Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Have I said before that I love being near a body of water? I don't need to be in it or on it, just to look at it has a way of calming me, soothing my soul and drawing me closer to our God who created it. I tend to become reflective, but also feel more energized and in touch - with myself, with Christ and the world around me.

A few years ago I was able to spend a couple of weeks with Lynae and Rich, my sister and brother-in-law. They were living at the beach briefly while the house they were purchasing was vacated. I got to spend a good deal of time watching Joshua and Emily, their two little ones (Arianna wasn't yet a blessing in their lives) running and playing on the beach and it was as if my own spirit was set free along the surf and over the sand.

Among other activities we built sand castles, which can be wonderfully therapeutic. We would use shells as ornaments or tools, depending on their size and shape. It is interesting to note the joy with which the kids planned and built, and the greater pleasure evident when it came time by some unspoken agreement to destroy what they had built with a few well-placed swings of the hands or feet. How temporal their handiwork and how full of life lessons it can be watching one wave come in and erase any evidence of hours of work.

The building of sandcastles occupies the hands and mind in constuctive futility - building a structure that by its very nature will fail. This is fun at the beach but dangerous in our lives. How like that our lives can be as we busily go about building illusions of security and prosperity while ignoring the real issues of life that at any moment, could sweep in and overwhelm our monuments to ourselves and leave us prostrate on life's shore amidst the scattered sand and broken shells.

But look closely at those broken the water washes over them each small piece has intricate form and beauty, especially when wet with the ocean spray. Like them, the Living Water can wash over us, make us beautiful even in our broken form. And the sand can be reformed, built up on a Firm Foundation away from the destructive waves of life.

No matter how broken and useless you feel, know that our Lord loves you and desires to return you to a beautiful, useful form - maybe not in body, but in spirit. Submit yourself to Him and see what beautiful castles he can build from that same brown sand. Let His water renew your soul!

Trusting Him,


P.S. A week from today Brent, Deanna, Lauren and Whitney will return with the rest of the NA team to the States. I praise God for the work He has done in and through them, the seeds planted and confidence built. I look forward to hearing about their trip and hopefully seeing them before too long. Please keep the entire team in your prayers throughout this final week and pray that upon their return they won't find their zeal doused as they try to re-assimilate to their lives here, but that it is infectious to those around them.


At 8:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Typically, I do not pay too much close attention to "mass" emails, however, I received this one today, and I thought I would share it. Brad, you have done a wonderful job with the blog, in Brent and Deanna's abscence. I too, can't wait to here about their trip. I am sure it has been a blessing to many.

Christians - By Maya Angelou

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not shouting "I'm clean livin'."
I'm whispering "I was lost,
Now I'm found and forgiven."

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I don't speak of this with pride.
I'm confessing that I stumble
and need Christ to be my guide.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not trying to be strong.
I'm professing that I'm weak
And need His strength to carry on.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not bragging of success.
I'm admitting I have failed
And need God to clean my mess.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not claiming to be perfect,
My flaws are far too visible
But, God believes I am worth it.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I still feel the sting of pain.
I have my share of heartaches
So I call upon His name.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not holier than thou,
I'm just a simple sinner
Who received God's good grace, somehow!


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