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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: River (08/31/06)

TITLE: Crossing My Rivers
By Venice Kichura


I was in shorts, barefoot, trimming our Christmas tree, watching The Weather Channel depict scenes from a nor’easter thinking, Those poor suckers up north…Thank God we live down here in the Sunshine State ….My windows are wide open, even in late December.

Then the phone rang. From the stammering of my husband’s voice I knew it was bad news

“Honey… ? Uh...looks like we’ve been transferred to Hartford, Connecticut.” My husband choked out the words that fateful afternoon as I unraveled a string of Christmas lights. His words stung as I argued, “How can we leave Florida after 28 years? We don’t even have overcoats….”

Reality sunk in. I finally unfolded the Connecticut map. About all I knew was Connecticut’s up north, expensive, and cold.

Growing up on ten acres in Texas (where small towns are separated by endless miles of cow pastures), this country girl felt her heart pound as she studied the map of the greater Hartford area. It didn’t take long to realize I did NOT want to live west of the Connecticut River. East of the river seemed more rural, not as densely populated. I panicked, searching for at least one simple road (other than interstates) that crossed the river. Although I‘ve driven for forty years, I avoid interstates, taking the back roads. Raised by overprotective parents, I’ve feared merging since my father first pegged interstates “death traps” years ago when I got my driver’s license.

Well, I’ve survived here in Connecticut for seven years and have crossed the river. But The Connecticut River is only a literal river. I have other “rivers” I have crossed, and others I’m still crossing.

Take needles. Earlier today I went for blood work. A big deal? Not for most folks. But for this weak-kneed woman who used to faint when she just sawsomeone getting a shot, getting blood work done is a milestone. For most of my 56 years, I would have rather eaten dirt than have blood drawn.

My secret? Just don’t look.

Later, as I covered my eyes stepping on the scale, the same nurse reassured me, chuckling, “It’s okay, honey. Again, just don’t look.”

Driving home, the Lord corrected me, It’s NOT okay…Time to look….Time to cross that “river” of dieting.

My husband and I have been slowly recovering from the shock of a family crisis involving our son. Regrettably, I’ve been using food to deal with stress. Our son, whose story is so mind-boggling we could be guests on Dr. Phil, had been in denial for years.

And so had I.

Trembling, I stepped on my bathroom scale. This time with my eyes open. I didn’t like the number glaring up at me, but at least I’d jumped in the river. Now I’m ready to swim to the other side---to the land of better health.

I wish I could say I’ve crossed all my rivers. I can’t. Dreading next week, I’ve shared my anxiety with close friends, relating how next Wednesday will be one of the toughest days of my life. But God has been faithful and has surrounded us with caring friends who’ve been there to pray with us and hold our hands as we face our son in court for DUI charges.

Soon I’ll be crossing another river called retirement. It’s not just adjusting to having my spouse around 24/7. We’re also moving to a new state. Although our new area is much cheaper and warmer, moving and making new friends is another river I’ll have to swim across.

But I have to remember that this former Floridian (who used to freeze when it got down to 60 degrees Fahrenheit), now braves single-digit temperatures, driving in the snow. And I’ve made close friends. With God’s help, I can move, again; I can make new friends.

I know I’ll have other new rivers, yet to cross. But (praise God!) I’ve already crossed over that most significant river. Years ago I crossed over the river of sin and death to the fresh, cleansing waters of salvation to new life in Jesus Christ.

As I continue to cross my new rivers, including that final river of death, I know the One who holds my hand-----Who’ll never let me slip.

Just as Jesus’ weak-kneed disciple Peter, I, too, can cross my rivers. If I don’t look down, but look up, focusing on Jesus and His promises, I can walk across, safely landing on the other side.*

*See Matthew 14:22-33, NIV.

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This article has been read 1071 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Beth Muehlhausen09/08/06
Good lead in with a literal story before going into more symbolic applications...but the ending was the best. Made me think about all the "rivers" (strongholds) I have crossed and have yet to cross. :-)

Rhonda Clark09/08/06
I liked your analogies. Good job.
Suzanne R09/09/06
I agree - lovely analogies.

Well done.
Jan Ackerson 09/10/06
Beautifully crafted, moving from the literal to the figurative seamlessly.
Joanne Sher 09/10/06
This made me smile, if only because at least two of your rivers are ones I have (or really need to!) cross! I could so relate to this. Great job of working your message into the story!
Donna Haug09/10/06
Assuming this story is true ... I'll pray that as you cross this river, you'll find the Lord's presence more real with you than ever before! God bless!
Donna Powers 09/10/06
I really enjoyed this. If we keep our eyes on Jesus, we can "cross every river". Well done!
Crista Darr09/12/06
This is hopeful! It would be great if you tightened it up and submitted it for a devotional. Swimming across my own river right now (praise God, I'm not sinking) I was really encouraged.