Dropping Your Nets
While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him. – Matthew 4:18–22 (ESV)
This story didn’t used to perplex me like it does now. I read it at a surface level. I was all in! Throw down the nets follow hard after Jesus and never look back. I had no regrets.
But what did throwing down my nets look like? How could I best be Christ-like? I would have the biggest family possible. Homeschooling was a given. Making sure my children were catechized and well read in Scripture. Only the church with the most solid doctrine in the area would do. Very selective Christian music of course. I was ready to raise a family for the Lord I so loved!
Founder, Refined Family
Kerry Tittle is a mother of 10 children and an 20+-year homeschool veteran. She is the founder of Refined Family. Her desire is to honor Christ while comforting others with the comfort she has received from the Lord.
Fast forward twenty-something years.
Taking in a visual survey I was quite pleased. Throwing down the nets wasn’t bad. It was indeed fulfilling. I had a HUGE family. Nine children (with a precious baby who had preceded us all to Glory). Outwardly, I tried to be as humble as possible when people complimented me on my beautiful family, but all the while pride and legalism were destroying me one self-righteous thought at a time. For 25 years I tried to be Christ-like. I never realized it could never be me. All the good deeds and victories were never me. I would never have admitted it, but I took credit for my own change. It didn’t occur to me that only He changes our hearts into his likeness. I had thrown down my nets and quickly gotten to work on myself, never giving Jesus the room to work in my self-sufficient world.
Then it happened.
“Outwardly, I tried to be as humble as possible when people complimented me on my beautiful family, but all the while pride and legalism were destroying me one self-righteous thought at a time.”
April 27, 2014 the day my kingdom collapsed. And great was its fall.
My kingdom took a direct hit from an EF4 tornado, killing my husband Rob and two of my children Tori and Rebekah.
Once my stunned disbelief subsided, I realized the ugly truth that I had never really dropped my nets and was very much still entangled by them.
My three year pilgrimage into the darkest valley I have ever known, has been a struggle with what it truly means to drop my nets and surrender all. I have found myself white-knuckled, clinging to fragments of whatever was left of my old life. Surrender hasn’t come easy for me.
God has not been trying an experiment on my faith or love
in order to find out their quality.
He knew it already.
It was I who didn’t.
I began to question, beg, plead, fail, attempt escape…… but His stubborn love never let me go. Much like a caged animal wearing itself out to escape it’s well-meaning captor, I was an exhausted prodigal in this valley. As much as I fought against the pain and path He chose for me, He continued to change my heart and transform me.
I began to understand grace in ways I had never known.