Just Keep Walking: learning to count on grace and help

“It was by faith that the people of Israel went right through the Red Sea as though they were on dry ground. But when the Egyptians tried to follow, they were all drowned.”

Hebrews 11:29

Even if the way is clear and the waters have parted before you, it takes faith to walk it.

The Egyptians following right behind drowned. As awestruck as the Israelites must have been, gazing at the newly dry ground and the towering walls of water before them, my guess is that at least some of them felt conflicted:

Yes, there’s a way forward here, but what if God stops holding back the water? That is not a path I can walk without an enormous amount of help! What if the help runs out before I’m through it? I’m committing to a bottleneck here.

I have shared some of these frightened thoughts, halfway through my own water canyon. I’m now in week 23 out of 40 in this journey through another hyperemesis gravidarum pregnancy. We’ve now been through over 40 rounds of IV fluids, a trip across the Atlantic, a hospital admission, cardiac arrhythmias…and I’m becoming acutely aware of how just easy it would be for me to drown here. I have a heavy sense of how slowly I’m moving forward and how much further I have to go until there’s open air around me instead of the threat of going under.

Just keep walking. Just keep walking. 

But with each step, I must remember that there are two ways to walk through this: in torment or by faith. The very One who faithfully held back the water until every woman, child, elderly straggler and wayward sheep made it to safety, marked their faith for taking the steps. He is the ever faithful One, and yet He cherishes my every moment and every move that banks on his trustworthiness.

Oh Lord-

Help me not to question whether you will keep giving me the help I need. Teach me not to ponder, in the depths, the frightening thought of whether I could ever be worthy of that help. Your grace, support, and rescue are given to me freely because of who You are; because of whose blood has purchased me; and I can walk forward confidently, counting on the grace I so desperately need to carry me to the finish.

“…better things are waiting for you that will last forever. So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all He has promised.”

Hebrews 10:34-36

Cries From The Clay: I do not start at the truth, I am led to it.

“And yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the potter. We all are formed by your hand.”
 
Isaiah 64:8

I do not, this morning, have a gentle, submissive attitude that praises you for your wonderful works. Today, I’m upset. These are cries from the clay in the messy and pressure-filled work of molding.

I’m frustrated by this verse because as you formed my body, you allowed this genetic flaw that would make every pregnancy miserable. I’m nauseous. I’m hot. I’m tired of throwing up. I’m tired of how little control I have over whether our travel plans will actually work out or constantly need to be re-worked. I’m tired of the countdowns.

Countdown to second trimester? Done! So what? Other people get to bid the nausea good riddance and enjoy the extra energy. I throw up and spend my days in bed just the same. Countdown to going home? Meaningless. Travel is so tenuous now, it could all fall apart at the last minute. Countdown to the baby? It will mean no sleep and a torn up body.

Every countdown just feels like counting down to more problems that I do not have the capacity to take on.

We do not get to just enjoy your gifts. They are fraught with difficulty and brokenness at every turn. Relief is coming, but it is so far away. And I am living and trying to stay encouraged here and now. I am struggling to find tangible joy and hope for my tired hands to take hold of.

I’m crying out to you, my Maker. You, who have carried me through these waters before. You, who have set me on solid ground and given my heart new cause to rejoice. Forgive my angry outcries and restore my soul. I am breaking here and I do not understand your ways.

Outward, always outward I am reaching and searching for a source of delight and satisfaction and strength, but you use these moments of unrelenting hardship – not just to teach me to endure – but to teach me how you endure.

You, my light and hope and source of lasting contentment, you endure untarnished by the harsh realities I am walking through. May my heart be humble and wise enough to take you at your word that your grace alone is sufficient for me, especially in the frustrating moments when I do not feel it.

You gave your life for my freedom. It’s the message for all time, given at just the right time (1 Timothy 2:6). Freedom from condemnation, fear and worry. Freedom from the need for control. Freedom to surrender.

Oh Lord,

Help my heart to surrender to your care and rest, even in my disappointment, even in all that is uncertain. Lead my heart to contentment in you, Oh Lord, my rock and my redeemer. I do not start there, and when it gets rough like this, I cannot find the way myself.

But I can come to you and pour out my soul. I can admit that the truth doesn’t feel true and confess my need for help with my own heart, and you will faithfully step in to lead me. When I am blindly groping for a foothold, you are a faithful guide who makes my shaking feet sure, and you gently help me to believe again that you are a trustworthy potter. That what you are crafting is worth every second of the wait. And that in every moment of my difficulty, you hold me carefully in your hands.

“May the Lord lead your hearts into a full understanding and expression of the love of God and the patient endurance that comes from Christ.”

2 Thessalonians 3:5

Matchless – by Beka Burns

“So I’ll hold on for dear life, you are worth all it costs.”