Let me introduce myself. My name is Marcia and I live in a small city in Alberta, Canada. I’m a transplanted kind of Prairie woman, though, since I was born and raised on the West Coast. The sea must be in my blood because, though mountains and plains and valleys have their beauties, where I most love to be is by the ocean. I enjoy it in all its moods, whether its waves roar inland, beating and pulling at the shoreline, or behave with decorum, lapping serenely over unruffled sands. It’s exciting and calming, all at the same time.
I have always found it easier to feel close to God at the beach. I suppose you could call coastal areas “thin places” for me…places where God seems closer and more accessible. My senses delight in the salty air, the plaintive cry of gulls, the sound of waves hitting pebbles and dragging them seaward. Everything on the shoreline is washed, renewed and changed in an unceasing rhythm set in place by the God of the universe.
On the beach I catch occasional glimpses of God’s love and compassion, rolling in with the great pull of time and tide. This comforts and encourages me, for sure, but it also challenges certain hidden, long-undisturbed pools within me. These are places in my soul where I cling to thoughts that appease and gentle my nagging anxieties and insecurities. I hug these comforts close, keeping them still, not allowing them to ebb and flow with the rhythms of life. In fact, my clutching squeezes the life right out of them so that nothing can grow in that place any more – no fruit, no garden, just stagnation.
The ocean, always on the move, is never a place of stagnation. Rolling waves keep things moving, allowing bubbles of oxygen to infuse the water, which in turn, can then sustain the life that teems under the surface, all the way down to the deepest, darkest quietness at the bottom. I’m learning that I need to start letting go of my blessings and my comforts and trust that new mercies will come in with the tides.
I think this is God’s message to me, whether I sit and enjoy the ocean on western shores or stay home and watch the wind make waves across a field of prairie wheat. It’s time to embrace the excitement, the endless change, the shifting seasons and moods of life.
Amidst all the changes, I do know one thing that stays the same: God is with me and with you and will never abandon us. He reassures us about that over and over again in his Book. I think it’s time to believe that and am starting to let some waves roll in to breathe life into a few stagnant ponds I’ve been guarding in the back of beyond, deep in my soul. When Jesus says, “Do not worry about anything. Trust in God, trust also in me”, I want to take those words from my head to my heart and on out through my feet as I walk through the hours and days of my life. Starting with this blog.
How about you? Are there one or two things that you are holding on to for security or comfort and you can sense God edging you closer and closer to releasing them? Maybe it’s an inner picture of yourself, sepia-toned, that has been hanging around since childhood…or a concept of God that doesn’t quite fit any more…? Or a doctrine or creed that has to go, or a lifestyle; it could be something material or emotional; something intellectual or spiritual. You may not even be sure what it is, exactly, but you can sense the tightness in your soul and are ready to be free of it.
You may be like me and have a hard time releasing your clutch on some items. And then, once you do start to loosen that stranglehold, you do it slowly...finger by trembling finger. That’s okay. God is patient and kind, so we can be that way with ourselves too. Maybe we can encourage each other along the way. I’d like that.