Beneath the Surface

The other day my 22-year-old son Thomas said something he hadn’t said in years. Our grown daughters say this sort of thing all the time, but somewhere around age 15, Thomas stopped saying …

“Mom, come look. You gotta see this.”

So when he said those words, I left my computer and followed him outside to our little koi pond. I couldn’t wait to see what he had to show me.

Just like when he was a little boy.

Is it a frog? A snake? A shiny rock?

We have two koi ponds. The big one has koi in it, but the only thing in the small pond is murky-looking water.

Or so I thought.

(I blogged about the little pond here–“Sometimes You Wade Through Sludge Together.” I wrote about my husband building our koi ponds here for Guideposts.)

When Thomas and I crouched by the water, Kitty Thelma hurried over to check out the situation.

“Look what my new camera does,” Thomas said.

I didn’t even know he had a new camera, something called a GoPro.

He showed me what he’d filmed beneath the surface.

I saw splendor in something I assumed was useless.

As sunlight lit the darkness I spotted lily pads yet to bloom,

Green plants I couldn’t name,

Rocks and hills and valleys formed a magical underwater world.

Even fish darted by.

Maybe the pond holds a life lesson for me.

I thought about people and situations I’d judged–opinions I’d hurriedly formed–times I hadn’t bothered to ask God to help me see beneath the surface.

But God …

He sees the unseen. Past. Present. Future.

He knows no limits.

He creates beauty from ashes–life from dry bones.

And He understands every heart.

Thank You, Lord. You see beneath the surface.

“…even darkness isn’t dark to You.” Psalm 139:12 NIV

Can anyone relate?










When all Hope is Gone

Staring into our backyard pond, I knew the koi were dead. The evidence was undeniable. We’d seen the scary-looking Blue Heron circling the yard, caught him standing in the ponds, and found his sandy footprints on top of my husband Rick’s truck.

I wrote about Rick’s beloved koi here in Guideposts magazine. They were given to him a long time ago and must have been about twenty years old. He built two small ponds in our backyard for them.

Boy, he loved those fish.

When he got home from work, the koi would be smiling at the top of the water waiting to be fed. He’d tell them hey, and toss in a handful of food.

But there’d been no sign of life for six weeks. Not since we saw the Blue Heron.

Rick inched a boat paddle across every inch of the ponds.

No air bubbles. No movement except for frogs.


Every night since they disappeared, I found find him staring into the water, but I quit looking for them. Hanging onto hope would be foolish.

Last weekend, Thomas’s girlfriend Brittany came over. Walking by the ponds she said, “When did y’all get new koi?”

Sure enough. There they were–six yellow, orange, and black speckled koi, putting on a show for us!

Somehow these remaining six had survived the Blue Heron.

“Must have hidden way back under the bushes,” Rick said. “But I don’t see how. I ran the paddle along the sides too.”

 Watching the remarkable fish, God seemed to suggest a thought.

When things look dark and hopeless, Julie, when there’s no movement whatsoever, hang on tight to hope. I still have a plan.

“Let us continue to hold firmly to the hope we confess…” Heb. 10:23 ISV

*picture of Blue Heron Lake Nock from Flickr Creative Commons. (dbf photos)

Praying for you, my dear friends.