When I was in college I went through a phase where literally the only musicians I would listen to was Jack Johnson and Ben Harper. I just knew, deep in the depths of my soul, that the good Lord was willing me to be a surfer, to live the surfing lifestyle, to chase the perfect wave all the days of my life. Forget the fact that I grew up in the middle of West Texas cotton fields and only visited the beaches in California during the summer when we would visit our family in the Bay Area.
I was going to be a surfer. Totally. Dude.
On our honeymoon we took surfing lessons and in light of being totally transparent, I was bad. Granted it was 2 whole mornings of surfing, but I think I actually rode 2 waves in, and the rest of the time paddled around just paralyzed with fear of the heavy ocean waves and the rocks just to the right of our surfing spot. You should know that I had a great time, but it was then that I realized I wasn’t likely going to be a surfer roaming the world for the perfect waves.
As I reflect on the first 29 years of my life I feel like so much of it has been in search of what to do WITH my life. Should I teach or should I coach or should I write or should I pursue law, medicine or business. Every time I thought about pursuing one of those things it just never worked out and even my best-laid plans would fail in one way or another.
When I was vacationing in Lake Almanor over Labor Day I was out in a kayak by myself for a couple of hours, praying and singing and otherwise making the fishermen look at me like I was a crazy person. It was some me-time that I enjoyed immensely, and through it all I was praying – chanting if you will – that God would find someone to buy our house in Colorado. For a real estate market that’s supposed to be really hot right now, it’s just not turning out that was for us just yet. To say it’s been stressful is an understatement, and I just couldn’t stop thinking about how life would just be so great if we could sell that house.
I looked up and saw the water sparkling, alive with sunlight and blinding me with beauty. For the second time in the past year’s journey from Denver to Little Rock I felt God almost audibly saying, “Trust me.” These diamonds in the water weren’t precious stones worth a lot of money; no, these diamonds were even more beautiful. These water diamonds were an even more precious gift. They were directly from the Lord, not something that anyone could destroy. And I’ll tell you this: they were exactly what I needed right then and there.
Looking back at my life all of my ideas and plans have been motivated by my need for fame, for attention, for others to love me. And every time those plans failed it was God slowly shutting those windows and opening doors for me to see him and learn more about who he made me to be. If I was editor-in-chief of a major magazine publication, I likely wouldn’t live in a place that I love so much. If I was a lawyer I probably wouldn’t want to take the time to be a mommy at home with Weston. If I had gone into medicine I wouldn’t have had time to start blogging and fall in love with writing all over again.
And if I was a surfer? Well, truth be told I probably wouldn’t be alive today because LORD KNOWS that I wasn’t made for that sport. I think I’ll stick to the stand-up paddling instead.
Regardless, God’s gifts, his water diamonds, aren’t what we would always label as valuable, as worthy in this world we live in. But those gifts that he gives us are the very things that make us who we are. Those windows he closed would have led me down some very wrong paths, paths that would have led to self-indulgence and death of my spirit.
So I guess what I’m praying is this: Lord, Father, Daddy – bring on those water diamonds. I love them and the way you surprise me with the ways you speak to me. You alone make me feel alive and fulfilled. And I love you. Amen.