As the horizon began to break open with fresh morning light, my husband, then boyfriend would roll into my driveway.
I'd climb in the old jeep filled with fishing poles and tackle boxes. Forty five minutes later we would arrive at a secluded forest area on the side of some country road, one steep river bank up from the river.
After making our way down a sharply steep bank of underbrush we would find ourselves at river's edge.
The air would be muggy and damp. Water swirling over thousands of smooth earth colored river stones.
River fishing involves moving down the river. According to my husband you can't stay in the same place. You must keep moving.
Usually at some point in the early morning he would decide we had to cross the river.
I never enjoyed crossing the river.
One humid July morning he walked into the deep water and methodically made his way across step by step.
The river was high due to rain and I didn't feel great about crossing.
He had made it look easy, but a few steps into the thigh deep water I felt the strong pull of the rivers' current.
I didn't want to say I needed help. I wanted to make it without help. So I decided I had to do this myself.
To cross the river it required I step surely on slick river rocks while steadying myself against the strong current.
I had to surely put my foot down. My full weight planted to steel myself against the current. Otherwise I would topple in the startling cold water and be swept downriver.
I had to focus.
Foot finding each rock, bearing all my weight down and then finding another rock. It required a lot of concentration and a certain amount of confidence.
I remember the next morning my muscles all ached from the strain against the current.
Those slick rocks steadied me once I fully stepped on them, steadying myself against the powerful current.
Life has river crossings.
Rivers we would rather not cross.
Deep waters we have to ford through to make it to the other side.
Thankfully as we step into the raging water we have rocks to steady us.
Here are a few rocks that steady me and keep my feet holding fast. When I'm tired and just want to give up and let the river win.
"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly Lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." (James 1:17)
"Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it onto completion until the day of Christ Jesus." (Philippians 1:6)
"And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all of the Lord's holy people to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge - that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." (Ephesians 1:17-19)
Being sure of God's steady unshifting love is the only thing that can keep us upright when rivers threaten to drown our hope and carry us very far downstream.