Take the Leap
For his 18th birthday, my son decided he wanted to check something off my bucket list. I knew what was left on the list and I thought, “Dear Lord, please don’t let it be skydiving.” I put it on my bucket list before kids, when I was young and dumb. I mean, I just wanna live!
Sure enough, he wanted to go skydiving with me. Uh, teenagers! Couldn’t it be a pizza eating contest? Come on, kid. I’ve practiced this one for years.
As the date drew closer, my fear began to rise. What if we die? What if we land on a church steeple or hit the ground at Mach speed? I had an arsenal of what ifs. I mean, who thought up the idea of jumping into a cumulus cloud at 10,000 feet? Fear gripped me in the night. What might I do to the skydiving instructor who shoves me from the airplane door? I feared for his safety. He won’t be prepared for how this Southern girl may react.
As the day arrived, we trekked up the airplane ladder and settled in to what felt to me like a sardine can with wings. As our small “can” began barreling down the tarmac, I thought about my four kids, my business, everything in my life still to be done. If something happens to me, who will do the laundry? Did I give anyone my social media passwords? Will my book get published in the spring?
How did I get here? Someone save me.
As the sky diving instructor attached his harness to mine, he said, “Stephanie, you are in good hands. I’ve jumped over 2000 times in the military without incident. When you go, I go. You’re safe with me.” He wasn’t going to shove me out the side door to fall by myself. We were attached at the shoulders and at the hip and nothing could separate us.
It reminded me of Psalm 91:1-4:
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, He is my refuge and fortress, my God in whom I trust. He will cover you with his feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge. His faithfulness will be your shield.”
Like a mama duck to her babies, the shadow of her wings is the safest place. This is the space that manifests protection, peace, wisdom and joy.
As jumpers leaped from the plane, my instructor began to scoot us down the bench toward the massive opening of blue sky. My blood pressure began to rise and my heart began to race. My son jumped first and everything in me wanted to grab his leg in an attempt to save him from certain death. Nothing was in my control: my jump, my son’s jump, the scooting toward the door, nothing. The jump was inevitable. As I sat in the door of the plane, looking down at acres of tiny squares of farmland, my life flashed before my eyes - my present, my future, the past that I can’t change, the expectations that I can’t live up to, the self-doubt, the fear. In that moment I said, “God, my life is in your hands. I lay it all on the cross.” I looked down and with a peace that passed all understanding, that only came from hovering in the shadow of the Almighty . . . . . . .
I jumped for all those moms who also feel self-doubt. Who think someone else could do a better job raising their kids. I jumped for the woman who thinks life has passed her by, as she enters her 2nd or 3rd act of life. I jumped for the woman who’s suffered loss in the form of a divorce, a job, a death, a move. I jumped for me.
If you say you’ll jump someday, someday is not a day on the calendar.
You have to take the risk. You have to jump and grow wings on the way down. You have to take a second job to fund the next one. You have to write at every coffee shop and park bench to get the book published, to start the business, to chase your dreams. Opportunity is not going to fall in your lap.
You will fall. But you can get back up. You will fail. But you can take notes and re-adjust. Plan A’s will become plan B’s, so don’t allow detours to keep you on the sidelines of life in isolation. Fear only has the power you give it.
God never promised that you would live a life free of disappointment or crisis, but He did say, “I will never leave you or forsake you. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze” (Isaiah 43:2).
Like the skydiving instructor, God has you harnessed to Him so tightly that you can’t tell where you end and he begins. “Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be moved, My unfailing love for you will not be shaken” (Isaiah 54:10).
You are not just a part of the plan, you are the plan. “For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11). When you know who you are in Christ, you know WHOSE you are.
With arms wide open, full of grace and redemption, dust yourself off . . . and jump.
Stephanie Pletka is a writer, speaker and entrepreneur whose passion is to help women live an authentic life. She uses her infectious storytelling to connect with and empower women to take control of their lives. A Southern girl who loves the great outdoors, Stephanie and her husband hit the road for a life of adventure, homeschooling their four kids and running a tech company, while traveling to 45 states and 9 countries. They now reside in Scottsdale, Arizona, exploring the beauty of the West. For more information, visit StephaniePletka.com
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