High Dives

by - July 05, 2012

I recently mentioned in a previous blog the time that I was the first one to dive off the high dive, and then never willing to do it again. I was probably in the 2nd or 3rd grade when I was enrolled in swimming lessons with my babysitter’s kids. The lessons were at Wentz Pool. (If you aren’t from Ponca, it’s an interesting google.) We’d learned to dog paddle. Learned to float. Learned to jump in off the low diving boards with our legs tucked and holding our nose, or not, depending on personal preference. I was a nose holder. It came to be time to try the high dive. I ran to the front of the line with my red, white and blue American flag-esque halter swimsuit. It was a cousin-hand-me-down with tie straps that had let me down during one lesson as I came up for a dead man’s float and found them floating alongside me instead of tied around my neck. Awesome. I don’t know if I had mullet yet, but that is about the same time, and in my mind the story is more humbling if topped with a mullet. Did I mention I was also a head taller than anyone else my age? Those were good years for me. Not awkward at all. Sometimes I’m still that kid.  

So I climbed the ladder to the top diving board. All guts and glory. And I jumped. I survived!  Cheers! Other kids got in line, as I swam to the side of the pool and decided I never wanted to do that again. Ever. “Haley get in line and do it again.” Nope. I had rustled up and gathered courage, but burned out quickly. I knew I could do it, but then didn’t want to press my luck. I needed sustaining courage. Guess where I’m going with this…

I am still in need of sustaining courage. I think I could muster up through adrenaline and grit, the courage to do almost anything I find a worthy cause. If I see the value I’m in…at first, but my knees tend to get weak later down the road. “Walk away from it all and follow You to Texas of all places?” I’m in. I can’t claim I was first in line that time…but I got in line. Then I got done with school and wanted/had anticipated I would go right back to Oklahoma (swim back to the side of the pool with wobbly knees). I was praying for God to make His will clear to me though; that I wanted His will not mine. “Lord if You tell me to jump off the high dive, and it’s not just my own dumb idea, make it clear to me.” I was talking to two places about employment. One in Oklahoma = with family and friends. One in Texas = Not. I slid the business card for the HR Manager of the place I am now employed here in Texas into my bible after my first interview. Later, as I was praying over the two opportunities and beginning to have a slight sinking feeling like Texas was fixin' to be home...I randomly opened my bible to the page where her card was and here is the verse my eyes fell on: “If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.” Hebrews 11:15-16. I could go back to Oklahoma if that is where my heart was, but I longed for someplace better that has nothing to do with Texas or even my family. I laid down and cried my eyes out. I’m not dramatic. Not because I at that point realized I was not going back to family and friends for that time being, which was then confirmed by the opportunity in Oklahoma not materializing, but I cried because God was again answering my prayer for clarity and courage. He was my confidence in this decision (Proverbs 3:26). He was leading me. The relief and peace and joy that these were His plans were again confirmed through His Word. I could say “coincidence,” but I will never again explain Him away. I will always choose to believe, because He does some pretty amazing things when I do. By faith I would follow Him, and in His faithfulness He makes His plans known to me. He keeps teaching me to not lean on my own understanding, certainly quit telling him what I don’t want to do, to be still, and to be brave; waiting on Him to make his path for me clear. Not because of who I am, or for my purposes; but because of who He is, for His purposes that He created me for (Ephesians 2:10). Be Still. That’s always been a hard one for me.  Sometimes I just want to be normal. Sometimes I just want to go home. But, more than either of those, I just want to be faithful.

What I wanted to write about when I sat down here was the upcoming trip to India. I’m going in November. I got in line first thing, and I am now fighting wanting to swim to the side. I don’t know if this is how it works with all people who are called out to do this, but I am certainly struggling with “am I really able to do this?” “Who am I to do this?” “I should just hand the Hope For The Heart materials to them, and then sit at their feet. I should certainly never open my mouth.” I struggle with wanting to be brave, beyond my own strength. India feels a lot like a high dive, and I am unprepared, and yet here is what I read yesterday: “‘Ah, Sovereign Lord,’ I said, ‘I do not know how to speak; I am only a child.’ But the LORD said to me, ‘Do not say, ‘I am only a child.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,’ declares the LORD. Then the LORD reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, ‘Now, I have put my words in your mouth. See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.’ (Jeremiah 1:6-10)’ When Jeremiah voices his hesitation and fear, God–the God of the galaxies–reaches out and touches his mouth. It’s a gentle and affectionate gesture, something a loving parent would do. Through this illustration I realized that I don’t have to worry about not meeting His expectations. God will ensure my success in accordance with His plan, not mine.“ – Francis Chan in the book Crazy Love. Oh how I want to be faithful and brave beyond my self-centered insecurity.  Ugh. I wish this would just click for me.

As of now I’m going alone. I would counsel someone that the truth is they are not alone. That the Lord himself goes before me and will be with me; he will never leave me nor forsake me. I don’t have to be afraid, I shouldn’t be discouraged (Deuteronomy 31:8) but, sometimes I talk too much.  That scripture is absolutely the truth, and in God's time he will commit it to my heart as I let him.

So for now would you pray for me? I will share more about this trip and the many ways God has confirmed it in a future post, but for now would you pray for me even just once after you read this, as I am feeling a little bit like I’m in an American flag halter swimsuit with a mullet climbing a ladder that I probably have no business climbing. Would you pray that God would allow someone to travel with me? Maybe that is you? And would you read about Rev. Dr. Christopher David and his wife Hepzi. They are the wonderful servants of the Lord whom I will serve with in India. They have an abandon to God that I pray for, and a ministry I am honored to share with you. They've given me the ok to share their ministry letters.

Thank you for your prayers for me, for this trip, and for these people Jesus wants to know of His love and freedom not only in death, but also in life. Thank you for reading what is sometimes uncomfortable to be gracefully frank about. Thank You, Lord, for the sustaining courage that comes only from You, and the joy and peace that truly passes understanding that follows that courage. Thank You for high dives.  Thank You for this ministry I work for, filled with people who have surrendered their lives to bring God's word to the hurting and his hope to the hopeless; and for letting me be a part of it. And thank you, mom, dad and my babysitter, that there are no pictures to share from my swim lessons at Wentz Pool.

Here is a good song I've been known to play on repeat: Brave - by Nichole Nordeman

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  1. Haley, It's Aunt Jeana, I want you to go again on the high dive....only this time when you look below in the "big people" way, see all of us that love you, we will always say, "come on Haley, WE'LL catch you(praying),you're a strong swimmer Haley, don't you look back Haley, you've already done this before, you were FIRST in line, you'll do GREAT! Everything you need to do this has already been divinely provided....don't you dare think about the mullett or the swimsuit, you've got armor and angels! HUGS, AJ

  2. Haley Scully, you truly put me (an old lady) to shame. I also want that clarity in my heart of KNOWING His will for me, but I severely struggle waiting on Him and knowing CLEARLY that it IS from Him. You keep on keepin' on, young lady. God will take you far! (Farther than He already has!) Bless you, and I will pray for you too. In Christian love and admiration, Sherry Mabry