Tonight marks the end of October and the end of Breast Cancer Awareness month. It’s also Halloween.
One of my sons panicked this morning, “I don’t know what I’m gonna be yet, Mom!” He thought for a second. “You know I just want the candy, right?”
Yeah, I know. But the only way to get the candy is to use your creativity and come up with a costume. Like one of my other sons who is a Rubik’s cube tonight. It’s a little risky not knowing what his friends might say about his creation, but to him, it’s worth it. Especially when you know that regardless, you’ll come away with a pillowcase full of candy, and maybe a full-size Twix bar.
I’ve been all about taking scary risks lately.
Like earlier this week, when I flew to Dallas and surprised my sister for her birthday by hiding in a tall, giftwrapped box in her dining room for at least an hour. When I heard her say, “I think I’d like to open this tomorrow,” I realized just how risky my idea was. Thankfully, she eventually opened me. And her squeals were so very worth the risk!
Other risks feel much scarier. Like my friend who is about to launch his new business, or another friend who is anticipating having a tough conversation with her mother-in-law today. Talk about scary. Ha.
(Ooh- sorry, Nancy. You aren’t scary- just those other mother-in-laws.)
For me, one of the biggest risks I’ve ever taken was checking myself into the hospital in 2010 to have a preventative double mastectomy after testing positive for a genetic mutation for breast cancer.
So, to close out October, I’m posting the last chapter of my devotional, The Faith to Free-Fall.
While you probably aren’t about to have a mastectomy, you might be on the verge of taking another kind of spiritual risk. If that’s the case, may you be encouraged to face your fears head-on with faith – and jump!
Imagine sitting on the edge of the open door of a plane, 12,000 feet in the air, your heart racing, terrified. You feel the wind whipping wildly against your face, the roar of the plane engine so loud you can hardly think.
Someone near you yells, “You can’t just fall out because the air pressure is too strong- you have to jump!”
Jump? Are you kidding? That’s crazy! That’s a wild, crazy leap of faith!
You look down. This is it. You take a deep breath, bend your knees and…jump! Then…you’re falling. Falling straight towards the earth, hurtling down at 120 miles per hour.
You squeeze your eyes tight and hold your breath as the wind rushes through your hair. What am I doing? I really could die! This is crazy!
But then, slowly, you peek through the slits in your eyelids, and begin to breathe again. The sun is setting on the horizon, orange-red blazing across the sky. Beautiful.
You take a deep breath. All at once, the fear is gone. You laugh, lay flat and stretch out your arms, floating, falling. It’s suddenly quiet, still, like time has frozen. Total peace.
With no parachute, most people would be afraid of free-falling. And for good reason. But you’re not. You know how this spiritual free-fall ends.
You look down and see the earth, green, brown, spread out below you. Just a few more seconds to go. The earth rushes up to meet you, and… instead of crashing into the hard ground, suddenly you are wrapped in warmth, in love. You have fallen directly into the arms of Jesus. They’re wrapped tightly around you. You’re safe in His embrace.
My mom had a double mastectomy in 2009. Later, she would describe being wheeled into the operating room as a “Free-fall into the arms of Jesus.” When I had my double mastectomy one year later, I remembered her words as I was also wheeled back. It truly felt like a free-fall, and all I could do was surrender my body and soul to God.
It takes faith to jump. It takes faith to free-fall.
I know it’s scary. Facing your fears will take all your willpower, all your faith to keep heading that direction and not run away to Tahiti.
But I also know there will be moments of peace that will surprise you. People God will send at just the right time with just the right words, verses of Scripture that will come to mind at just the moment you need them, strength He will give your loved ones to endure this journey with you.
God is writing your story. And your story isn’t over yet. In fact, He might be just getting to the good part! Trust Him, believe Him, and jump. From there on out, it’s a wild free-fall.
Whatever twists and turns your story takes, if you have put your faith in Jesus Christ for your salvation, I already know how your free-fall ends. Wrapped in His love, wrapped in His grace, and wrapped in His Arms.
That’s me, that’s you.
Dear Lord, this is it! I’m about to jump out of the plane and free-fall. I need You. I can’t do this without You. Please help me to believe You are writing my story and that my story ends well. I’m trusting You, trusting that Your strong Arms are waiting for me. Please give me the courage to jump, the strength to endure, and the faith to trust You. Amen.