Nora’s Notes: peaceful waters

Wendy was my black Tennessee Walker – a feisty mare, built for speed. Riding her felt like being on water skies in the early morning when no other boats were out. She was smooth as glass.  A group of us rode on Saturdays, a few times a month, galloping down long stretches of dirt road. When we came to forks in the road or intersections, we would simply place the reins on the nape of the horse and go in whichever direction the horse chose. For me, it was life on the “edge.” I never knew where Wendy would take me and since horses are pack animals, they will usually follow the lead horse who 99% of the time was mine.

One Saturday though – Wendy didn’t want to choose. There was a T-shaped intersection up ahead. Instead of going left or right, she decided to go straight up a hill covered in pine trees and briers. The sting of the branches on my face felt razor-sharp, and I wondered if my cheeks would be covered in blood. It seemed as though she ran uncontrollably; and although I tried to slow her down, she wouldn’t. The other horses had not followed – this time. I could hear a distant shout from my friend Rhonda, “Nora, are you ok?”

The woods opened to a clearing with a creek running through the center, and there she stopped. I hadn’t been to this spot before, which seemed impossible since I felt I knew every inch of Dublin, Georgia. I sat down on a rock and washed the cuts on my hands and face. The sound of the water flowing passed me, calmed my beating heart.

“He leads me beside still waters; He restores my soul…” the passage from Psalm 23 entered my head. Our pastor, Jim Rush, had just encouraged us to memorize the Psalm in our confirmation class. Suddenly, it made sense. Sometimes we go down paths of our own making; sometimes paths others have forced us on; and sometimes, one’s God brought us down purposefully. We may not know the reasons for the trials or how long we will have to endure the journey; but one thing is certain, He will bring us back to still waters.

Faith holds in good times and bad. It is the assurance that when we walk with God, no matter the decision we’ve made, He will see us through the obstacles, the pain, the suffering, the grief, the destruction, and bring us back to peaceful waters.

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