They thought for sure I was going to be a boy.  

Long before ultrasounds, wives’ tales and traditions would often help couples pre-determine if their bundle of joy would wear pink or blue.  My folks were convinced that the latter was the case.  They were so confident, in fact, that they had not even picked out a girl’s name when my mother went into labor.

The rest of the family was confident as well.  I was the first-born grandchild on my dad’s side of the family. My grandpa was SO excited that he was going to get a new fishing buddy.  While everyone else showered my parents with clothes and diapers, my grandpa purchased a very expensive rod and reel for the new arrival.

But then, I made my entrance.  And I was definitely not a boy.

My grandpa didn’t offer to return the fishing gear to the sporting goods store, but he did not offer to teach me to fish either.  He thought such activity was for grandsons only.

No Gender Boundaries

But my mom knew better.  When I was about six, on a day trip to the beach, I asked if I could bring my rod and reel.  My mom, unaware of the retail value of that particular set, thought it a great idea.

We spent hours on the beach that day; my mom teaching me the finer points of casting.

For those who do not fish, casting is quite a skill indeed.  Casting is the act of sending bait or a lure into the water using a fishing rod (a long stick) attached to a reel (a cylinder on which the fishing line is wound) and fishing line.  The reel is the “big” part, while the rod and line are smaller in weight and mass.

What she did not cover in our casting lessons, however, was what to do if I caught something.  While she checked on my sister, I felt a tug on my line and totally freaked out.  Looking back, it was probably just seaweed. Yet, my little imagination conjured a great white shark or something on the line and so I panicked. 

With all my strength, I chucked that expensive rod and reel right into the water.  The strength of the waves carried it far away quickly and when my mom returned to my side. The fishing gear was almost out of sight, never to be recovered.

I Learned something special about casting…

I don’t do much fishing these days, but I always think of this memory whenever I come across the verses in the Bible that have to do with “casting”:

“Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken.” (Psalm 55:22)

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)

In fishing, casting means holding onto the “big part” so that you catapult the small part into the water.  

But, I think that, in light of these verses, I may have had it right at six years old.  The day I flung that gear into the crashing waves, I had a more accurate depiction of what God wants from us when we cast our cares and concerns on Him.  God wants us to chuck our anxieties, stresses, cares, prayer requests, doubts, worries, and apprehensions to Him.  He does not want us to hold on to the big part and let Him handle the little things; He wants us to entrust ALL of the parts to Him.  Why?  Because He cares for us.

Are You Casting Your Cares to God?

COVID has brought about a lot of uncertainty to our country and our world, but to our house as well.  Job loss, schedule changes, Zoom learning, frustration, quarantine, illness (we all tested positive at one time, fortunately, with mild symptoms), fear, financial stress, depression, toilet paper shortage, arguments, discouragement, and anxiety have played a role in the last year of our lives.  It has been a doozy of a year, for sure, and unfortunately, COVID is not in the rearview mirror yet.

I recently created a bookmark with a picture of a rod and reel to remind myself to CAST my anxieties on the Lord.  Not hold on to the brunt of the stress, but to hurl those concerns to the One who cares for us the most – our gracious God.  It has made a big difference in how I look at the difficulties we are facing and how best to catapult them in prayer to God and to truly “let go”.

Whether or not you are a fisherperson, may your casting skills be honed this year.

Biography:

Amberly Neese is a popular speaker/teacher, comedian, author, and all-around encourager dedicated to helping you become the joyful person you were created to be.

Join her for a FREE online bible study in February and March by registering at: www.amberlyneese.com/bible-study

She helps people like you experience the freedom found in meaningful relationships with God and others. Her bible studies, “The Belonging Project: Finding Your Tribe and Learning to Thrive”  and “Common Ground: Loving Others despite Our Differences”  and her devotional “The Friendship Initiative: 31 Days of Loving and Connecting Like Jesus” were released by Abingdon Press.

Amberly is a popular women’s retreat speaker, featured communicator for the Aspire Women’s Events, and the main host and female comedian for Marriage Date Night.

She and her husband have two teenagers and live in Prescott, Arizona, where they enjoy the great outdoors, the Food Network, and all things Star Wars.

Amberly Neese

Author of “the Belonging Project: Finding Your Tribe and Learning to Thrive” (Abingdon Press, 2020)

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