean at night.
So we did. He's accommodating like that.
The water was cool. It felt thicker for some reason. Perhaps it was because when I looked out into the ocean it looked like black silk washing up onto the beach. The stars began to come out one by one twinkling in the night. There were so many stars - more than I'd ever seen. As we watched the stars come out to greet us in the distance there was even more natural wonder happening. There was a lightening storm so far away we never heard the thunder. Just the streak of lightning jumping from cloud to cloud like a dancer leaping on stage - a heavenly stage.
It felt like we were standing on the edge of the earth looking out into the universe. In front of us lay the unknown and behind me, the island was coming alive with the activities of the night. As I looked up into the starry sky I felt God's presence. I felt his gaze upon us. I felt His love.
Isn't it amazing that we have a Father who has so many children yet He makes each of us feel so special?
As I looked out into the darkness I thought of Peter on the boat looking out into the ocean during that storm. Seeing a figure on the water and calling out to it to find out if it was His beloved teacher, Jesus. And having the courage to step out of the boat and walk on the dark waters. I never really understood how scary the ocean is at night. It is the epitome of the unknown.
Looking into the black waters seeing shadows over the waves caused my heart to jump at times. I was scared and there wasn't even a storm and I wasn't even in the middle of the ocean! I had my feet on the sand! Peter got some major props from me that night.
As I thought about how the unknown lay in front of us and the known world was behind us I felt God speak to my heart about the things He had for us. But we had to be willing to follow Him into the unknown and just trust Him.
I turned to my husband and shared with him what I was thinking. Then I asked him what his boat was.
"What?" he asked.
"What is the boat that you are in? What is the thing that we are holding on to?" I said.
That's when things started to get deep.
We opened up about our deeper held resistance that were obstacles to stepping out in faith.
For me - I struggle with either not fulfilling the picture of the future I have in my mind OR not having a full picture of what I want in my head before I step out towards something. I know - I've got problems.
But looking out at that black water that merged with the black sky I was looking at a physically manifestation what I was afraid of. I was afraid of not knowing. What if I stepped out and it was less than I imagined?
But the truth was just by being there in Jamaica at the edge of the beach looking at the stars in the sky - at that moment - all my expectations were exceeded.
How can I think that the God who created all of this would EVER deliver something less than my finite expectations! What's more is that HE LOVES US and He wants GOOD things for us!
As I write this I'm realizing how much I want to step out - how tired I am of playing it safe. Because when we go on the picture that we've created for ourselves - then we play it safe.
Safe looks different for all of us. And stepping out of the boat looks different for all of us. But it doesn't matter - at some point in our lives if we want to have radical growth we have to step out into the unknown...and be okay with that.
Standing with my best friend on the edge of the world, looking at the vastness of the heavens - we knew it was time to step out into the unknown if we wanted to see our lives expand.
It' was to step out of our boat and walk into whatever God has for us.