Marsh along Mill Creek

A Marsh Mindset

I’ve got a few pictures to share with you from my weekend!

I was driving through a neighboring town, and grabbed a few shots of two marshes I passed by. I’ve written about marshes before, but here I am again!

Marsh #1

This marshy area surrounds a small side arm of a bay, and is directly affected by the tides of the ocean. The grasses that grow along the water’s edge were created to thrive in an environment that is constantly changing–high to low water levels, and variable fresh to salt water ratios.

I wasn’t fast enough to catch the osprey flying overhead, but I did find a crab looking for lunch!

Marsh #2

This marsh is found along a river that empties out into a sound, and is also affected by the ocean’s tide.

Here I found ospreys at home, and they were nice enough to sit still for a portrait. Sadly, my phone camera only zooms so far.

Instead, I got a shot of a cormorant that was sitting closer to me, sunning himself on a rock:

Side note: why do cormorants sit out in the sun with their wings spread like that? Do they feel cold, and need to warm up in the sun?? Nope.

“For most birds, wet feathers are highly undesirable because they impede their ability to fly and don’t provide insulation. But cormorants dive underwater to catch food. They have feathers that become easily waterlogged, which allows them to dive deeper by preventing air bubbles from getting trapped underneath their feathers. This is one reason you often see cormorants standing with their wings spread, drying their wet wings after diving” (The Cornell Lab Bird Academy).

Back to our marsh!

The seaweed higher on the rock gets washed in the water when the tide comes in.

The Importance of Marshes

Not only are marshes beautiful, they’re quite important little ecosystems.

“They are vital wildlife habitats, often serving as breeding grounds for a wide variety of animal life. Indeed, both freshwater marshes and salt marshes are among the most productive ecosystems on earth. Marshes also recharge groundwater supplies, moderate stream flow, mitigate flooding, and help in purifying the water by filtering excess nutrients (EPA 2006)” (New World Encyclopedia).

The two marshes above are salt marshes: coastal wetlands that salt water tides repeatedly flood and drain again.

“These intertidal habitats are essential for healthy fisheries, coastlines, and communities—and they are an integral part of our economy and culture. They also provide essential food, refuge, or nursery habitat for more than 75 percent of fisheries species, including shrimp, blue crab, and many finfish. Salt marshes also protect shorelines from erosion by buffering wave action and trapping sediments. They reduce flooding by slowing and absorbing rainwater and protect water quality by filtering runoff, and by metabolizing excess nutrients” (National Ocean Service).

Having a Marsh Mindset

The life flourishing in the salt marsh depends on the nutrients and sediments brought in by the regular rising tide.

In the same way, the spritual life of a follower of Christ depends on a regular influx of Living Water:

  • Spending intentional time in his presence by reading his word and listening to his Spirit brings nourishment to our souls.
  • The soil of our hearts is constantly improved with new “sediment,” creating good, healthy ground for the seed of his word to take root and to grow healthy and strong.

The tide in the marsh rises twice each day. That’s a great goal for the follower of Christ, as well! Once-a-week church attendance is not enough to keep us going, keep us growing, or keep us grounded.

The tide comes to the marsh. Every twelve hours. No matter what.

What would happen if we sought God’s presence as faithfully as he sends his tide into the marsh? I daresay it would make quite a difference in the way we walk and talk, the way we treat others and ourselves, and the way we view our circumstances.

We would learn about trust. “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need” (Matthew 6:33 NLT).

We would learn about humility. “You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross” (Philippians 2:5-8).

We would learn about courage. “So we can say with confidence, “The LORD is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?”” (Hebrews 13:6).

We would learn about faithfulness. “To the faithful you show yourself faithful; to those with integrity you show integrity” (Psalm 18:25).

That’s just a sampling of the ways we would mature in our faith if we were to regularly (read “at least daily”) spend time in God’s presence.

Now it’s your turn!

Have you found yourself falling away from a scheduled daily time with Jesus? Today’s a great day to get back on track! You’re never too far away to come back.

If you have been faithfully spending daily time with God, what impact has it had on your life? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

Here are two additional posts I wrote, with pictures of marshes in different seasons.



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