I gazed out over the sparkling blue water.
I’d never seen such beauty. For miles the ocean stretched beneath the sun. A soft, sea-struck breeze caressed my face. I remember closing my eyes and lifting my chin up to catch the tail of it. And I was overwhelmed. Brought to tears, even. I’d never been to a place so alive before. It was no cathedral. No grand venue of worship. And yet, God was everywhere.
My husband took my hand in his and we stood. Both quiet. Present. Making a memory to savor. And for the life of me, I never wanted to say goodbye.
That moment of standing on a beach in Mexico was nearly fourteen years ago. My husband and I were headed back to the airport after a dream honeymoon and we’d stopped at the beach one last time. Soon, we’d be back to normal. Back to school. To work. “Real life” would begin. And I recall my reluctance to move an inch because of it all.
During rounds of cancer testing I underwent at this time last year, that beach memory came flooding back.
What the surgeon thought could be causing my symptoms was potentially serious. Enough that an MRI and one phone call with results could have changed the world for our family. I was slammed with thoughts of mortality – especially since my Dad had passed away from leukemia just months before. And what shocked me about contemplating the diagnosis was that death wasn’t even my biggest fear! What was far more horrible to ponder than death was… Regret.
I told my husband that what I feared more than going home to Jesus, was that I’d be sentenced to live out my days at the job I had so my family would have enough life insurance money to bury me. It wasn’t the work that was discouraging. It certainly wasn’t the wonderful team I was blessed to work with. What burned at my heart was that for so long I’d not been brave enough to step out and live the life He’d been calling me to.
I ignored His voice because we had bills. Kids. Responsibilities. I’d chosen the safety of a salary. And stability of comfort for the things I enjoyed. I picked control and constancy over the wonder of the beach. And now? That life was poised to fade away.
That one thought changed everything.
It started me on a road of discovery. With my husband’s support, I had to get brave. To get real about living for God! To get back to that beach with everything I had in me. I sought earnest counsel from mentors and friends. I spent time on my knees and got into the Word. I looked in the mirror more than I ever had before. And when the phone call came through with a good report and I’d been handed my life back, I meant to do something with it. Regret would have no source of abundance to keep it alive in my heart.
I wouldn’t feed it anymore. And John 10:10 says I don’t have to:
You don’t have to leave a job to follow Jesus. (In fact, I wouldn’t recommend it unless His call to do so is crystal clear.) Our family’s struggle with walking a new road this year has taught us more about life that we could have imagined. In fact, we’re still on the road. Still figuring things out. So I’m not saying you have to change everything about your life in order to really follow Him. But you may have to step out and change absolutely everything about your heart.
We’re not promised another day. Any of us could receive a phone call in 2015 that could change everything. Another breath isn’t guaranteed. But what we are promised is that the life we have should be lived more abundantly! Without fear. And certainly without regret.
2015 is the time.
Your time. A new year. It’s your fresh start. Take this one life you’ve been given and LIVE IT! There’s a sparkling beach out there with your name on it. And there’s enough room in the sand for you to plant your two feet and not budge an inch.
I pray John 10:10 becomes our life verse this year.
I pray that we find life in it and that we both live it – all of it – for Him.
With JOY in your amazing 2015 to come,