These past few weeks there have been numerous people yelling at me from boats. Just when I don’t think I can come up for another breath, there they are. Their muffled encouragements drifting into my ears through the crashing waves. At certain moments I lose my bearings and ability to judge if I can even make it to my destination at all. But the hodge-podge crowd of boat sailing cheerleaders yelled at me telling me that I was so close – almost there. Keep going Liz.
Okay, I think to myself. Just breathe. Keep going.
You may not know this about me, but I am NOT a marathon swimmer. However, some people actually are. And when they set out to conquer things like the English Channel or swimming from Florida to Haiti without a shark cage, they don’t go it alone. They are accompanied by a support boat full of people. People to cheer them on, give them what they need throughout the journey and rescue them if need be.
I have been my own kind of marathon swimmer as of late. My oceans are composed of legal documents. Instead of waves I have deadlines and my sharks are simply too many unknown elements to name. Four years ago, we began the process of international adoption. It has been a gritty and grueling marathon of its own.
I leave in two weeks to travel to Africa and begin meeting with orphanages. After four years of what seems like aimless swimming in an endless sea, it is as if I can see a shore for the first time. But these past few weeks have had some significant challenges. Thank God for the boat full of people yelling at me.
Random texts asking how to pray. Phone calls from people I rarely talk to calling just encourage me and see how I am doing. A $500 donation to our adoption account from a complete stranger. People in a boat. Cheering beside me.
My life has been filled with moments that seemed to hard to endure. Moments that my weary eyes were blurry and couldn’t really see the target anymore. Days when it seemed like the darkness was greater than the light and that somehow in the scuffle of it all I didn’t really matter much. But in those moments that ached with tiredness I heard the yells and remembered that I wasn’t alone.
We all need boats of people yelling at us.
Screaming our rally cry when we have forgotten the very words our own heart wrote.
Gladiators who step in the ring with us saying, ” Have a rest friend. I’ve got this round.“.
Dreamers who never let us forget our vision and pray for endless hours to a God who gives the strength we need.
But we have to let them in. Tell them what battles we are fighting and give them permission to journey alongside us. Not following at a distance, but close. Where they can see our labored breathing and hear our subtle cry for help. Yes, they will see us ugly cry and wrestle with our inadequacies. But we trust them – so its okay. These are the ones who will cover for us when we fail and who only Instagram our highlights.
Don’t swim your oceans alone. Bring people in.
And get in another’s boat.
Be the the one yelling that the shore is close. Remind others that this saltwater won’t surround them forever, but soon they will be able to put their feet down and walk onto the beach having conquered that which seemed impossible. And when they get there, throw them a party.
Yell, cheer and pray until you have lost your own voice on another’s behalf.
Build a boat and fill it with people who have your back. Hop in a canoe and paddle alongside a friend who needs you.
Our destiny is not to drown alone in the dark waters, but to defy the odds with others.
Love crosses oceans.
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