Dear Little Water Splasher (from Someone Who Loves You series)

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Dear Little Water Splasher,

I knew you were out of your comfort zone. The river is much larger than the small inflatable pools you’re used to. And the water is continually moving; the constant flow of the waves might have been a bit unsettling. But the worst seems to have been the inability to see through the water. Did you think dangerous things were hiding in there?  Did you think  the muddy bottom would suck you deep into it, never letting you go? Or did you think there was no bottom at all? You had two choices, and I’m delighted you chose trust over fear. As long as you were being held, you were able to ignore the unknown that scared you and go willingly into something new. By trusting the strong arms that held you securely, you had great fun interacting with the water. Do you know something? Life is like that river. It’s big, constantly moving, and contains many unknowns. You can remain in your comfort zone and stay distant from it out of fear, or allow yourself to be carried out of your comfort zone and into a new adventure, knowing you’ll be secure in the arms that carry you there. Splash all you want, my little duck. You are safe.

From,

Someone Who Loves You

 

 

Psalm 63:8  My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.

Isaiah 41:13  For I, the LORD your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not. I am the one who helps you.”

Psalm  89:13  You have a mighty arm; strong is your hand, high is your right hand.

 

Do you hear God speaking to you in these letters? If so, it’s no coincidence.  As I write to my new granddaughter, I can hear God speaking to me. And my prayer is that you can also hear Him speaking to you for He loves us even more than I love my granddaughter.

Life in a Swimming Pool

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The pool was filling up. Maybe she should leave now, before it got too crowded.  But not really wanting to leave the cool water, she decided to watch the people around her instead. Everyone was enjoying the water in different ways.

“Marco.” The voice caught her attention and she looked to her left and saw a young girl standing in water up to her chin, eyes closed, calling out, “Marco” every few seconds. Each time she called, several other children moving around her called back, “Polo.”  As she heard their responses, she would turn in their direction and, without opening her eyes, reach out to try to tag one of them. But she never moved from where she was. It reminded her of something she had read in Proverbs. “The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge, for the ears of the wise seek it out.” That’s so much like us, she thought. There is wisdom all around us, and if we call out, we can hear it. But we won’t ever find it if we just stay put in one place and make half-hearted attempts to touch it.

Laughter caught her attention. She turned to look and saw some mothers and daughters playing keep away. They were laughing as they tossed a water ball back and forth, no one having very good aim, and teams changing places in the middle frequently.

“Keep away,” she muttered. “I hate that game. Either the players on the ends are too good at tossing the ball high over the middle person’s head, or no one really cares about the game and end up half-heartedly tossing the ball. There’s no good challenge either way.”

So why are they laughing?

She had to think about that for awhile. Maybe the kids are laughing because they’re so little and don’t really know anything about the game. They just enjoy being in the water and throwing a ball around. And maybe the moms are laughing because their daughters are laughing. Is that how God sees us? He takes delight in watching us enjoy His creation?

She watched another group play a game she wasn’t familiar with. Evidently, one person is a shark and calls out “Swim”, then tries to catch the other people (minnows) as they swim from one side of the pool to the other. Most of the time, the minnows would just start swimming as fast as they could hoping to out swim the shark but the shark was able to catch whichever minnow it was after. However there was one minnow who stood out. She would watch the shark intently , wait for the shark to go after a minnow, then move quietly in a different direction, staying as far away from the shark as she could. If the shark happened to see her, she would sink into the water, causing the shark to have more difficulty seeing her. Underwater, she could swim faster and when she emerged, she’d be ten feet away. Time and time again she got away from the shark using this strategy.

Now, that’s a whole like us and temptation, she thought. Most of the time when temptation arises, we either fall easy prey to it, or we try to use out own power to avoid it. It might work now and then, but eventually that shark is going to get us. We should be more like that wise girl. Stay as far away as we can, and, when that doesn’t work, dive deep into Jesus, allowing Him to cover us as we make our escape.

A loud cry from the other side of the pool brought her attention to a man holding a very little girl, trying to talk her into letting him toss her up and catching her. She cried each time he mentioned it. The mom called from the side to quit talking about it and just do it. So he did and the little girl laughed. He repeated it several times, delighting in her laughter. Then he tried to talk her into going underwater with him so he could toss her higher. She refused and began crying again.

So much like us and God, she thought. It’s probably why He won’t tell us all His plans for us. We’d be as terrified as that little girl and refuse every invitation He gives us. Yet, He knows how much we would enjoy it once we got past the fear.

She was intrigued watching a young girl chatting with her friend, totally ignoring a younger girl who kept hitting her with a water ball. How could she do that? She knew if anyone kept hitting her with something, she’d get irritated and angry. But then she thought, isn’t that what Satan does? Constantly hitting us with something to mess with our peace and cause us to get irritated and angry? “God,” she prayed silently, “help me be able to ignore the arrows Satan throws at me as well as this little girl is ignoring the ball being slammed on her.”

There was a man floating in the midst of all this, eyes closed, ignoring everything around him as he relaxed.

Now that’s the right idea, she thought. To be able to rest on Jesus and ignore all the problems around us would be amazing!

She was dismayed to see another group of people enter the pool. OK, now it was just getting too crowded. Regretfully she climbed out of the pool and prepared to go home. As she did, she had one final thought: “This is like how one day I will climb out of the swimming pool of life and head to my heavenly home!” She smiled.  “Only I’ll do so with way more excitement than I feel right now!”

Bella, part 7 –  Singing, Water, and Other Surprises

The tune was so sweet, yet seemed so powerful, like it was a living thing making its way deep inside her heart. What were the words? They  surely couldn’t be as powerful as that melody, could they?

She closed her eyes to better concentrate as she tried to make out the words in the song. She was listening so intently that she didn’t notice Jude return with her water. She jumped when he called her name.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you,” he said as he handed her the glass of water.

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“No, no. It’s not your fault. I’m sorry I wasn’t paying attention.”

“Oh, I thought you had dozed off or something,” he laughed. “What were you thinking about?”

“About that music.”

“Ah, yes, it’s pretty awesome. It seems to drift right down deep into your soul, doesn’t it?”

They both listened for a few minutes as the singing continued. Finally Bella asked, “Who is that?”

“A good friend. One I hope you’ll get to meet someday.”

“Why not today?”

“My dad and I have other plans for you right now. As soon as he gets here, he’ll tell you.”

Uh, oh. Plans for me? That sounds ominous, she thought. She looked at her water to mask her nervousness. Why does being there scare her so much? Especially since all she wants when she’s not there is to be there. Why does this have to be so strange? Maybe she should just leave before the pastor got in the room. She took a sip of the water as she thought of a graceful way to leave.

“Wow!” she gasped. “This is the best water I’ve ever tasted!”

“Thank you,” Jude answered. “Somehow I knew you’d like it.”

“What kind is it? Where can I get some more?”

“It’s from our well. So I guess that means the only place you can get it is here.” He smiled at her. “And there’s plenty so you can have as much as you want as often as you want it.”

She took another sip, She couldn’t believe how good she felt after drinking it. But then the doubts flooded in. Was it just a fluke? Maybe she had just been extra thirsty or something. Or maybe it was her nerves playing tricks on her. In any case, a second glass should show her that it was just ordinary water. She drained the glass, then holding it out to him, asked, “Can I have some more right now?”

“Sure thing!” Jude took the glass and left just as the pastor walked in.

“Hi Bella! Good to see you again!” Toby walked across the room towards Bella. “How are you doing?”

“I’m fine, thank you. How are you today?”

“Oh, I’m doing wonderfully well! Ready to take a walk? I know you had some questions the last time you were here that we never got to. We could go to the lake and talk about them if you want.”

Bella frowned up at him, puzzled. Walk? In the rain? She hadn’t brought any dry clothes with her. Surely he was kidding.

Ignoring her frown, he reached down to take her hand. “Let me help you up. Jude is going to meet us in the garden.”

Bella allowed him to pull her up and then followed him to the hallway. This had to be a joke. Jude would pop out of the kitchen and shout, “Got you!” any moment now.  And if, for some reason, this wasn’t a joke, and Pastor Toby really did want to take a walk in the rain, she would just refuse. She didn’t want to get wet, and the rain would end up being a distraction from the questions she wanted to ask.  They’d be able to focus better in the living room.

By the time they reached the back door, Jude had not popped out to surprise her. She stopped and said, “I don’t want to go outside. It’s raining and I don’t really want to get wet. Can’t we go back to the living room?”

“You won’t get wet,” he said as he opened the door and motioned her to go first.

“But it’s raining outside. And I know your garden doesn’t have a roof. I’ve been there, remember?”

“Trust me, you won’t get wet.”

She stared at him for a long moment, then, to prove him wrong, she stepped outside.

 

Links to previous parts of this story:

I’m Not Hurt, Not Really, part 1

I’m Not Hurt, Not Really, part 2

Bella, part 1- Heart VS Brain

Bella, part 2 – Distractions

Bella, part 3 – Overcoming Detours

Bella, part 4 – Questions

Bella, part 5 – Yellow and Blue Theory

Bella, part 6 – A Little Rain Won’t Hurt

Life is Like a Beach, section 3: Water

The following is part of a book I would like to publish someday. It’s too long to blog as one post so I’m breaking it up section by section.  Each section can be read as a stand-alone, and hopefully my analogies will provide food for thought as well as encouragement to keep on going no matter where you find yourself in life.  I’ve added links  at the end to the previous sections to make them easier to find should you want to read them. Oh, and all photos were taken by me and are untouched other than cropping when necessary. God’s creation is so awesome just the way it is!

 

Water

One of the fascinating aspects of the beach is the ever changing colors of the water. From light blues and greens to dark gray and everything in between. Sometimes the water is so clear I can see clear down to the sand under my feet. I can see the shells, tiny sand dunes, fish, crabs, and even a ray or two. It’s so beautiful that no matter how long I gaze at it, it’s never enough.

 

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Other times the water is darker and I have to strain to see anything in it.  It’s not as much fun to swim in this water, wondering what may be lurking under or around me. It may not be as beautiful, but it’s still cool and refreshing.

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And sometimes the water is filled with ugly, slimy green seaweed. Not pleasant to look at, and I have to be especially hot to venture out in it.

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Our lives are ever changing also. Sometimes things happen that are so beautiful we never want them to end.  Everything seems so clear and bright we think we can see all the way into tomorrow. But other times life is not so clear. Mundane events can get us to miss the beauty of day to day living. And then there are times when our lives are filled with ugly slimy junk because of choices we make or are made by other people affecting us.  But regardless of how bad our lives might look at the moment, it’s good to know that it’s not permanent and that the water of our lives will become clear and blue again eventually.

Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. You will increase my honor and comfort me once more. Psalm 71:20-21

 

Previous sections:

Section 1: The Path

Section 2: Red Flags

Life is Like a Beach, section 1: The Path

The following is part of a book I would like to publish someday. It’s too long to blog as one post so I’m breaking it up section by section.  Each section can be read as a stand-alone, and hopefully my analogies will provide food for thought as well as encouragement to keep on going no matter where you find yourself in life.  Oh, and all photos were taken by me and are untouched other than cropping when necessary. God’s creation is so awesome just the way it is!

 

The Path

There are many kinds of paths to the beach. Some are straight and you can see where you are heading.

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Some are curved and you have to trust that it will actually take you where you want to go.

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Some require some climbing.

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Sometimes it seems the path goes on forever and the journey is just not worth it. And some even make you feel you’re heading in the wrong direction.

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Sometimes, in the sun, it can get hot and painful to walk on. And if I’m not careful, I might even get a splinter or two.

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But if I look carefully, I can see that I’m not the only one travelling this path.

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Knowing others have gone this way and made it to the end (I know because there are no skeletons along the way) reassures me that I can too. And keeping my thoughts on the goal – the water –  helps me stay motivated to keep walking.

The same is true in life. Sometimes our path in life is straightforward, other times it seems to curve in unexpected directions. Sometimes circumstances make our days seem long and hard and painful and we think they will never end. But remembering that we are not alone, that others have faced the same struggles we are facing and have gotten past them, can encourage us. Just like them, we can survive this and eventually get to a better place somewhere up  ahead if we just keep walking. And keeping our focus on the goal – the Living Water – makes all the difference in the world!

 

I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14

Sometimes Muddy Water is a Good Thing

 

Emotions churned inside her as she bowed before the Lord in prayer.

“Jesus, I don’t know what’s happening inside me. It’s such a mess. And I don’t even know why. Everything seems to be going well right now – job, family, health. So why all this turmoil?”

“Just a little cleaning up.”

She frowned, not understanding. How can cleaning up make her feel bad? She thought about it for a while. What exactly WAS she feeling? So many emotions all mixed up inside her. Pain and confusion from her teen years that still plagued her. Doubts that she was actually hearing from God and that it wasn’t just her imagination, and fear that she would lead others wrong as she began speaking out for Him.  Depression that seemed to cling to her no matter how hard she tried to fight it.  Very low self-esteem, more like no self-esteem.  The list seemed endless. She struggled to put a name to it.

“Muddy water.”

Muddy water?

She thought of her small garden pond. She enjoyed going outside to sit by it each day and watch the fish swim around. The pond looked beautiful – clear shiny water with green flowering plants growing in and around it. From time to time she would add a little water to compensate for the water that had evaporated.

She remembered a time she had not gone outside to the pond for several weeks. When she had finally made it there, she had been dismayed to find the water level to be as low IMG_20180510_000206722as it was. So she had taken the hose and watched as the water refilled the pond. Almost immediately the clear water had gotten cloudy as the running water churned up the dirt that had settled at the bottom.  Within minutes she could see leaves and pine straw swirling around in the very muddy water. Yuck. She decided to keep the water flowing and as the water flowed over the top, it had taken the mud, leaves and pine straw with it until all that had remained was clear clean water. Her pond was beautiful again, only this time it wasn’t hiding a bunch of dirt and debris at the bottom.

She made the connection. She might look good on the outside, but deep inside her heart,  a lot of dirt and debris had settled over time. Jesus had turned on the hose in her heart, filling her to overflowing with living water!

Amazed at the way He helped her understand, she thanked Him for the work He was doing. It might not look so good at the moment, she thought, but when He gets done, my heart will be clean and clear and truly beautiful!