Over, under or through it…which one?  I usually prefer the easiest route.

When Summer was really little, I bought a book called “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt” by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury.  We LOVED this book and it was so much fun to read out loud because of the silly sounds. 

For a multitude of reasons, this book has come back to mind lately.  Almost daily.  Let me tell you about it.

The main paragraph that gets repeated throughout the book is:  “We’re going on a bear hunt.  We’re going to catch a big one.  What a beautiful day!  We’re not scared.”

Every other page is that paragraph and then the following page is about some obstacle, whether it be long wavy grass, a deep cold river, thick oozy mud, a big dark forest, a swirling whirling snowstorm, or a narrow gloomy cave. 

But every time the family comes upon one of these disasters, another crucial line is repeated:


That.  Right there.  That is the line that keeps coming into my head over the past few months. 

I’ve been faced with different obstacles, as I’m sure you have to – and I pray they would disappear or go away, but alas…I can’t go over it, I can’t go under it.  Oh, no…I’ve got to go through it.  

As you read the book, though, each obstacle comes with a fun or funny sound: Long, wavy grass = Swishy Swashy; 

Deep, cold river = Splash Splosh; 

Thick, oozy mud = Squelch squerch; 

Big, dark forest = Stumble trip; 

Swirling, whirling, snowstorm = Hoooo woooo; 

Narrow, gloomy cave = Tip Toe

This is the most fun part of the whole story. 
They are scared of the obstacle but they accept that they have to go through it and that is where the fun actually begins...
that’s where they discover the beautiful in the hard.

And then, FINALLY, they find a bear but that isn’t fun at all so they run home…but to get back home they have to go through each of these obstacles one more time but this time they do it so much faster! 

They’ve been there and done that and they know it is possible so they zip through them and get home to the safety of their bed.  The end.  

As I said, this has been in my head for a few months and only now am I trying to put it on paper.

In my prayer this morning, I literally wrote: “Help me to see you today.  To take note.  To write it down.  Oh God, to stay in your arms.  To hear the beautiful silly noises in the challenges…like the bear hunt.” 

That book would have been extremely boring and anticlimactic if they could have gone over or under every problem.  The interesting parts and the fun parts come when they are forced to face the problem head on. 

Reading it aloud to Summer – this was when we giggled as we said those silly phrases, like swishy swashy. 

And those are the beautiful noises I am begging God to help me hear, JUST today. 

As I sat there writing, I decided to expand on these…to put it in real terms for ME. 

For example, in my depression that is raging right now, I want to hear the sound of falling on my knees in prayer; of tears dripping in authentic, real pain; the creaky aches of knowing I’m desperate to know what the heck God has for me or what His purpose is for me taking breaths today. 

over, under, or through
over, under, or through
over, under, or through

In raising my 4 children…what are the beautiful things He gives there?  What are the beautiful sounds in the hardness? 

There is beauty when one of the smaller ones hurts herself and I GET to put my phone or book down and cuddle them back to health. 

Or this morning when a child poked fun at Summer for getting ‘boys’ shoes for school – I had the opportunity to praise her for knowing what she liked and getting it no matter what.  I got to praise her confidence. 

In the past couple of weeks, on a harder scale, I have had my oldest fall onto my shoulder with tears just needing some kind of comfort in heartache.  I wish that she didn’t have to experience that, but what a beautiful gift to be the one who gets to hold her in that pain

Or as a child is entering teen years and discovering his will and his opinions…man that is frustrating.  But maybe if I slow down and really look I will hear the ‘swishy swashy’ of him becoming a great man like his dad.

In my marriage…my second kick at the can…we have rough times but what a blessing it is that I have someone who won’t leave me in the rough times.  You don’t know my whole story, but I will say this: 

It is a beautiful sound to have someone to lay beside you in bed, maybe even as they are mad at you or disappointed in you, but they still choose to lay there beside you, with you…maybe even hold your hand.  Splish Splosh, splish splosh.  

Hopefully, with the next parenting challenge, marriage challenge, or depression challenge, or whatever challenge is in your life right now…when the next one comes, even if it is in the next hour, maybe we will move through it a little easier having heard some beautiful sounds in those same types of places before. 

Maybe we are training our ears to hear.  

I’m currently doing an 80 day workout that works in 24 day blocks.  In each block are 4 weeks.  The first week is 2×15 for everything.  The next two are 3×10.  In the final week of the block you return to 2×15.  That last week is to see if you can lift heavier than you did the first week now that you have been working on it. 

I was amazed at what I could lift at the end of block one compared to the first week.  

This is like life.

 I don’t know what week you are in or what block
but, hopefully, when the time comes to go through it again,
you will see that you can lift heavier
now that you have experienced
what God did
in the other block and weeks.

Proverbs 30:7-9 says:

Two things I ask of you, LORD; do not refuse me before I die:  Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread.  Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ Or I may become poor and steal and so dishonor the name of my God.”

In a way, I think this verse is saying,

“I’m going to ask You two things.  Please don’t let me go over it and completely forget my need for you. And please don’t let me go under it and abandon You because I can’t see You. 

“Please just help me to go through it, with You in it beside me, pointing out the beautiful sounds all around us in the hard times.”

2 Responses

  1. it’s interesting to learn that this is a book. i was introduced to this as a sort of game at a youth retreat. we made both the sounds with our mouths and with our hands as we went through the different areas…and of course, at the end as we ran back when the bear was chasing us! it was all done with lots of laughter and fun. i’m enjoying your take on it though, nancy. it’s great! i’ll be thinking about it this week.

  2. So beautiful!! Thanks for sharing these thoughts. I can completely relate to your struggle with depression, but I love how you’ve framed it here. It is something I’m going through, with God right by my side. ❤️


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