My heart stirs and stews and I worry about things I cannot change. I stress about things I don't know the answer to. I let my breath quicken and my heart tremble. I worry about our children, our neighbor's children, and children far, far away. I weep through ipod sermons at the grocery store and count up how much I've spent on cookies. I whine to God about how (how?) can I live for Him when I'm filled with selfishness. I throw my head back and rub my still throbbing neck, worried about the endless headaches - willing away the pain that has followed me for months.
Sometimes, it bubbles up. All the long days. All the responsibility. All these little hands and feet who need me. All the people who count on me to be a certain somebody. Once in a while, all the feelings of I'm just not enough completely boil over and ruin an afternoon. And I wind up pitching a small object at a bewildered husband.
We mount our bikes and pedal down winding roads in a warm breeze. I don't really want to go, but I force myself to just get on the bike. The smell of wild lilacs and river mist fills my aching soul and I feel my shoulders ease loose. I breathe deep, intentional breaths as we park our bikes and, on foot, descend into a green and blue paradise. Cascading waterfalls glisten over layers of rock and moss, toads hop freely between our toes, trees hang low to bubbling waters and logs are painted with pistachio green.
My feet hit the water and I gaze all around me. Nothing but the sound of roaring as the river rushes past us. I watch a Salamander slither between rocks. I awaken to the cool, freshness hitting my ankles, soothing and rejuvenating me deep within.
And then, right in the middle of all this, I begin to sob. My hand to my mouth, tears pouring fast - I realize it - my worry breaks me. I break myself with the weight of worry. When I get angry and uptight and lose my temper and fall into despair, I break myself.
I worry about all these things, yet, what control do I have?
When I survey this amazing world God has created with his mighty hands, I can't help but feel incredibly small. Yet, why do I build my worries up to be so incredibly big? So big that I am momentarily hopeless at the thought of the things ahead of me and all around me and the thought of all the hurt and all the pain and all the people who lack so much. I sigh a deep breath and release it all.
The water rushes over me and carries with worry with it. I melt into a puddle of realization that I've forgotten (again) the Truth.
"Jesus said, 'Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear... Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not more valuable than they?... And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. So, do not worry... For... your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." (Matt. 6:25-33)
I've gazed at patched of wild lilies. I've watched them sway in the breeze. I've embraced the Everlasting. I've surrendered to His care. But today, I do it again. Right in the middle of this rushing river with a toad beside my toes. And I'll do it again tomorrow. And again the next day. This forever surrender to Jesus who wipes tears and carries away the worries with a soul soothing stream of Living Water.
The truth is, I gain nothing through worry. Nothing. But God offers us something amazing. Something you cannot believe until you've experienced it.
"Do not be anxious in anything,
but in everything through prayer and petition,
offer your requests to God.
And the peace of God that surpasses all understanding
will guard your hearts in Christ Jesus." (Phil. 4:5)
I've felt this peace that surpasses all understanding. I felt it today in a mossy wet-land. I felt it the moment I surrendered and said, "I can't do it alone God. I hand it all to You. You are the Author. Help me to drown this worry and embrace Truth."
Surrender today to the One who carries you in His very hand. The One who is the beginning and the end - who knows every tear you cry and every concern of your heart. Lay it at His feet and give it to Him as an offering of obedience and thanksgiving. And then, feel the peace wash over you and feel His strength refresh your spirit...
Because you are my help,
I sing in the shadow of your wings, O Lord.
My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me.
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