As I prayed through our morning and read, I was drawn to Judges 9:3, which says, "They were inclined to follow Abimelech."
We are inclined. Yes, we are inclined -- inclined to follow man, inclined to follow the guilt which says, "You should do this . . . be like this . . . follow this . . . ." When really, what we desperately want (without always acknowledging or even realizing it), is to incline our hearts toward Jesus. (Psalm 119:36)
Miraculously, mercifully, we don't have to incline our hearts on our own. The Lord delights in teaching our hearts to yearn for that which truly satisfies.
And my experience has been that, as our hearts accept this teaching, His blessings abound. I saw it abound yesterday as I closed my journal with a prayer that the Lord would show me how to seek and find the joy He had in store for us that day.
No sooner had I swallowed my last drop of Earl Grey than I had an irresistible desire to take the kids to The River. It didn't matter which river it was, we just needed to go. The kids were getting fidgety and bickery as the week wore on, and I felt the need to remove distractions and enjoy some carefree yet intentional time together. (I'm sure the numerous references to The Wind in the Willows in my current read, Pilgrim's Inn, were also influential.)
I put out a little facebook plea to see if anyone had suggestions as to where we might go. Now, when I think "river," I think of the rivers that meandered through the campgrounds we haunted when I was growing up. I wanted my kids to swim and splash and throw rocks. I wanted to bring a picnic lunch and not worry about crowds or parking. I wanted to read and rest under a canopy of trees and maybe even throw some rocks myself.
My dear friend knew my heart, understood my desire, and responded, "Ummm, please use our river. . . . I'm in Kenya." And so we went.
It was glorious. It was a gift. A gift wrapped with river-colored ribbon, dotted with verdant tones, and generously splashed into our grateful, outstretched hands.