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Stepping Out of The Boat -- Hear and Obey

It’s not uncommon for God and me to go on grand adventures. This summer, however, has been one of the hardest of my life. The last three months, Jesus led the way step-by-step keeping me safe all the while not stopping the pain and discomfort of this transformational journey.

I often visualized walking along the ocean floor through dark, desolate, uncharted territory. The assurance I typically have on these adventures gets hijacked by fear of the unknown. There were times I couldn’t engage with God to receive comfort which would take my breath away. My verbal prayers that I typically relied on, turned into the simple act of mentally finding Jesus in the dark. There were precious moments that I began to see Jesus walking with me and my fear encouraging me to put one foot in front of the other. Soon, my fear turned into courage. My circumstances didn’t change, but my mind was set on things above. Like a new deep-sea diver learning to breath trusting an oxygen tank. I had to rely on the breath of the Spirit and to not work against Him with my mind, will or emotions.

There was a moment I stopped in the dark and asked while tears rolled down my cheeks, “It’s really not that dark, is it?”

Jesus lovingly reassured me that what I perceived as a cold, dark and lonely expedition is quite the opposite. He didn’t speak harshly. He didn’t judge or condemn me for seeing things in the natural with my human eye. He knows the battle over my family, yet He sees it through the lens of heaven. He sees light when all I see is dark. He has the blueprint that maps out the good my family and the Kingdom will receive - bringing glory to God – not Satan or my own strength. He knows that this moment of suffering is producing endurance, character, and shameless hope (Romans 5:3-5). And this increased faith is going to be coupled with virtue, knowledge, self-control, a steadfast spirit, godliness, brotherly affection, and LOVE (2 Peter 1:3)!

Refreshing and sustaining, but this tough trek is not over.

As the summer went on and the mind-boggling events kept piling up, I continuously had a choice to make; am I going to choose life or death? Light or dark? Truth or lies? Heavenly realm or the patterns of this world? His strength or my own? John 10:10 played over and over in my mind begging me to choose. Sometimes the choice was made immediately to mentally step into His living Word and other times I belabored the point by holding too tightly to anger or fear. Choosing to find Jesus once again, I would experience a shift and continue the journey.

You may say, “Well, you’re a mom and a wife, of course you are going to continue.”

The enemy is alive and active and wants to kill, steal, and destroy. He’s the father of lies. He’s relentless. As much as I hear from God, the enemy tries to be louder and find ways to hijack God’s plan and win me over. There are plenty of ways he tries to take me out as a mom and I, too often, nearly bite the bait. That can look like staying in bed longer or going to bed too early, numbing out on “harmless” things like my favorite shows, social media, reading or studying. Anything that may be used in excess to help me escape reality.

Camping out in my worrisome thoughts and negative emotions believing I have the right to do so, which only led to self-induced anxiety and depressing moments. The enemy also enjoys planting the lie that stress is an excuse to have angry outbursts or reason to pin my husband and I against each other chipping away at our solidarity. Satan isn’t creative but is driven by hate so he’ll do whatever it takes to derail us.

But God!

At church on Wednesday night, James 1:2 was spoken over me by a woman I just met. It was such a stunning confirmation. “Consider it all joy when you encounter various trails, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance and let endurance have its perfect result, so that (I love those two words in the middle of scripture) you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”

Long-suffering is a fruit of the Spirit just as much as kindness & love. It’s a natural byproduct of abiding in Jesus Christ. I am waiting expectantly for the Lord to finish the mighty work He’s doing throughout each one of my family members as well as myself. In the meantime, I am being perfected – lacking nothing. I have been very blessed this summer to suffer with Jesus. I have been blessed to be completely uncomfortable, turned inside out, disoriented, in pain and vulnerably exposed. I appreciate getting to the point of being able to express that it’s an honor to come to the end of myself in such a way and to see the character of God in a new way.

As much as long-suffering (patience) is a fruit of His Spirit, I wonder if I asked for this. I’m wondering if I spoke this fruit into existence by regularly reading the beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12) back to my King and realizing how blessed those in addiction recovery are because they are so poor in Spirit. They have been so emptied out that they are totally reliant on Jesus not to numb out, but to depend on Him for their every need.

My family is blessed.

Not will be blessed. Is blessed. Right now – as is. Long-suffering, just like; peace, love, joy, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control are blessings as we abide in Jesus.

My family is blessed even in these agonizing circumstances.

What is so annoying is the enemy is trying to take credit for the work of my Lord. Jesus Lords over my family – not Satan. God has reminded me all summer that this is not a negative consequence due to sin. He and I read Job throughout the summer. God knows that I will grow closer to Him which also provokes the enemy. Satan lies, taunting me to believe that I don’t have what it takes to maintain my unconditional love for the Trinity all the while relentlessly trying to take my family down one-by-one.

But God!

Jesus is saying to me, “Truly, truly I say to you, I’m healing your children and your family legacy. All of you are willing to let Me in and experience the discomfort of peeling away the lies and receiving truth. You are on the road to recovery not destruction. This is the loving work of the Father, not because of sin, but because of His perfect love over His children.”

Ahhh…how amazing is that?! We are so blessed that God is so accessible and good! Always. In everything! Again, I’m honored to deal with the troubles in life with Jesus and for Jesus. As Christians, our lives are never about what it seems. It’s for the greater good of the Kingdom and all glory be to God.


So, as much as I knew that this specific adventure with God hasn’t ended yet, I thought I was ready to join Joy and God with His online Bible study. About a week ago, days after posting that our live Bible study would be back online starting Sept 7th, another storm developed in my family. In exhaustion, I dropped to my knees with fear at hand and asked God, “What do you want me to know and what do you want me to do?

It’s as if I felt the Lord calling me to get out of the boat and walk to Him in Faith. Joy and I prayed separately coming to the realization that she will carry on with His Bible study, but I will not be joining her. I will be continuing the work that is going on in my home remembering his promise he spoke in June from 2 Kings 4:1 – 7, “Close the door and receive your miracle.”

I am closing the door on a chapter in my life that I have loved dearly. The #biblenerd comeUNITY has encouraged and strengthened me – changing me forever. And the partnership with Joy, Denelle and Sue has been an incredible ride as we always said that we are building this airplane while in flight. None of us knew what we were doing. We just relied on the Spirit and watched Him build an intimate and interactive global comeUNITY! What an honor to be called to take part.

I will be working from home until things are stable with my family. I’m thrilled to begin coaching one on one again as my schedule allows and I will still host Abundance Academies throughout the year. You can learn more through FB messenger or my personal Facebook page @Tara Shook Ouellette. Oh, and hopefully this will give me time to finish the editing process on my family’s home invasion testimony from 2008. God sure is up to something!

As I wrap this up, I want to share that this letter didn’t explain the specifics of what is going on with my family, but as the right timing reveals itself, we will share. Never to glorify the struggle, but to glorify how the trinity transformed my family one person at a time – or in our case, all at the same time. (Insert googly crazy-eyed face with stuck out tongue emoji here.)

I would love to hear from you, please leave an answer in the comments.

  1. Are you going through a dark time and are you able to keep your eyes on Jesus (truth and love)?

  2. Do you see your long-suffering as a blessing? Or have you, like most, believed that blessings are material, tangible rewards?

  3. Is God asking you to "close the door" on a circumstance in your life?

If you want to process this more feel free to reach out.

Always in love,

Tara Ouellette

Let's goooooo!

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