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Orangutan Arms & Jordan Hips

For over 20 years, I have written words for others. I am thankful for that work. But sometimes I simply need to write my own words.

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I’ve never liked swimming.  No, not an accurate statement.

Since my age 4 near-drowning experience (in my memory, anyway) at the beautiful-but-murkiest-ever Lake Anita, swimming and I just haven’t seen eye-to-eye.  At all.  My fear of water runs wide and deep.  “Deep” being the key word and my main fear.

I had a friend (God love her) try to teach me to swim the summer before our senior year of high school.  Now that HAD to be hilarious to watch.  First of all, she’s the most petite, most beautiful little thing.  And me, well…let’s just say “petite” is not a word that has ever been used to describe my 5’10” frame, complete with my mom’s “Jordan hips” to round it out.  Literally.

Add-on my perm-fried, Sun-In-bleached-out hair.  Oh my, it just wasn’t pretty, folks!  Anyway…

I would flail my freakishly long orangutan arms in the water (yes, in the 4′) – certain that death was near – as she would patiently instruct and encourage.  I know…bless my heart.

One day, she had me “try the board.”  Now at our town pool back in the day, there was the low diving board and the high diving board.  And nary had my size 10 feet touched either.  Until that day.  The low board, it was.  Dear Lord, help me.

diving boardAs I made my shaky way out to the end of that board and stood there and stood there, toes curled around the edges hanging on with every last ounce of strength my toes-that-look-like-fingers could muster, I was scared.  Too scared to dive in.  And too scared to turn around and retreat. (Why are those boards so dang shaky, anyway?!)

The feeling I had in that moment.  The moment I awkwardly slid off the board (note I did not use the words “dove off”) and flailed around (again) for what seemed like 5 minutes trying to get over to my beloved wall to hold on to (it’s like 3 feet from the board to the wall, by the way).  That feeling was panic.  Shaky, drippy, scared, water-over-my-head-sinking-away-from-the-light, sheer panic.

I’ve been fighting that same feeling this week.  Sortof.

As I sit here writing this, I feel like I’m standing on the edge of that diving board again. But this time I’m 4 hours away from finding out if the 4-cm cyst that is growing on the right side of my thyroid is cancerous or not.  And I’m not gonna lie…I’m scared.  Scared but not panicked (or shaky or drippy…okay, maybe a little shaky but that could be from the coffee).

Why no panic?

Jesus.  Sound too simplistic to you?  “Blind faith” and all that…

I want to share a text I got from a dear family friend (and the father of one of my dearest friends) yesterday.  A recovering pastor of 40+ years and author of Up Your Gospel (a refreshing read):

Beloved Jenny,

Allow me to share some thoughts of David when surrounded by enemies of fear, worry and uncertainty.

Psa 27:13 I had fainted (despaired), unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.

Our faith is to be focused on His goodness and not our supposed ability (or lack thereof) to fight fear, believe for healing, or even to stand against doubt. We are just His beloved kids! Our trust is in His goodness towards us expressed in seeing the goodness given to us here in the “land of the living!”

I know that good people have experienced many tragic things and there is medical facts and family histories knocking at your mind and scattering your thoughts. To that I say with David:

Psa 91:7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.

Imagine Josey being under the kind of pressure that you have been under in the last week from circumstances in her life… Would you as her mother not do everything in your power to bring a lasting relief and remedy? To that I say:

Mat 7:11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

Trust His goodness, it’s more reliable than family histories! Trust His goodness, it is more reliable than doctor’s reports! Trust His goodness to you, it’s much more reliable than the lies of us being unworthy, unfaithful or our self-image inconsistencies! Trust His goodness it is more reliable than I feel physically, emotionally, or spiritually right now!

Now save this somewhere and send it back to me the next time life knocks me on my ass!

Your Friend and Brother in Christ,

Jesus is already victorious.  No matter what.  No matter what that looks like for me.  Because I trust His goodness.  His goodness is more reliable than my ability to BE, or DO, or TRY, or STRIVE.  And that is so dang freeing!  SUCH a relief!   If you’re reading this and want that relief – that release – message me or reach out to me.  Please.  I will help you get to know Jesus.  I want you to experience His goodness.  To be set free.

In the meantime, I’m going to gracefully dive (well, as graceful as I can be) into these unknown waters.  No more shaky, drippy, sheer panic though.  These orangutan arms and Jordan hips have been set free!  To confidently swim in the deep…trusting His goodness.

“Yes, and I will rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, 
whether by life or by death.”  Phil. 1:18-20

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  1. Mom says:

    Aaaah! Sweet! You! Doug! Gonna hang on to this. Love you and praying!

  2. Jan says:

    I love you. And I love Doug’s wise words and counsel. I’m going to save them, too, and resend them when I need a reminder. Praying that wont be later today. You are a gift to me, little sister, from the day I knew were coming. And you continue to be…

  3. Judy Marnin says:

    Beautifully said, and so encouraging. And so thankful for a good result! Love you, sweetie!

  4. lifemadejoyful says:

    I love you, sweet friend.

  5. Karis Johnston says:

    Our precious father is indeed good and psalm 91 can be our greatest comfort if we choose to believe it. Thank you for your honesty and beautiful writing style:) Looking forward to more. You are deeply loved, richly blessed and highly favored!

  6. Janet Sharpe says:

    Love your humor and beautiful encouraging words! Prayers for good results for the upcoming procedure! God is so great and faithful! Love you#

  7. Eva Greco says:

    Beautiful! Prayers to you! ❤️

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modern problem solving.
old-fashioned work ethic.

dallas, TX

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