There's a lake down there. You can't see it right now but it's there.
The geese are honking, birds chirping, water still barely draining off the roof from last nights showers. And the crickets. Or bugs. Or whatever they are chirpin up a storm.
It's 6:38 am Saturday morning and the world is still.
And here I sit, all alone on this porch.
If I hadn't seen the lake yesterday, I might doubt it was there. But I did see it. I sat on it. I enjoyed the stillness and felt the rocking waves beneath me when it was disturbed.
I'm usually not a lake girl. As I said yesterday to one of my friends, "I don't do muck"- commenting on how thankful I was there was a board covering the muddy yuck below us as we walked over to the dock.
But the truth is, I kind of live in muck. You do too. Jesus said we would, He actually made it really clear in fact. It took me decades to figure out that just loving Jesus didn't make the trouble go away. And when I quit expecting life to be easy the burden got lighter.
Matthew 11:28-30, Come to me...He said. He carries our burdens.
But I don't want to step in that muck. I don't like the slimy unknown - some of which I can see, some I can't. So I'm thankful for that board that allows me to cross over without sinking.
I have a beautiful life before me. Like the lake this morning, I can't always see it- the fog of life hides if from view. But because I've seen it before, I know it's there, and Jesus laid down his life so I can cross over the muck.
But sometimes, He walks us through it, before we get to walk over it.
Two years ago, we walked through some muck. It was the nastiest ever. It felt slimy and scary and we couldn't see what was under our feet.
It involved our middle son, mental illness and emotional needs and eventually, it lead to leaving him in another city in residential care.
It was at our annual VHBC ladies retreat, in 2014 I got the first phone call they allowed him to make. I was waiting with my friends to eat pizza and "Fresh Start" displayed on my phone. I was like a nervous school girl entering the known and the unknown.
"Hi Mommy" he started. Then begged and pleaded for me to come and pick him up- amidst the pleas dropping hints of terrible things he was enduring, mean people, horrible conditions and circumstances that were too hard for him. He just wanted to be home.
I hung up the phone and fought back tears. Of course I wanted him home! I wanted to make it easy for him but I also knew his very existence depended on him staying.
We claimed hope for what we couldn't see- the fog had overtaken our view and we were sinking deeper and deeper into the slimy muck.
That muck was the turning point where I stopped looking for easy.
The board that bridges life for me- the cross- we began to depend on it, cling to it and one step at a time to walk over it toward the beautiful, peaceful (okay, not yet but it's more peaceful than before) life we couldn't completely see then.
We clung to it as it our lives depended upon it, because they did. And do.
Elijah came home nearly four months later, that year. Our days aren't always good and they are never easy, but they are better. After those terrible seeming unbearable months -God chose to bring him home to us. And each step is one closer to the beautiful and one step further from the muck of that year and Elijah's start, that will not define him but God is using to mold him.
Parents of securely attached kids- you might not fully grasp the greatness of what I'm about to say- no judgement here, it's just a fact. I know, because I've parented both.
I was standing in my kitchen 3 days ago. It had been a fairly muck free day.
Elijah walked up to me and said "Mom, I think you need a hug" and then wrapped his skinny little arms around me trapping my arms at my side and gave me the biggest, longest sweetest, most precious hug he has ever given me!
I didn't want him to let go.
He wanted nothing. Asked for nothing. No manipulation. No triangulation. No anger, lies or intent.
He just gave his momma a hug- and it was the first time ever he had.
The fog cleared and I could see what I knew was there but was hidden from view- prayers answered in an 11 year old little boy giving this Momma the most precious gift.
There are still chirping birds and honking geese. I'm still rocking. A few friends have joined me on the porch, just like friends who joined our walk through the muck then and are still walking with us now. Old friends. New friends. Precious people.
Do you see it. The lake is in full view. Foggy, but there. And I'm overwhelmed with gratefulness for the cross and the muck it bridges.
One day, Jesus will take us home to the beautiful eternity we can't yet see; but we know is there.
He told us so.
And he showed us so when he died- for me- for my sweet son- for you.
Faith, hope and love. Yes please!
The greatest of these is love.
Happy weekend y'all. I pray it's muck free.
But if it isn't, there's a safe place to cross over.