“Lord, if it is really You, then tell me to meet You on the water,” Peter called to Jesus who walked on the water to be with His disciples.
Peter boldly stepped out of the boat and started walking on the water to Jesus. But then he took his eyes off of Jesus. He focused on the boisterous waves swirling around him.
“Lord, save me!” he cried out as fear and desperation choked him and the sea threatened to swallow him.
Did Jesus let him drown? No, He Immediately reached down His hand and caught him.
I can almost imagine the sorrow in Jesus’ eyes as He said, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”
I don’t believe Jesus said it to condemn Peter but to plead with him to keep his eyes focused on Him, not on the storm. And He questioned him, so Peter would question and examine himself.
This story (Matthew 14:22-34) has often been used by God to strengthen me. I identify with Peter and his dancing back and forth between faith and fear. And yet, even though Jesus knew Peter would grievously deny Him in the future and even though Peter doubted His power to keep him on top of the water when he saw and felt the power of the storm, Jesus didn’t give up on him. Jesus will never, ever abandon us and let us drown, no matter how much we doubt Him. His faithfulness, love, and compassion are limitless.
It’s so easy to be swallowed up in the storms of life, isn’t it? As I look back on my life, there were many times when wave after wave crashed over me and the undercurrent of doubt and despair sucked me under.
But God! I know now that He was keeping me from drowning even when I felt like not even He cared or understood me.
Relief from my troubles and despair didn’t always come immediately. Often it was just a quiet strength to help me keep putting one foot in front of the other. In hindsight I see more of the depth of His amazing love and faithfulness that upheld me. How He reached out and pulled me up, how He brought my limp body and spirit to the shore of His grace and breathed life into me, how He carried me when I had no strength to keep going. Again and again… And He still does…
May God strengthen and calm you with His love
and grace in the midst of life’s storms!
Are you in one of life’s storms right now?
What has been the greatest storm in your life?
What verses calm you in the midst of the storm?
Sometimes He Calms the Storm
by Scott Krippayne
“…Sometimes He calms the storm With a whispered peace be still He can settle any sea But it doesn’t mean He will
Sometimes He holds us close And lets the wind and waves go wild Sometimes He calms the storm And other times He calms His child…”
So often when I look back, it’s the bad times that first come to my mind, but I’m trying to view them instead through the lens of God’s goodness and deliverance. And yet it’s when we really remember how dark those days were that we can see how much deeper God’s love and grace are.
In 2013, something broke inside of me and I slipped into a deep depression. I wrote that November:
Some months ago one judgmental remark from someone put me into a tailspin and brought me face to face with painful memories of past abuse. At first I disassociated from my feelings. I didn’t want to feel at all, because it hurt too much. I continued on in life like a robot. But I became more and more depressed until one day something inside me broke. I sobbed and cried, “I don’t know what to do anymore. I’m so sick of being strong for everyone around me…”
It was like I was sinking deeper and deeper into a sea of turmoil, gulping up water. In my mind Jesus was standing above the surface looking down at me and shaking his head. “Hopeless case, that one…” I felt so forsaken of God. His promises seemed bogus, and I could not grasp a single one.
The weight of depression stomped me down, down, down…
Roaring In Shame-slapping Scowls Stormy Emotions Stomping Down Sinking Me
I couldn’t have made it that dark day without the grace of God. By the end of the day my heart was still heavy, but the care and compassion loved ones gave me lifted me up to see a pinpoint of hope. And the next day, God had a pleasant surprise for me.
“I will give thanks and praise the Lord, with all my heart; I will tell aloud all Your wonders and marvelous deeds.” Psalm 9:1
My husband suggested I take my writing pad and go to the Falls. He knew nature often relaxes and comforts me. It helps me to remember God still has all things in His control. I sat on a rock and watched the water rush over the red rock formations. I let the sound of it sooth my weary soul. I imagined the wind as the breath of God kissing my face and telling me I will make it through this.
When I walked along the paths and around the Art Barn, I stopped in awe. There in front of me written in chalk down the front of the steps was a message that still impacts me today. “I will love you every step of the way. ♥” I knew it was God speaking directly to my despairing heart.
Then I remembered a song – “Steady My Heart” by Kari Jobe.
“Wish it could be easy
Why is life so messy?
Why is pain a part of us?
There are days I feel like
Nothing ever goes right
Sometimes it just hurts so much
But You’re here
I know I can trust You
Even when it hurts
Even when it’s hard
Even when it all just falls apart
I will run to You
‘Cause I know that You are
Lover of my soul
Healer of my scars
You steady my heart.”
Sometimes God sends the greatest comforts out of the deepest valleys, doesn’t He? My heart still felt wounded, but I knew I could run to Jesus and He would pull me up again out of the pit and set my feet upon the Rock.
“He reached down and drew me from the deep, dark hole where I was stranded, mired in the muck and clay. With a gentle hand, He pulled me out To set me down safely on a warm rock; He held me until I was steady enough to continue the journey again.” Psalm 40:2 Voice
Out of that time, God led me in a new direction. Instead of Trudy Den Hoed: Freelance Writer, I changed my site to Freed To Fly: Hope, Healing, and Freedom for Hurting Souls. I stopped pressuring myself to build a writer’s platform and write for publication in magazines or a book. I became more deeply convicted that I’m here to write to God’s glory above all, and my desire to plant seeds of hope in the hearts of hurting souls became even stronger.
At the end of that year, God led me to (in)courage. And onward from there to Faith Barista, Holley Gerth, and Jennifer Dukes Lee. And though it remains a learning process, through these God-inspired women, God led me to be more authentic, to remember I am pre-approved by God, and to place my identity in Jesus. And through them, I gradually opened my heart to many more of you out there in Cyberville.
I set out to encourage others at this site, but I have been overwhelmed by the support and encouragement many of you have given me. At first I felt uncomfortable and resisted it, because of a deep voice in me that says I don’t deserve it. But gradually, God is teaching me to receive encouragement as well as to give it. So thank you so much, my dear online friends.
“I thank my God every time I remember you.” Philippians 1:3
That toxic shame still often pierces the core of who I am and screams, “You’re worthless. How can someone like you ever make a positive difference? You don’t deserve comfort. You don’t deserve to be accepted. ”
Panic still creeps in and shouts, “Watch out! You’re going to be hurt again. Reinforce that wall.”
Healing is a process though, right? I have learned that many of you struggle with inadequacy, shame, and fear of trusting. And I know there are others among you readers who also do but remain silent onlookers. And that’s ok. I still pray for ALL who visit this site. God knows your needs infinitely more than I do. I keep asking God to bring hurting souls here and give them hope, healing, and freedom in Him. And sometimes God tells me to seek out hurting souls at other sites.
All of us have a story to tell, and there is not one story that is less important than another. There is not one hurt that is less painful than anyone else’s. Every story counts. Every. Single. One. So don’t let that bug bite you and tell you, “Your burdens are not as bad as someone else’s.” I know by experience that can stifle the grieving process. Every hurt needs grieving in order to start healing.
Remember! You are so special to God! You have been created uniquely for a special purpose only you can fill. Jesus loves you so much that He sacrificed His life for you. His arms are wide open with welcome, longing for you to run into them. Yes, life can be messy. Yes, it can hurt so much and be so hard. But He cares about broken hearts and delights to heal them.
On that day they will say to Jerusalem, “Do not fear, Zion; do not let your hands hang limp. The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in His love He will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:16-17
Do you feel battle weary? Lying on the battlefield of life wounded and forsaken? Wondering if Jesus even hears your cries?
The more we want to follow Jesus, the greater the roars of Satan will be. He stalks us like a roaring lion ready to pounce on us and devour us. (I Peter 5:8) And he seeks us in all our vulnerable spots. He knows exactly where our weaknesses lie. He whispers lies into our hearts – “God has forsaken you, you will never be enough, God can never use you, you’re never going to get through this.” And on and on…
We fight back and keep trying to replace his lies with God’s truth. But he can come on so strong, and sometimes our bodies, minds, and spirits feel like we’ll never gain in the battle. And we lie on the battlefield wounded and weary.
Sometimes I think I get battle worn because I try too hard to fight off the devil and his army myself. I want to put on my own armor. I want to be able to fend for myself. I want to be in control. I hate the feeling of losing control.
But lately I feel I need to quit fighting so hard. I need to open my eyes to the Mighty Warrior who is at the forefront of the battle. To surrender my sword and all my control to Him. To put on His armor. To remember the battle is the Lord’s.
When David faced the giant Goliath, he remembered this. He said to Goliath:
“You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.” 1 Samuel 17:45
He knew the battle was not his:
“All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give all of you into our hands.” 1 Samuel 17:47
The battle is the Lord’s. He has already gained the victory over death, sin, and Satan. And He stands as a Mighty Warrior in front of us. No weapon that is formed against us will prosper. Jesus loves us so much that He won’t allow anyone to snatch us from His hands of love and salvation. It’s His pleasure to keep us safe, because He delights in us.
“But in that coming day no weapon turned against you will succeed. You will silence every voice raised up to accuse you. These benefits are enjoyed by the servants of the LORD; their vindication will come from Me. I, the LORD, have spoken!”
“I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of My hand.”
“No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.” Romans 8:37
When the battle rages in our hearts, let’s follow behind our Mighty Warrior, not run ahead of Him. Let’s put on His armor, not our armor of self-sufficiency. Let’s allow Him to fight for us. Let’s believe He’s got us and will never let us go.
“God understands hard times – so when life lets you down, know that God is holding you up and He will never let you go.” Holley Gerth
“Mighty Warrior” by Elevation Worship
Jesus, please help us to believe You won
the battle and You will never let us go!