God doesn’t need us to praise Him but He needs us to praise. What else keeps us from bitterness?
Down by the water’s edge, the boys build a sand castle.
Caleb wields his shovel like a man with a back built for trenches, for getting to the bottom of things. Sand sprays and he piles.
The summer I got meningitis, I’d laid on a blanket, still, and he had ran after sea gulls on this beach, about in this same spot, just east of the lifeguard chair. He’d been three and smelled of buttery popcorn and his laughter squealing after swooping gulls, it had gone down like a carbonated elixir. I had gotten well. He had gotten taller. Thirteen summers and he had shed the boy skin and I watch now how he bends. How to grow up the man that’s just under that boy’s skin?
Levi hauls up pails of water from the shore and he pours. “See them standing over there, Mom?” he leans over his five gallon pail and whispers it in my direction, a secret slipping down to me off a slope of freckles.
“I heard that boy say to his Dad that it’s big. Think they’re watching us build, Mom?” He half turns and scoops out a handful of wet sand to gird up a sandy palisade. He already knows how it’s best to just keep digging and not look to see who’s looking.
Kai and Joshua, the sand dribbles straight from their fingers and it’s the tips of them sculpting, grains pressed down into the grooves of who they are. The walls grow higher. They keep at it, building and forming. Or this happens: the sand settles, sinks. Crumbles. It’s there on the beach — nothing stands still, the moments always moving in a direction.
And it is like that, the way the sand moves, every word moving either one way or the other – words raising Christ or building self higher.
Words praising Him or wrangling to be praised ourselves.
This seeping of bitterness or straight spires of blessings.
“I need more water, Levi — or it’s going to fall.” Joshua’s curves over his section of wall like a prayer. I’m not sure how my life stands. How my inner and outer walls stand, how I make a home. Unless we make it a habit to give thanks, we habitually give our family grief.
Unless we consistently speak praise, we consistently speak poison.
Unless we are intentional about giving God glory throughout the day, our days unintentionally give way to grumbling.
“Levi — it’s crumbling over here!” Kai turns quick. He’s looking beyond himself for help. It’s only when we focus on the Christic Center of everything that everything finds it center and walls stand. It’s in praising a Savior in all things that we are we saved from discouragement in all things.
“Thanks, Levi.” Kai murmurs what matters to Levi. Kai pats more sand in cracks and Levi tilts the pail and kneeled together, they bridge the gap.
Does it always come down to just two ways to do life? Do doxology – or do destruction.
From here, I watch how they build their house.
How they look over their shoulder to see if stands…
“Violence shall no more be heard in your land,
devastation or destruction within your borders;
you shall call your walls Salvation,
and your gates Praise.”
the One Thousand Gifts that never end…
#2676 …. Hens clucking at sunrise
#2677… Flipping through old photo albums
#2678… Cutting corn
#2679… The hymn that says it all on Sunday morning
#2680… Legos & grass & pennies & wheat kernels found in the washing machine
#2681…. Giggly nieces on the phone
#2683… Rain and puddles and rain
#2684… Sun after rain
#2685… Sand in quilts
#2686… Sand in books
#2687… Full-sized shovels at the beach for some serious building
#2689… When he brushes the hair out of my eyes
#2690… All the late night talking after Sunday night church
#2691… To build this house, this home, these hearts today with words of praise
Will you join us? And happily change everything by keeping your own crazy list of One Thousand Gifts? Please, jump in, make your life about giving thanks to God! — 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 in our refrain of thanks by sharing the community’s graphic within your post. Give thanks to the Lord! His Love Endures Forever!