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Beach Day: Ebb and Flow of Life

Every year, for as long as I can remember, I’ve tried to make time for a beach day.

Varying degrees of access

In New York City, getting to a not-so-crowded beach meant commuting for over an hour. Walk to the subway. Take the subway to Penn Station for a Long Island Railroad train to a beach of choice. I usually went to Jones Beach, which was a short walk from the train stop.

I rarely arrived while the sun was high and super hot, but I do recall struggling as I roasted with no shade on the hot sand.

That being said, I lived on an island – Manhattan. Every day outside was an opportunity to see, walk by, ride alongside, or sit near the water. So, getting to the beach once a year to put my feet in the ocean was a symbolic goal.

I didn’t realize how much water was part of my daily life until I moved to Tucson, AZ. The closest beaches were four hours south,  Rocky Point/Puerto Peñasco, Mexico on the Baja Peninsula, and six hours west to San Diego, CA. The highway ends at the Pacific Ocean.

I figured I could do a road trip a year for beach time, and life would be fine. I made it to San Diego one time before leaving the Southwest.

In Milwaukee, Lake Michigan, a practical sea, is less than ten minutes from my door.

Me touching water for the year.

Though I get to the water often, to peek at it, moon over it, decompress with it, I rarely get close enough to touch it. To wade in it. Certainly never to swim in it.

Lake Michigan is more accessible than the Hudson and East Rivers were in New York. Certainly more accessible than the Pacific Ocean is to Arizona.

Now that I think of it, I don’t think I heard waves from the piers in New York City. The city is full of so many sounds, it’s hard to isolate soothing rhythms.

Appreciating greatness

Perhaps that’s why I love Lake Michigan so much. The sound and the power. It’s expanse. Within minutes of sitting near the water, all I hear is its symphony, engulfed in its fresh smell. The breeze coming off of the water is both flirtatious and nurturing with eye-catching color changes and luminosity.

Get out and touch water

Bodies of water are rejuvenating, envigorating, life-affirming.
The push and pull of the waves. The retreat and reach of foam caps. The way the water ripples and shimmer as it stretches into the horizon, connecting with heaven at the end of our sight and with our feet planted on the earth at the beginning of our frame of vision.

Ah, maybe that’s the lure. The attraction. The beauty. Touching something that seemingly touches eternity infuses the moment with vigor and greatness in a drop of simplicity.

Such is life. Full of simple moments waiting to be seen as great opportunities for whatever a life needs.

Don’t resist the Ebb and flow

As much as I’ve been pulled into the unknown vastness of the sea, I’ve also been returned to the comfort of the shore every time.

Often, people seek the rush and highlights of life. Rarely taking time to sit in nature and be reminded by the breeze of purpose. Take time to see power in the unity of drops. To recalibrate their vision with the vibrancy of nature’s color palette and sound board. Rarely do we simply exist in the space we occupy, ebbing and flowing with creation. Like a drop of rain joining with the sea to form a wave before greeting the land.

When we crash, we think it’s the end of all things. What if we viewed the crash against shore as the beginning of a cycle. No longer part of the wave, separated briefly from the sea. Until the next wave comes to gather all the drops stranded in the sand. Ebb and flow. Pushed and pulled. Retreat and advance. Wherever you are, keep moving. Ride the wave. Crash. Jump back in. Life gets better with every cycle.


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Click to listen here: The Danger of a Good Sermon by Pastor William Carrol.

This is a great word about the blessing of a community of believers bolstering one another in the faith as we move forward with an expectancy of God’s activity in our lives.

10 When the Israelites saw the king and his army coming after them, they were very frightened and cried to the Lord for help.11 They said to Moses, “What have you done to us? Why did you bring us out of Egypt to die in the desert? There were plenty of graves for us in Egypt.12We told you in Egypt, ‘Let us alone; we will stay and serve the Egyptians.’ Now we will die in the desert.”

13 But Moses answered, “Don’t be afraid! Stand still and you will see the Lord save you today. You will never see these Egyptians again after today.14You only need to remain calm; the Lord will fight for you.”

15 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Command the Israelites to start moving.16 Raise your walking stick and hold it over the sea so that the sea will split and the people can cross it on dry land.17 I will make the Egyptians stubborn so they will chase the Israelites, but I will be honored when I defeat the king and all of his chariot drivers and chariots.18When I defeat the king, his chariot drivers, and chariots, the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord.”

19 Now the angel of God that usually traveled in front of Israel’s army moved behind them. Also, the pillar of cloud moved from in front of the people and stood behind them.20So the cloud came between the Egyptians and the Israelites. This made it dark for the Egyptians but gave light to the Israelites. So the cloud kept the two armies apart all night.

21 Then Moses held his hand over the sea. All that night the Lord drove back the sea with a strong east wind, making the sea become dry ground. The water was split,22 and the Israelites went through the sea on dry land, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.

Exodus 14:10-22, NCV

Here are some snippets from the sermon that stood out to me. Feel free to share what stands out to you.

A storm that makes them consider where they are in their life. In their faith.

The storms of life strengthen us. Sometimes in the midst of the storm, God will send another storm to deliver you.


Celebrate the sacrifice as if we’re expecting to go someplace.

Every now and again we have to address life as if tomorrow is not good enough. Next week is not good enough. God is doing something wonderful TODAY!

God has placed an expectancy in my heart.

Sometimes waiting is appropriate. sometimes God wants us to wait. But other times

Be dressed as if you’re ready to go someplace.

Have a sense of expectancy. An expectancy of immediate victory… immediate deliverance.

I am not standing still one more second. God has said to me that TODAY He is going to glorify His name!

You don’t have to be bound one more day. You don’t have to believe that lie one more day. Celebrate as if you’re expecting God to move right now. Move forward!

God has placed an expectancy in my/your heart.