Tag Archives: ocean

Lift (My journey through Psalms: 93)

Last weekend we had our second annual “Chosen” girls night at GraceLife. We gathered the middle and high school girls together and pampered them with worship and wisdom. I had the great honor of speaking to these beautiful girls who received me with such grace it was easy to forget to be nervous and let God move. The next morning as we were processing together over eggs and bacon, we discussed Lisa Bevere’s advice I shared that as women we should





The girls asked good questions and one stumped me in my post-sleepover haze. What is the difference between lifting and encouraging? My words escaped me. I did my best and the other leaders picked up my shattered explanations and we moved forward in our discussion. So, it shouldn’t have surprised me when, in my morning devotions Sunday, I read in Psalms that word ‘lift’ again.

3 times to be precise.

Psalm 93 verse 3 says: The seas have lifted up first their voice, then their waves. A quick dictionary turn yielded the definition of this word, lift: to move to a higher position.

Now, this psalm is using seas as a representation, a symbol of the chaos in pagan religions that surround the psalmist’s words–juxtaposed with the firmness of the earth in verse 1 and God’s statues in verse 5, I begin to understand the beauty of this word–LIFT.

Lift out of chaos.

Lift into the heavens

Lift onto the firm ground.

Moving from the lower position to the higher position requires strength.

Encouragement does not require strength. When you encourage someone you are giving hope or confidence, telling them they are on the right path. It requires faith and kindness. Maybe even empathy.

But lifting requires backbone..and humility. It requires a willingness to move beneath someone and lend them your strength till they are higher than you.

I lift my niece.

I lift my students.

I lift my friends.

As Jesus lifted me. Lifted us.

We don’t stay lower after we lift someone, but it requires a certain amount of denial of self to lift someone into a higher position.

The seas lift their voice to praise God to a higher position–out of the chaos.

And we do the same.

We lend our strength to lift others out of the chaos and into the presence of God.

Defining God (My journey through Psalms: 42)

I used to be confused by the concept of a God who is by definition unconditional love, but who we also should fear. It seemed contradictory, even if fear didn’t mean horror, love and any kind of fear seemed to contradictory to even be juxtaposed into a description of one person, much less God.


Wrong, even.

Yes, I’ll admit it. I questioned the Bible. Maybe even argued with it.

And then I was betrayed by one of my first true loves: the ocean.

I’ve loved the ocean since I was toddling around in diapers and I don’t mean I enjoyed the beach; I mean I’d live in the water and my parents would have to drag me away  kicking and screaming.

Until one fateful year. I couldn’t have been very old, but that year it was like the ocean was out. to. get. me.

It was little things at first. The waves kept knocking me down. Then, they dragged me under. And finally I was under for so long, I literally thought I was going to drown.

Fortunately one of my cousins was close enough to pull me up.

But that was enough. I sat on the shore staring at the ocean and feeling betrayed.

What had I done to make this powerful entity so angry with me? The ocean had always protected me before. Had always been my friend. Had always loved me.

But it wasn’t the ocean who had changed at all. It was me.

The ocean was always the same: beautiful, endless, and POWERFUL. It was my attitude that had changed.

Before I had a healthy respect…or fear (healthy mind you) for dangers in the ocean–rip currents, tides, critters etc. But that year I had gotten cocky, and tried to follow the big kids–kids with more experience than I had–some place I didn’t belong and the ocean did what the ocean does. And there are always consequences for our actions, even (or maybe especially) when I am stupid.

Funny thing, though, the ocean is still there. Still as beautiful and magnificent and forgiving as ever==as long as I remember to have respect for her and who she is: the mighty ocean.

Years later when I was questioning the essence of God I understood that God works the same way.

He is love, but he is also might, powerful and strong. He doesn’t change. The God from the old testament is the same God today. His nature is constant, but not a contradiction like I once thought. A complexity that I must respect–which is really the only way to build a relationship anyway.