There are those days when I look out over the course of the day, and I sigh and think, "That was a good day." But then there are the others when I look out, and I see the mess that has been created by my own hands, and I feel the weight of it all, and I can hear all the words said and gone unsaid, and I just want to crawl under the covers and eat chocolate.
When the LEGOs pile high and the laundry begins to have a mind of its own and the phone is incessant, and I've hurried my family along, and then the teen shouts out for 'mom' for the 800th time, I feel it. It's when my blood runs hot, and I leave my own people, flesh of my flesh, in my wake as the words boil over and out and scald them to the quick. I see the tremble in their chin, the flash of tears against their blue eyes that let me know I've overstepped, and I recognize quickly gentleness has not been my companion. So instead of just LEGOs and laundry remaining, I now have added regret to the list of things to clean up. I've had plenty of those messy nights when the hurry haunts me after the hurried-along-ones have gone to bed. Last night was no different.
I talked about the balancing act here a few weeks back, but I was grateful for last night's sunset pause after what the day held. Our house is a few blocks from the Wando River. It is a blessing for many reasons, but one is the proximity to the river and the ability to watch the sky turn 100 shades of rose-orange-purple each and every night from my front porch as we watch the sky kiss the earth just behind the trees. The sunset was spectacular last night, and upon seeing it, it reminded me of a night several years back when the sunset was art-on-display, and the smallest of mine said, "Let's go to the river to see it better." And we did - we stopped what we were doing, and at that moment we ran - so as not to miss a minute, and we could see it better. At the river banks, nothing was keeping us from seeing all His artistry on display.
It was while I was running when the pause came. I heard the Lord gently say, "You are not running to me with all of these things that are troubling you and causing you to respond the way you are. Instead, there is too much you are letting get in the way of what I have for you. You need to run to me to see all of this better."
How quickly I forget the River. The River of Life. When the day is long, and the tempers are short, He and His word are the needed remedy for my soul-drought instead of pretending I'm not dying of thirst at my own doing. It is the only thing that satisfies.
His Word brings me life. This unending well springs up in me and gives me hope, a future, and the will to go on. It's His refreshing written-waters right there in red letters that cause me to want to cleanse my heart and start over.
It's the living water that revives me. He calls to me - come and drink and thirst no more. And boy, I am thirsty - after trying to quench it with striving and effort and doing it my way on my own. I open His Word and drink deep. And everything always becomes clearer... maybe not immediately, but if we come close, he draws closer. It's a promise (James 4:8).
I know I need to run to the river often. I was reminded again that evening. As I soaked up the sunset and breathed in His promises, the messy and the meaningful became much clearer. Especially when the world calls and attentions are divided, and responsibilities are deep, pausing what I'm doing and running to the river is important. Yes, not only to enjoy the beauty of the Wando and to the brackish-black water that is winding its way into my soul, but most importantly to the One who made it, whose life-blood is in my veins and who beacons me gently to His side. If I run to Him - I always see it better.
Sometimes we need to pause. But sometimes we need to run.
River Redeemer - remind me to run to You - and often. When my heart gets tied in a knot, help me to run and take my children and those I love with me to the deep River so we can see life better. Lead us towards your word that gives us life so we can learn to soak in all You have for us and rest beside the calming waters. Help us remember that if we run to You, You will be with us in beautiful ways and will help us all to see You better.
"Jesus replied, "If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.... those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life." - John 4:10, 14.