We had an unusual snow in Alabama! A dusting that cleared the streets of most moving vehicles and most likely cleared the shelves in Walmart of bread and milk! I bundled up to take a beautiful walk in the sunshine during a warmer part of the day– bringing back memories of my walks in New England a few years ago.
As I walked along my usual path in our neighborhood, I noticed the cracks in the sidewalks and how more snow accumulated in the deep places …in the cracks in the sidewalks and asphalt on the roads.
And it’s the deep places that gather and hold more and become mile markers along our life-path to remind us of God’s grace and mercy while on the journey. They remind us where we’ve been …how we made it through and the lines that shaped us.
Follow the lines of the cracks and they tell a story — the painful, yet redeeming stories of us. The wells that give others a place to refresh their own soul and a place that let’s them know that others have traveled the same path. They are not alone. Those who went before us left a life-line to hold on to …a well of wisdom and understanding …empathy …grace and hope that we’ll make it through.
You see, it’s not really about what caused the crack or the deep wound in the first place but more about what we allowed to fill it up. That will make all the difference in the rest of the journey. What we fill up our deep places with can determine the next step.
Fresh snow or dirt-filled? Forgiveness or bitterness? Life or death?
I still vividly remember the life-giving words of my mother-in-law — another Joy — who spoke about our times of weeping and suffering becoming refreshing wells for others as she shared the words of David in Psalm 84 …
What joy for those whose strength comes from the Lord,
who have set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.
When they walk through the Valley of Weeping,
it will become a place of refreshing springs.
The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings.
They will continue to grow stronger,
and each of them will appear before God in Jerusalem.
Have my deep places become wells to refresh others or a toxic waste dump? Does it give life to all who drink from it or does it poison their soul?
A friend called me yesterday. We’ve known each other since our early days of adulthood — over 30 years ago — but our paths have been separated from the east coast to the west coast and somewhere in between since those days. As we talked, we picked up our relationship right where we left off and in a 3 hour conversation tried to cover the joys and sorrows of our lives …family, ministry, children, emotional struggles, surgeries and all!
Her words became a well for me to drink life-giving water from. She understood my journey. Little did I know, her steps had taken her along a similar path as it turned out. My struggles gave encouragement to her as well in that “me too” kind of way.
And God used that like the healing piece of wood in the water that turned it from bitter to sweet. (from Exodus 15)
May the words of my mouth
and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing to you,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
Psalm 19:14 (NLT)
May these words be a well of refreshing for you today and may you leave a well of refreshing for those who come along your path.