Building Castles In The Sand
This story that I wrote back in 2007, came up recently in conversation with a friend. I was cleaning today and came across this, and decided to post this. Maybe it is meant for someone, out there, the way it was for me when originally written. I shared this with my church on a Sunday morning way back in 2007:
About a month ago, our family went through a very dark time. We'd been through some very trying times before, but this valley seemed more hopeless than any we'd ever gone through. One night during this time, I was driving home with my 2 kids after a long day. We were all kind of quiet as we listened to the songs on the Christian radio station. Jimmy, 7 at the time, was sitting behind me, looking out at the city lights, when he looked at me in the rear view mirror, and said,
"Mom, you wanna know what I think?"
I answered, "What, Jimmy?"
Looking very serious, he said to me in the mirror, "I think that our problems are like a castle."
He paused, so I said, "A castle?"
And he replied, "Yeah, a sand castle. God is the water. He comes in and washes them all away."
I began weeping, and told him, "You know what, Jimmy? God is talking to Mommy through you. He just gave you those words to say because He knew how very much I needed to hear that."
It was such a simple statement, but jam-packed with so much truth. Here I was, carefully protecting my castle of problems. Day after day, minute by minute, I was tending to this thing that was useless, that took me away from the things that should be important in my life. I just simply could not take the "hands-off" approach. I thought that if I just kept coming at my little castle of worry from different angles, smoothing it's edges and hiding its cracks, that I could somehow control something. I could hold things together if I just fixed every crack I found in my castle as soon as I found it. Maybe if I kept circling my castle, I'd see something I hadn't before, and that would make all the difference.
As if it were all up to me. I thought that if I prevented each crack, I could hold all my problems together by just tending to them all the time, letting them consume everything I did, everything I thought. I had no control over my situation, but I could control my worry - letting it saturate my every waking, and often sleeping, hour.
But God, I'd forgotten, is the water. He is the wave that comes in and envelopes the sand castle in one single pass. He washes it back out with Him and away from us - out of our desperate reach and back into His. It's not to say that we won't have problems; in fact, He promises that we will. It's just that we don't need to build castles of worry over our problems. We don't need to let them consume us. We don't need to spend all of our time fixing the cracks, smoothing edges and otherwise taking matters into our own hands. We need to allow for God's tide of Love to come in and keep eroding any of our attempts to hold on to that worry, to create castles in the sand.
Once I let go, God was able to come in and show our family love in an overwhelming way. Through tremendous love shown by this church, God lifted us out of our valley. I can honestly say that I am glad for the valley now, for everything God has taught me through it.
He taught me humility by taking everything away from me for a while. He taught me to trust and be patient, even in the hugely overwhelming moments.
Also, God taught me how I can have appreciation for the little things in life that I used to take for granted: hot water, waking up in my own bed, a roof over my head, three meals a day.
In my valley, I met people some would consider "the least of these" - the kind of people Jesus would've surrounded himself with, but I'd always avoided. I learned so much from these beautiful people about the strength and character that comes out of our trials.
But most of all, He taught me how unconditional His Love is, especially when it is poured out on you through members of your church in the way it was for our family.
Sometimes God uses the simplest words through the tiniest mouths, to teach us the biggest lessons....
Let God be your water and let go of your castle of sand.
2 Corinthians 4:8-10 New International Version “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.