In May of this year I attended a retreat with some of my Premier Designs Sisters. There were about twenty of us spending a long weekend in a gorgeous lodge right on the Wenatchee River in Leavenworth WA.
The purpose of the retreat was to learn and grow, encourage and celebrate our lives as "jewelry ladies". I had never met any of the gals except for my niece Jill, who is also the one who sponsored me in the business. I was a little apprehensive about attending because of the size and not knowing the ladies or what to really expect. But, I sucked it up and went! I am SO GLAD I did.
I arrived on a Friday afternoon and immediately reveled in the gorgeous view from the deck as others were prepping dinner. When we weren't sitting in a session we took advantage of the warm spring weather and just enjoyed the view and surrounding area.
Spending some time with my niece was great; she lives in Texas so we can't get together very often!
On Sunday morning we gathered for one final session which was much more like a Worship time than a class. As the end of the time we were challenged to do some writing or list/ goal making. My thoughts wandered instead as I gazed out the large floor to ceiling windows at the river down below us.
The Wenatchee River is popular for river rafters this time of the year and indeed we watched many a group raft past us that weekend. But what caught my eye that morning was a couple of ducks on the opposite side of the river. One duck was perched on the top of a boulder jutting out of a section of rapids. Next to the boulder was another duck, bobbing up and down in the white water. It struck me after a time that that little duck had to work awfully hard to stay in place while bobbing in rapids!
I found myself asking "Is there a life lesson in this Lord? Something you want me to learn from observing this?" My eyes flitted back and forth to the duck on the rock to the duck in the rapids. The logical thought was that the rapids are a dangerous place to be and anyone with common sense would get out and rest on the rock. Was the rock a spiritual metaphor? God, our Rock? But just as quickly as that idea came to mind I discarded it because I sensed that was a Robyn-made thought, not a word from the Lord. I shrugged my shoulders and turned back to listen to the gals around me sharing some of their thoughts.
Later, after we had packed up our belongings and cleaned up our spaces, I wandered back out on the deck for one final look at the river. I am constantly drawn in by water. Whether it's a moving body of water such as river or ocean or a calmer body of water such as a lake, I find such peace and contentment and inspiration being around it. (give me a beach house anyday!)
To my amusement I saw my friend the bobbing duck still out there. I could only imagine how furiously his little webbed feet must be working to remain stationary in the midst of such tumultuous movement. And just like that the Holy Spirit spoke:
Robyn, I am the River. Stop fighting the current and let me carry you. Trust me. Yes, the river is moving, moving fast. And it will be scary, and dangerous at times. But if you will trust me I will carry you to places you never imagined. You will see beauty you will never see if you just stay put.
Did you just get goosebumps? I did when it happened and they come over me every time I share this story. I went inside and grabbed my niece and pulled her outside to point out the duck and share with her the thoughts that I had had earlier and the one that had just pierced me. It was a strong emotional moment and one I chewed and mediated on during my 4 hour drive home.
It takes a lot of work to stay put, even when it feels like that is the safer, better place to be. But God never promised to keep us comfortable. He's much more interested in our Character than our comfort.
Riding the river does sound dangerous! I've been river rafting on the same Wenatchee River. I was scared but we had an excellent guide and by the time we reached our destination I was wet and exhausted but the exhilaration I was feeling was out of this world! It was and is still one of my favorite adventures. I could have stayed behind (and I almost did once I'd read through the release forms and listened to the safety talk!!) and staying behind would have been safe and smart But I would have missed out. Safe and smart isn't all there is to life. In the life of a Christian we are always being called out of the comfort/safe zone. Makes me think of the quote from The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe...
“Aslan is a lion- the Lion, the great Lion." "Ooh" said Susan. "I'd thought he was a man. Is he-quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion"..."Safe?" said Mr Beaver ..."Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you.”
― C.S. Lewis,