I went kayaking yesterday with my man. We put in at my parent’s house on the Greenbrier river and went about 11 miles. It was a beautiful day on the river. Each stretch had its own unique personality: the banks looked more or less plush with greenery; the flow of the water varying; and the mountains surrounding grew larger in some areas. (I noticed that my husband and I have both grown in our mid-sections as well.) Yes, change is inevitable on the river. And growth is a given.
A couple of years ago, the river experienced flash flooding which devastated this particular area of West Virginia. There were areas of the river where debris was still piled, including a couple of boat trailers that had been swept up in the flood. In the midst of such beauty, there were reminders of past devastation and hurt.
Our lives unfold before us much like a river. Each season is unique and brings it’s own set of obstacles and beauty. Sometimes the mountains we face seem larger; sometimes the waters we manuever are more turbulent; sometimes the scenery surrounding us is more plush and sometimes flood waters come out of nowhere and sweep us away.
Yet in the midst of it all, God stays constant and in complete control, orchestrating the ebbs and flows. Lest we forget that He created the beautiful, powerful, ever-changing river itself. He knows each stretch like the back of His hand. And He knows you too. And me. He also knows when we need a flood of water to wash us clean or maybe push us through to our next calling.
Now let me tell you about my favorite part of our kayak. Just around one of the bends, a gorgeous long haired golden lab came swimming out to see me. He swam up to my boat and laid his nose in my hand in the water for just a brief second and then swam back home to the river bank. It truly delighted my soul and made me giggle with joy.
God will show up along the way and surprise you with simplistic joy and satisfaction. Sometimes it will seemingly swim out of nowhere and leave you astounded at His goodness and perfect timing. So, I say, let’s keep paddling. Our journey will end in complete healing, complete joy and complete satisfaction. In Christ. And His river always runs through it.
But the river itself, on both banks, will grow fruit trees of all kinds. Their leaves won’t wither, the fruit won’t fail. Every month they’ll bear fresh fruit because the river from the Sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will be for food and their leaves for healing. Ezekiel 47:12 MSG
Recently, I had the opportunity to lay and look at the stars at night. It was at the close of a much needed beach day with a dear friend. We spent the day soaking up the sun, splashing in the waves, swimming in the pool and giggling endlessly. (The angel dog had a blast that day too. Although, he was less than thrilled with my friend’s big black lab who was also along for the ride.)
We ended the day on the porch of my friend’s beach condo just before midnight, laying on loungers soaking up the expansive display of stars twinkling over head. WOW! I can’t remember the last time that I took the time to take in the glory of the night sky. We were blaring praise and worship music, singing to our Father in heaven without a care in the world. It was fabulous!
It occurred to me that I have forgotten, in the chaos of my own life, the importance of simple pleasures. We have a front row seat to a creation that is stunning. Yet, we rarely get our eyes off of our phones long enough to realize it. Our God, the Maker, is crying out to us through His creation to pay attention! His presence is all around us! His radiance sparkled through every star that night. I felt like I was wrapped up in His Glory.
Look up my dear friends! Get rid of the distractions and take some time to look at the stars. I noticed that evening that my struggles and my ego became miraculously smaller. Praise God! He is greater than me!
He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit. Psalm 147:4-5 NIV
My daughter and I took the angel dog to the beach Wednesday afternoon. He loves to go to the beach for so many reasons. He loves to ride in the truck. He loves to dig for shells. And he loves to play a good game of fetch with any size driftwood we find on the shore.
Wednesday was no exception. My daughter found a great piece of wood and launched it down the beach. Angel dog would go running for it, ears flopping and tail curled up. He brought it back to his mom every time. His “sister” would grab it and launch it again and again. Each time angel dog would find his way back to me. You see the angel dog likes to stay close to his mom.
My daughter finally plopped down next to me too and we chatted while watching two huge pelicans catch and eat fish. I could remember my own mom and I spending many an afternoon, in Florida where I grew up, soaking up the sun at the beach and talking about life.
There is just something about the ease and beauty of the beach: waves crashing, sea gulls calling, and the blissful feeling of the sun warming your body. Life is good at the beach. As I watched my daughter and the angel dog play, I thought about how small they seemed nestled next to the vastness of the ocean. And how I loved having them both close to me.
Our Father who art in heaven filled the vastness between Him and us with a Cross, which allows us to plop down next to Him and take in the beauty of His creation, while chatting about life. His Son warms our bodies and He fills our hearts with His Holy Spirit. He loves to watch us play along the shore and delights when we seek Him out, especially after life takes us on a run. And just like me, He loves to have His children close, under His mighty protection.
Take time this weekend to spend some time with your Father, soak up His Son and let His Holy Spirit move you. And don’t forget that after a good game of fetch, it is always best to return to Him. Stay close, for He is a good, good Father.
“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:31 NIV)