When you go through deep waters
I will be with you.
- Isaiah 43:2
I love having a great conversation with a dear friend.
The back-and-forth, the sharing and intense listening,
the genuine interest and the thought-provoking questions.
The even though I know you, I want to know more
Those moments of true intimacy feed my soul.
Recently I had coffee with a long-time friend. One who knows
me through and through. One who loves me, just as I am.
One I can laugh with or cry with.
Even after years and years of knowing each other, we still
discover "aha!" moments about each other.
One of those moments came recently in a summer-time,
lemonade in the back yard, kind-of-moment.
She looked me straight in the eye and said...
"Linda, what do you know for sure?"
Now her non-verbal communication looked at once
deeply interested and slightly amused, since she thought
she knew how I would answer that question.
My actual answer left her, as she said afterwards, thoughtful
What she thought I would say is...
"What do I know for sure? I know that God loves me."
While that is something I do know for sure, that wasn't the
answer on my heart at that moment.
What I really said was...
"I know there will be deep waters and I know that God is there in those deep waters."
She paused, said nothing, and finally quietly, knowing she was on tender ground, said, "What deep waters, honey."
"The kind of deep waters where God is the only life preserver
we have. Those waters are so deep, and we are so tired from fighting them, that we just stay present in the moment and cling
There was a long silence and finally I just picked up the ice-cold lemonade and took a long and slow sip. When I looked back at her face, a big tear was streaming down her cheek.
She looked at me with so much love and concern and finally found the words to whisper, "Are you in deep waters right now?"
And without pausing or thinking or taking a breath I said,
"Yes, I am. I'm there, in deep waters, with my beloved friend, Vicky. I am there with my beloved husband, Bert. I am there with several family members who have been through so, so much this past year. But I am not the one holding them up. God is."
My dear friend gave me a giant, knowing hug and said quietly..
"I just love that about you."
And then, sometime later as God would have it, I went with my daughter Amy to a super fun, vintage store in Spokane called "Paint in Her Hair." It is made up with venders who use chalk paint or make signs or personal remembrances. I went over to the sign section and lo and behold, there stood two medium sized crosses, rugged, hand-made with a saying clear as day, typed there, a gift for me....
The first one said...
"Lord, no matter what today brings,
my trust is in You."
The second one said...
"When you go through deep waters,
I will be with you."
And the tears started to flow, right there in Paint in Her Hair.
Now, if you are a regular reader of this blog you may be thinking...
Hmm, wasn't she recently crying in the Carousel store in Sand Point, Idaho? Yup, I was. And here she was in another store, crying? Yup. Also, true!
While no one every told me that when you reach 70 you get to laugh, smile and cry whenever or wherever you want, these days I let the tears flow whenever they want to flow. They remind me how rich life is, so full of joy and love and sorrow.
Even as a little girl I always had deep feelings. I cried when other children were hurt or when I learned one little girl, I went to elementary school with, lived in an orphanage. I told my Mom all about her and insisted we needed to do something as she came to school with the same dress on day-after-day and had not had a haircut.
So my Mom, God bless her soul, contacted the orphanage, and we took Charlotte to get a haircut, some new clothes, and lunch out. She almost became a part of our family, at my insistence, because I couldn't bare to think of her having less love than I did. I cried every day when I saw Charlotte at school and we gave each other knowing hugs.
Guess I'm still that same Linda today. If my beloveds are in deep water, I love them whole-heartedly and I just can't sit on the safe bank and watch them struggle. I don't want them to feel alone.
Jesus taught me that when He gave His life for me. I was in deep water and He saved me.
Those hand-made crosses will stay at our home for now, a remembrance of my trip to that store and how God reminded
me of His presence. Then...they will find a new home as a reminder that He never, ever, ever leaves us in deep water by ourselves. In the darkest moments, when we feel the most alone, He is there. He is our life-preserver, our deep-water companion.
And for that, this 70 year old Nana is so, so grateful.
If every person made it a rule that wherever you are, whenever you ...