Falling out of the boat

Can you imagine being in a boat in the middle of the ocean, lost, confused, afraid and having no tangible resources to help you get back?  Think about it for a minute.  That thought really frightens me to death!  Then, go one step further and think about the wind and the waves picking up and you ultimately fall out of the boat and you have no help getting back in.  Eventually, you WILL drown!  My biggest fear, besides clowns, is drowning! (fun fact)

That is how I have recently been thinking of my life before I fully allowed God in to my heart and soul.  It is also how I felt when I refused to listen to His calling and purpose for my life and tried to do it all on my own.  Of course, at the time, I didn’t see it like this at all.  I didn’t envision a lost boat with no captain and no way to return to shore.  Back in those days, I probably looked at it more like, I was the captain of my ship and I could handle whatever comes my way, ON MY OWN!  I was so so wrong about that.

If you looked at me on the outside, you might see someone that is smiling or laughing most of the time.  You might say I have a lot of friends and I’m very social and I may have even looked like I have it all together. I’ve been like that since I was a little girl.  Youngest of 9 kids, running the neighborhood and pretty happy go lucky for the most part.  On the outside, I don’t look like someone that’s doing anything on my own,  I was surrounded by people.  I have friends, family and I’m floating along pretty well.  What I found out several years back is that most of all of that was an act.  I wasn’t trying to put on an act, I just went through the motions and getting by.
I had 8 older siblings and I was brushed aside quite a bit.  My oldest sister raised me for the most part and I never felt super close to my parents until I got much older.  They were just too busy and very overwhelmed.  They loved me very much but this was just the way my life was in this big family!  It was how things fell into place after Mark died.  My parents lost their 22 yr old son in a tragic car accident 2 days after Christmas and had to continue to raise 8 other children.  Imagine that.  I didn’t get it.  My mom could not parent me the way that she probably wanted to after that.  She was numb, I’m sure and felt that her right arm was cut off.  I was a little 8 year old just searching for where I fit in all of this.  I felt that I had to beg for attention and eventually, when I didn’t get it, I started finding it in other places.  Bad places.  My reputation in high school was not the best BUT I had lots of friends, so that must mean I was doing ok, right?  Not so much!  My younger years of feeling insecure and inferior led straight into my adult life, yet nobody really knew it because I wore a smile most of the time and was constantly trying to be the center of attention.

However, two very big things were missing in my life…GOD and my ability to reveal my true pain and emotions to the women in my life.  I was trying to do it alone and I was slowly, slowly drowning.  Like, I’m talking, drowning to the point where my head was under water and I was gasping for air.  It took several blows to see that I could not survive this way.

My journey to where I am now has been a long one and it’s ongoing.  Seeing the light of faith after church retreats and speaking to groups of women has been a blessing beyond belief for me.  I’ve always been taught to have faith in God and I have many women (and men) in my life that exhibit such a strong faith through suffering. My mom and my sisters are prime examples of faith in God and faith in each other.  When the going gets tough, the Krueger women get tougher!  They are my inspiration as well as my mentor, Rebecca!

As a 42 year old woman, I can now honestly say, that I don’t always have a smile on my face and sometimes when I do, it may even be fake.  I don’t have as many friends as I used to have and I certainly don’t like to be half as social as I used to be.  But I can also say this…I am NOT doing it on my own anymore!  I am learning to examine my heart and lay the emotions that are a result from past/current pain in my life, at the foot of the cross!  I am learning to ask myself why I feel angry, bitter, resentful, fearful and then talk to the Lord about those feelings.  I am also learning to rely on other women in my life with these feelings.  I am being vulnerable in a way that I have never been able to be.  I am trusting this group of women in my ministry with truth from life experiences and through that they are helping me learn how to love fully and leave the pain in the past.
I need to be able to reach out for His hand and I now realize that I need other women in the boat with me when I am suffering.  I do not have to do this alone.  If I start to fall out of the boat, I’m not afraid anymore because I have women by my side pulling me back in!

I believe that we have to do this together ladies!  We have to choose to be surrounded by people that will encourage us in our faith and who let us fall apart if we need to and then help us pick up the pieces along the way.  To me, it is so important to find our comfort level speaking to the Lord, but also being able to unload to a trustworthy person that may hold you accountable in this life!  Find someone that you can reveal your pain too and then she will help you carry on!  She’ll throw you a lifejacket when you’re drowning!
Do you know who that person or people are in your life?  It doesn’t have to be a best friend, it doesn’t have to be someone in your town or community.  That could be scary if she’s “too close to home” to reveal your inner most thoughts and feelings.  Perhaps she’s at church or she writes a blog that you like (wink) or she’s a friend of a friend or a relative…Do you have someone like that?  I bet she’s out there waiting for you to call on her.  Maybe she’s waiting for you too!
I have had Christian, spiritual friends all of my life, but I wasn’t able to truly tap into my emotions with them and I kept up the act with them and with myself!
Through the Holy Spirit, I have the ability to open up now and I know that with these women and with God, I may end up in the deep end, but I will never drown!

“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.  If one person falls, the other can reach out and help.  But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm.  But how can one be warm alone?  A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer.  Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”  Ecclesiastes 4:9-12