Thursday, January 5, 2012

bedtime stories :: peace

{via pinterest}
some can look back to little girl moments and think of stories read. they can remembering hearing whispered once upon a time from parental lips and smiling with fairytale princess pride.

but me, i look back at one story that was told me over and over. because it was my favourite. and it was not the one with glass slippers or spell-breaking kisses or even tumbling rose petals. it was the one where the little girls died, and their daddy wrote a song.

i can still hear my daddy's voice in my head, even now, as he told the tale at bedtime. the storm that rocked the vessel that sent three little girls to the bottom of the ocean, a wife's broken telegram of three words that screamed of a whispered broken heart.

:: safe but alone ::

and a broken father who boarded a ship to the place where his daughters passed the veil and entered their Father's arms. and the words that melted together with the tears that splashed into the salty tomb that bore his children.

when peace like a river attendth my way
when sorrows like sea billows roll
whatever my lot, Thou has taught me say
it is well.
it is well 
with my soul

this was my bedtime tale. and i never felt safer when told this story of the little girls' drowning and their father who found peace in the storm. because when Daddy kissed my forehead and turned out the light and i snuggled beneath my bright blue tye-dyed duvet, i would smile.

{via pinterest}
because Jesus loved little girls, and He loved their daddy too. and i was a little girl, and i had a daddy. and if something happened to me, i would be with Jesus. and if something happened to my daddy, i would be okay, too.

and now i'm all grown up, with a patchwork quilt and a dark blue and gold duvet of my own. and sometimes when the night feels darker than it ever has, and the world seems empty and so much like a billowing storm, i go to the window and look out into the frozen night.

and my lips form the words that my daddy taught me.
when peace like a river

and when the notes are formed in church, the tears drip down. because it's still my favourite hymn. i still feel safe when the melody fills my ears and i mentally take my daddy's hand and squeeze it the way he used to do, and still does when we are together.

because i'm a woman now, not a little girl. but i still love my daddy. and so does Jesus.

and i need to call my daddy and thank him for teaching me this song. because my eyes are full of unshed tears as i write this.

because this is not a fairytale with happy ever after. 
this is truth with eternity like a cloak for my shoulders. 

this is peace like a river.


  1. breathtaking, rachel.


  2. Your Daddy loves you;
    Your Daddy loves Jesus;
    The music that filled our home and church were songs of praise, comfort, and assurance.

    Your words rekindle the days gone bye. The grace and truth we sang together. The hand holding is a privilege of a daughter and a dad. The meaning captured in your thoughts today.

    Love, Daddy

  3. a beautiful reflection on that song..and touching that your dad told you that story as well...a great comfort...

  4. Oh Rachel, my heart is held in this tender story.

  5. You brought tears to me. My daddy just recently passed away, and this song and the special story behind it has been very dear to me. Thanks for such a lovely post.

  6. no. stinking. way.

    Just about an hour ago, a friend sent me a link to this song on YouTube (I posted it on my blog). It made me cry, it helped me to grieve, and now, to find you talking about the same song here...I don't know what it means, if anything, but it's really cool.

  7. This was such a sweet post. I love "It is Well" which is amusing, because typically hymns aren't my favorite type of music. However, that hymn is so beautiful.

    Beautiful, beautiful post, my friend


I look at you and see all the ways a soul can bruise, and I wish I could sink my hands into your flesh and light lanterns along your spine so you know there's nothing but light when I see you. :: Shinji Moon