Saturday, February 12, 2011

Memories from the Shore

Nikki and I had such a love affair with the beach. We could sit out there for hours and just watch the tides come in and out. Some of our greatest moments was out on that beach. Some of our most powerful experiences with God were out there on the water.

I remember great mornings of sunrises at our favorite spot. Our surfboards being waxed in anticipation of braving the waves of the morning. I would come in from the surf to sit on my board (I was never as good as she). I secretly loved to watch her surf the waves. It was the reason I would get up with her and drive to the ocean... My little sister felt so alive when she was out on the water. And I felt great joy seeing her delight in her Maker.

When we were little, I was always a little better at finding shark teeth. I used to go a little in front of her, placing teeth I had found along the way in her path so that she would find them. I remember those days well, as if they were yesterday. I hold these memories close to my heart. I pray that they will remind me of the goodness in those moments and the glory that lies ahead. O Nikki, how I miss you, dear sister.

We used to play in the tide pools for hours, our Mom trying to get the sunscreen on our backs long enough to soak in... but alas, our sandcastles and search for little crabs became our number one priority. What fun we had together!

Our last time at the beach was when she wore a beautiful white dress. She was breathtaking. The sunset cast a dazzling blend of color, as if it looks towards a day when we would all be standing in front of a world that was without any tears, a world that had been healed from all sickness and death. What a privilege it was to stand there next to her, in the place of many memories of joy and peace.

I now stand alone, looking out at the great ocean with only the wind, the sand, and the shells as my companions. I feel the breeze of the seasons changing, of life continuing on. The salty smell enters my nostrils in such a way that I am homesick. I am waiting to go Home, to walk the beaches again with her by my side. We will be laughing and telling stories of great moments experienced together. I will tell her about my time alone after she went to be with the Lord. I will pull out a book I wrote for her, full of tales and adventures we took together. We will look up and see our Great God walking with us, laughing with us, delighting in us. O what a day that will be!

Elisabeth Elliot writes, " 'Who watched over the birth of the sea, when it burst in flood from the womb?' God asked Job in the midst of his great suffering, 'when I wrapped it in a blanket of cloud and cradled it in fog?' A God who can look on the mighty ocean as a tiny newborn- could He overlook one of His lonely people? Job had felt very much overlooked. Yet, after all his questions and accusations, he was shown that not for a moment had he really been forgotten...We are not doomed to meaninglessness. A loving Purpose is behind it all, a great tenderness even in the fierceness."

We live in a beautiful story, one in which all the glories of nature opens the heart of God. Praise the Lord, for He alone takes the sting out of death and gives it life again. I can look towards Heaven and know I matter to Him. My pain matters. Dear brothers and sisters, there is Hope. Nikki points me to Heaven. She points me to the Cross, a place where God opened the door to life again. What an incredible gift her life was to me.

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