“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you…”
To escape the heat, I drove to the Yuba River to swim. It was a bit of a hike over dry grass and weeds, uphill and down, but finally, I made my way to the swimming hole. People of all ages were in the deep, clear water of the Sierra snowmelt. I waded in, the cold of the water taking my breath away. Slowly, I adjusted to the temperature and began swimming with the others. A large rock in the middle of the river served as a diving board; young boys cannonballed off if it, laughing and shouting to one another. I thought of the Maidu Indians who used to live here along the Yuba’s banks—living in a time more attuned to God’s rhythms.
As I swam to the deeper reaches of the river, I prayed silently to God: “Dear Father, thank you for this natural beauty you’ve created for us.” A lone hawk circled overhead, its dark wings in stark contrast to the brilliant blue sky. I tread water for a while, looking at the majestic surroundings. “This is true medicine, God,” I said. “Whatever ailed me today is gone. I am at peace.”
“I’m glad, Sparrow,” God whispered through the trees, the sound so sweet and gentle that tears came to my eyes.
I swam back to where I could stand up in the water. I stood for a long time, soaking in the tranquility of the afternoon until the sun began her march towards the other side of the world. As I hiked my way back to my car, in the shadows of sunset, I reached out and took God’s hand.
“I’m with you,” God said.
I nodded. “I know,” I answered. We walked the rest of the way in silence, my heart full.
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” ~Genesis 1:1
Some days I sit and ponder that there was nothing but God before the creation. No sun. No moon. No earth. I can barely wrap my head around it—out of nothing came every star, every solar system, everything! How did God do that? I’m in complete awe. And that’s the state I am happiest to be in—gobsmacked, jaw-dropping, amazement.
It reminds me that with God, all things are possible. If He can make something out of nothing, surely, He can take the darkness in me and turn it into a light so bright. I count on Him doing that for me every day when I stand before Him and humbly hand Him my heart.
In the soft light of this late-spring morning, I sit in my garden and turn my head towards the chirping of baby birds. Nestled in the bottom of a worn wooden birdhouse, they greet the new day. There is no other sound in the quiet of the sunrise. I am mesmerized by their small voices! Soon, they will be strong enough to leave the nest. I think how much the dreams we have in our life are like baby birds — they need nurturing until they are strong enough to navigate on their own.
As the sun slowly rises above the horizon, I wonder what dreams you have inside of you. I pray that you safeguard them from the naysayers who can’t envision them. You can trust your truth. God put it inside of you, just as He put the baby birds in the nest in my garden. Trust that you can’t fall out of God. Your life is in His divine and loving hands. Be you. Live your authentic life. Live your dreams.
“He has made everything beautiful in its time.”
I sat at the edge of the ocean, clearing my mind after an unsettling day.”Breathe it in,” God said.
“The smell of the salt air?” I asked.
“The beauty,” He answered.
I took a slow, deep breath.
“Now, breathe in your beauty,” He said.
“Breathe in your beauty,” He said again.
I laughed, “I’m fifty-eight, remember. Not much of that left.”
“Not that beauty,” He explained. “Your soul’s beauty.”
“I don’t know how to do that.”
“Sure you do. You did it the moment you were born and took your first breath,” He said. “Close your eyes and remember.” I closed my eyes. I took a slow, deep breath. Suddenly every cell in my body was filled with love.
I opened my eyes and saw the ocean stretching out endlessly to the horizon. Like the beauty God breathed into me the moment I was born, it seemed to go on forever and ever.