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Sink or Swim

It’s summer here in South Africa. I think we’ve moved away from having four seasons to having two… A fusion of spring and autumn, and just plain summer. What a time to be alive for a winter lover. Climate change is real, y’all…

So, in the spirit of 36 degree heat, we decided to go for our first summer swim. This proved to be a challenge after a rather indulgent winter… My clothes reject me, and squeezing in to my bathing suit was quite the spectacle.

After I won the war with the bathing suit, I slipped my phone into my back pocket, and off we went. I dipped my tippy-toe into the shallows to test the waters, still deciding if I was really about to do this. The water was welcoming and, without thinking twice, I immediately sunk into the turquoise mass. A moment of pure bliss… And then it hit me.

I reached into the back pocket of my swimming shorts, and there it was… My cellphone. I was out of that pool and back in the apartment in about two seconds. My boyfriend went into ultra problem solving mode. He reached for a container and a bag of rice, and started covering my five year old Sony Xperia. I was tempted to reach for a torch, stethoscope and scalpel to join the operation, but before I knew it the entire phone was buried under a tiny mountain of rice.

What a way to go. A proper burial, I’d say.

Unfortunately life doesn’t have a “Control; Alt; Delete” option. I stood frozen in the living room. Staring blankly in front of me. Contemplating and reliving my actions of the past 20 minutes. Tears started flowing… What if I just reached for my back pocket before I jumped in… What if I just realised it earlier… What if… What if… I was furious with myself. I couldn’t believe what a stupid mistake I just made… What a circus!

In the middle of a contagious negative self-talk cycle, I felt a familiar voice calling me to quiet my heart.

“Do you trust Me, dearest?”

… Yes, Lord, but…

“No. Do you trust Me?”

… Yes.

A deep calm fell over my heart, and I just knew that my Father would provide. The thoughts and worries twirling through my mind came to a halt, and I knew I had to let go. I made a mistake. But I serve a God who gives beauty for ashes… He would make a way. Even if it seemed impossible.

And He did.

The damage was irreversible. No amount of rice could save my old phone. In fact if you shake it, a refreshing amount of water will hit your cheek. But I had a new phone in no time. A great phone. A phone that will serve me well in the new season I’m heading in to.

I was challenged this year. In every single way. Spiritually, physically and emotionally. I made mistakes in all shapes and sizes. Lessons were learned. Tests were failed. Victories were won. I went through so many phases of excitement and disappointment, I completely lost count. But the most precious thing I’ve learned this year is that when we surrender, and humbly approach His throne of grace, God is faithful to turn every mistake into a testimony and every failure into a stepping stone.

“The Goodness of God” by Jenn Johnson is one of my new favourite songs. And even as I sing it now, the lyrics ring true to the core of my spirit:

“All my life You have been faithful,

All my life You have been so, so good.

With every breath that I am able,

I will sing of the goodness of God…”

It’s time to open up those wings. It’s time to let go of false securities and jump into the unknown. He’s calling you to get out of the boat, and trust that He will meet your feet on the new adventures He has prepared.

Yes, you will fail sometimes. Yes, you will fall sometimes. But the beauty and splendour that awaits when we surrender, is so much greater than any failure or fault. There’s so much grace and space to fall, if we just keep failing forward into the arms of the Father.

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