By Grace Thuen
Spending a day out on the lake has always been my favorite. I can’t put a finger on what my favorite part about it is–quality time with friends and family, being out in the sun, wakeboarding, or the music playing through the speakers–but there’s something about the whole experience that brings me so much joy. I always feel so at peace, truly leaving me with a sense of what Heaven must be like, in ways. And that’s exactly what the enemy is after [to steal the things we love, moments and experiences that bring us joy].
This past week, a group of Shred Sisters loaded up in our friend Kirby’s boat. After planning the details with Kirby for the event, I was looking forward to this day for weeks–until days before going out, I was filled with anxiety.
Being out on a boat with friends in the middle of a lake somewhere used to be the best–I never thought twice about it. But after a season of wrestling with anxiety, most things that brought me joy my whole childhood started to be the exact triggers that made me the most fearful. It exhausted me, and as I crashed under pressure and fear, I could see the joy and peace leave my life, along with everything I enjoyed.
It’s been a long time since that season. The Lord has redeemed my peace and joy, and has even used that difficult season for my good. That’s why I was so caught off guard by feeling anxious. When it comes so randomly like that, I can’t help but figure it’s the enemy–the thief that comes to steal, kill, and destroy. (John 10:10) And he’ll do anything to take our joy.
After praying my way right onto the boat, I was reminded all afternoon of all of the reasons why I love this. It was as if I’ve never experienced joy before, all over again. Kirby–pro wakeboarder and friend–was super generous, not only taking us out but giving each of us pointers so we actually got better. He wasn’t passive at all, and wanted to see everyone succeed, whether they were new to wakeboarding or not. He shared a bit about his testimony and career, and how he’s able to use his talent and joy to serve others and point them towards Christ.
After experiencing God’s goodness that afternoon in comfort, peace, joy, and strength, it made me realize that the enemy is so specific in choosing what he tries so hard to take from us. He didn’t try to destroy or steal anything mundane or average that day–all he went after was my joy. But walking through life with Jesus, I’m already more than a conqueror (Romans 8:37); and man, did it feel good to conquer.
What continues to blow my mind is that getting to wakeboard that day, getting tips from a pro, and being back out on the boat wasn’t the thing that put me to sleep with a smile on my face; it was Jesus. Seeing Jesus work in my day-to-day is what brings me the most joy I’ve ever felt and experienced–way more joy than wakeboarding could ever bring me. I’ll still daydream about wakeboarding and take every chance I get to ride, but it’s not the root of my joy–if it were, it would be too easy to steal. Jesus is the foundation of my joy, peace, and hope, and Jesus is the one thing the enemy can never take away from me.
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:38-39
Note from Kirby Liesmann
I couldn’t be more grateful for the time I got to spend with the Shred Sisters. They came out to learn how to wakeboard and wakesurf with me this winter in Fort Myers and we had the best time. The Shred Sisters are a community of women who support and encourage one another in their faith through the fun of action sports. They gather weekly at The House of Ride Nature on Monday nights from 7:00-8:30pm. So to all you ladies, if you are local and love to shred, wake, surf or skate, this would be a great opportunity to get plugged in to a group that’s guaranteed to have a lot of fun, friendship and growth. Huge thanks to Grace for sharing her impactful experience with us! We appreciate you!