Do you know how it feels when you’ve been rehearsing for months? You stand trembling at the edge of the stage, just out of the bright lights. You hope you know your part. And suddenly there’s your cue-----you run into the lights, heart knotted, stomach flipping . .. .
Or---do you know how it feels when you’ve prayed for a baby for years, and now she’s ready to enter the world? But you’re not ready. You can hardly face the contractions, the panting, the tearing of flesh . . . ??
Or ---do you know how it feels when you start a new ministry? You know you heard God call. You pray God will be honored. You’ve poured all your resources into this venture and now at your Grand Opening, you hope people will come---but what if they don’t?
Though this is my tenth book, that’s how I feel right now. Because---Crossing the Waters: Following Jesus through the Storms, the Fish, the Doubt and the Seas is finally birthed into the world this week:
And I’m a bit of a mess, I confess. (Despite the happy-face trailer above . . . ) I’ve spent three years writing this, and almost 40 years living it. The pages are full of storms and saltwater and blood and doubt and questions and yes, Jesus. He shows up there as He has in my life---in surprising, even shocking ways.
And I know He'll keep showing up. But I’m scared. (Lord, forgive my lack of faith!) More than a million books release EVERY year. And people read fewer books, buy fewer books. This is the writer’s burden, to write her heart and soul out not knowing, not ever knowing if anyone will see, hear, listen to those words.
But some have. Mostly reviewers so far. And they've been kind and generous:
"This book is a rare gift. It pulses with story and theology, with lived suffering and quiet joy, with vast mysteries and a strong Savior. The question is not if you can put it down—because that will be hard—but if you have the good sense first to pick it up, and read."
Editor-in-Chief, Christianity Today
"Before reading Crossing the Waters, I didn’t yet realize that the guide I most needed to steer me through turbulent waters was one whose hands smell of finger kelp. With insight, wisdom, and a deep connection to the maritime world from which Jesus plucked his first followers, Leslie Leyland Fields blesses readers who want to see the Word, and see Jesus, with fresh eyes."
Speaker and author of The Girl in the Orange Dress
"The disciples could often be found battling rough seas, storms, and empty nets. As an Alaskan fisherman for nearly four decades, Leslie Leyland Fields brings unique insight to the disciples’ experiences with Jesus—and how we, too, can learn to trust and follow the Savior."
President of Focus on the Family
Here's where the book will take us!
Excerpt from the Introduction:
. . . This trip through the Gospels will be different than others. It’s an immersive on-the-ground, in- the-water experience, just as it should be because the Gospels are anything but dry. They are dramatic, wild—and wet, set in a rich maritime culture on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. I understand something about this world; it’s not so far from my own. In the midst of all these waters and words and worlds, I’ve been brought startlingly near to this man who claimed to be God. I want to bring you closer to see and experience for yourself.
So here’s where we’re going. Think of it as one giant float trip. I’ll take you from whatever fields, cities, or neighborhoods you live in, and we’ll cross to my Alaskan waters. We’ll ride through a season of commercial fishing in this wild corner of the world. I want you to see, smell, and taste the waters here as I (try to) follow Jesus. We’ll cross the waters to Israel as well, where I hiked the “Gospel Trail” around the Sea of Galilee and went out fishing with Galilean fishermen. And we’ll step out on a new journey through the Gospels, dipping into some of the wettest, stormiest, strangest events of those three years.“Come, follow me,” Jesus beckoned to the astonished fishermen, and he beckons to us as well all these centuries later.
We’ll follow him, then, through those waters: the Jordan River, where he sunk under river waters and rose like a dove, and the shores of the Sea of Galilee, where he strode atop the waves of a storm, broke two small fish into a feast for thousands, filled a net to breaking when no fish could be found, shouted down a storm from a sinking boat. Where he fed his friends a meal of grilled fish, commanding them to “feed my sheep”. . .before disappearing into heaven. I promise you a trip unlike any other.
But I have to warn you. Travel is risky, especially in Alaska, and especially in the Gospels. Storms come up, you have only oars against the sea, there are too many in the boat, everyone argues, and you can’t keep the water out. Will we get to the other side safely, our minds clearer, our eyes and ears fixed on Jesus? I’m as nervous as you are as I step into the boat, because I know there will be fear, high seas, and spume along the way. Maybe even some whales will breach beside us. But I also know what came after those crossings—people were healed, parties broke out, the sightless walked straight, the starving ate fish that never ran out, and twelve common men (finally) grew confident and fearless.
Maybe some of this will happen for us as well.
Would you tell me what happened for you when you Crossed the Waters, submerged and rose again?