Want to go Deeper with God?

1983.  That was the date I placed paper glasses, one blue, one red, over my innocent eyes.  That’s when I slunk down and peered terrified onto the big screen, watching a life-like shark rise up….nuna nuna…unpredictable.  Eat people who all seemed quite oblivious.

I had lived with fear, chasing, night terrors. I had heard screams, ran in fearful at the sight of things coming my way…things bigger than me, things out of my control.

jpo;ajBut now in real-life as a near adolescent, I was nearly dragged into a theater; shown dark water, teeth gnashing, limbs broken, in what already…to my over-active imagination…seemed like a real life enactment of all my worst dream, rolled up into one.

“I got ’em” my husband leaps into our rental, last week.  On an island, especially enthusiastic that our eighteen year-old, me, and Him were about to go diving in the deep; swimming with Manta Ray’s, snorkeling in the moon glistening dark.

And let me preface this scenario with, I have not been a fearful person in my adulthood. But, the thought of dunking my head under the dark deep waters, waters sharks are daily hunting, where Bethany Hamilton lost an arm to those pursuing ones…..

Let’s just say, I was a little bit, well…..terrified.

Still, dark, unpredictable waters can realistically lurk anywhere.  Lurking in our business, in our financial futures.  They can rise when raising children, in our marriages, even in churches, or in pursuits of Jesus.

And if we kept our feet on shore, we might just stand frozen, shrunken, life-less, bored….because let’s face it….any move in the direction of our healing, our Savior, our Jesus…will almost always hold some resistance.

Deep waters representing the unknown will always expose our doubts and fears. And when we despise the thought of no roadmap, no clear direction, no future plan, no five-year strategy for how God is going to work out the promises He has laid upon our very hearts.er..like can be scary, and even the most brave of us, can hesitate getting into waters uncertain.

But faith is not circumstantial, always evidenced by obedience.  Faith approaches boldly, leaning on a God that can’t be tangibly touched or every, in dthis life, fully realize.

And don’t we all have a choice, really?

Dive deep, let go of the boat that keeps our feet planted.  Emerge ourselves deep into the unknown awaiting us….or return back to stable shores, and regret that we let fear lead us…instead of faith.  Forever regretting our hesitation, our doubt, our unbelief that God is completely Sovereign despite our wildest fears.

“Your gonna regret it.”  My husband stares deep into my trembling eyes, fear seething, palms sweating, nightmares of jaws lurking flashing before my mind.

And yet, how often do our fears get magnified, when God who holds our lives, has the power to swallow up the lies.

I finally jump.

Because sometimes you can’t wait for your gut to stop dancing, your fear to stop gripping, your doubts to subside.  Yes, sometimes….you just have to close your eyes and leap, trusting that God is good, and ultimately He alone is in control of your destiny.  At some point you have to realize faith alone must keep you afloat.  And often true faith is delivered from the Spirit, not your feelings; from a soul cry, not from a positive emotion that says, “This looks fun…let’s do this”.

Yes, sometimes the deep is not as scary as your mind’s eye might convince you; fears getting slain in the simple act of diving into the very waves that scared you most.

There were more than three dozen snorkelers that day, waiting to see Manta Rays.  Waiting, belly down, for the magical moment, that moment they spin around and around with you, belly to belly.

And just by chance, the one Manta on route that night came right up to my face, flipping over and over again, literally inches from my face.

And I find it funny, this thing I feared approaching,  was in fact the greatest blessing.  An awestricken, wonderful, incredible miracle magnifying the very beauty of God himself.

I cried, and laughed, and thanked my Savior that that night, to think that He created creatures simply as magical as the Ray I was seeing.  In fact, I choked on salt-water because I kept screaming in joy.  Yes, in what others might now just be seeing as shark infested waters.

Where is it God is taking you?  A place you can’t see?  A place you don’t know?  Are you called to go deeper?  Trust more?  Dive deeper into the unknown so that by faith, His name can be made known?

I urge you today friends, the place of your greatest fear is likely the place the enemy wants to keep you from.  The place where you feel doubt, confusion, that gut-wrenching hesitation causing you to wonder if God is equipped enough to hold you when waves come crashing, when the future gets dark or uncertain…

Well, that is the place friend, where miracles happen.

Will you, will I….live like Peter today?  Getting out of the boat, keeping our eyes on Him, so that by faith….we can conquer our fears, stand and walk onward towards all He has for us through faith?

I am glad I didn’t return to the shore that night.  I would have missed out on the most beautiful specimen God had in store for us in Hawaii.

I can almost hear Him beckoning even now, can’t you….

“Yes, I have called you child to walk by faith, not by sight.  I have picked you up, chosen you for life and life abundant; not a journey full of trepidation and fear.  Won’t you walk with me, follow me, step out onto the ledge where my grace is sufficient for you?  I am waiting.  I am asking.  I am reaching out my hand.  Aren’t I enough for you?”

Want to check out the Manta we swam with in Hawaii?  His name is “Lefty”.  Click on the video after scrolling below, here.   And you too may discover the miracle we experienced in going deep.


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Jen Avellaneda

Jen is an adoptive, foster, & bio mom to trans-racial family. She speaks, writes, & passionately advocates for the orphan domestically & internationally with her husband of twenty-five years.
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  1. This faith thing is undeniably marked by obedience to step out into that boat on the untested waters, because faith is always omitting our sight as the leading guide. You say, “But faith is not circumstantial, always evidenced by obedience. Faith approaches boldly, leaning on a God that can’t be tangibly touched or every, in this life, fully realize.” and I love that though He is out of our grasp, tangibly to hold, we are not out of His.

    You have such a beautiful way of bringing blessings through words.

    Bless you,

  2. I am absolutely amazed at your courage to snorkel where Bethany lost a limb….well done YOU!!

    I wish we could meet for lunch so you could tell me all about your trip..I so enjoyed the photos.

    God Bless you brave lady!!


    Mary xx

  3. Jen, I have been following your blog for several months now and have been meaning to tell you for some time that on my blog I display your blog in a list of 10 blogs that I gain the most encouragement from. (How many times can we say blog in a single sentence?) This post is a prime example.

    I’ll try to be brief, but I’d like to share a story with you. It takes place 2 hours ago. I was in my weekly therapy session with my wonderful therapist who I have been seeing for the last few years. Every once in a while, I hit a “brick wall” where I feel stuck where I am. I can see no way for me to move forward. Oftentimes this brick wall manifests itself in fear. Today I was afraid to tackle this issue, afraid to tackle that issue, afraid of being afraid, afraid of not being afraid. Just afraid. The questions I kept posing to my therapist were “What if I get even more afraid?” and “What if it gets worse?” Her response to my questions were “What if you push through it?” and “What if it gets better?” Faith, trust, hope in God. These are key concepts that seem to vanish completely when the fear rages. Thank you for this real-life reminder that faith is a much better choice than fear.

    1. J – Oh, dear friend. Tears fill my eyes as I read your comment! I have been praying more and more before each post, seeking God that these would not be just mere letters I post, but that He would expose exactly what HE wants me to say, WHEN He wants me to say it, and HOW He wants me to say it. I rejoice that this call to faith resonates with you today! I think we all hit brick walls friend, those times where none of think we can go on. Yet friend, oh the hope that says, “Often, just a few steps past that fear, is blessing awaiting”. I don’t know what that blessing looks like for you, for me, or each of us, really (Not always tangible, from what I have discovered) but what I do know is that His faithfulness is consistent, true, His promises never forsaking or failing us! Prayers for you today friend! Thank you for bravely stepping out to comment, sharing what God is doing in your life. Oh and thank you so much for reading and highlighting my blog as part of your top ten. Completely honored and ever so humbled by it…

      ~ Jen

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