waves and lighthouseNestled amidst the lush beauty of Western Kentucky there's a place I cherish in my heart.  Our cabin overlooking Lake Barkley was more than just a retreat. It was the canvas upon which countless precious memories with loved ones were painted.  Weekends were a symphony of fishing excursions, lazy afternoons on the dock, picnics, walking through the nearby woods, campfires, and the exhilarating rush of boating, rafting, and skiing adventures.  I consider myself fortunate to have had those wonderful childhood experiences.  Time seemed to move slower when at the lake.

I can remember my young self in the boat between my mom and dad.  We were out bass fishing and after about thirty minutes I was done; I wanted to move around and just wished I had something else with me to do to keep my mind satisfied while I waited.  Strange how life turns.  Nowadays I just wish I was bored sometimes.  I remember great detail from my childhood and how in that particular moment I felt “stuck.”  It seemed to me we’d been out there for hours and the fish were not “biting”and it was hot.  But it was there, under my dad's guidance, that I learned invaluable lessons of patience and resilience.  Beyond the pursuit of the biggest catch is what I now realize were intentional moments of getting away from the busy, taking time to forge deeper connections, share laughter, and revel in the simple joy of togetherness.  As an adult, I realize more and more what havoc our busy and chaotic lives can bring to our health, relationships, and overall well-being.  On days like today when I am missing my grandparents, my parents, my sister, my childhood best friend and other close ones who have graduated to heaven, I can replay those beautiful memories I hold in my heart.  When I remember, I can see and hear them once again for a little while.  Every time I get to see a lake or when I’m at the ocean, I’m still amazed at the feeling of peace I find just sitting and staring at the water. 

“Have you ever felt a wave of circumstances nipping at you, threatening to tug you into an ocean of sadness or deeper into despair and depression?  You lose your job, receive an alarming health report, or suffer the loss of a loved one, and no matter how hard you try to kick your way to the surface of hope, the undertow leaves you thrashing about, trying to keep your head above water.  In moments when all our physical strength is exhausted, there’s a place within every believer where deep calls to deep.”  (from crosswalk.com)

Our “knee-jerk” reaction should be to reach out in prayer, calling out to our precious loving Father in Heaven.  He’s our first daddy - our Abba Father.  He’s the One who we can fully trust with every detail of our lives.  He’s the One who is always available no matter what time of day we call.  “When you go through deep waters, I will be with you.  When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown.  When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.”  (Isaiah 43:2 NLT)

We can choose to worship Him, to give thanks right there in the middle of it all.  It doesn’t have to be just while you are standing in the sanctuary that you offer
praise.  Use your outside voice and praise Him.  Pull up some praise songs on the internet.  There are some amazing songs out there!  “Praise him for his mighty
deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness!”  (Psalm 150:2 ESV)  Alongside prayer and worship, we should also reach out to our pastor for prayer and support (that’s what they do, tend the flock).  We can also choose to reach out to a certified counselor (you really shouldn’t fear doing so, and I know a
great one we can recommend).  They are required to keep what you tell them completely confidential and they have wisdom in ways to work through what’s on
your mind to help you feel better.

And let’s not forget to dive into the depths of scripture every day.  If you find it hard to read, try another translation and seek out what the words originally said.
I like to use biblehub.com for the Greek and Hebrew translations as well as many other bible translations.  You can also consult one of the many commentaries and concordances available to better understand the time and culture in which they are written.  There is biblical instruction for every situation we encounter, and there is much power in the spoken scripture.  Something else I like to do is write scriptures on index cards and place them strategically around my home, car, and office.  These scriptures speak truth to my situation and remind me that I’m not alone in any battle and I’m more precious than rubies.  I encourage you to try this too and try memorizing the scriptures.  Write them on your heart so you can pull them out at any given moment of need. 

So let's all rally one another to dive deep into the timeless wisdom of scripture, allowing its truths to shape and guide our lives.  And as we navigate the ebb and flow of life's waters, may we not forget to pause and rest, savoring the richness of relationships and the pursuit of what truly matters.