The Counsel That Stands

The other day I took a walk to the bridge at the end of the road. Beneath that bridge is a small waterfall which makes a continuous rushing sound as close to that of the ocean that can be found near my rural homestead. For this Ohio farm girl who longs for ocean waves more than the trickling of the nearby creek, its tune was soothing to my ears. I closed my eyes and simply sat for a few moments, imagining a scene of sea waves lapping against sandy shores as I allowed my mind to wander and rest in the song of nature –  a melody that never grows tiresome to these ears of mine.

And in the stillness of a heart attuned to the glory surrounding me, I wept.

I wept for all the hurts in this life. I wept for relationships gone wrong, for sicknesses wreaking havoc in the lives of friends, for depression that twists minds, for tiredness that weighs heavy. I wept for all the overwhelming circumstances that demand too much. Too much time. Too much effort. Too much mental focus. Too much… me. Mostly, I wept with the longing of a daughter who yearned to spend a few hours in conversation with a mother whose counsel could steer my heart toward wisdom. A wisdom that I desperately needed on so many fronts. It’s been over twelve years since I’ve heard the sound of my mom’s voice, and on this particular day it was her counsel I wanted to hear – even more than the sound of ocean waves.

While I did not hear my mom’s physical voice, memories of her words of wisdom nestled into the depths of my heart. Regardless of the trials, no matter the problem of the day, the brunt of my mother’s counsel was always the same: “Seek the Counselor.” Mom consistently encouraged me to go to God. With my problems. With my praises. With the attitudes in my heart that were so far removed from the reflection of His image I was intended to bear.

As I walked back toward home, I took her advice, and I found the peace for which I yearned.

I found it.

And it wasn’t because my mother’s voice somehow miraculously broke through the pearly gates to reach out to me.

It wasn’t even from the soothing sound of rushing waters.

Peace came in when I took the time to seek the Counselor.

Right there in the beauty of a God who never tires of my seemingly ceaseless cries, peace washed over me.

As steadily as the small river beneath my feet poured over the rocks, rushing to meet the current that flowed, so the burdens of my heart rushed forth to meet the river of God’s healing power. In the awe of a Father who never grows weary of me, I felt a release that has been missing for several months. Maybe it was a combination of the life-giving walk, the strains of birdsong wrapped around river rapids, the memories of a mom who always pointed me to Jesus, or maybe it was simply God breaching the gap between heaven and earth. However it happened, it came.

And it wasn’t because I had perfected my approach. It wasn’t because I had prepared my heart beforehand with just the right Scripture reference. It wasn’t because I was pondering a profound teaching from some Sunday morning service.

It was because I simply cried out. I came in my brokenness, my tiredness. My weary.

It was because I unknowingly took Paul Miller’s advice from his book A Praying Life:  “The criteria for coming to Jesus is weariness. Come overwhelmed with life. Come with your wandering mind. Come weary.”

I didn’t even have to exert the effort to fit that criteria. I NEEDED Jesus in the midst of my messy.

And He came.

And while I am certain to have more weary in the days and weeks ahead, I am equally assured to have His presence beside me. Whether I feel it or not.

Whether I’m wide-awake or half-alive to the things of His Spirit.

Or broken into a thousand, splintered pieces.

As long as I show up again… just messy me… He will be there, steady as the rushing of the waterfall. Tirelessly, lovingly, patiently blessing my life with His peace in hand.

Turning my heart toward truth again, as I turn my heart to the Counselor.

Even if it is one overwhelmed, weary, wandering, messy thought at a time.


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