Or Captain Conclusion and the Rumination
There have been times over the last year that I have questioned whether or not this journey that Amy and I are on is God inspired or Russ inspired. I said as much to a large group of loved ones at our bon voyage party last week. It was the first time that I had actually verbalized the thought, and it actually surprised me to hear myself say it. The next two days were spent driving to our new home, and gave me a lot of time to think about it. I've come to a few conclusions.
The first thing I realized is that as we got closer to the date we would drive away from Monmouth, and all the comfort that Monmouth represents to us, the more I began to doubt who's plan I was following. My moments of greatest fear and doubt about what the future would hold, coincided with my feelings that maybe I was following some fleshly desire for a permanent vacation and just cloaking it in some mission to further God's kingdom. My own motivations became unclear to me when the fear crept in. In the words of one modern poet: Fear is a liar. And in the words of a not-so-modern author, "Never forget in the darkness what you learned in the light." I never doubted that God was behind us when I felt strong and courageous, why should I doubt it when I was feeling weak and scared.
The next thing I realized is that I have been struggling with the fact that I want to take this journey. In my formative years as a Christian, I was under the influence of a church that while preaching the bible and teaching me a great deal, also implanted in me some ideas that I no longer subscribe to. I often still have a hard time letting go of some of those ideas. One of them is the notion that God would not call us to do something fun and exciting. If it's not torturous or humiliating or drudgery at some level, it must not be of God. That was the implication anyway. Obviously, God does at times call us to do things that we would never choose to do on our own, but that does not preclude Him from calling us to something we relish the thought of doing either. And no guilt or apology is necessary when He does!
My final revelation on the matter was this: Whether the desire to sail off to the Caribbean and minister to the cruising community there was implanted by God, or originated completely in my own heart and mind, I have to believe that God's will is being done. I believe that because I believe anytime a follower of Christ is living his or her life to share the love of Jesus and the power of the Gospel with those around them, God's will is being done. And I believe it because I can't imagine we would ever have overcome the dozens of obstacles that stood between where we were a year ago and where we are now, had God not been involved.
Those three conclusions have pretty much settled the matter in my head, and I have felt free to concentrate on this next phase of our journey: The marina phase.
Our hope is that this phase will be short lived compared to the one we've just completed, but between the hurricanes and the coronavirus, we're going to have to remain flexible and patient. If everything goes perfectly, we could sail away for the Caribbean in about seven weeks, but that's probably an overly optimistic timeframe. It's a goal, but not an expectation. After one week on the boat, the "to do before we sail away" list is growing at an alarming rate. The list of things we had to do in the last year is starting to look a Saturday afternoon "honey-do" list in comparison.
Just a few of the items on the list are: set up Florida residency, register Born Again in Blue Water as a non-profit entity, change the name on the boat from Loose to Born Again, get a mattress for the aft cabin, purchase and install a new 55 pound anchor and chain, get the outboard motor for the dinghy running, buy spares of all frequently replaced parts while they're still readily available, install new cabin fans, get safety netting installed around the deck for the pets, and on and on. The list continues to grow faster than we can cross items off the list. And most of the items I've just listed have their own list of steps that need to be done in order to be complete.
Beyond that, and at least as important as a list of items to be crossed off, we also need to become more competent at sailing our vessel. That means getting in as much local sailing as we can while we're here in the marina. It means picking people's brains who have more experience than us (which is pretty much everyone). It means continuing to study sailing techniques through books and videos. And when the list is complete, it means knowing if we're ready as sailors to head out beyond the coastal regions. It will require the wisdom not to leave too soon, and the courage not to wait too long.
In other words, as with everything on this journey, and in life, we need God to be in it with us. Please continue to pray for us, and let us know how we can pray for you. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram. Like and share our posts. If God lays it on your heart to give financially, there is a donate button on our website where you can choose to give a one time gift or a monthly donation. Or you can purchase Born Again in Blue Water apparel in our store.
Thank you so much to those of you who attended our bon voyage party. We genuinely feel loved and appreciated by all the support we have received.
Until next time, fair winds and following seas to you all.