In the quiet of the early morning, there was a still mist settled over the water. Catfish were mudding for food on the waters edge leaving their wispy mud trails for the current to carry off, the frogs were jumping, the birds were beginning to sing, and I could hear the occasional blip of fish breaking the water's surface. It was peaceful; restoration for a troubled and tired soul. I needed His wisdom. I needed a refreshing in His word. Some profound explanations to situations I’m struggling with began to surface.
My eyes settled on the river. (Yes, I label the [creek] behind our house more as a river.) That body of water has cut its way through 2 counties for centuries. Its course has never altered, never changed. Its been held in place by the creation of rock formations that protrude in the water from veins that reach deep into the banks, by trees that are rooted on the water’s edge, and by the grasses that mesh the earthen barrier into a mass of root, rock and dirt. The water by design, MUST have the limitations that the protective barrier of her banks provide. Otherwise the river would become a chaotic, destructive force, damaging the land and homes that live on her borders. Between the banks of the river, even where things are the way nature intended, there are dangers. In places the rocks are so slick you can’t get a firm foothold and busting it can happen too easily. In places the water is so swift the current wants to jerk your feet right out from under you and in other places, poisonous snakes lurk. You can’t do away with the dangers, you just have to be aware of where they are, and veer away from them. There’s a place downstream from us that has a particular rock formation that when going through it, inevitably you will lodge your foot between the rocks, cutting skin if you’re lucky, breaking bone if you’re not. You'd never see the danger, it hides beneath the bubbling current, I only know from experience, to go around that spot; to take another path. Danger lurks there…beware.
It’s the same with life itself. The similarities of what works for the river apply to life. Just as the river must have a barrier to remain a productive body of water, so do our lives and our children’s lives. Even within the protective boundaries and by this I mean scriptural (faith-based) boundaries, there are still pitfalls and places where we stumble and dangers lurk. I was noticing in particular the trees and how they firmly hold the bank. Those trees have been there, many of them since before my time. Some I’m sure were there before my parents graced the earth. One in particular would have to be labeled a grandfather tree as its years of holding her banks are probably off the charts.
Their job has never and will never change. Their roots run deep and give the earth beneath them facing the force of the water, stability. Let the water rise, let the flood come, yet the bank will hold and keep the river on it's course once the waters recede.This led me to thinking about heritage, faith, and my own family. The role the trees play along the water’s edge is never changing, no matter the season. They remain firmly planted, and as the old die out and crash into the water, they still remain an active part of the ecosystem in which they lived, providing shelter and haven within their branches to those who live in the current that flows through them. Just as my grandparents and their grandparents sowed a heritage of faith into their children, it remains our job (mine & Keith’s) as parents to instill that faith, and set the boundaries of appropriate behavior, faith, etc. in our children. Sometimes "The way it's always been done" is the way it should still be done. It doesn’t matter what society says, nor does it matter that sometimes kids nowadays get it in their heads to think their parents don’t have the right…the truth is…limits are good for all of us. Left to our own devices, without them, we destroy ourselves and those around us. I’ve been battling this for a while now. I feel like I've wavered in my ability to speak up. If I turn a blind eye, I do believe I will be held accountable. It doesn’t mean I will stand over my kids with an iron rule yelling “Do this” or “Do that”, making decisions for them, but I was reminded this morning, that not standing up and saying “No” or "We need to talk about this" to dangerous (behaviors or situations) will result in lives that are out of control, chaotic and destructive not only to self but to anyone around. It’s for my own good that my parents still, even though I’m forty-four will offer spiritually sound counsel if they believe in their hearts that I need it or my children need it. That doesn't mean we do every thing that is suggested...but we give their thoughts a LOT of consideration and have learned that they have seen more and been through more than we have, and they hold a fountain of wisdom from walking before us. I hope they never cower in fear of speaking up and standing up to me about what’s right and what’s on their heart. If they hurt my feelings…I assure you, the pride will subside and I will get over it. The same will go for my children. If I see them branching into an area of un-control, into an area that is dangerous, participating in behavior that will lead to their destruction or destruction of family and friends, it is my responsibility to speak up, and I will do it because I love them. I’m sure they will still go beyond the banks of safety, and damage may ensue just as the river overflows her banks in times of flood. We’re all guilty of that, every single one of us, but in those times, let the water recede quickly and return to the pace and the current, within the confines of the peaceful, soul restoring banks of rest.
The verse I walked away from my morning with Him was this…
Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.
Yes, I will walk through the low places where the shadow of death (sin) lurks, but I won’t be fearfull because His rod (His authority and instruction from His Word) and His staff (His support; His power where I am weak) will comfort me (give rest to my worries.)