Tag: lake

Where do your tracks lead?

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Walking around the lake in winter is very different.  Things that are easily noticeable in most seasons may be covered in snow.  The plant life that is visible looks barren.  There are fewer types of wildlife, and those that remain behave differently.

Circling the lake today, I was amazed at how many tracks were clear in the freshly fallen snow.  Mine were the only human footprints, but there were many solitary and group trails that led in one direction: toward the water.

The path the ducks and geese took to get to the water was made plain in the snow.   I had never wondered about the specific route these birds take to the water, but with tracks in the snow, it was easy to follow their exact steps.

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I wondered if the snow was a hardship for the birds.  Were their feet cold as they stepped through the wet, frigid moisture?  Did they hurry to get to their destination?

 

 

Did the slips I could see on the steep slope into the water upset them?  Did they squawk when they slipped?

Many people would agree that regarding weather, cold and snow are a hardship.  In our lives though, there are many kinds of trials to be endured.

Oddly enough, like those ducks leaving footprints in the snow, we leave the most visible trails when our paths take us through hardship.  Others can see our actions and our path more clearly when they trail through hard times.

It presents a challenge to be more careful of our steps.  As a Christian, my real help comes from God.  But is that the first place I go in difficult times? Or do my footprints show confusion, heading in many different directions?

Like the ducks, in fair weather, we can do many things that don’t leave a trace.  But in difficult times, our every step leaves a clear trail for all to see.

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What do your steps show?  Where does your trail lead?  If others follow it, will it lead them to God?

Whatever your hardship, God is your very present help.  Turn your steps heavenward.  And lead on!

God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, His ways are not our ways

When I woke up, my throat was dry and sore. My head was stuffy and my nose was running. I began reorganizing my day so I could get the kids off to school and then snuggle back into my warm bed for several hours of recuperative rest.

There are not many things that would have thwarted this endeavor. But, when I called out to my youngest son to wake up and he responded with a raspy, croupy voice, that was one of them. I got out of bed and ran a tub full of hot water to make a steam room, and got him in there. Silently, I hoped my plans of sweet slumber would only be slightly delayed.

A trip downstairs to look at the calendar revealed that he was not buying the hot lunch selection offered at school, necessitating making him a lunch. AND that it was Band day, meaning an extra heavy load for him to carry. As I started the lunch, his friend and walking buddy phoned to say he was ready to go early. Since Collin was not ready and the steam would take a little while to work, I told his walking buddy to go on without him. Now the prospect of making him walk to school, late, alone, and carrying his trumpet was too much. The obvious solution: I should drive him.

I made his breakfast and took it on a tray upstairs to the steam room. He was sounding much better. After making his lunch and filling his backpack with various permission slips and homework papers, I resigned myself to get dressed.

In 20 minutes, he was looking, feeling, and sounding fine. With one last glance at my now coiffed covers, we were off.

my-lakeRight by the school is the lake I usually walk around for exercise and inspiration. While it had not been my plan for this morning, (remember my dreams of snugly slumber?) the fact that I was up and dressed and all the way to the school left me no acceptable excuse.

Even though walking the lake is something I really enjoy and something I know is good for me. I can come up with a myriad of excuses to avoid actually doing it. But God seems to know when I need it most. And when he wants to teach me something. Being close to nature makes me look and listen more intently to what He might have to say. So forgetting my sore throat, I began walking.

dahlia-2823975_640Not even a quarter of the way around the lake, I stopped to admire a beautiful dahlia. This tall blossom had grown huge and strong and boldly faced the sun. I remembered how many flowers bend to grow towards the sun; some even track the sun as it moves across the sky each day. I began noticing that other plants had oriented themselves towards the sun too. Not only the flowers, but some bushes had obviously sent more branches out in the direction of the sun.

What a lesson!

How often do we stand tall and face the Son? And how often do we shade ourselves a bit? Are we afraid of what His true light would reveal?

Facing the sun/Son is saying, “I am ready to receive what you will give me.” The flower receives sunlight that helps it live and grow. We receive life and growth and so much more from the Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. God is prepared to send down His grace, forgiveness, love, peace, joy, guidance, direction, protection. We need only turn to face Him.

This flower, looking full into the face of the sun, reminded me of the words to a song I love:

Turn your eyes upon Jesus

Look full in His wonderful face

And the things of the world will grow strangely dim

In the light of His glory and grace

©1922 Helen Lemmel

As I continued around the lake I realized the truth of the statement in Isaiah 55:8-9 “God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, His ways are not our ways…”. My thought had been to stay in bed, hidden from the sun. But God knew I needed the healing power of facing and focusing on the Son. Being up and out had cleared my head and encouraged me for the day. I am so glad I walked around the lake and saw that dahlia.  So glad I can trust that He knows what I need better than I do.  So can you.

 

Are your Blessings running low?

When I got to the lake to take my walk today, the most noticeable thing was the water level. It had dropped to an extremely low point. Very few birds could be seen on the water. Rocks lay exposed. At first glance, the water looked shallow and scummy, the banks muddy and messy. It was as if the blessing of the beauty of the water had been taken away.

rock-328783_640            Could this be like our lives? What would they look like with God’s blessing withdrawn like the water in the lake? We immerse ourselves in God’s blessing when we have it. We revel in it! It surrounds us and holds us up as we float on it. My first thought was that to lose even a little of it would not be a good thing.

But where the trail came near the water, I stepped off to have a closer look. I saw hundreds, perhaps a thousand tiny fish! Fish not usually see because the regular depth of the water obscures them from view. This blessing of these fish had been there all along but had gone unnoticed.

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From there I could also see that the ducks and geese had gathered in a small inlet to feast on the algae that had grown on the underwater rocks which now lay uncovered. What a blessing they were enjoying!

Many bottles and cans stuck in the sandy lake bottom were also now exposed, and a couple of kids had made their way down to the rocks’ edge to pull them out. So, this ‘clean up’ effort was made possible by the lowered water level.

If these benefits were occurring when water was withdrawn from the lake, could there be benefits in our lives when God seems to withhold His bounty for a time? Would our examined lives reveal hidden blessings?

If we take the time to look, the answer is probably “Yes”.

Would we discover blessings we often don’t notice, or take for granted? Probably yes. God blesses us with every new day, each breath we take, every friend, every sunset. There is even blessing in times of hardship. We just need to take the time to look and notice, like the tiny fish in the lake.

Could we feast on the growth of our faith that has grown in the depth of God’s blessings? Yes. Perhaps it is not fully exposed and realized until the level drops, like the algae covered rocks.

Have we allowed things to creep into our lives that we need to remove? Undoubtedly, yes. But like the garbage on the lake, we may ignore them until we see their trashy presence in full view. Then it’s an opportunity to clean things up.

Ecclesiastes says, “There is a time to every purpose under heaven.” And if you’re feeling like God’s blessing is somewhat lower than usual in your life, don’t be discouraged. You have a wonderful opportunity for discovery, feasting, and clean up before you.

And before long, the depths will return.

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Are you gonna Squat or Soar?

Picture a cold winter day. There is a white, icy bed of snow on the ground, ice, creeping slowly across the lake. Your eye moves from the white of the ground, to the gray of the freezing water, to the haze of the sky, hemming in the horizon with a veil of frosty air. The sun is only a bright spot in the gray blanket of low, snow clouds tucked in around the lake. Not much is moving as you gaze out across the expanse of grayness.

There are groups of ducks and geese, tightly tucked and asleep on the ice.     Another group of nondescript white birds is clumped together near the water. But there is none of the clucking and chatter that usually accompanies their presence. Not a sound is heard. The frigid air threatens to stop any communication cold, as it freezes every breath taken.

Then, above the lake, a bird appears: silently soaring, in seemingly slow motion. Its graceful wings, stretched to its farthest reach, give it a look of majesty as it hangs upon the air. It is joined by another. They turn twice, together, and are joined by a third. The mid-air ballet continues for several moments before they separate and go in three different directions. As one flies towards you, you can see the graceful curve of its pure white, broad wings, and the delicate black tips that reach out to capture the air that lifts it higher.

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You recognize this bird. It’s the same kind that you noticed before, squatting, clumped together with others like it in a huddle on the ground. This same little nondescript bird that blended in so plainly with the frozen background displays a Godly majesty when flying. But of course! Flying is exactly what God created it for!

Soaring, is what God created you for. What is keeping you squatting in the snow? It’s so easy to stay on the ground with our friends, huddled against the circumstances of our lives, fearing the cold, the wind. But the air is warmer higher up. And the wind lifts you. And God has prepared you to enjoy using the gift of soaring He has given you! And His glory and majesty that you reflect, will inspire others and honor Him.

But, the choice is yours. Are you gonna squat? Or soar?