Letting Go

Matthew 14:22-33

22 Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake, while he sent the people home. 23 After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone.

24 Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves. 25 About three o’clock in the morning[a] Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, “It’s a ghost!”

27 But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here![b]”

28 Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.”

29 “Yes, come,” Jesus said.

So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the strong[c] wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.

31 Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?”

32 When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped. 33 Then the disciples worshiped him. “You really are the Son of God!” they exclaimed.

On Sunday, my husband and I surprised our oldest daughter with a zip line and sling shot trip for her birthday. As I stepped into my harness and began the safety lesson, I started praying….asking God to help me NOT be afraid. Down the first line I went. “Woo hoo! This is fun. I can do it!” my mind said. But, as the height, length of the line and speed increased, so did my heart rate- and so did my fear. Apparently, I began mumbling my anxious thoughts out loud because at some point, our daughter turned and said, “Mom, just lift your feet and let go.” Yes, ma’am. Down the line I went, zipping past towering pines, oaks and birch trees native to North Carolina, a trickling creek, an abandoned mill house and a rushing waterfall. Absolutely breathtaking.

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Had a refused to let go of the side of the boat, lift my feet and walk on water I would have missed out on a great adventure. I would have missed the gorgeous views from the treetops. I would have missed the thrill of riding through the woods, suspended from a thin line. I would have missed sharing a new experience with our daughter. I would have missed another lesson God wanted me to learn.

What happened to the other disciples in the boat? Why didn’t they go over the side and walk on water? Were they too afraid and thus content to just sit and watch Peter? Did they rationalize that if their friend sank, they would too? What did they miss by not letting go?

Today, as we celebrate our daughter turning 15, I realize the next few years will require a LOT of letting go. Driving. Dating. College. Career.….. We have tried to train her in the way that she should go, but we’ve failed in a lot of ways. A lot. Yet, by the grace of God, we’ve been blessed to watch this strong willed, brilliant, athletically talented, gifted, compassionate young leader emerge and begin her journey of climbing out of our boat, onto the water, to walk towards her Savior.

Letting go on a zip line is hard. Letting go of our children is harder. Yet, I know that God is in control. I know that He can be trusted. I know that His plans for all of our children are good. And I know that whenever the strong wind and waves develop in their lives, He will be there to reach out and grab them. I know this because He’s done the same for me, His daughter.

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