Keep Paddling

We were stuck. My family and I had been on the river for an exhausting two hours already. Some places had a gentle current; other sections felt like a water park ride. Now our raft, fully exposed to the wind, was going backwards!

Thankfully, my brother-in-law is a beast. He found a reserve of energy and paddled us through the unmoving water.

Not long after that, we came to a very shallow part of the river. The adults got out to lighten the load, and I stepped on something that cut deep into my foot; I was useless for the rest of the trip.

When the beach finally came in sight, everyone cheered! We had made it, surviving all that the flowing water had to offer, plus an injury. And we did it as a team.

While I was on vacation, I was unexpectedly reminded of the constantly changing water of our men’s lives. For a year now, the guys have welcomed me onto their boat.

Craig has gone through so much this year. Sometimes he’s paddled, strong and certain, through clear water. Sometimes the winds of circumstance have pushed him back, and he had to dig in. Some days he found himself among the reeds, and had to back out and make a course change.

There have been times when I also have had no clue how to navigate the uncharted waters of Emmaus. I have felt weak, and inadequate. And Craig, with a big smile, has nudged me and encouraged me to keep paddling.

I had a conversation with Craig recently in which he expressed frustration with figuring out the truth about Jesus. I and other volunteers encouraged him to truly seek Jesus. We reassured him that the Lord will be found. Craig stayed in the boat.

Sometimes Craig and I have both been weak and unable to move forward. But then we realized that someone more powerful than us was in the boat. Jesus navigated and powered us through the unmoving waters in His time.

As I approached the end of this year of voluntary service, it became clear to me that the beach that was in sight was not my final destination. These relationships are too precious for me to let go of after this short time. And it has become obvious that God has more to teach me.

I’m still cheering about what we have accomplished, but I’m staying in the boat with Craig, the rest of the men, and Jesus. I’m looking forward to the bends and tributaries of year two.

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To provide Christ-centered support to men seeking to escape survival prostitution and embrace a life of health and wholeness.

 

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Emmaus Ministries
4201 N Troy St
Chicago IL 60618

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Emmaus Ministries
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Wheaton IL 60187-0431

773-334-6063
emmaus@streets.org

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