The Gift We Can’t Afford to Refuse

Only an hour from the farm, a river runs through it.

Straight through blonding wheat fields, meandering through a ragged gorge, untwining through time.

We pitch a tent and drive in our pegs. Grinning boys swing an axe, chop wood, carry water. There is a light in the leaves.

You never know, this could be a tent of meeting.






We take off shoes.

I hear a jay call high up and I turn and listen and wait, head tilted…  listening…. waiting.

Malakai looks for birch trees, then ash and he thinks this one might be an oak.

The  Farmer tells one grinning pyromaniac to just lay the matches down.

Shalom brings me a snail shell in the gully of her two hands. She jumps when it pokes out an antennae head and we laugh surprised and it’s all alive, so alive. She bends to watch it move slow along her palm canyon. I lean too because I had never noticed that.

When we are in a valley, we’re but in the valley of cupped hands.

All night long, we lay under stars.

Night wind rustles the whisper of nylon domes and children roll and blink flashlights and giggle. Is that sound — that sound — is that a wolf, Mama? Is the sun coming up yet, Dad? Can I light the fire in the morning? He and I lay in the dark holding hands, looking up, listening to all their midnight murmurings.

Crazy kids, I grin.

Crazy kids. He squeezes my hand.




The woods stirs early. The woods full of robins and tree frogs and praise high and low. The sun slips down the slopes through trees and into all the corners. Hope sings it, bringing the water basin up. Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound…

We have nowhere to go. We warm our hands around the crackling flames. We talk in this circle of lingering. The youngest slide her slender arm through the bronzed arms of her oldest brother, first and last linked, her pressed into him before the fire. When is the last time I have felt this?

We find the river.

We let it carry us.

There is no hurry.

It runs, and we don’t.





The hurry makes us hurt.

Life is not an emergency.

Slow never killed time, only the rushing and racing, the catching up that tries to catch up to time, this is what kills time. Why keep wounding eternity?


When I tell them I am not going over the rapids, I am not, near men beg their mama and who can refuse their entreaties to come?  I think my heart is louder than the water pounding white over rocks.

I hold onto the Farmer when the current starts rushing and I stiffen, cling, rise higher in the tube, try to get away from what’s coming. “Just go with it — just relax.” The Farmer mouths in the roar of it. He lays his hand on my shoulder. It’s all coming fast now, surging and crashing. I choke back a scream.

“It’s okay — Just. Stay. Fluid!”

I laugh and swallow down white water and there is always the wildest possibility of just letting go.




The work is never finished and everywhere, rapids, and faster, faster.

Did they work driven and harried on the Tower of Babel too?

Do we not rest like the God who rested after He made the world because we are driven to be regarded as God-like in the world?

Do we erect idols to self when we ignore places of stillness?

Why reject the gift of rest?

God, the Only one who didn’t have to, He stopped and rested to show us who need to — how to.










July drifts and we will be faithful — in the working and in the resting. The sun glints, stars across water, us in the shimmering of a gorge. The boys keep trying the rapids, laughing loud. Joy can ring best off deep canyon walls.

I stay for a long time at the river’s edge. I simply sit. I simply am. He is I AM — the only One who exists to hold it all together– not me. The water fall sings. Only when we rest do we relinquish our ambitions to be like God.

We splash our feet in the river unwinding, us coming into the rest of Christ.



“….all our busy rushing ends in nothing” ~Psalm 39:6

Be still and know that I am God.

~Ps. 46:10


#2575- #2588 of counting gifts, entering into the rest of His will, staying fluid… …more of the One Thousand Gifts that never end…

the way my brother laughs with the water falling

pink shoes in the woods

stringing up a yellow rope clothesline

sausages and syrup

brothers sharpening an axe

stair races and us puffing laughter

no place to go

soot on bare toes

campfire hymns


woods waking

how they hug

to look on His loveliness and linger long…


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Related Resources:
Free Printable: July’s Free Gratitude Calendar
Free Printable: 7 Gifts Good & Perfect : A Weekly Gratitude booklet (find folding instructions for booklet here)
And from the archives: How to {help} Raise Grateful Kids : A Primer for the Summer

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Today, if you’d like to share your own marking towards One Thousand Gifts of thanks, of making your life about thanks to God — (please, jump in!) — just add the direct URL to your specific 1000 gift list post… and if you join us, we humbly ask that you please help us find each other by sharing the community’s graphic within your post.