Tag Archives: trust

To See the Sea

“Praise the LORD from the earth, you great sea creatures and all ocean depths,” 

Psalm 148:7 NIV

For five days I have lingered, listening to the sound of the ocean, watching the waves that are never and always the same dance to their self perpetuated music.  Calming, peaceful, constant… I am conscious of my every effort to open up, take it all in and tuck it away for safe keeping for the days that I will not have the pleasure or ability to do so.

The ocean.  I’ve walked beside it, waded into it, sat in front of it and stared for countless hours upon it. It is beautiful and soothing to my inward most parts.   I’ve pondered it’s depths and width and length.  The sheer vastness of it is humbling, reminding me in one swift glance of the greatness of  our God.    Surely the ocean is an adequate earthly reflection of the power, glory and majesty of the Lord.  And even as I walked upon the shore discussing these things with Him, He reminded me that this is only one of many beaches, shores and oceans that exist by His creative power.

Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens? Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket, or weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in a balance? Isaiah 40:12

Spending time at the ocean causes me to become quiet and introspective- at rest.  I am visually reminded in splendor that there is so much that is bigger than me and beyond my ability to fathom, comprehend or understand. When I am beside the ocean, I find that I am able to let go of the wrestling that so often occurs in my head and my heart ever striving to try to understand everything that I do not,  working to try to figure everything out and trying to be in control of everything that I’m really not.

When keeping company with the sea, I am able to just let go and “be.”

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”  Psalm 46:10 

The truth, is that I’m no more capable of “figuring it all” out in the throes of everyday life than I am here in the presence of the sand, seashells and sound of ocean waves roaring in my ears.  Somehow though, I forget.

I can spend countless hours thinking…about how to get things to work out the way I want them to.

I have spent countless hours worrying…about how it will be if they don’t.

So much wasted time and energy on that which is unproductive.

And so, today I am thankful for the ocean.  I am thankful that it stretches so far out that I cannot see the end of it.  I’m thankful that it is so deep, even at it’s beginnings, that my toes cannot touch the bottom.   I’m thankful for the way that it tosses and turns, as if it has a schedule of its own rising  higher or diminishing as the day grows long.  I’m thankful that I have no control over the sea.

This truth offers me a life-giving reminder that it really isn’t my job to be “in control.”  It is only my job to BE.

To BE still and know that He is God.

To BE obedient to His every leading.

To BE quick to hear and obey His voice.

To BE diligent to hide His Word in my heart.

To BE His daughter and everything that that means.

Father, thank you for the beauty of the ocean.  Thank you for the beauty of the truth that all that I must BE is a child of the King.  

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Scare Tactics

Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

The smell of French fries lingered while squeals and laughter filled the air.  We were quarantined and confined behind the glass doors which separated those who must dine amidst colorful ball filled pits and twisty slides.

We nibbled on green side salads while stealing one or two of the grease entrenched goodies left uneaten by our distracted dates. The social norm of don’t talk to strangers was now exchanged for “play nice with your new friends…”

All was lovely until one mom decided it was “time to go.”  Every mom in the room involuntarily stiffened and without saying a word we collectively pooled our strength, resolve and determination as a joint offering to the mommy in question.  Together we stand, mommies of preschoolers Unite!

A novice she was not as her tactics were clearly well planned.  Having previously withheld the coveted plastic wrapped toy, she now offered it as a bribe to leave. The daughter, no novice herself, had somehow already caught wind to what was going down and as soon as her dirty bottomed feet hit the floor we caught only a glimpse as she scurried back up the impossibly steep climbing tube never intended for anyone over the age of 25 or taller than 3 ½ feet.

With raised eyebrows a forced Cinderella pitched voice that had undertones of “if you don’t come right this second you are really gonna get it” escaped from the mom. With bravado and spunk the four year old faced off with her mother through the thick plastic of the highest tube bubble and giggled.  One could faintly hear the whistling of Old Western dueling music in the background.

Desperation spread across the mother’s face.  The child was in control of when they were going to leave; she knew it, the child knew it and every mommy in there knew it.  All tact aside the frustrated mom began to lose composure.  First, counting in the ominous tone; One….two….three….  She could have counted to one hundred, the girl was indifferent.  Then “If you don’t come right now I am going to throw away your toy.”  For a second this caught a fearful glimpse but her daughter quickly decided the power in her possession was more enticing than a pint sized plastic pony. Finally, the mother, obviously infuriated and powerless had reached her limit and said in a tone indicating that she had already won, “okay, FINE, I’m leaving.”  She aloofly walked out of the door and pinned herself against the wall on the other side out of sight to her daughter.

After a minute or two the four year old looked a great deal smaller as the question of “was mommy serious” turned to the recognizable fear of “mommy was serious.”  Frantically scuttling out of the tubes and down the slide she was crying and hysterical as she ran out of the play land screaming “Mommy! Mommy!”

There have been many times when I have resembled that stubborn child, remaining in a standoff of obedience with the Lord.  In these times I am so very thankful that He never threatens me with abandonment.  Instead He is longsuffering and waits patiently for me to choose obedience…as long as it takes.  Even when my own disobedience causes me pain He comforts me and loves me through it.  Romans 2:4 states Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?  I am thankful that my Abba will never leave or forsake me.  No matter what.

Father, thank you for your compassionate mercy.  Thank you for loving me and never abandoning me even in the midst of disobedience. 

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Filed under Analogies, Faith, My Father's Daughter, Trust

God Gauge

 Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.

Matthew 7:24-25

It took several seconds for me to realize what was happening.  The noise and movement of what initially could have been a large truck driving by quickly escalated to a steady rumbling accompanied by increasing shaking.  Faced with the reality of what was occurring, panic rose from my stomach to my throat as I looked around my classroom at my students.  We are having an earthquake.

Although the children did not know or understand exactly what was going on, they looked to me for an explanation of what was undeniably out of the ordinary.  I had to stay calm.  I knew that whatever reaction I offered them would determine their own reaction to the situation.  As they looked at me I could tell that they were trying to gauge my response to determine whether they should be afraid or not.

Seconds later with a smile and a firm tone of voice I directed them to leave what they were doing and line up right away.  We followed the other classes down the hallway and out onto the playground.  Within seconds the rumbling stopped, the shaking ceased and we all stood still.

The teachers took a moment to together breathe again, staring at one another with wide eyes as we all realized the magnitude of what had just taken place and how differently it all could have turned out.  The children, sensing that the emergency was over, chattered among themselves with excitement over what had just happened.

We headed back in and resumed school as usual.  As small children do, my class was able to quickly focus on the next task; seeing that no harm had been done they remained unscathed.  I on the other hand found myself stuck at the what if’s and what could have beens of what had just occurred. Flashbacks of scenes of the aftermath of earthquakes in other parts of the world filled my mind.  The pictures of destruction, devastation and demise of entire communities were fixed on the forefront of my heart.  I was thankful for what didn’t happen yet overwhelmed with the thought of what could have happened.  In that moment that the earthquake began I recall feeling completely out of control.  There was nothing I could do to stop what was happening and in that moment I had no idea how bad it was going to get.  I hate feeling out of control.

They say that when you are a teacher you learn from your students as well as teach them.  In that moment when my students did not know what was going on they looked to me.  It was by my response that they gauged their own.  As they were looking to me, I should have been looking to my Lord.  Instead I allowed fear and independence to rise up within me and take over as I wrestled with the best plan of action.  I had to keep my students safe, they were my responsibility, I didn’t know what was going to happen next.

God never freaks out, He never feels afraid and He never falls from the throne.  Regardless of what we face, if we will look to Him and gauge our response by His according to the truth of His Word, we will be able to handle whatever trouble may come with more peace, stability and sense than we are able in our own strength.

Father, when I feel afraid, confused and out of control help me to remember to always look to you to gauge my response. 

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Filed under Analogies, Father God, My Father's Daughter, Trust