Jesus, what do I do when I fail?

Only a few hours earlier I’d bonded with this precious new friend at breakfast. We sat and talked for nearly two hours, sharing backgrounds and dreams. This Texas small town girl felt an unlikely kinship with this Chicago gal and I was excited about this newly forged friendship. Now I’d just flipped her into waist deep water as I attempted to get in our canoe. Together we stood in the water laughing uncontrollably. We hugged, laughed some more, and then wrestled with dragging our water-filled canoe to shore.

Back in my cabin soaking wet from head to toe, I sat and pondered the events of the retreat so far. And yes, I kept chuckling to myself. Oh Lord, I had fervently prayed for the courage to just be myself. Thank you, Jesus! These new girlfriends were getting a healthy dose of that.

Suzie Eller had encouraged us the night before to be open to our “right now” invitations. “Jesus,” I asked, “When your right now invitation is to get in that canoe, what do I make of it when I flip the canoe getting in, not once, but twice?”

In the sacred space of that rustic cabin, with clothes dripping, He answered:

Just keep trying, Monica. Don’t ever give up. Jump into life and live it fully. Enjoy the adventures I have in store for you. Yes, keep soaking in my word, but now I want you to stand up and share my word. When you do and life flips you upside down, you’ll see the water is just fine because I am with you. By the way, I’ll give you friends along the way to encourage and laugh with you. Life is better when you laugh.”

In that moment I knew I could no longer hide in the shadows simply soaking in the safety of God’s word. I had to share God’s word and its life-changing effects. Empowered to take chances on my dreams again, I returned home and dusted off the cobwebs of a book I’d started writing eighteen months ago, but has been on my heart for years.

And you know what?

Just as the water felt gloriously refreshing the day I flipped that canoe, I’m gloriously refreshed this week as I hit send on my first Christian writing contest submission.

Do you have a God-given dream that is stored away, afraid to pursue it? Is Jesus inviting you to an adventure, but fear keeps you on the bench?

In her moving closing message at the “Come With Me Devotional” retreat, Suzie reminded us that God promised us a helper. The power of the Holy Spirit lives within us empowering us to be the salt and light working for His Kingdom. (Acts 1:8; Matthew 5:13-16)

My favorite scripture is Jesus’ last words on earth, the last words I read to my beloved father-in-law before he met Jesus face-to-face…

And, remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20

Friends, it’s been a long winding journey for me, but I now know that Jesus is with me every moment of every day. I feel Him. And, yes, I am empowered by the power of the Holy Spirit nudging me to stand up daily.

You are too.

That is gloriously refreshing. It’s freeing and it opens us to the adventures that Jesus has in store for us.

My writing contest submission may sink just as our canoe did, but that’s OK. I recognized Jesus’ right now invitation, I stood up and shared His words. I’ll keep trying, keep soaking in God’s word, and I’ll keep sharing. I stepped into the canoe, ready to enjoy the ride wherever Jesus leads. And, just as He promised me in that rustic cabin in Oklahoma, Jesus surrounds me with encouragers, Jesus-loving friends who laugh with me even when I flip the canoe!

Friends, you are empowered. Step into Jesus’ adventure…

Hugs & blessings,