Faith, Hope

When You Think Your Drowning

When You Think Your Drowning

Difficult seasons don’t always come with a warning.

Storms can blow up out of nowhere and suddenly, you think your drowning.  Sometimes, you don’t just think it–you are certain of it.

It’s been a hard week here. Maybe it has been for you too. As I’ve tried to make sense of things, as I’ve wrung my hands and my heart out at the base of the cross, I was reminded of my own words.

I’ve nearly drowned before. I know what to do when life flips me end over end–I haven’t had the strength this week to do it. But you’ve held my arms up. You’ve circled around and supported me in ways that I can’t even begin to thank you for…so these old words, they are for you too.

I’m preaching the gospel to myself, because Jesus saves and I need some saving tonight.

drowning copy

I was 14 the summer I got lost in the waves. I nearly drown that summer, in the rip curling waves of the Atlantic. It wasn’t red-flag day but the tide was strong enough, and the undercurrent deceptive and fierce. I wasn’t far from shore when that wave swept me under but everybody knows that sometimes, it doesn’t take much before your gasping for breath.

The problem wasn’t the one wave that finally flipped me. It was the three waves before that, that all crashed over top of my head, every time I came up for air. The fourth wave was the one that took me under the longest.

I don’t remember how old I was when my Mother taught me to raise my arms if I ever got disoriented under water.Thank God, I remembered that nugget in that long moment, as the wave pounded and rolled me like a rag doll under it’s foaming fists. I rolled and rolled–I couldn’t see anything but sand.

In a desperate moment my hands shot up, only to punch sand. What I thought was the surface, was instead the sea floor. I managed to plant my feet enough to kick off in the opposite direction, all the while my arms held stiff, straight up feeling for the surface. I had no air left.

I came up gasping, weeping frantic tears.

I had nearly drowned, and nobody had seen a thing.

I didn’t get back in the ocean that trip, or really, since.

Life has rolled me over some weary days and I’ve grown terribly disoriented and fearful looking for the surface. I don’t understand what is happening, or why or how or when it will end, and things will be normal again.

I know the truth–I know God knows all of these things, and that I don’t have to, but my feelings leave me disoriented–displaced, feeling sideways. My aching lately has been both ocean and anvil–both the weight that submerges and the expanse that threatens to swallow me. We need a rescuer. We need directions and we need them fast. I confess, I am afraid.

If fear is what threatens to drown me, then it seems that faith ought to be what saves me. I’m clinging desperately to my Jesus buoy.

When you’re thrashed by the waves, stick your hands up. When you’re drowning and you’re not sure how to catch your breath–raise your arms!

Raised arms,  it’s the posture of surrender, the posture of worship. My hands are up–you are holding them for me.

I feel the air–heaven above me–

I’m not going to drown today.




*edited from the archives


  1. Julie

    This is still beautiful! Loving you and lifting your hands up from afar, praying for our Father to keep you steady within the grasp of HIS hands.

    “Your grace abounds in deepest waters
    Your sovereign hand
    Will be my guide
    Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
    You’ve never failed and you won’t start now”

    This song helps me when I feel like I’m drowning…Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) – Hillsong UNITED (w…:

  2. I love the analogy –and it isnt some distant illustration. It’s real. I don’t know the details of your struggle but want to encourage you in your faith. Don’t flag. Don’t give up. Keep your hands — and like those who held Moses hands when he was tired, we will be there to help.

  3. Caryn Jenkins Christensen

    You’re not going to drown today, or tomorrow and at all, because this time… we’re all watching. We’re lifting our hands right along beside you and holding you up in prayer…and the fervent prayer of the righteous avails much. It keeps the sideways upright, sets their feet on solid ground, and pushes back the enemy with the Word of God. Continuing in prayer. <3

  4. DeanneMoore

    What a privilege to lift up prayers for you Kris…God saw you in the waves; He sees you now; lift up your eyes like Hagar. There is a well. (I have no clue of course what storm you are in but this is the encouragement the Holy Spirit impressed me to write to you…)

  5. Kathy Schwanke

    Would love to hold up your hands. Pray with you. Over you. Almighty God, please move the mountain. Please refresh my weary sister and bless her with gritty faith for this time. Thank you that she is in your Mighty Right Hand. <3

  6. I’m continuing to lift you up in prayer, friend. You have been coming to my mind frequently and I pray God’s strength, protection, refuge, presence, love, and mercy over you and your family. I’ve been flipped end over end to where I didn’t have words to say to God. All I could do was muster up that drop of faith (trust) to just hold on. Keep holding on. I’ll keep praying. (((Hugs)))


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