who's steering?

05 August 2010

I was so humbled to ask to be a guest poster on Living on Literary Lane.  I knew exactly what I would share -- especially after Lizzy asked that it was about an "amazing, humbling, or God filled experience."  This post, that I wrote a year and a half ago, reminded me of the closeness of God.  It's amazing how tangible he really is --- Life is full of examples!  So often we go through life unaware that He is teaching us, surprising us, leading us -- often through the little things.  I hope that reading my words opens your eyes to the closeness of our Father. 

Yep, that’s me.  Looking at the hand-written date my mother so lovingly scrawled on the back it would put me at just over five years old.  My grandparents, on my dad’s side, had this wonderful boat.  They lived less than a mile from a major lake, and until I was a teenager my grandfather payed for a slip to dock the boat.  I spent countless summer nights fishing for pan fish, and later, in the setting summer sun, scaling fish in my grandparents three season porch.

One of my favorite activities with the boat was to play in the boat prior to it being launched.  If you look around, you can see that it’s in a neighborhood.  There’s a street ot the left, and grass in front.  My dad would lift me into the boat dubbed "The Crusader" and my younger sister, Becky, and I would set off for an adventure.  We’d pretend to clean the boat, we’d create stories of being lost at sea, and occasionally we’d have a little fight.  However, we quickly learned that if we earned the privilege of being in the boat we’d need to get along.  Or at least fake it.

Anyways, this sweet picture creates such nostalgia in my heart.  I loved spending times at my grandparents.  I loved fishing and riding across the water with the wind blowing my curly hair around.  I loved the excitement of seeing my bobber sink under the water, and the tension on my rod as I reeled in my sunfish.  I craved those moments when my dad would ask me to sit on his lap so that I could steer the boat.  I’d sit on his left knee and he would give me the steering wheel.  Well, it felt that way.  But, underneath his strong and guiding hand would hold the wheel tight making sure that I, a mere child, didn’t crash, or spin us around, or guide us into shore.  Yet, he let me learn.  He allowed the boat to slip just a bit so that I’d learn how to readjust. 

As the years passed his grip on the boat lessened and lessened.  Eventually, he handed over the wheel to me.  He trusted me.  He taught me how to drive.  He drilled the rules into my head.  Who passes whom, on what side, what speed you go through the channel, and so on.   I’d be asked over and over.

If you think about those early days of boat driving, there’s a neat analogy about my father holding the wheel and that of our heavenly Father holding our earthly steering wheel.  There are many times where I think that I know the right path, that I know where to go, and yet I find myself marooned on the shore.  A shore, a place of lost dreams, lost hopes, and discouragement.  Shipwrecked.  My stubborness to let my Father guide me weakened my faith.  And I was led to places that I didn’t want to go.  Or certainly, when I started the journey I was looking at the target, the destination.  But, on my own, I didn’t navigate there.  My faith was weakened, and I drifted off course.  Sometimes I’ll grip the wheel of life and think, "I’m doing it on my own.  I have to fix this."  And other times, I’d let go.  Neither works.  There’s a balance of action and faith.

In Timothy Paul talks about faith.  I love the phrase 

I have fought the good fight.

But did you know that right after that verse comes these words?

"…holding on to faith and a good conscience.
Some have rejected these and
so have shipwrecked their faith."
1 Timothy 1:19

Shipwrecked their faith?  Is a shipwreck ever the intent of the captain?  I know that, me as a daring boat captain at five, never ended, never aimed to drive the boat into a shore.  And yet, if my Dad hadn’t been steering with me, there is a good chance it would have sailed into the rocky shore.  Oh, how I want to live in such a surrendered way where I know that I cannot steer through this life on my own.  I want to live in faith, fighting the good fight, with my Heavenly Father by my side -- helping me steer. 


Who am I? I'm Rachel from the blog, finding joy.  I've been blogging, or at least writing online since my husband was diagnosed with cancer in the winter 2005/06.  It all started with a simple caringbridge site and grew through the years. In April I restarted here on Blogger.  I'm also mom to seven fabulous children, including Hannah, from Aspire. My blog -- it's a sampling of my life.  Humor, life stories, my journey of faith, random thoughts, homeschooling all wrapped together by writing. 

I'd love to have you visit!

2 epistles:

  1. Beautiful post Rachel! Jesus take the wheel!

  2. WOW! That was beautiful. I just started a circle journal with some other women... and faith in every footstep was the theme I chose for my journal. As we speak, someone else has my journal and is writing in it. :) This is exciting to me. Faith that God will direct our lives and help us to steer it if we ask in faith and have the faith to follow His counsel... is the message I am sending out. I know our Heavenly Father is ALWAYS there for us, and we can not crash if he is with us at the helm.

    Well done.
    Corine :D


"Gracious words are like a honeycomb; sweetness to the soul and health to the body." —Proverbs 16:24

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