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STORY: Ocean So Big

Everything in her town scared Lottie, so she flew to Tropea, Italy.


It was a big step for her because most of the time, like I said, she lived with debilitating fear. She never made such daring moves, especially by herself. She stayed safe behind her window as a bank teller, and behind the screen of the 38 shows she binged last year. But at age 35, and recently divorced, after winning an aiplane ticket at work, she needed to go find something, anything, waiting for her in that fear, or to just stop the fear… forever.

As she showed up at the beach in the cove with rising cliffs on either side, silent at the break of morning, she was trembling. She couldn’t appreciate this beauty because it was nothing but threatening to her. The drunk men cat calling her in the city above as she walked here in the dark. The hard jutting rocks. The gaping mouth of an expansive dark ocean. Her heart was pounding. She had to push in, to go into the fear to see what was on the other side, because it was not worth living like this.

She dropped her towel to the sand, and walked out of her flip flops, a trail for those who asked, if she never came back.

The tiny rocks gouged the delicate palms of her feet. She cringed but pressed on.


“God, I took a chance, trying to believe that you loved me,” She whispered. “I thought Ronnie was the tiniest of proof, but even he left me.”


She stubbed her toe on a rock, a part of the cliffs jutting up to through the sand at her. She yelped. That might have broken her toe but it didn’t matter much now. She would walk straight into that which she feared and take whatever it gave her.

The water splashed cool on her feet. She looked down with blurry eyes. She stepped in further. It splashed up to her knees and then it deepened fast and she dropped to her waist. She caught her breath and whimpered, it felt like the cliffs were towering in on her. She pushed forward, desperate now. She kicked some coral… hard. She gasped in a deep breath and her head went under just as her feet slipped off the dropping edge of the ground. She sunk slowly beneath the water.

She opened her eyes in the water. She could see below her where it dropped off into darkness. She looked behind her where she could still see the sand. Then she slowly looked out toward the rest of the sea. She saw the light gradient of foamy teal above fade to profoundly dark blue below her, stretching out forever everywhere in front of her.


She pictured ancient sea creatures from the shows she’d seen rising up from below swallowing her in one gulp. Anything could reach her right now. She was completely vulnerable. “Come and get me. . .” She waited, “whatever you are. . .” She moved her arms and legs frantically fast. Her heart raced. “I don’t want to be scared of you anymore,” she thought.


Then a thought hit her. “This is the size of my love for you.”


Her eyes got large as she peered into the depths. Her heart expanded. Her arms and legs slowed.

She pondered, “What if this really IS the size of His love for me?” She looked slowly from the depths to the surface, from the right to the left, and then to the light above her.


As the oxygen transformed to carbon dioxide in her blood, terror turned into glory. Despair reformed into friendship.


With a smile growing on her face and eyes wide open, she looked to the surface and swam towards it.


She emerged into the brightening day and swam toward the shore. She pushed off the rough rocks with her feet and eventually paddled through the smaller rocks with her hands. She thought, “And his love is this real and as solid as these.”

She gazed with eyes wide at the lemon sunlight starting to climb down the tall cliff. “And these are his gifts to me.” She gazed at the caves in the rocks and the town starting to rustle above. She moved towards them with a resolution in her heart. A knowing that behind her fear was something far bigger than that which she had feared. It was God’s love for her.


What is on the other side of your fear?


Raw Spoon, 10-20-23 (From Albania, one week after going to Tropea)


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These BLOGS are usually inspired by messages I (or friends) feel we have heard from God. This is the nature of our God. Listen for how he may be speaking to you.

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