Fish and Natures Beauty

I like to write about God.  You may wonder why… I thought today would be a good day to tell my story.   So, warts and all, this is my life…

My family taught me many things.  They taught me the value of hard work, the love of family, and that a simple life is desirous, but even as a young child, I knew there was something missing.  I knew there was a God who created everything.  And I would talk to Him. 

Steelhead trout caught while fly fishingMy family never spoke of God, but from a very early age, maybe at three or four years old, I knew God was everywhere; He was all powerful; He was beneficent; He was the ultimate authority and He loved me.  I used to ask God to help me catch trout.  God always answered my prayer, to the chagrin of my brothers since we shared the one fishing pole.  I also remember one, specific event that happened one spring morning.  I was about five years old.  I was sitting in the grass behind my Grandfathers

workshop, looking at this beautiful patch of dew-covered moss; fragrant and green with minuscule fronds pushing up through the emerald tangled and thick carpet.  Each slender shoot gently cradled one precious drop of moisture.  In that moment as I looked at the kaleidoscope of colors in that tiny, liquid diamond pendent, I knew that God was good.  He made the beauty in the world and it made me happy to think about Him.  I thought, if I could spend my whole life just sitting there thinking about God and the intricacies of His creation, I could be happy forever.   You might say it was a ‘Wilberforce’ moment; granted it wasn’t a spider web, and still, I knew that the living God is so mysterious, so intimate, that any searching heart is a magnet to Him.

Jesus became real to me when I was twelve.  Twelve years old is an awkward and confusing age.  Your body and mind are changing.  You’re a jumbled mess.  You’re not a baby; there is some independence in making your own decisions and yet, you are terrified people will discover you haven’t quite figured it all out; you are sort of in-between, stuck in a hormone-ridden prison.   

At school, the place where they put other kids who are a jumbled mess, I met some kids who claimed they were “Christ Followers”.   They intrigued me.  They weren’t mean or hard-hearted.  They weren’t selfish and didn’t lie to their parents.  They had all the same problems I had, but they reacted differently; they were kind and treated everyone, even their brothers and sisters with respect.  Moreover, they treated me like I was special; an important person.  They welcomed me into their group and the love they demonstrated towards me during this tumultuous time, touched me deeply.  

One night my new friends invited me to a “youth group”; this is where I met Jesus.  They told me that Jesus died on the cross so that He could forgive my sins and make me new.  They showed me from the bible that Jesus, perfect God, left heaven, came to earth by putting on human flesh so that He could bridge the gap between sinful, earthly men and a holy, righteous, heavenly God.  I knew I wasn’t righteous or holy and they were talking about me; my need.  I tried to be a good daughter, granddaughter, sister, friend, but I always came up short.   I wasn’t good, no, far from it.   I hadn’t killed anyone, but at night lying in bed, I was tormented with shame vowing to do better.  And yet in the morning, the cycle of doing bad things started all over again and despite my resolve, my day would be ruined.  I was afraid to talk to God about it.  He saw my shame.  He saw everything.  I just couldn’t get it right.  I couldn’t get clean; forever dirty; forever covered in shame.  I wondered could my new friends see my shame too?  They hadn’t, but said they told me that they had asked Jesus to forgive their wrongs and if I was willing to seek Christs’ forgiveness and become His follower, I could be reconciled with the God of my childhood and He would cover me with His goodness.  I wanted this.  So when I went home and was alone in my bedroom, I too became a follower of Christ.  That night, November 12th, 1972 I committed my life to Him. 

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
(John 3:16)

This is my story or I should say, this is God’s story.  For it was God who first turned His eyes to me and taught me that He loved me; with fish and natures beauty.  God brought people into my life at just the right time to teach me about Him.  Jesus is the author and finisher of my faith.  It was and is all His work. He loved me so much that He died on a cross to bridge the gap between a selfish, mean-spirited teenage girl and a holy, righteous God.  But God didn’t just do this for me.  He did it for you.  If you don’t know Him, you can.  He can take your shame and cover you with goodness; His goodness.  Isn’t that a lovely thought?  Isn’t He a lovely God?  Why not?

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