“He who can no longer pause to wonder and
stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.”
When our weekend women’s retreat was over, I delayed my departure. The ocean and I have a very serious relationship and if I can borrow from love-stricken Romeo’s panting in the Capulet garden, “Parting is such sweet sorrow.” So, I began my seaside ritual of writing goodbye messages on the face of the sand. Yesterday, I wrote of hesed, that fierce love that loves without an exit strategy. Once I pondered on that for a while, I sealed the weekend with the two words that truly capture the work God is doing in my life right now:
Oh, I know, I’ve been talking about fresh starts for quite some time now. Every Friday, actually, on my weekly VLOG. Little did I know that all that teaching and exhortation was really all for me! (smile) Teachers normally are tested on their teachings. Perhaps that is why James writes, “Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly. Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way” (James 3:1-2). As I was writing (my back was to the ocean), a man and his mom called out, “Watch out, you are gonna get wet! Boy, it was an inch from your feet!” I laughed and quickly darted to safety. But, I realized that within seconds of writing the words, the water had rushed up and over them, making them quickly fade.
“Ah! Look at that,” I smiled. “How quickly the words were washed away.”
Here the face of the sea returns to its original state.
This natural occurrence reminded me of my great need for a fresh word from God every day. It doesn’t take long for the cares and concerns of the world to come and wash away the peace within my soul. Sometimes it happens seconds after I wake up. In honor of this sweet little message, I decided to make it my word for the Lenten season. After reluctantly returning home (although I did miss my dear husband), I erected a simple Lenten altar by my front door. A gentle reminder nudging me every single day of Lent to pray:
Do you need the fresh love of Jesus to wash over you today? Maybe you can’t drive to the ocean and write in the sand, but maybe, just maybe, you can find a quiet spot. A little plot of land. Pick up a stick, bend down, and write your message to God. He will transform that very ordinary plot of land into a beautiful altar.