Peace Like a River

riverI am driven by nature naturally.  A soft gentle breeze gracefully blows across my face resembles a sweet kiss upon my cheeks. A white butterfly flutters by and sips sweetness from a vine. The buttercups, daisies, and Indian paintbrush wildflowers sway ever so softly as they dance to the beat of the wind. I feel so content, peaceful and fully at rest within my soul. I lay back against the rocks and begin to daydream. My new butterfly journal is in hand and I begin to write from my heart.

Only 3 sentences into the entry, I happen to glance down and see a ladybug crawling over a tiny weed. She is brightly colored orange with black spots. To my delight I gently reach down to pick her up.  I wanted to capture her on film crawling across the words I had just penned about nature. As I place her down, from the corner of my eye another lady bug is crawling where my back had just been resting upon the rock. I place both lady bugs on my journal page and try to capture them on my camera. They were both so quickly crawling, they would not sit still. They kept getting to the edge of the page and crawling to the pavement in circles before I could snap the photo. I would carefully pick them back up, but each time to my surprise they were quickly back to the floor and off the page. After 6 attempts, I finally managed to capture the shot.

I began to laugh inside at the thought of those silly lady bugs. All I wanted was a quick photo, but they were busily trying to escape me and be on their own mission. Suddenly, a gentle nudge impressed upon my heart. This display was a resemblance of myself at times. I can get so wrapped up in the moments of everyday life and begin walking in circles, trying to finish one thing here, and the next, and the pattern replays over and over again.  Multi-tasking is a must for us ladies. God has graciously gifted us with this ability.

For instance I begin to unload the dishwasher, place some of the dishes on the counter top and then remember there are clothes in the washer that need to be placed in the dryer. Opening the dryer and grabbing the heaping load and plop the pile of laundry on the couch promising myself that I will return shortly to fold and eventually put them away in their rightful places. Ok, now where was I? Oh right, the dishes. But then something else pops in my mind that needs to be attended to at that moment. Dishes can wait, laundry can wait, I can return to these duties later. They will always be here, right? Yes, of course. Its never-ending.

Whatever our daily routine and often sometimes mundane tasks that come our way, may at times keep us walking about in circles. We can pace here and there and everywhere, trying to start one thing here, return to another over here, and questions arise, will this other task over here ever be completed?  That is what flows through my mind at times.

I am reminded in Ecclesiastes 3:11 that He has made everything beautiful in its time.

Amidst my circles and round abouts and daily spins that seem to take me into orbit at times, God is there with me. Gently leading me. He is patient with me and allows me to turn around in circles, walk in the same room over and over again trying to remember what it was that brought me in here in the first place. Now, what did I come in here for again? Oh, right, the toilet paper… or whatever I may have forgotten in my rushing and busyness. He doesn’t rush me or say hurry up. He gives me all the time I need. He waits on me to stop running in circles and look to Him for the answer.

I am reminded of a time that I heard a single word that spoke so directly to my heart. We were on a family camping trip to Turner Falls, Oklahoma.  Our camper was packed full of games, activities and food for the week for us to enjoy fun times together. The waterfalls are a sight to see. As we are walking down the pathway leading up to the Falls we are anxiously awaiting to take a peak at the natural wonder and to plunge into the water. There is a long walkway leading up to the Falls and Landan is running way ahead of us hoping to beat us to the water. The pathway circled around and I remember smiling as I watched Cory holding Logan upon his shoulders and they were laughing all the way. In that moment, I heard the word Stillwater. It was so loud and clear in my heart. I looked over at the river that was flowing beside the walkway and began to smile. That word was forever etched upon my heart. Still to this day, I can hear that still small voice whisper the word stillwater and it gives me chills. Our family made the long walk around the circled pathway and eventually took a plunge into the chilly water. The water falls were flowing down from the hills and mountains behind them. We swam out to the Falls and felt the refreshing waters pour out upon us. It was breathtaking and so serene and peaceful. A moment I will always treasure and remember.

In the moments when I feel my life is full of busyness, running around in circles, and trying to catch my breath… I am reminded that Jesus quiets my soul. He leads me beside the still waters. He pours out His living water, just like the waterfalls that poured over our family that day.

The Lord is my Shepherd [to feed, guide and shield me], I shall not lack. He makes me lie down in [fresh, tender] green pastures; He leads me beside the still and restful waters. He refreshes and restores my life (myself); He leads me in the paths of righteousness [uprightness and right standing with Him-not for my earning it, but] for His name’s sake. {Psalm 23:1-3 AMP}

One afternoon while eating at Big Daddy’s there were some high school students performing songs they had written. One young man’s performance stood out to me the most. He had his guitar in hand and began to strum the strings. He opened his mouth and the words he had written spoke so clearly to me. I began singing the melody in my heart and can still hear the tune. The chorus he sang was very simple and so true and spoke so gently to my heart… just be still, just be quiet, just be loved, be by my side. 

Even though my dishes, laundry and other things may pile up. Jesus brings me peace like a river. And yes, my loads of laundry are still on the couch waiting for me to fold and put away at the moment. But, I am at peace and know that I will get to them eventually.

That is what Jesus is whispering to you right now. Whatever crazy schedules, chaos, or circles you may be chasing. Jesus asks you to just be still, just be quiet, just be loved, be by His side. He loves you and will always lead you gently. He is your powerful provider. He is all you need. When the world and the walls seems to be caving in at times, just look up to Jesus. He will guide you through. He will bring you peace like a river to your soul.

Written by Salina Duffy

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