For twenty years, I have walked down a wooded path, over a tiny bridge, and onto the same stretch of beach. One week in June, friends who are like family reunite in one particular location to catch up, unwind, and do life together.
A little over a week ago, I stood in that familiar space and took a deep breath so unique to that one place and that one week. We had arrived and everyone would join us soon. I began walking the steps I've so often walked, bending my ears to the sound of wave after wave crashing against the rocks, and watching as the tide began its retreat. I looked up into the cloudy sky and smiled as the gulls swooped up, down, and sideways, catching their prizes one by one. I even tried to outrun the ocean, skipping and laughing to myself, determined to avoid getting caught ankle deep in the shallows.
So many memories played through my mind. Newly married and swimming out into the waves, laughing and stealing kisses. Hugely pregnant two years in a row, waddling to and from the condo. Toddling babies eating sand, splashing in the tide pools, and napping under tents. Friends swapping stories, teasing, playing games. Sunrises and sunsets. Year after year after year.
My thoughts swirled, grateful for each scene that played out in my head, so close and familiar I could almost reach through time and trace the outlines of my cherished friends and family, like pictures in a photo album.
Teary eyed, I looked down and observed my footprint indent into the wet sand, then watched as a salty rush of water erased the evidence, as if it never existed. My mind shifted to the many problems, resembling tangled balls of thread, I've attempted to untangle in this one little spot on the planet. If you could rewind time, I bet you could see the same-tear stained face aged by the flipping pages of a calendar and hear the whispers of many heartfelt prayers. Twenty years is a lot of life, after all.
God, help me through this depression. Teach me how to grieve.
God, I feel too little for this. My faith is too small and this giant is way too big.
God, I'm not ready to be a mommy. Will I be any good at it?
God—my marriage. Help.
God, I look in the mirror and don't even know who I am anymore. Where is that girl I used to know?
God, I don't know how to be something other than a teacher. Help me to see what You see.
God, please heal this relationship.
God, I don't understand. Teach me how to love unconditionally.
God, please heal him. But even if You don't, it's enough that You can.
God, please help me to say good-bye.
God . . .
More faithful than the tide, the moon, and the stars is the great I AM. For every prayer, there has been an answer. And with every answer, there has been a bucket of grace poured over me. And with every bucket of grace, there is a wave of love— immeasurable love that is relentless, timeless, and much too big to be contained on a beach or in an ocean.
How precious are your thoughts about me,[b] O God.
They cannot be numbered!
18 I can’t even count them;
they outnumber the grains of sand!
And when I wake up,
you are still with me!
Amanda Williams is a forty-year old wife and mother of two who can still swing her pony tail and display just a tad of sass. She is also a Jesus loving girl who realizes she is nothing without the One who saved her. Amanda has two degrees specializing in serving students with special needs and is currently working in the field of Leadership Development. She is a Christian author, speaker, blogger, and publisher who loves serving beside her husband at her local place of worship, First Baptist Church of Ocala.