November 5, 2008

See Ruby Falls

It has been a couple of years since I penned this but it is so timely in my life and I really feel compelled to share. I hope you are touched and that you get to see Jesus today...and everyday.

When I was a little girl, we made countless trips from Middle Tennessee to Western North Carolina to see my Mom’s extended family. It seemed to me that almost as soon as you got out of Murfreesboro on I24 that we began to see signs that said, “See Ruby Falls.” They were on birdhouses, old barns, even sometimes on a roof of a house. Huge letters! As we crossed over Monteagle Mountain, we saw even more as they were placed closer together. Somebody really wanted you to “See Ruby Falls.”

I remember when I learned to read, I would read it aloud every time I saw a sign! I am sure I drove Mom and Dad to distraction!!! One time, I ventured out and asked, “What is Ruby Falls?” My Father told me that it was similar to a place we had been to outside of Pikeville called Fall Creek Falls, simply a waterfall that they were trying to make money off of. I was somewhat satisfied with that answer, for a few years anyway.

I noticed as I got a bit older that when we headed over in November or December, the paint would not be exactly white and some of it would even be peeling. But come the spring, just in time for all the Easter travelers, I am sure, the advertisements were bright white and fresh again. I heard once that it was on the rooftops of houses so that people on airplanes flying over could even see them!

When I was 12, we moved to Garland, TX, certainly a world away from the plush and green Middle Tennessee. The trips ‘over the mountain’ now only happened about once a year. The year I was 15, we traveled up to M’boro to see my sister and her family, before going ‘over the mountain.’ By this time, I knew the signs were not just along I24, they were on I59 as you headed up from Atlanta and on US74 as you headed west from North Carolina. I also knew I really wanted to see Ruby Falls!!!

A few years ago, my parents had retired to Decatur, TN, just north of Chattanooga, and my girls and I headed up for a visit. I knew money was tight but I asked dear hubs if I could splurge and the girls and I go see Ruby Falls. Of course, he had no clue why I was adamant about going, I had seen falls before, what could be so different about this one? However, he said YES! I am not sure if I was more excited that I was going to spend time with my family or that I would get to see Ruby Falls after all these years!!

Oh, my! Was it ever worth the wait and the price of admission to get to see Ruby Falls when I was an adult, and to have my children and niece with me. You see, it is not just a waterfall.

We drove several miles up the side of Lookout Mountain before I began to see signs showing you exactly where to go for Ruby Falls. In my mind, I was thinking we would hike up the side of the mountain and find the falls at the top! Wouldn’t that be cool? But I am not God, and I was wrong!!!

They took us into a cavern, dark and cold. We saw the stalactites and stalagmites. We saw the phosphorous in the ceiling when they turned out the lights, and we got to laugh at how each other looked in the natural black light. We saw the different formations that time had made in the cave over so many years. We learned the history of the men that first explored the cave in the late 1920’s. We learned that the name “Ruby Falls” was brought about by the man that began the excavation, his wife’s name was Ruby.

As the tour guide was leading us deeper into the cave, we began to hear what sounded like a trickle. We were led into a large open area, and after they made sure that every visitor was in the room they turned off the lights. By this point, you could surely hear water, but I was still not sure that it was more than a large creek! Oh ye of little faith!!! They led us forward by voice and I could tell when we walked into another room, because the water sound was louder and I could feel a breeze on my face. Then, to our amazement, they turned on the lights upon a waterfall!!! Not just a trickle, no siree!!! An actual 145 foot waterfall in the middle of a mountain!!! As I looked at my children’s faces, I was reminded of the song, Awesome God!!! They were looking up in such wonder at this massive flow of water, INSIDE THE CAVE!!!
Ps 47:1, 7 Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy. …For God is the King of ALL the earth; sing to him a psalm of praise!

Those are some of the most precious memories I carry of being a Mom. I was recently filing away the pictures of the trip and I found one of my youngest, looking up so wondrously to the waterfall. She was 5 at the time and it was nothing for her childlike faith to soak up all that God had created in that small corner of the world. As I dwelt upon that memory, God gently whispered, “See Jesus.” I finished putting the pictures away and went on to my next household task without exploring the possibility that I had just heard God speak.

The next morning, as I sat down to my quiet time, I heard again, “See Jesus.” This time, I really began thinking what that may mean. I know it means that, like me the first time I heard it, we go on about our lives and don’t take the time to stop and listen to the voice of the Lord. I know it means that if I am intentionally looking for the hand of God, I can see Him everyday; in my children, in my husband, in the circumstances that surround our day, the list goes on….

Then, last week as I was finishing up my study of Acts and the life of the apostle Paul, it really hit me! How many times are we like the Jews that listened to what Jesus had to say, they saw Him heal countless people and cast out demons, yet they didn’t really See Jesus. Or, how often do I pass by someone that needs to know the truth but I am busy and on my way elsewhere, so I miss the opportunity to See Jesus. We often trivialize the majestic power of His hand when we see the sunrise and sunset every day. We grow accustomed to the world around us and don’t see His works in the trees and flowers, or the night sky. We miss the opportunity to See Jesus.

I never again want to pass by the large bright white letters that say “See Jesus.” I don’t want to miss seeing another birdhouse that simply says “See Jesus.”
I simply desire that everyday, in my life, I See Jesus!!! Will you see Him,too?

Praise God from whom all blessings flow....even waterfalls in mountains!

God's girl, Pamela

Please share this with any you feel need a touch from our Heavenly Father. All I ask is that you give credit where credit is due: Jesus Christ.


gerbmom said...

yeah, regarding election day - Illinois took the step of keeping schools available as polling places, but wisely determined there should not be students present. And so I happily took advantage of a most beautiful day! Today is equally a gorgeous , but I am sadly back at work.....
Oh, and thanks again - I really appreciate knowing someone reads the drivel I often write!

btw - I've seen that Ruby Falls sign for as long as I can remember. I also remember my parents telling me it was just a "tourist trap" LOL.
I probably told my kids the same without having anything to base it on. sigh
I'm glad it was such a WONDERFUL experience, thanks for sharing! :)

Tiffany Stuart said...

I've been there too. I loved this beauty that was hidden. I love how God shows his creative and power and love through nature. HE IS!

PS thank you for your comments. I appreciate your support and kindness.

Larissa said...

Great memory - thanks for sharing! You've created a priceless memory for your kids and have reminded us all "to see Jesus" in everyday things!!!