So, yeah – I know how to bodysurf.
I've spent my entire life living less than an hour from the Pacific Ocean.
And if you were my dad's child – it wasn’t enough to know how to swim. You had to learn how to bodysurf.
It takes practice…and practice.
Learning which waves are the ones worth *catching.* Learning when to start paddling and how fast. Learning what it feels like when you've snagged the wave. Learning how to keep your head up and enjoy the ride!
And what a ride it is!
I can't describe to you the feel of being propelled forward by the power of the ocean. I've never tried surfing – though I've done some boogie-boarding. But there's nothing quite like the feeling of the water against your skin.
A couple of things to remember.
Bodysurfing in a two-piece is hazardous. Sand in top. Sand in bottom. Top and bottom ending up in places other than where they belong…(a Janet Jackson wardrobe "malfunction" perhaps??)
And though wave-riding is a lot of fun, wave-riding-ending is a bit trickier.
You see, sometimes the end of a great ride is just perfect – a slowing, gentle glide into shallow waters. Bathing suit in place, and you're up and ready to go again.
But other times, it's not so great.
Because sometimes the shoreline has eroded. And that means a rather steep drop-off when you hit the shallow water. Now, you can try to *kick out* on your wave before you get to The Point of No Return. But sometimes you just can't…
Face crunch, skinned belly, scratched knees, mouthful of salt, bathing suit asunder.
I've had a few of those rough landings. They're survivable.
But there are two other water hazards that lurk out there in the waves. They are more dangerous. And I've experienced both.
No, I'm not talking sharks.
Sidenote here: When you live in Southern California, by the ocean, you just really don't think about sharks. Or you shouldn't. The odds are widely against you ever being attacked. And thinking about it just ruins the fun.
I was relatively shark-fear-free until I saw the movie, "Jaws." That just ruined it for me. Now I see sharks in my bathtub…
But I digress.
OK, the first hazard is wiping out. This happens when you're waiting for a good wave to come. And you have to dive under the other waves to avoid being crunched by them when they crest and break.
The secret is to dive deep, and then pop up.
In theory, and in practice, this works great. WHEN you're able to reach the wave BEFORE it breaks. Sometimes that doesn't work out so good. Then the wave crashes on you and you are tossed and turned underwater like you're in a washing machine. No up. No down. Am I ever going to surface again?
Sometimes surfacing involves a little salt-and-sand cocktail, but I've never gotten hurt.
The other hazard is far more dangerous. It has actually killed people. It's called a riptide. Here it is defined:
A rip current, commonly referred to as a rip tide, is a strong channel of water flowing seaward from near the shore, typically through the surf line.
I got caught in a small riptide once. I thought I was going to drown.
I'd been bodysurfing for a while, and I was tired. Time to come into shore. Except the waves kept coming, and I had to keep swimming out to them to avoid getting wiped out. I got past where I could touch the sand. After diving under wave after wave, I was exhausted. I decided to swim back to shore, even if I wiped out a few times on the way back.
Except now I couldn’t swim back to shore. I felt myself being pulled away. Out to sea. I got really, really scared. I started waving my hands at my family who were sitting on shore. My dad waved back. Uh yeah, hi Dad…
I was bobbing like a water-logged cork.
Finally, my cousin figured out that I was in trouble. She swam out and placed herself between the oncoming waves and me. She pushed and shoved me toward shore. We both wiped out several times, but we both made it in.
I have since learned that if you get caught in a riptide, you must not fight against the current. You have to swim with it, out to sea, until its grip releases you. Counterintuitive, I know – but that's the way to do it.
So, where am I going with this?
Well, you know there's a God lesson in here.
The thing is this – I've had God niggling around in my heart lately about a possible speaking opportunity that I passed up last year. But, He's really been pressing it into my spirit the last few weeks.
But, I feel confused.
You see, as soon as I felt like I had "decided" to pursue this, "The Hub" broke his ankle.
OK yes, I do tend to see *spiritual signs* behind everything that happens to me. Maybe that's a good thing, maybe it's not. But my husband's accident began to make me wonder. After all, this speaking opportunity involves giving my testimony – and the last time I had a speaking engagement to tell my story – I got cancelled.
So, here I am – another chance that I feel God is laying on my heart. I say *YES!* in my heart. And boom! Something bad happens.
Is it the devil trying to stop me? Is God telling me NOT to pursue this? Or is this just one-of-those-life-kind of things?
So, I wake up in the middle of the night on Friday, and I can't get back to sleep. I feel like I've wiped out on one of those waves. I’m tossing and turning. I'm caught in a riptide of thoughts and feelings.
I'm drowning here, Lord.
"But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind." (James 1:6, NASB)
So, I prayed. I prayed BIG.
"Lord, I'm believing that You ARE going to give me an answer tomorrow through Your Word. I'm throwing this out there like a Gideon fleece, and I'm claiming Your sure response. Thank you."
I went to sleep.
Here's what I read the next morning:
"But as for me, I am filled with power – with the Spirit of the LORD…For the LORD'S teaching will go out…his word will go out…They will be like dew sent by the LORD or like rain falling on the grass, which no one can hold back and no one can restrain." (Micah 3:8, 4:2, 5:7)
And, as if that wasn't enough, I opened my email about an hour later, and here was the subject matter of the latest email sent to me (from Women of Faith, oddly enough):
Jesus is calling – are you listening?
So, please pray for me as I pursue this opportunity. I'm scared of wiping out. I'm tired and don't feel like swimming. I'm afraid of crashing into the shore. I'm even a little worried about losing my bathing suit…
But, what concerns me the most? Not hearing and obeying my Lord.
And I think He's been pretty clear on this one.
Sometimes following Him is counterintuitive.
So, contrary to what I might feel like, I'm swimming with the current, even though it's taking me into deeper waters.
It's OK –
The One Who Calmed the Sea and Walked on Water has placed Himself between the oncoming waves and me…
Are you being tossed by a decision?
Please come on over to Joan's
BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"