Something so beautiful should have inspired a gasp. A wide smile… Maybe a low whistle or a “WOW.”
Everyone else in my family was awestruck. At least our four boys. My husband stood behind me where I couldn’t see his face.
The first time I saw Glen Ellis Falls in Jackson, NH, the gasp-smile-whistle-wow was definitely there. Then again, we were on our honeymoon…technically our second honeymoon… So every single thing in the whole forest was gasp-smile-whistle-wow.
Fourteen years later.
The falls still pounded the rock with astonishing force. You still had to yell to be heard. The beauty was still so powerful it froze you in your tracks. But the purity was gone.
The water was still clean, of course. The White Mountains were just as pure and intoxicating as ever. But my heart was not. I thought I was pure. I was a river, full of energy, rolling over the minor bumps of life and singing loudly about God’s goodness. My path was the right path, I was sure of it. As confident as a mountain river, I flowed in and out of every decision with astonishing force. Even I didn’t know I could be so cruel, so heartlessly independent.
As the deer longs for streams of water
So I long for you, O God
I thirst for God, for the living God
Water always follows the path of least resistance. A channel once carved for it becomes its permanent flow. Every passing day of repeated, insistent routine only makes it easier.
Day and night I have only tears for food
The rock wears away, week by week, month by month, chiseled by year after year of practice.
The mountain beauty gets better and better for it. The relationship does not.
…my enemies continually taunt me
“Where is this God of yours?”
Then again, if the river of my heart was full of love and humility, the waterfall would be magnificent. Breathtaking. Life giving. Every crescent in the rock would be overflowing with blessings of grace.
My heart is breaking as I remember how it used to be
I stared up at the rushing water. Numb. Tears came. Thankfully, my children were so enamored by this place, they didn’t notice. But I saw past the water.
I saw the rock.
Beaten down. Frustrated into silence. Carved and cold.
God? Is the past unchangeable?
Then am I unchangeable?
Please do a miracle. Please make something beautiful out of this.
I turned away with an empty heart. No water. Just a dry riverbed and a tiny, waning pool of faith. I’ve seen Him do it before. I know He can do it for me. But why would He want to?
Now I am deeply discouraged
But I will remember you from [the White Mountains]
I am so thankful that my Daddy in heaven loves me. Loves me like the pounding of a trillion Glen Ellis Falls overflowing every bank until the landscape is drowned in grace.
Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls
All your waves and breakers have swept over me
Carving new paths instantly, changing the water from brown, stale sludge to pure forgiveness and grace.
And He didn’t delay. We were still in the mountains when I heard it coming. MY miracle!
Silly me. I thought healing was always instant. People who were fighting magically started to put each other first. Fireworks exploded. Rose buds strewed themselves all over the floor. No, healing can be more like a difficult hike, legs screaming for rest. Sweaty. Exhausted. Embarrassed about being both of those. It’s a terrible feeling when you realize you’re to blame.
I don’t understand what happened. Somehow the Lord touched my eyes and made me see what my attitude and actions were doing, and how the shape of us had been carved by my own pride, fear, and selfishness. He gave me the courage to own up to it. And when it seemed nothing good could flow there, He changed the water. First an honest, awful conversation. Then, silence. Then baby steps as we began to see eye to eye.
Love doesn’t force its way. It learns to flow. And I realized that flowing together is scary. Life is crazy bumpy. But God’s love pours out on me partly through my husband – through togetherness, not independence. God’s love wants to pour out on my husband through me – through facing the bumps and terrible plunges over cliffs together. My deep calls to his deep and his deep to mine.
No matter how silently or how long I’ve resisted Him, God’s love is always watching for a channel…
Each day the Lord pours His unfailing love upon me
And through each night I sing His songs,
praying to God who gives me life.
There is a River, full of energy, rolling over the bumps of life and singing loudly about God’s goodness.
“O God my rock,” I cry
“Why have you forgotten me?”
“Why must I wander around in grief,
Oppressed by my enemies?”
Let me handle your enemies. Starting with you.
Why am I discouraged?
Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
I will praise Him again –
My Savior and my God!
He will wear steadily away at the stubborn rock in my heart. And He will overflow the banks of what I imagined love could be.
Scripture quotes are from Psalm 42