Peace on My River

The air, frigid and howling, stirred the Yukon River. We watched from inside the main hall, anxiously anticipating the arrival of the rest of our crew. Sideways, sleet-like rain left streaks on the panes as we prepped coffee, tea, and hot cocoa for the soon to arrive workers. Birch logs filled the wood stove and blankets hung over each chair, ready to welcome the volunteers.

“They’re here!”

A few guys threw on raincoats, hopped on buggies, and made their way to the river’s edge to shuttle people and their luggage to the main hall. As anticipated, the two-hour boat ride on the unsettled Yukon created a huge need for extra warmth. We toted luggage, wrapped blankets over shoulders, and brought warm drinks to each of our friends.

Alaska’s mighty Yukon remained choppy and unsettled for several days. More boatloads of volunteers traveled through the wind and rain, rocked by the waves of the river. Chilled to the bone, they found comfort and rest in front of the wood heater.

As long as the rain and wind continued, the river remained agitated. Several days of clouds kept the river rocky and unpredictable. But then, late one afternoon the sun emerged. By the end of the week, the air produced fresh warmth, birds began to sing, and the mighty Yukon turned to glass.



When I boarded the plane headed to camp, the luggage I carried was more than the contents of my satchels. Frustration, fear, weariness, and stress rested heavily on my shoulders and manifested in my countenance. I desperately needed time away to regroup and change my focus.

Four days into the trip, I found myself laughing, teasing, and smiling. The headache of six weeks no longer pounded in my ears and the knot in my stomach released. Peace rested on my shoulders as they fell back into their lowered position. At that moment, I felt like me again.

Early the following morning, I grabbed my coffee from the dining hall and sneaked back to my cabin. I was meditating on the words and promises found in Psalm 139 and decided to read from the Message version. “I look behind me and you’re there, then up ahead and you’re there, too— You’re reassuring presence, coming and going. This is too much, too wonderful— I can’t take it all in!”

Tears pooled as the words saturated my soul. “God,” I whispered, “you’re already there. You’ve been walking with me this far and you’ve already walked the way I’m headed. You know the result of every health test that is waiting for me when I get home. And you know the answer as to why I’ve felt so poorly these last few months. You know the stress I’ve been wearing and the sadness that’s enveloped me. I’m not alone. Even when I feel otherwise. Don’t let me forget this moment of reassurance when I’m back at home, in the middle of life’s chaos.”



Each day, I made time and walked the river’s shoreline. The ice jam two weeks prior left a vicious mark on the bank. Hunks of ice rested on the path like unplanned boulders. Melting ice and snow left mud reminiscent of quicksand, grabbing shoes and boots of unassuming passersby.

As the sun emerged more each day, the ground hardened, and the ice hunks soon disappeared completely. The volunteers were cleaning up the damaged camp and excitement replaced the doldrum that first filled camp. Kokrine Hills Bible Camp was slowly recovering from the brutal attacks of winter.

And so was I.


The Peaceful River

Glass. The river perfectly reflected the cloud-dotted, vibrant blue sky. On a log, I perched myself along the river’s edge. “How can this be the same river?” I asked out loud. “Six days ago, the waves were tossing the boats from side to side because of the wind and rain. What changed?”

It’s the same river. The thought repeated in my mind as I noted the mountain’s reflection on the water.

The river never changed. This phrase also echoed again and again in my mind as my gaze shifted toward the three crosses perched on the high shore.

A teardrop slipped down my cheek. “God, I’ve allowed the elements of life to dictate the flow of my river.”

Birds flitted by my head. A small squirrel skittered up a tree. Grass sprouted where broken branches once rested. And calm hovered over the mighty Yukon.

“I want this peace when I get home, God. You know how much I want calm on my river. I know there will be unpredictable elements that come from all directions, but the same river that was chaotic is now at peace. Show me how to fight for this kind of peace.”


Snow Melt

The six-passenger plane soared over Alaska’s Tanana Valley. There were channels and streams wiggling in all directions. But then I noticed new paths created from recent snow melt. Canals and dry riverbeds that were created as the snow melted from the tops of mountains. Some still had water flowing through while others were simply carved in the earth.

  God can make a path wherever he desires. And it takes snow before there can be snow melt. I chewed on these new thoughts for the rest of the plane ride.  Without the winter season which drops an abundance of snow, there would be no snow melt. There would be no new paths of water carved out in the sides of mountains. There would be no appreciation of the presence of growth. Of newness. Of spring.

“I hear you, God,” I whispered under my breath. “You use the times of winter to make new paths. To change our understanding. And these new paths can only be made as you shine your warm light onto the cold elements of winter. Nothing is impossible for you, and you make paths where there seems to be no way out. If you can control the melting snow, you can bring peace and direction to my out-of-control life.”


Back at Home

Peace isn’t something I can manifest just because I want it. Peace is a fruit of the Spirit. Without deep, meaningful, desperate, and consistent time with God and his Spirit, there will be no fruit. There will be no peace.

So, I am daily reading my Bible and journaling. Listening to praise music and crying through hymns of desperation. Not knowing and having to wait often clouds my view. Everyday normals are becoming stressors. Interactions with people are difficult. And I find the solace of my home and close family/friends more inviting than ever.

I desperately want a peaceful river. And for a season, that might mean saying no to the things that once filled me up and brought me joy. It might mean resting when I am used to pushing. And it might mean reaching out for help when I’ve always been able to do it on my own.

So, I will allow him to do whatever it takes to bring peace to this river while I’m in a season of unknowns and waiting. And I will rest on the promise that he’s already walked ahead of me and is making a new path for the snow melt of my recent winter. He knows. He sees. And is never surprised.



Where can I escape your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there. If I fly on the wings of the dawn and settle down on the western horizon, even there your hand will lead me; your right hand will hold onto me.    Psalms 139:7-10 (CSB)

For more information on Kokrine Hills Bible Camp, please visit

For more on peace, check out this post on Inspire A Fire: In Peace I will Lie Down

© Christy Bass Adams, June 2023, photos taken by Christy Bass Adams or from Canva

Christy Bass Adams

Christy Bass Adams, is the Outreach and Connections Coordinator at Fellowship Baptist Church in Madison, Florida. She is also a writer and had her first devotional book published in summer of 2022 (Big Lessons from Little People) followed by a middle grades novel (Imagination Checkers) in the fall. Her most important role, however, is with her family as a wife of 18 years and mother to two busy boys. She worked in education for over 18 years at both the elementary and collegiate levels. Her favorite pastimes are fishing and sitting around a fire. For more from Christy, visit her blog at

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  1. Well . . . I needed that. As difficult as it is, I’m learning I need to say a few “no’s” as well. Great words of encouragement.

    1. Thanks, Martin. No to good things is very hard, but knowing it means clarity and peace from God is worth it.

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