CHRISTIAN LIFE & GROWTH
By Lauren A. Birago
In the early morning, depression greeted me with its heaviness and attempted to keep me lying down. I called out Jesus' name, knowing he'd somehow get me up. There were reasons why I had to rise, tangible reasons that if unattended, would suffer. I needed to greet my beautiful child with a smile, as he innocently cried for his needs to be met; a need for love though I felt as if I had no more to give; a need for hugs when I too needed an embrace; and a need to be lifted from his crib, when I struggled to carry my own weight.
Before sunrise, while others were sleeping, I went to meet God in prayer. I prayed for a few others who came to mind, but really didn't have much to ask for myself. God already knew the weight that made it difficult to speak; the heaviness that made me feel like I needed to save my breath. I listened, hoping to hear a still small voice or to perceive a gentle unction in my heart. Nothing came. So I thanked God just because he deserves thanks and closed our meeting. As I laid my head on my pillow, without any search for God's communication, I received, "Look for me in the murky water."
Look for me in the murky water when the sun penetrates the surface. Gold flecks will dance before you as they glimmer in its rays. They will be beautiful to the natural eye, and more beautiful beyond. For in them you'll see value. In this place you will find your strength, your faith will increase, and your trust will be elevated. Keep your eyes looking forward and progress in that direction only. The warmth of the water is my embrace. The pressure beneath the surface is my presence. I will keep you when you grow tired, I will uphold you when you think you're sinking, and I will sustain you when you cannot rise for air. Look for me in the murky water, and I will be found.I was excited to receive this. At that moment it was comforting to know that the Spirit of the Lord was with me, knew me, and loved me enough to communicate in a way that would touch my heart. The words were like his signature on his creation, his seal on me. I had an assignment, something I could focus on instead of the shadows. I began to look at the trees; a familiar place for my search. I've always viewed them as a reflection of his magnificence. I searched other aspects of nature, knowing his creation has a part of him in it, just like an artist's work has a bit of the artist. Then my perception shifted.
Instead of searching for God's beauty I opened my eyes to receive it. My vision was no longer tunneled by my search, but broadened by my willingness to look at what came to me. Like looking through a kaleidoscope, I observed the colorful formations with each turn. I didn't search for reds, blues or yellows; I just looked at what I was given, and was presented with something beautiful.
Now I must share in the present, for the "gold flecks" are still dancing. When I see them, my smiles take on their own emotion, distinguishing one from another; a smile of amazement, one of wonder, another reminiscent of a smile at a friend. All these are reactions to God's subtle revelations that have significance beyond measure. They may come in the form of insight that answers a deep question I've carried for months. At times the "gold fleck" is a discovery of another facet of me that resembles God. The ones that dance with vigor are those that show me my next step in the journey and are cloaked with an answer to my prayer. They are so magnificent that my smile forms from the inside, and I whisper with joy, "I see you." It means I see him move. I see the shift that cannot be mistaken for someone or something other than God.
I don't notice the flecks every day. Recently I got so discouraged in my walk that I forgot these words were ever shared with me. I began to walk in directions other than forward, even though I had been standing steadfast weeks or even days before. The feeling of worthlessness drowned any sense of value. I started to sink beneath the heaviness staying submerged from morning to evening, and too exhausted to attempt to rise above it. I was low again, in the shadows, with a memory of a piece called "Murky Water." Forgetting the significance of what was written inside, I just focused on the fact that I was back in the murky water of depression. It took weeks to open the file because I had no need, I was there. I also could not deny its tug, as if a current beneath the surface was pulling me to it; reminding me daily that I had to return. I returned today.
I reread the beginning, finding everything familiar and unmoving. By the second paragraph I was intrigued because I remembered the morning that I came to him. When I reached the third paragraph, where God's message was poetically poignant, I couldn't believe how it spoke to me. I saw him. I remembered the beauty beyond the shimmering flecks that revealed my spiritual value. I recalled the event that took my faith to another level. I thought of those moments where my trust in him could not sway with the day's fluctuations. I identified the moment when I walked in another direction. Most importantly, I saw where I was in his presence all along, warm in his embrace. I realized that it was his tug beneath the surface that drew me back to this piece. Finally, I knew that he kept me when I grew tired, upheld me when I thought I was sinking, and sustained me when I could not rise for air.
I looked for him in the Murky Water, and I found him.
Image Credit: Christina Maderthoner; "Fruhlingssonne — Reflected Sun"; Creative Commons
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Published on 9-3-13