Out of the River, Onto the Raft – Intro

I’ve written a book but don’t want to publish it for several reasons.

  1. Fear
  2. Don’t think people will read it.
  3. I think people will judge me.

Even though I have those reasons, I need to get the story out. God says not to worry. I need to cast my worries onto him. So, I’m releasing my fears. Instead of publishing it, I’m going to share it a little at a time here on the blog. Some I have shared before but I’m going to share it once again here.

God grant me peace. Let’s jump in.

Welcome! May God’s peace and blessings rain over you as you read this book. During the reading of this vulnerable and raw book, you will discover the rapids I encountered during my formative years. Those rapids could have drowned me. Instead they made me a better person.

In the early 2000s, the Goofy One and I along with a friend and my father-in-law to West Virginia to go to white water rafting. This was my second time white water rafting, so I knew the excitement and dangers that lurked ahead of me.

The sky was a brilliant blue that morning. As we put on our life jackets, my heart was knotted up and my brain was on high alert. Instead of feeling the typical “high” people feel when doing this high adventure sports, I was feeling dread and a sense of foreboding.  I didn’t know what lied ahead and worry had crept into my brain.

We climbed into the raft and set down the New River Gorge which is a white-water rafting experience that high adventure thrill seekers sought. Not me. I was there to spend time with my husband and to try to conquer my fear of drowning.

The trip begins with smooth water in which all the passengers on the raft help paddle their way down the river. Every time I attempted to help with the paddling, our raft would go the opposite way. “I’m so uncoordinated,” I thought to myself.

Instead of worrying about helping the other rafters, I wanted to sit there and wallow in my misery. Worry kept creeping into my brain. “What if I drown?” I asked myself repeatedly. Even though rationally I should have known that I was with a guide who was trained in knowing what to do if one of the rafters fell in the water.   

I should have been drinking in the scenery and lavished in the water that was like a mirror until it was disturbed by our oars. Instead I was allowing the Devil to take over my thoughts. He’s a liar. The One who will take the joy out of your life. He was doing a great job of that at this moment.

After lazily “floating” down the river for what seemed like hours, which it probably was because time stands still while you are on the river, we found the drop off zone for lunch. A sigh of relief washed over me as I ate my lunch or at least attempted to eat my lunch. My stomach was still in knots and where my appetite should have increased because of the physical exertion I was left with a lack of appetite because of the Devil running my thoughts.

During our break, we were allowed to jump off this one cliff into the water. People were encouraged to do this jump because again thrill seekers. I instead cowered in the corner like a mouse hiding from the homeowner praying that no one would notice me.  I was determined not to drown that day.

As soon as we were back on the river, I noticed that the river had changed. No longer was it mirror smooth; it was choppy like the sea Jesus had calmed during the storm. “Dear Lord, please protect me,” was my prayer. I clenched my butt cheeks so tightly that no quarter would get between them. I was determined not to drown that day.

Our raft crashed into the white rapids and jumped into the air. I prayed, “Dear Lord, please protect over me,” repeatedly over the next few hours. The rapids got increasingly stronger. Our raft kept hitting rocks which caused us to fly into the air. “Woo hoos were heard throughout the raft,” when the roaring noise of the white water wasn’t deafening my ears.

During the midst of this, I traveled back in time and was suddenly 7 years old not listening to my father.

The swimming pool was calling my name. It was one of those hot steamy days where your feet burned as soon as they touched the cement. I just wanted to be in the water, but I was told to wait until one of my parents could help me.

My stubborn Taurus self knew that I could swim, so I didn’t need to listen to him. He was my monster anyway.

The cool water was calling me. “Traci, Traci,” it taunted me.

 “Oh, all right,” I responded to the water.

Without hesitation, I jumped. My life flashed before my eyes as the water overtook me. I couldn’t get off the bottom of the pool. A heavy weight pushed down on me. I tried to push that weight off but couldn’t. I was sinking further into the water.

Suddenly I was grabbed by a lifeguard who saw the struggling between life and death happening in the pool. God was not going to call me to his Heavenly home today.

As I was sitting in that raft some almost 20 years later, that memory plagued my thoughts. Instead of enjoying the moment, I was in fear of a heavy weight pushing me further into the water.

After hitting those rapids for hours, we finally made it back to smooth mirror like water and were on the journey back to dry land. God had protected me like he had protected me when I was a child. He wasn’t ready to call me Home.

Once we were on dry land, I kissed the ground and praised God.

I tell the story of my white-water rafting trip because it’s a metaphor for life. Life is like a river. There are moments in our life that are like the mirror smooth water where everything is going the way we want, and we can just float along. Then the river bends and rapids begin to develop. Every time we hit those rapids; it feels as though we are flying into the sky without a parachute not knowing where we are going to land. Are we going to land softly or crash? Is this rapid the one that will make us drown? We don’t know. God is the one who knows the plans for our life.

Through it all, we need to remember God is our guide just like I had a guide on that raft. He knows what we need or don’t need. He will protect us even when it feels as though he has forsaken us.

He is also our life preserver when the Devil tries to drown us with his taunting and constant bullying. We need to turn to him when it seems as though life is trying to drown us. All we need to do is pray, read the Bible, and love others.

This book is my journey on my river of life thus far. I have had those mirror smooth water moments and class 5 rapids in my life. Before we begin, I need to give you the safety guidelines that all white-water rafting guides give their rafters.

  1. Put those life vests on which is the armor of God.
  2. Listen to your guide: God.
  3. Listen to the directions the oars want you to go: The Bible will tell the directions.
  4. Have fun.

Let me tell you a secret, even though I was terrified during that trip down the river I still had a blast. It’s a memory of mine where I conquered a fear of mine to come on the other side a much better person.

May you be blessed,
Traci

6 thoughts on “Out of the River, Onto the Raft – Intro

  1. Traci, thank you so much for sharing your story. I look forward to reading all if it. I too have faced the lies of the enemy in writing wondering if anyone would care or not. After 40+years of knowing Jesus, I came to realize His opinion is the only one that matters. And if He is telling us to put the story out there; He alone will orchestrate who needs to see it and be helped by what is written. May He continue to use you as His vessel. Much love.

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