IMG_5662This sight, these sounds . . . they never grow old to me. Yes, even the sound of the wind which makes it a little more challenging to walk or bike along the boardwalk brings peace to my soul; as does the sound of waves crashing, and seeing the always changing waterline, waves rolling and foam ebbing in and out.

We’ve been here 3 ½ days so far and have 5 more to go. I’ve lost track of how much time I spend just watching and listening to the ocean. I’m sure Jerry has grown tired of hearing me say how much I need this time (as does he).

I’ve tried to figure out why that is. Certainly part of it is that we are away from home and the familiar (though it’s amazing how quickly we can make this our new familiar!). But it’s more than that. I’ve been reading several books while here, so please forgive me Lisa Terkeurst, Emily Freeman and Kari Jobe if I mix thoughts between you, but these readings have helped me put into words, that what I experience in the sound of the winds and waves, and the sight of large trees bending, and an ocean full of water as far as I can see is the majesty of my God. These things by themselves are not majestic, but the Creator Sustainer who controls them is. And in comparison I am not!

Now, that last sentence shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who knows me, but it is something I need to be reminded of. You see, Jerry and I are both “High D” if you are familiar with the DISC profile. That means we both like to be in charge. Having a front row seat to this display of God’s majesty is the reminder I need that I am NOT in control, and the world I live in is about so much more than me! Some in my shoes, might find that depressing, but I find it freeing, and the reason I have peace deep down in my soul.

Within the last month I have had the joy to sit at both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. While the geography of the surrounding area, the type of sand, and the temperatures are different there are some lessons that consistently come to mind whenever I am by the sea.

  • The Deep, Deep Love of Jesus. It was nearly 35 years ago that I was on a ferry going to Tangier Island with our college choir. As we were sailing through the water the words to the hymn, O The Deep, Deep Love of Jesus came to mind. “Rolling as a mighty ocean, in it’s fullness over me.” Since that time I don’t know that I’ve ever been able to look at an ocean and not think of the representation of how vast God’s love is for ME (and you too!). Recently while pondering this, I thought one of the reasons I love the ocean is because I have a healthy respect for it. I wonder if people who have survived a tsunami or a typhoon ever can enjoy the ocean again?  Depending on our perspective and life experience the ocean can be a source of peace or terror.  Some find it comforting, playful, powerful, to be feared, a source of sustenance, a blessing, life giving and on and on. God’s love is all that and so much more!  Sometimes God allows what might look like destruction to my life, but because it comes from his hand and heart of love it is a call to holiness, to surrender another part of me to grow more like Him.
  • I want to learn to romp free in God’s love as I do the ocean. Getting in the water, jumping waves, riding a wave, it just brings out the kid in me. I want my faith to have that childlike quality that allows me to move freely and exuberantly and trust God without question.
  • Footprints, or other designs made in the sand are only temporary.  Once the water washes over them, they are done.  Need I say more about how God’s love washes away my sin?
  • Nothing is ever the same once it has been touched by the ocean. Just watch the shoreline as the waves come in and out – it constantly changes, both in it’s boundaries as well as in the marking left on the sand, the shells, rocks or other fragments brought in or carried out. Once one experiences personally the love of God, they are forever changed.