From Sudan: Battling the Breakers

Happy Tuesday, Sweet Friends! (Especially Bridget Chumbley who is helping me out today by linking me up to the blog carnival at her place. That reminds me… When you finish here, go read the fabulous entries on “Summer” there!) And now, here’s my entry on Summer:

Battling the Breakers

“You work too hard.”  My brother stood at the kitchen counter, flipping chicken breasts on the grill pan.

I could feel Bubba’s eyes on my back as I sat working at my computer on my kitchen table/home office.  I shrugged and continued working on camp rooming assignments. 

“It’s gotta be done.”

I heard the heavy sigh behind me, but I ignored it.

“You get off work at noon on Friday?”

“Yeah.” 

I could sense that my brother was coming up with one of his notorious, spur-of-the-moment, seat-of-the-pants ideas.  But it’s usually not good to encourage him in these crazy plans, so I kept my eyes on the computer screen in front of me.

“We’re going to the beach this weekend.”

I spun in the chair, my eyes landing on his, hoping to see if he was serious.  He was.  And I was in.

“Okay.  What time are we leaving?”

“As soon as you get home from work.”

“Twelve-twenty.”

“Awesome.”

36 hours of vacation.  Hey, I’ll take it.  It’s as if the saltwater, the sand, and even the sun hold some kind of renewing, rejuvenating life force for me.  And so even though I know that God is with me wherever I am, I always come back to the ocean.

I feel God here.

Surrounded by vacationers happily baking under their Hawaiian Tropic Dark Tanning Oil, barking dogs, laughing children, hungry seagulls, I feel God here.

I couldn’t help but be a little disappointed when we arrived.  We crossed the dunes and saw the angry, frothing sea and immediately knew that it wasn’t going to be a restful day of leisurely swimming.  Instead, we were staring at some of the most terrifying breakers I’ve seen in years.  Still, it isn’t a trip to the beach unless you go into the water.  And in case you aren’t as acquainted with beach rules as I am, you haven’t really been into the water unless you get completely wet from head to toe.

As soon as we got our blankets laid out and our flip flops kicked off, we headed to the water’s edge.  I walked slowly but purposefully towards the violent breakers with the cold, swirling foam eating at my feet and legs.  My tenacious brother, trying to hold on to his new sunglasses with one hand, was doggedly attacking each wave, determined to get past the worst of the breakers to the slightly calmer area just past them.  I, shorter, weaker, and slower—but just as determined—followed him into the waves. 

“Dude!”  I hollered at my brother between the tsunami-like waves that were crashing over my head every three or four seconds.  “The undertow out here is strong enough to suck the freckles right off your kneecaps!”  I grabbed a breath just in time for a wall of water to break over my head.

Ten minutes later, with my sinuses and belly full of accidentally-swallowed salt water and my eyes burning like they’d been splashed with acid, I gave up and walked, panting, back up to almost-dry land.

I stood, defeated, in the edge of the water for quite a while, watching others battle the waves.

Lord, I wanted the water to be calm today.  I love it when the little waves just softly roll up onto the shore.

My life has been so hectic lately.  My friends all tell me that they know I thrive in chaos and busyness, but when the burdens just keep piling on and the challenges just keep coming and the obstacles are constantly getting in the way, it eventually wears me out.  That’s when I end up running back to the shore and standing, panting and discouraged, watching the battle go on without me.

Lord, my life has recently been like the ocean that I was floundering in today.  The waves keep coming.  The undertow keeps pulling.  I’m fighting, blinded and overwhelmed.  And one of the enemy’s greatest tactics is to wear out the workers so that they haven’t got the strength to do the Kingdom work.   I went to the ocean to find strength and to find peace and to find life.  And even though the water wasn’t calm and the waves weren’t quiet or peaceful, I felt You there and I found rest there and I found peace there.  Thank You for speaking to me in the waves.  And thank You for bringing me out safely onto dry land. 

About Sarah Salter

Comments

  1. Great story, Sarah. And we’re praying for the missions trip.

  2. Praying for a safe and fruitful mission trip, Sarah.

  3. “The undertow out here is strong enough to suck the freckles right off your kneecaps!”

    I love this line…you have a wonderful way of expressing the story, and sharing your deeper thoughts at the same time. I’m keeping you in thought as you travel, Sarah. I hope the trip goes well, without much in the way of breakers.

  4. I’ve had the freckles sucked off my kneecaps before, and it wasn’t pretty.

    Counting the days until you return from Sudan and missing you terribly! But so glad that you got to go and do great things. :o)

  5. Great story and great point! Thanks Sarah. Praying and standing on blessings for you in these days…

  6. The beach is one place where I ALWAYS find God.

    Beautifully written, Sarah!

  7. I loved this Sarah. Wonderfully written! And if I had freckles on my knees, I would’ve had them sucked off once or twice myself. I love the ocean. :)

  8. Sarah:

    Please know that there are many fighting with you and holding you up!

    You inspire so many of us with your grit and tenacity and heart!

    Thanks for pre-writing posts.. it’s like you’re right here with us!

  9. Lovely, Sarah. I want freckles on my kneecaps now… just sayin.

    Praying for you, Sassy.

  10. Well-told. Blessings on your travels.

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