It’s been 3 years, 6 months, and 16 days since my father passed away, and I would be lying if I said every day was a good day. I can’t even say with certainty that the good and bad days balance each other out, but I don’t ignore the fact that I genuinely laugh most days and am excited about life. I don’t ignore that at one point in my life I could not enjoy good things and one day, fairly recently, I cried as I reflected back on the mental and emotional state I was in a few years ago. I constantly asked myself how I’m able to put one foot in front of the other and I suddenly realized, “Jocee, you’re walking on water.”
Over a year ago, I wrote a post about surfing through my sea of grief (here). Nowadays, I don’t find myself having to surf as much. I’m still out here in the sea, but the effort and strength I had to put into surfing, I no longer have to do. Call it progress, a step in the right direction, or whatever you want; I’m just happy I don’t have to fight to be alive anymore. But I walk very carefully on this sea. In Matthew 14:29, it says Peter walked on water to go to Jesus and many days that’s what I find myself doing: walking to Jesus. He is my hope (Psalms 71:5). He is my peace (Philippians 4:7). He is love (1 John 4:8). And these three things, hope, peace, love, are what I have needed most with the greatest of these being love (1 Corinthians 13:13).
So what changed? I started truly believing God was who He said He was and that I really could do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13), including deal with my feelings. I can remember telling myself, “God can help you with this.” And it was as though the scales fell from my eyes (Acts 9:18) and walking became an option. It literally took years for me to get to this point and I never want to give off the illusion that I’m so overnight success. God is definitely able but that’s not how it happened for me.
There are times I’m like Peter, and start focusing on everything around me (the sadness, pain, anger, longing) and can feel myself sinking; and just like Peter, I cry out to Jesus to save me and He does just that (Matthew 14:30). I can recall a specific time I felt myself sinking and I told Jesus I needed help. There was no elaborate prayer; I didn’t call on the elders of the church, but with tears in my eyes I simply said, “I don’t want to go down this road again. I need You to help me.” I didn’t know what that help was going to look like, I just knew I desperately needed it. The next day, my friend invited me to see a performance and in that moment, I could feel the water beneath my feet again. Jesus reached out to save me, showing me I could keep walking this walk.
Since the year has started, I’ve slept many days away, I’ve went to see my therapist, I’ve been so angry it scared me, but even in these moments, I walked on water to Jesus. With tears in my eyes, I walked on water to Jesus. I don’t know that I’ll ever get out of this sea of grief, it may be a thorn in my flesh, but I’m reminded that where I’m weak, He is strong (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). You may find yourself still having to surf through your pain, and that’s okay. Stay there as long as you need to, but know that God can help you let that surf board float away and give you the faith to walk on water.