Crumbly leaf, rough bark, helicopter seed. We filled our bag with bits of nature. All our friends around us did the same, racing to check off finds on the list. Farah staggered down stair-stepped roots to the creek, looking for one last thing, a shell. There, a fragile little oval one waited, an empty cup balanced on a table of dirt. I leaned down to pick it up and held it out to her, but she didn’t reach for it.

She stood paused, studying almost. In the middle of a group of boulders, she scanned for something familiar. It had been several weeks since our last time creek stomping…and now it looked like a whole different place.

Before, the kids had splashed down into ripples and slid their feet over slimy rocks. Now they walked out onto dry land. The fallen timber that rested half in, half out of water like some kind of amphibian…now it sprawled over dirt and pebbles, exposed and thirsty.

“It dwied all up,” she rumpled her lips, then looked down at her water shoes, no hint of water on them, “it needs mo’ wain in it.” She kept going, rolling all her Rs out like Ws, “We need wain to come down to get wada in the cweek.”

Toddler talk or not, it was a prayer sung out, a psalm, like David’s cry when he felt His need: “My soul thirsts for You…in a dry and weary land where there is no water.”

The rainless days may have looked like happy blue skies and sunshine, but they were draining us of the basics of life, basics we had no way of replenishing. We thirst for something we cannot supply on our own. We are needy, but so often we don’t see it.

Here in the middle of the dry creek bed, in the dust, my little girl found her need.

The next several days, she talked about it in naptime prayers, and bedtime prayers, and mealtime prayers, always asking for the creek to fill. Over and over she prayed, relentless as the drought, for days that must have seemed like months to her toddler sense of time.

And then one afternoon, after all that waiting…a crack in the sky. We saw the power and glory in blurry window panes. We hollered our thanks and burst into applause and when the thunder moved along, we ventured out into the downpour. Judging from the pictures on instagram, half of you did the same.

Farah laughed at the water that bounced in under the covered porch. She puddle-jumped in her Mary Janes. I didn’t even have to tell her to. She knew what to do. She danced, not to pray for rain, but to praise for it. The person who knows her need is the person who rejoices most wildly at relief.

The next day, we headed back to the forest. There, down the hill, the beginning of her answer to prayer babbled over the rocks. And she stomped right in.

{I’m praying for more rain and wisdom for farmers trying to recover from crop losses in the epicenter of the drought. What has this summer’s stretch of dryness shown you about your need?}

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