Friday, June 3, 2011

Seasons and Seashores

I've been thinking recently about how the changing cycles and seasons of my life are like the tidewaters as they visit and revisit the ocean shore.  The Lord says that "as long as the earth remains, there will be seedtime and harvest".  Cycles and seasons, these He has created and set in motion.  They exist and are upheld by the power of His Words, spoken from the very beginning of time and creation.  The sun, moon and stars He created to give light upon the earth, and to mark times and seasons.  And to declare His Glory in the heavens!

He also has fixed the boundaries of the earth, and of the seas.  And even of my life~

I used to spend a lot of time near the ocean when I was a child, especially once my grandparents retired and moved to Florida.  One set of grandparents moved to the East Coast, and the other to the West (Gulf) Coast.  Those trips down to visit and stay with them are forever etched not only in my mind, but in my heart.

I have so many vast memories of days spent frolicking near the ocean's shore!  I enjoyed hours upon hours of strolling along the beach with my grandmother, searching together for seashells, and learning from her about the ocean and it's creatures.  The myriad of tiny sea treasures that we collected on our walks together, she would then bring home to her beach house and craft into the most amazing little artistic renditions of various animals and people!  With a bit of glue, paint, wire and other miscellaneous items, Grandmommy's fingers brought forth a host of entirely new & colorful creatures.  My own creativity took on fresh expression as she guided me alongside her in the process.  How I wish I had even one of them with me now!  A tangible keepsake keeping strong the ties of my heartstrings to a childhood season past, but not forgotten.  Lived, but never truly lost~

New wonders were deposited each morning by the ocean's waves as she opened her watery womb, allowing the treasures of her deep to come forth into the light and atmosphere of another realm.  MY realm.  The place of land, air, sky, trees, grass......and ME, sitting in the sand.  Waiting.

Sometimes I dove and darted into the shallow waves, fluttering my legs as hard as I could to keep myself from bobbing to the surface, while my hands and fingers roamed greedily along the sandy ocean floor searching for starfish, sea urchins, hermit crabs, mollusks, scallops, oysters, or ANYthing that might be deemed an especially 'rare' find.  Oh, and sand dollars!  We really got excited about them.  Grandmommy taught us about the 5 little doves that were inside the sand dollar, but in order to set them free, we had to break open the sand dollar.  THAT was always a hard choice.  So we'd collect as many as we could find, so that we could break some open to see the little white doves, but allow the others to remain in tact.

I remember that I LOVED the sand almost as much as the ocean water.  Even now, as I sit here and write, more memories come flowing from my heart through my mind and out of my fingertips.  I think about how it felt when the waves would wash ashore and swirl around me while I sat there there digging my toes as deeply into the sand as I could.  After depositing little treasures at my feet with her foamy fingers, the ocean would quickly retreat again, washing away the finger etchings I had engraved into her shoreline.

My brother and sister and I always knew that the sandy castles and kingdoms we spent hours crafting would also be taken with the tide at some point later in our day.

But this realization did not stop us from returning again and again to her shore, to frolic, play, walk, rest, and create anew whatever came to our hearts and minds.  It did not bother us that for a short time, what we created would give us, and others,  joy.  Pleasure.   And then it would fade away, giving place to another cycle of creativity for a new day.

So I think it is with my life.

I sit at the shore of a new season.  I have been here before, but I am older now.  Hopefully wiser, but always there is the vast ocean of unknown possibilities and treasures before me.  The Ocean of God's Great heart, and all that He desires to show me in each and every new season, lies before me.   Always.   If I will but come and sit, after His tidewater has cleansed away what was before, He and I together will do what my Grandmommy and I used to do together so long ago.

Together we will create something beautiful, the Lord and I.  Something uniquely mine, but having it's source IN HIM.

The treasures of seasons gone by are never truly lost and forgotten, but only stored away in the heart and mind.  They are forever alive in eternity, and kept safe, somehow preserved in their niche of time and space, but not seen and heard in quite the same way as before.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8  "To everything there is a season, and a time for every matter or purpose under heaven:  a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to pluck up what is planted, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to break down and a time to build up, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to cast away stones and a time to gather stones together, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to get and a time to lose, a time to keep and a time to cast away, a time to rend and a time to sew, a time to keep silence and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.""

Ecclesiaster 3:11  "He has made everything beautiful IN ITS TIME.  He also has planted eternity in men's hearts and minds (a divinely implanted sense of a purpose working through the ages which nothing under the sun but God alone can satisfy)..."

I cherish in my heart, and am grateful for every treasure, every gift, every grace of seasons gone by.  They cam e in their fullnesses of time, and they came to pass.  I hold them all in my heart and mind, knowing that these will always be part of who I am, and who I am becoming.  Even the hard and hurtful things of the past, or even the present, become gifts, treasures, doorways to deeper places of grace in God.  They are escorts to knowing Him more fully, and becoming who I am more fully, as He has created and intended me to be.

May I freely rejoice and lean forward into the future, knowing that each new season has fresh infinite possibilities.  Like the ocean, unfathomable and unsearchable is the heart of God, and the ages to come with out end will prove this to be so.

What a glorious eternal future lies ahead, and how grateful I am for a Loving God Who continues to meet me at the shore of each new season~

Welcome Him today, no matter what season in life you are in.  Whether it is a bittersweet, hard season (fading as the Fall, or cold and barren like the winter) or a refreshing season (warm and fruitful like the Spring or Summer).

There is beauty even in the difficult seasons.  And always, they give way to another.

Remember, just as my Grandmommy used to always say......"This too shall pass."

He holds out HOPE to you and I today, for the future.

What will you create on this new shore?

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