Tag Archives: God

Kayaking- a trust building exercise.

Last Saturday a group at church was going kayaking.  I was going, and I was super excited.  I had never been kayaking, but I had been canoeing last August as a part of Interface (a program for new students at my university) and had a bunch of fun.  I’ve always loved the water, and I thought it would be a good way to fellowship with some of the other people at church, seeing as I had just joined.

Let me tell you, it was glorious.  I will definitely be going kayaking again.  I had so much fun, I’m probably going to buy my own kayak after I graduate college.  I had fun getting to know some other people, and learned quite a bit from the guides.  I even ate a piece of Cow Lilly root.  (The two male guys were very good looking too… which was nice. Anyway…)  I think the best part was when I was sort of separated from the group and just kind of drifting down the Waccamaw River.  I felt so close to God, and often would just say a little prayer and hum one of my favorite spiritual songs.  It was really just an amazing feeling.  (To be completely honest, those moments were my favorite during the trip, and why I want to do that again.)

The real reason I am writing about this though, is because I (as predicted) flipped my kayak.

I knew I would roll the kayak, and once I was in the kayak, I knew which side I would roll the kayak.  And because the guide said that coming out of your kayak was fine, just don’t flip the kayak over, I knew for certain that was what would happen.  I’m that talented, that I would do such a thing, and I would do it at the most awkward time possible.

So we start kayaking.  Everything is going fine and well, we’ve had cow lily root, saw some snakes, learned about black water systems.  The guide tells us to stop, because he’s going to show us something (probably another snake.)  I stop, and I’m right up alongside some other people, and then BAM! I’m in the water with a life jacket up about my nose, flip flops and all my other things floating in the water.  A few seconds of flailing and I’m upright in the water, trying to catch my breath and getting used to breathing while I’m treading water.  People gathered up my stuff, and moved away so the guide and I can work on getting me back in the kayak.

Now there are 2 methods of getting back into a kayak when you cannot touch the bottom of the river and there is no bank.  Put your head toward the back of the kayak, throw your right leg over the side and haul yourself over,  or, go to the back of the kayak, grab on to the back end and pull while simultaneously kicking as hard as you can to propel yourself back into the kayak.

We tried the first one a couple of times, but I felt a muscle start pulling, so I said no. (This was also after I whipped the life jacket off because I couldn’t move my arms or see.)  then we tried the other way a few times, and there was no way that was working.  Finally the guide said my best bet was going to be the first method.  We had be at this for about 5 minutes at this point, and I was ready to say “Listen, just let me swim this one.  I can handle it.  I grew up on Lake Erie, and I swam in a pond at my grandparents house all summer since I was knee high to a grasshopper!”  But, I trusted the guide, and managed to get back into the kayak.  (I used my noodle and planted my foot on a foot pedal, instead of just throwing it in there all willy nilly and expecting it to work.)

And as I was kayaking away from that event, I got to thinking.  That was a trust building exercise, and it’s kind of like our relationship with God.  He helps us into the kayak, he shows us how to use the paddle, and he tells us not to flip our kayak.  He warns us of the dangers that are ahead, but assures us that we’ll be okay if we trust them.  And when we flip out of our kayak, he helps us get back in, but we have to  trust that he knows what is best for us and will get us back into that kayak.  So many of us, however, give up, and won’t trust that God will get us back on track that we say “Forget it, I’ll swim” and shut him out.  And then we put ourselves at the mercy of all sorts of things. Exhaustion, alligators, drowning, and probably a host of other things I didn’t consider at the time.

I have found a love of kayaking, but I know that I need a guide if I don’t want to get lost or die or something like that, just like I know that I need God in my life because otherwise, I would fall victim to all sorts of sin, and I would be ensnared by them for ever.

I got back into the kayak.  Will you?

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The lesson I learned from a pair of shoes….

I have a beautiful pair of wedge heels.  I got them at Lane Bryant, and they have the braided rope on heel, and a pretty texturized upper fabric that covers the toe and the heel and made up the ankle strap.  I adored these heels because they were the first pair I had picked out for myself and could wear and be fairly comfortable.  I’ve had them for about a year now, but back in March I was getting ready to go see an on-campus movie with friends, and when I lifted my left foot to fasten the strap, I didn’t realize I was stepping on the strap with my right heel.  As I lifted my foot, I realized my mistake, but it was too late, and I had ripped the strap clean off the shoe. I picked up both pieces, saw there would be no quick fix before I had to leave, and took the right shoe off.  I was dismayed, but I knew of a shoe repair shop back home and decided to take them in and see what could be done.  I donned a different pair of heels I had not yet worn and went to see The Hobbit.

Fast forward to two weeks ago.  I was home from my first year of college, and I was running errands.  As I passed the shoe repair shop on the way to the mall, I saw it was still open, but I figured it was going to cost more to fix the shoe than it was worth, but then I had an epiphany.  I could remove the ankle straps on both shoes, and then replace them with ribbon and tie them like pointe shoes!  The would be just as or more pretty, and I would just have to buy some grosgrain ribbon!

With my new plan concocted, I continued on to the mall.  I figured WalMart would be a good place to stop because they sold fabric and ribbon and other crafty things, and I needed a journal anyway.

I wish I could say that I have pictures posted of the new shoes in all of their diy makeover glory, but I don’t.  I’ll add pictures when they are done for you all to look at.

So now that you know the back story and the plan, allow me to explain the lesson.  That pair of shoes was lovely.  They were well made, attractive, and supportive.  They were helpful when I needed to look nice, even if it took me a while to finagle the strap closed.  But then they broke, they became damaged and unwearable because of a silly thing, but that strap was the shoe’s weak spot.  It would break there before anywhere else.  I am that shoe.  We are all that shoe.  We are all beautiful and do important things and help others accomplish things and carry great loads.  But just like shoes we fall short of expectations.  We break and are damaged, and we need repair.  And Jesus does that for us.  He takes a good look at us, determines what we need, and not only fixes us, he changes us and makes us different and better than we were.  He does to us what we cannot do.  He takes away our stains (our sins) and heals us (fixes our broken straps), and it makes us better than we were.

“And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”” -Mark 12:17, ESV

And because some of you might be saying “Well what if I’m the shoe that isn’t broken?  I don’t need this Jesus to fix me!  I’m perfectly fine!” here is Romans 3: 22b-26:

For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.   It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”

See that? “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  That means me, that means you, your neighbor, your cousin, and that random man you passed earlier today on the street.  We are all sinners, we all have fallen short of God’s glory and expectation of us, BUT, if we have freely accepted Christ into our life by baptism for the remission of sins, then we have been covered by Christ’s blood, and not only are our former sins forgiven, but the ones we are making currently.

So, in essence, we are all shoes with a broken strap.

And that’s the lesson I learned from a pair of shoes.

In Christ,

Jax