Faith Featured

the drop-off

Written by Danell Will

For our honeymoon, my husband and I had the privilege of traveling to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Neither of us had ever spent a great deal of time at the beach (ya know, being from Nebraska and all) so we were really excited to try out snorkeling. We found a hideaway beach and rented gear from some local man who set up shop in the sand and quickly dove into the water to try out our new fins. I felt clumsy and awkward, but most of all, I was nervous. Usually, I jump at the chance to try something new or raise my hand to be a volunteer but in this situation, I was in over my head… literally.

I handled myself  fairly well where I could see the sandy bottom. The fish were tiny and cute and I had the security of being able to stand up in the water. I would have been completely content to stay there, dunking my head in the water and looking at those small fluttering fish, but then my new husband called out to me. He had gone out quite a bit further and excitedly called, “Danell! You have to come out here – the fish are amazing!!” Being the dutiful new Mrs., I started to swim to him. My fish were so cute, but he promised something even better. However, a few feet in front of me was a drop-off and instead of being able to see the safe, sandy bottom, all I could see was darkness and I was terrified. As soon as I swam past the drop-off, I began to have a mini panic attack and fear pulsed through me. I never saw those amazing fish my husband exclaimed about because I immediately turned back to the beach and returned my fins.

Once again, I feel like I’m at the edge of that dreadful drop-off. In a year I will finally be done with my Master’s degree and will be walking across the stage to receive my diploma – something I have dreamt about my entire life. My family has sacrificed too much for me to even list (and if I did, I would end up ugly-weeping all over my keyboard) and I’ve been incomprehensibly challenged in all aspects of my life. My husband and I both feel that God has called us to be in this position and for me to get this degree… we just don’t know why yet, and that’s scary. My future, and the future of my family, is that big, deep, terrifying drop-off. We have no 5-year plan other than to trust and wait upon the Lord. I know, I know… it’s still a year away, but I’m a planner – a BIG planner and I feel so completely out of my element.

I can see God out there – where my husband was, motioning for me to leave the safety of the sandy bottom. I imagine He’s saying, ” Come here Danell!! Come see all the wonderful things I have planned for you! You’ll be amazed!” But, oh boy, it’s so much easier  to stand at the edge of the drop-off then to plunge into the unknown.

Lately I have been turning Hillsong’s song ‘Oceans’ into my prayer:

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

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

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

 I will call upon Your Name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours and You are mine 

I hope that when the time comes, my faith will overcome my lack of courage and that I can swiftly swim past that overwhelmingly scary drop-off into the wonderment that awaits… I’ll still be trembling, but this time I don’t want to miss out on all those beautiful fish!

So, are any of you dealing with some drop-offs? I’d love to hear about them and how you are gaining the courage to start swimming!

Read more from Danell on her site Pieces of Me

About the author

Danell Will

Danell is a Kearney native who recently moved to Northwest Arkansas. She is the happy wife to a tall, bearded red-headed man and a mother to a feisty, but very loveable, red-headed 5-year-old girl. In May, she graduated with her Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and has since taken a short break from working and studying to be at stay-at-home mom.
She enjoys (in no particular order) dance parties in the living room, downward dog, a good cup of chai, books that want to make you stay up until 2am, meaningful conversations over a glass of wine, and reflecting on this messy, but always beautiful life.