Sticky little feet came charging through the kitchen. The roar of a make-believe lion followed close behind. I heard the timer on the washing machine ding as my eyes landed on the pile of dishes soaking in the sink. I paused, distracted by sweet music softly seeping in and tugging my heart away form the to-do list. I closed my eyes and raised my hands. Worship. My soul is called to come out and bask in His presence, to take Him in and be taken in and filled up and to sing out the awesomeness of God. I sang to Him and through shut tight eyes I saw ripples, concentric circles like waves of water gently pushing out from a singular spot. Ripples.
I thought back to the weekend, to the trip we took as a family to the regional park in the foothills. My sweet little three-year old loves to go hiking as a family. He rides most of the way in a pack on his father’s strong back, enjoying the view and giggling every time his daddy bends down low to save his son’s precious face from an encounter with a mossy tree branch. He sing-shouts the whole way, “A-hiking we will go, A-hiking we will go, all through the forest A-hiking we will go!” He enjoys the ride, but what he really loves is the last section of trail that winds down toward the basin of the park. For it is here that daddy lifts him out of the metal frame and canvas enclosure and sets him free to run and play and do the hiking himself, on his strong yet tiny preschooler legs. He wiggles with excitement as daddy loosens the straps of the pack, almost tipping the whole thing over. He squeals in delight as his very own feet hit the dusty, rocky path. And off he goes. This is my favorite part. But instead of watching his precious blonde head bobbing up and down as he navigates the terrain, I turn back and watch his daddy’s face. THIS is my favorite part. I watch his daddy. His father smiles the biggest smile. I see how proud he is of his precious son. How he adores him and is just as excited to be watching his son explore and learn and play as his three-year old is to be doing the exploring. I watch him inhale slowly, deeply as if with his very breath he is showing his satisfaction, his contentment, his joy in being this boy’s father. I see my husband’s ‘daddy-ness’ and oh my! It makes me weak in the knees! My heart is filled to the brim, to overflowing actually, with love and gratitude to God for allowing me to witness this moment, to see with my own eyes a father’s love for his child.
In my mind I watch him watching our son run-wobble down the uneven path, and with just a few long strides of his fast long legs he is there, right beside our little one. Together now they scan the sides of the path for stones, smooth stones for skipping on the pond and heavy stones for kerplunking in the pond. This is serious business. Dear sweet three-year old’s pockets are bursting with the weight of his stone treasures as they reach the outlet of the path. Turning the corner, the pond greets us with her earthy, wet, mucky smell. Dragonflies, fiery orange and brilliantly blue, zip to and fro over the tops of the reeds. Father and son reach the water’s edge and send their pebbles plunking into the cold green and brown hued little lake. They bend and giggle and high five as their treasures sail across the air and sink into the water. I watch the surface of the pond as it breaks and ripples beautifully from center to shore, the effects of one small stone. Ripples.
The memory fades. The music has stopped. I tug open my heavy eyelids and the brightness surging in through the kitchen window stings my teary eyes. My hands return to the countertop to busy themselves with the produce on the cutting board. But my heart remains in His presence, a heart that is being molded and changed and shaped and pummeled and led into His likeness. It is a good pummeling, for He creates beautiful ripples. It hurts sometimes but it is worth it.
For you see, unless He changes my heart, it will remain stuck in selfish, prideful places. It will lie and trick and deceive and create brokenness and chaos. I used to believe the lie. Do you know the one? The pretty lie that feels oh so good and smells sweet and glitters and gleams and says, “Follow your heart.” Well my dear friends, my heart is a liar. I have seen and know intimately the dark paths where my heart is want to wander and what it leaves in its wake. The ripples it creates on its own are self-seeking, they hurt and tear down.
But the ripples left in the wake of my heart yielded to God, the ripples created by Christ in me, those are beautiful. They soothe and nurture and build. They bring healing and give life and quench thirst as His streams of Living Water flow from within. Ripples begin within and ripple out. So I ask Him today, “Please Jesus, be with me and please change me and make me more like You. Please shine Your light though me to touch the lives of others as Your love ripples from my center. Let me not hug the shore but be willing to venture deep and may these ripples be a blessing and bring You glory.”