Walking on Water

I was four years old the first time I saw a miracle. While playing in the front room with the blue blinds raised up, letting the mid morning light stream in through the windows, I peered outside to see a fawn curled up on the sidewalk against the brick wall right below me. She was unwell, and looked like her leg was hurt. My heart broke for her. I knelt down, and purposed to pray, not leaving my post until she was well again. I don’t know how long I was there, but it felt like forever. I hoped she could feel my love.

After a while, she got up and walked over to the side yard. I could not believe my eyes! The fawn was able to walk again, and I truly believed it was because of my fervent prayers.

In fourth grade, I took it upon myself to walk on water. We were living in south Florida, and had a pool in our back yard, so one afternoon while the siblings were engaged in other activities, I planted my feet a few steps from the deep end, giving myself room for a running start.

If I run fast enough, maybe I can trick the water into keeping its surface firm for me.

I cleared my mind of all negative thinking, took a deep breath, and ran, laughing the whole way! I made it a few steps onto the water before sinking, but it was enough to bolster my belief that we actually had access to things were missing out on, including walking on water. Maybe with enough practice, I could make it all the way across.

I have always believed in the impossible. My imagination has been wild for as long as I can remember. It’s like I was born with a brain wired to persevere until what I see in my mind and feel in my spirit comes to pass, even if it takes years. I love the scene from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, in which Father Christmas gives each Pevensie child a gift to help them wage war in the ways they were born to. These gifts called into being their unique identities, showing them how the world needed them.

A good gift reminds you of who you really are: beloved, delighted in, strong, courageous, compassionate, necessary.

When we moved to the Dutch Caribbean in 2017, I believed wholeheartedly we would thrive throughout the process of medical school as a family of five, even though the odds were stacked quite high against us. We were hot off the heels of a traumatic twin pregnancy in which I was hospitalized at 26 weeks with unresolved hemorrhaging, and an abnormal ultrasound suggesting that “Twin B” may have fatal genetic abnormalities. They were born via c-section at 30 weeks, miraculously healthy, and to this day are thriving, but nothing could have prepared me for the difficulty of raising “three under three” on such a small, isolated island.

We strove to make it work on the island for about a year, then met a different side of persevering: knowing when to rest and say “no more.”

My husband and I have now been separated for 7 months. This distance seemed horribly impossible, and has frequently felt that way. Days go by where my heart feels frozen while I chugg along completing parenting tasks, and make personal and professional plans. But then I break open in a flood of frustration and tears: I just want MY person!!!! To be held and understood, to be seen, to be laughing alongside the one who has held my hand through mountaintops and valleys. He has embodied the kind of love I thought was impossible.

But now, he is coming home.

When Jesus was born, he gave us the gift of impossibility. Through his goodness, the waves that would overwhelm and swallow us whole, become the ground we walk on. Instead of striving harder to belong, we become inherently beloved. We get to forge a path of peace, strength, and rest. What other God comes to us, drawing us near, with no caveats and fine print? What other God calls us good, when our perceived shortcomings overwhelm us? What other God lets an 8 year old have a taste of walking on water, just because he is good and loves to hear us laugh?

How glorious that each time we step out in faith: going for it anyways, setting up shop anyways, moving anyways, auditioning anyways, starting a new business anyways, dreaming big anyways, widening our circle, embracing the margins, and loving anyways, we declare the impossible, possible.

I cannot think of a better gift.

*Photo by Angelo Pantazis on Unsplash