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Beside the Still Waters

Hesitantly, and with the same deep breath, my friends and I, together, would bravely lower our toes, and then our lower legs, into the icy rushing water. I don't remember a lot about the year I was 10, but for reasons my heart only knows I have always carried vivid memories inside it of the man made creek near our home, and the countless hours on end we spent there. I don't recall consciously considering this, but I think that somewhere in the back of my mind I was convinced that it had no beginning or end; that we were always going to find ourselves somewhere in the middle of it, wondering where it had left from, and just why it was in such a hurry to get to wherever it was going. It was a passageway to somewhere, and although it accepted our gifts of leaves and dandelions, (and the occasional unintentional offering such as my sister's retainer); it mostly ignored us; never stopping for a minute, rushing over our bared legs like a New York subway car, focused and hurrying to places we could only hope to ever see.

I don't know if it was the creek itself we were so hopelessly drawn to as much as the idea of it; this secret place our parents knew existed, but rarely knew we visited. There seemed to be something about sitting together, bearing the biting cold of it until our legs reddened and our feet grew numb. We were quite brave, my friends and I, lined up together on the side of that creek. There was no way of knowing what might bob up out of the water, running it's slimy or scratchy self over our feet; possibly lodging between our toes. There were places too deep to see what lay underneath, and yet we willingly plunged our bare feet into the unknown, trusting that whatever passed by us would, well, do just that. Including snakes.

(And let me say here that if you have never met a 10 year old girl, you should know that they are masterful at shrieking. My friends and I were exceptionally gifted in this area.)

I remember us holding onto the side (and sometimes to each other) talking for hours, and laughing our way through that year, growing and changing separately and as one, not seeing it, not realizing at the time that this would be one of the sweetest memories of our lives. Not knowing that God would show it to me again, today, when I needed it to see it in again, this time, in the way He would have me to.

He brought this gift to me this morning in the midst of a sadness that I am thankful I can share, although I cannot begin to describe. I have no right or good words for it yet; only the faith that they will come in time if it is His will. I am thankful for that. For now, my precious Lord is interceding and praying for me, and I am more than content to let it be for now. And so He brought my beautiful creek to mind, and to my ears, as I am sure I can hear it rushing over the rocks, joyful and determined in its journey; just as I can plainly see the blinding sun glinting and sparkling on its current.

Beautiful in its simplicity, but unpredictable and frightening at times, I saw it differently when I was a girl of 10. It was bigger to me; unreachable, unconquerable; like my life before I knew my Lord. Like the way this heart breaks, even now, as His child, when I cannot see His light. But He whispers to me the truth, and I know it to be so, even as I am asking Him to tell me again and again, if only I could begin to understand it; there is no one greater, that He is truly sufficient, for everything, even this. You couldn't see it then, He tells me; and when You are far from me you can't see it now; but there was a beginning to that creek, just as there was an ending to it.

One day you will know how high and how wide and how long and how deep is my love for you...

And so I can roll up my jeans and put my toes into the water; secure in the One Who knows what is upstream; content to enjoy this life for life itself; braving the cold, enduring the current, knowing I am forgiven, even as I see myself in its reflection; even as He sees deep into this heart of mine. I can feel His love rushing over me, carrying away with it all my hurts; washing me clean, time and again. Knowing these things will come to end one day, but that His love never will; is forever, and ever, the length and breadth and depth of it immeasurable, unstoppable, unfailing. Without end.

"I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End." ~ Revelation 22:13

Ephesians 3:18

Revelations 22:13

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