You call me out upon the waters... the great unknown where feet may fail...
......and there I find you in the mystery....in oceans deep my faith will stand.
You call me out... yes, that is what I was feeling when the visual image for my above digital artwork began to crystallize in my mind. It was last July (2017) when I was on break from teaching. I had been working on the web site for Redeemer's Heart and in the midst of it I was dwelling on what all of it really meant. What had I gotten myself into? Where was this leading? This little ministry idea was getting bigger and bigger, as I felt the Holy Spirit continue to reveal more and more of the plan....and that plan...it kept changing and, well....it was starting to push me out of my comfort zone. In one word, FEAR... that's what I was feeling....Would I drown in my fear? Would MY feet fail? Would MY faith really truly stand?
I will call upon Your Name....and keep my eyes above the waves....when oceans rise....
....my soul will rest in Your embrace...for I am Yours and You are mine.
Keeping my eyes above the waves and fixed on my God... YES, that is what I was visualizing in my mind. How would I create an artwork with waves though? I'm not much of a photographer. I'm not crazy about deep water. I've never even seen in person the type of waves I was visualizing. In search of waves, I found Pixabay.com. A web site with over a million royalty free stock photos shared by a generous community of photographers and artists. Not only did I find waves, I also found some other photos that started to mesh with the image in my mind. I used a total of seven different photographs in my artwork. I would like to sincerely thank these photographers from around the world. Without their artistry, bringing the image I had in my mind to life would have been a lot harder.
..where feet may fail and fear surrounds me...You’ve never failed and You won’t start now.
Deepest waters... was I in "deepest waters"? Not really....sure I had been through some difficult things in my life that I felt God helped get me through. But right at that moment? No, I was walking in shallow waters. Yes, I was uncomfortable and a little fearful of where this ministry was heading, but I was still okay...still knew pretty much where I was heading. I was still in control...until the day I wasn't.....
Fast forward to January 3rd, 2018....the beginning of my journey to no longer being in control. It was shortly after 2 am and I couldn't sleep... again. See, I'm embarrassed to say that I was somewhat of a news junkie. I spent way too much time reading the latest news on my iPad (the more political the better) and not enough time reading the word of God. I was confused and was asking some big questions in my mind like, "What was going on"? "What did all of this mean?" "What was happening in our country?" "Where did all this selfishness and divisiveness come from?" I was also asking "Where were we heading?" "Where was God in all of this?" "Would He show up in a big way to save us all from ourselves?" I have always been a "big picture" kind of thinker, so I began to feel the weight of the world on my shoulders....which manifested itself into FEAR. This led me to my knees on my bathroom floor. I prayed "God, whatever you want me to do, I'll do it..."
That day at school I had what was diagnosed later as an "atypical manic episode" triggered by a change in my birth control. I ended up in the hospital and was then sent by ambulance to a mental health facility where I remained for four days. When I got out, my doctor was near 100% sure of this cause and diagnosis. My psychologist said that the odds of what happened to me was so rare, that it was like winning the lottery. "Great", I thought, "I won the medical lottery". "Lucky me"....but I was lucky....in the end. You see, God was there through and in all of it. His hand literally WAS my guide...in my FEAR of the unknown....in the DEEPEST of waters. Many family members and friends were praying for me...and believe me, I felt these prayers. I felt a shift happen in my mind...confusion began to turn to truth and understanding. And although my own feet and strength were failing me, I felt God's presence. He showed up in a big God sized way in the midst of my manic episode and helped me walk through it.
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders.... Let me walk upon the waters.... Wherever You would call me..... Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander....And my faith will be made stronger....In the presence of my Savior
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders.... This verse. This is the verse that truly spoke to me last summer and still speaks to me, but in a totally new, much deeper way now. When I was still coming out of my manic episode and was afraid and paranoid, in the deepest of waters, I believe God spoke to me. The first thing he said was simply the word "TRUST". And my response was something like "okay, I think I can do that". In that place and in that moment I felt like I was actually living my digital artwork....He called me out upon the waters and I needed to TRUST. The first Bible verse I recalled after I was given the word "Trust" was...
...2nd Timothy 1:7 "For God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, and love and of a sound mind."
Many other verses and even songs I learned as a child flooded my mind. Song's like Jesus Loves Me and This Little Light of Mine. But more than anything... I. Felt. Loved. Truly cherished by Jesus, my Savior. I gradually recovered as I got more rest. As I think about what happened, I believe God slowed me down so he could reveal Himself and change my perspective on a lot of things throughout my manic episode "journey". My husband, from his perspective at the time, referred to what happened as a "tornado". I guess it was both... a journey through a tornado that led me to clearer skies and a peace like I have never known on the other side. Looking back, I wouldn't change a thing. I am glad it happened. I hope to share some of the other things I have learned and a new artwork that I am currently visualizing in my mind in a future blog post.
TRUST. This word has new meaning now. This experience has led me to a trust in God like I have never known before. I always thought I was "all in" and "fully surrendered" to God's plan for my life. But I wasn't. I see this now. I don't know how I missed it all of these years. Probably because I was selfish and too busy being distracted by everyday life to draw close to God, hear him clearly, and fully believe his promises. My life isn't perfect now. I'm currently home on medical leave and I am not sure what my future holds. I still struggle with fear, distractions, impatience, wrong priorities, etc. at times, but I am doing much better. My feet are still wondering every day upon the waters...one step at a time. What I have found is that the deeper and more unknown the waters are, the more God shows up and the stronger my faith becomes. I don't know where my path and God's plan will lead me from here....but that's okay because I choose simply to TRUST.
"For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." -Jeremiah 29:11
His Blessings to All of You!
Have you had a similar experience? Is there a song that really speaks to you? Or have you ever done an artwork inspired by a song? I would LOVE to hear your comments below!