When my brother and I were younger we spent a lot of time with our cousins. My dad has a twin brother who has two sons our same age so we were always with them. They lived out in the hill country and back in those days we had to hike to school two miles in the snow, both ways. Ok, seriously. Our parents used to let us go out in to the woods on adventures and we would be gone for hours. I think that they just wanted us out of their hair for a while and could have cared less where we went. We once found a small hot stream that fed into a huge hole that we called the pool. It was beautiful. It was so fun that we went home and had our friends come over and go there with us to swim. It was kind of like our own private oasis that we were hiding from our parents. Once all of our friends were with us, my brother went to the top of the cliff and jumped right in. We all followed his lead and stayed there swimming for hours. Hours turned to days as we went back every morning and stayed all day. We all dared each other to try to swim to the bottom. I grabbed a rock of off the edge while no one was looking and I dove down in the water. I came up with the rock in my hand and told the boys that I had gotten it from the bottom of the pool. That was all it took for them. They were diving to the bottom and feeling around in no time because they were not going to let the girl beat them. They all came up with rocks. When we got tired of the pool we would head up to where the stream started and lay in the hot water that came out of the natural wells. We called it the hot tub. It was a short lived oasis. It only took a few weeks for it to dry up. The beautiful hot stream stopped running. When we went back to look at it once it was dried up we found a disturbing surprise. The bottom of the pool was full of jagged rocks and huge sharp tree vines. It look like a pit of death and it wasn’t very deep at all. We realized two things when we saw it. We were extremely lucky that none of us got impaled by the hidden dangers below the water and that each one of us had lied about diving to the bottom and retrieving rocks. I can’t imagine how busy our angels must have been those days. I bet they were all over the place. As my brother stood on the edge ready to jump, I can picture one of his angels gently repositioning him so that he wouldn’t jump off and land on one of those death vines. I can also picture them rolling their eyes at us each time we came up out of the water holding a rock. Have you ever discovered the jagged dangers at the bottom of your oasis? It shows up in divorce, death, break ups, job loss, the list could go on and on. You start off your marriage in bliss, diving in with complete trust. Then the water starts to dry up and the tips of jagged rocks and vines start to get uncovered. Maybe it’s the late nights at work, the lack of help around the house or something more serious like alcohol or drugs. The next thing you know you are staring at something that you wouldn’t go near. Maybe your oasis was that new job. You were going to make millions and be on the top of the food chain. The next thing you know your boss is calling you in to his office to hand you your pink slip. You know what I’ve noticed about my oasis, once it is dried up and I am able to see it for what it has become , I am able to finally walk away. Once I am able to walk away, I am able to look back, thank God for what it was while it was good and accept that it was time for Him to take it from me. We get so caught up in what we are losing that we sometimes forget to be thankful for ever having it in the first place. Even though God dissolved my first marriage, I am so thankful that he gave me that time with my ex husband. I have some really amazing memories and we have a beautiful daughter. I used to dwell on the divorce and it made me so bitter. God finally showed me how to look at the beauty of it instead of focusing on the vines and jagged edges. As soon as I was able to take my eyes off of the vines, I was in awe that God had given me the time of love and friendship that I got to share with my ex. In the end God gave us the most wonderful friendship with each other. Are you standing at the edge of what was once your oasis and staring at the vines and jagged edges or are you praising God for giving you the beautiful pool to swim in in the first place. Don’t take what you once had for granted, it was there for a reason and it ended for reason. Lets stop pointing our heads down toward the vines and rocks and start looking up at our Savior. If you are standing on the edge looking down at the rocks then this might be the perfect time to fall to your knees and look up. Let’s pray “Merciful Father thank you for your vale of protection that You put over us each day. Help us to appreciate the grace of the pool and the mercy of the vines. Teach us to soak up the beauty of the moment while we have a chance and to lock it tight in our memory. In Jesus name, amen”. None of us ever told our parents what we found at the bottom of our pool because we know that they would never let us go back again and to tell you the truth, we were just waiting for the next heavy rain.