Friday, May 29, 2020

Song of Hope

I'm still pulling stuff out of Hosea 2, so bear with me because I'm getting a lot out of this little passage! I hope you are too. Yesterday we looked at how He brings comfort and provides in the midst of the wilderness. Today, let's look at the next little bit - it's powerful, I'm telling you!

Verse 17 says this: I will give her vineyards from there, and the Valley of Achor as a door of hope. What's interesting is that "Achor" means pain. Caregivers are familiar with pain and loss. It doesn't matter what type of caregiving you do, there are lots of responsibilities that go with taking care of another whole person. There will be losses, good days and bad days, sorrow and joy, self-sacrifice, and pain.

But right there in the Valley of Pain, God provides a door of hope. God always has hope for us on reserve - He never runs out. Even in the longest, darkest night - He provides hope. Sometimes it appears as a small glimmer of light - but it is there even in pain. He is the God of hope - the giver of hope- the sustainer of hope. And He shares it with us.

The next part of this verse stood out to me this morning. And she shall sing there. Wow. We can sing of His love, His care, His strength, and His hope right in the midst of our mess. No matter how hopeful or how dire the circumstances, a song of hope can rise. Why is that? God sees the pain our souls are so familiar with - why a song? Maybe the answer lies in the next couple of verses.

God says He would not be known as master anymore - but as husband. I don't know what that means to you - but to me it speaks of intimacy. He doesn't just want to be our lord - He desires intimacy with us. Exodus 34:14 in the New Living Translation says He is a God who is passionate about a relationship with His people. He just wants to live with us heart-to-heart. Caregiving doesn't change His desire for us. He still loves us and longs for relationship. I love that.

Today, I will rejoice that even in the pains of caregiving, God doesn't distance Himself. He draws closer instead, He still longs for us. My meditations will be on how He desires to be close and intimate with all our ways. I will be thankful that caregiving doesn't scare Him away. I'll take comfort in the fact that He draws closer when others pull away. Will you join me?

Thursday, May 28, 2020

From There...

As I was writing yesterday's post, the story of God showing Hagar the well in the wilderness, another passage familiar to me came to mind. It's found in Hosea. God is chasing Israel and having the prophet act it out in real life. (That's a loose translation of what's going on here.)

In verses 14 and 15 of chapter two, God says, Therefore, behold, I will allure her, will bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfort to her. I will give her her vineyards from there, and the Valley of Achor as a door of hope, she shall sing there....

I love this passage as God is wooing Israel and bringing her to Himself. Note that He brings her to the wilderness, the same place He found Hagar. First, He speaks comfort to her. We all need that, don't we? Especially in our uncertain days with the Coronavirus and all the craziness surrounding it, we need His comfort and peace. Here, He offers it. He does not withhold comfort - He speaks it into her. I trust He does the same thing for us.

The second thing about this passage is God's provision. He says He will give her her vineyards from the wilderness. It says, "from there" so I assume the "there" is the wilderness He brought her to. God was good about bringing and meeting people in the wilderness to talk with them. He brought the Children of Israel out of Egypt unto Himself - He took Ezekiel to the wilderness to talk with him, He met Moses on the backside of the wilderness to call him. Note to self: God did not take her out of the wilderness to provide for her - He gave her her vineyards from there. I love that - He can provide for us in the wilderness of life - period. He doesn't have to wait for the climate to change, He doesn't wait until the stock market recovers - or until we have all of our proverbial ducks in a row. He doesn't wait until we get out of the wilderness. He provides for us right smack dab in the midst of the mess.

Remember that Isaac went to Gerar and famine was in the land. But in the midst of the famine, it says that Isaac sowed in that land (the one suffering a famine) and received in the same year a hundredfold, and the Lord blessed him.... and we could add from there.

I don't know about you - but I find it very comforting that God can touch us right where we are and bless us from there. Don't you?

Today, I will thank Him from my "from there." I'll be grateful that He can see me where I am and doesn't exclude caregivers from any of His promises or provisions due to our situations. I'll take comfort knowing He sees us right where we are and reaches to us right where we are. My meditations will be on His power to see us - and His heart toward us even in the ugly. And I will trust Him for just one more day as I trust Him for provision from here. Will you join me?


Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Seen and Heard

I've talked a lot about Hagar, but I keep going back to her story. In Genesis 16 when she despised Sarah and ran away, god found her. He told her to go back. She called God the God who sees. How wonderful to know we are seen by God. It's comforting to know He does not distance Himself from our day-to-days, isn't it?

Then, in Genesis 22, Sarah and Abraham sent Hagar and her son Ishmael who was about 15 away. Hagar was distraught and thought her son was going to die before her eyes. But then in verse 17, it says God heard the voice of the lad. Then the angel of God called to her from heaven. This God who sees - still sees. He was still watching over her and her son. But He not only sees - He hears!

 Then verse 17 says that God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water in the midst of the wilderness. The God who sees - made her to see a way in the wilderness. What she had thought meant certain death, became a well of life.

How wonderful that God sees and hears. He sees where we are, knows what is going on in our lives up close and personal. But He also hears the cries in our hearts. He hears those cries that are so deep they cannot escape and the ones that escape as a silent cry or sigh. He's that close. Just like He followed Hagar and Ishmael into the wilderness, He has followed us into the caregiving wilderness.

And right here in our wilderness, He will reveal wells of water, wells of life. Somehow He continues to sustain us day after day. He sees -He hears - and He makes us see and hear as we lean in to Him.

Today, I will be thankful that He continues to watch over my heart and keep my soul. I will lean in to His heart today and my meditations will be on how He knows what we need and He always provides. I'll be looking for the water of life today in this wilderness, and I will trust Him to sustain my soul. Will you join me?

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Longing for Morning

I'm still on my journey through the psalms or Songs of Ascents. Today, I'm gleaning from Psalm 130. Honestly, I think I love all the psalms - they are open, raw, and honest. This one starts that way too. The psalmist says, Out of the depths I have cried to You, O Lord. Lord, hear my voice! That sounds a bit like yesterday when we were looking at the dark night of the soul and some of the long nights caregivers often endure.

One thing I like about many of the psalms is that after the prayer, after the complaint and all the crying out - there is a declaration. This psalm is no different. In verse 5,  the Psalmist says, I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I do hope. My loose interpretation is this: I may be calling out to Him for help in a time of desperation, but I still know His word is my hope and I will declare that I am waiting on Him alone.

In the next verse, he goes on to say - My soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning - I'm pretty sure, I've spent a lot of caregiving nights watching for the morning. It can be intense waiting for the light of day. Many of us have driven all night, or been up all night with a sick and leaned into that morning light. It can be a long, hard wait - but always worth it. Now, if I can bring that kind of intense waiting over to my soul and long for Him just as eagerly.

Today, I will declare that my soul waits for Him, and for Him alone. I will turn every ounce of my being toward Him and stretch out my faith to touch Him today. As I wait for Him, I will declare that He is my help, my sustenance, and my hope. And I will hope in Him today as I long for morning in my soul. Will you join me?

Monday, May 25, 2020

Scared of the Moon?

I've never been scared of the moon, have you? This question came to mind as I was reading Psalm 121. Verses 5 and say this The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade at your right hand. the sun shall not strike you by day nor the moon by night. Of course my thoughts ran away with it and I had lots of scenarios run through my mind.

Seriously, I get that He is our shade from the sun. It can be scalding hot especially at full day. But the moon? Really? But as my thoughts wandered around, I thought about how long some nights have been. While midnight doesn't have the heat of the day - it can be the dark night of the soul. The darkness at night can chip away at our peace and our sanity. This is especially true when things are not going smoothly or we are going through an even more difficult time.

Just like God protects our souls from the heat of the noonday sun, He protects our hearts from the thick darkness of the night. It's usually between 2 and 4 when I start to cave. It's dark, I've been up most, if not all, of the night, usually, Chris is sick or uncomfortable. My faith starts to wane and questions multiply. Do You care, God? Do You see this? Can You hear me? Where are Your promises now?

Nor the moon by night. He is so patient as we vent during those times and He doesn't ever cast us aside. He waits. Then with morning light usually comes peace and answers so we can move on. He never even reminds us of all those things we say when the moon is out. He is patient and kind when we are frustrated and heartbroken.

Today, I will meditate on His patience, and I will thank Him. My thoughts will be how He continues to sustain and protect my soul even when I am a mess. I'll remind myself that He remains the same through the heat of the day and the dark of the night. I really can trust Him to keep my soul! I will rest in that thought today - will you join me?

Sunday, May 24, 2020

When Normal is Not Normal

 This morning I was reading through the psalms called the Song of Ascents. These psalms include Psalm 120 through Psalm 134. As I understand them, they were sung as the journey to Zion or Jerusalem was made. They most likely sang them happily as they were excited about returning to the temple and the gathering of the people.

Psalm 133 talks about dwelling together as brethren. David penned that it was pleasant and good to be together. I am sure for the church crowd the next couple of weeks will be like that. As the coronavirus winds down and things return to some sort of normal, people are excitedly returning to their church services.

For the last few months, churches scrambled to have Sunday School, Bible Study, small groups, and services online. I had a slight sense of disappointment when it all started. Why? Because I'd been shut off for so long and none of this was available. But once they needed it - it became the new norm. Now that they won't need it again - things look likely to return back to their normal - and the normal for many caregivers - isolated again.

That normal hasn't worked for many caregivers for a long time, and now it may be the new normal once again. I feel for caregivers who cannot get out. Maybe we should start a Caregiver's Church - all virtual of course. At least we would be isolated together!

Social isolation is a real concern and many caregivers, elderly individuals, and those who are very ill suffer from it every day. That's the norm for too many people. And lately, I've seen more people who are alone even though married, or living in the same house with others. It's sad that we are not more together. However, I can say this - we are not alone. You are not alone. Even though we do not have the luxury of gathering with the brethren in unity and enjoying the pleasantness that provides, God is with us.

As we adjust back to a normal that is still not normal, may we remember that we aren't alone - and we've never been alone. Jesus said He would not ever leave us. He is with us always. My prayer today is for the caregivers and those they care for who are forced into living an isolated life. May we all recall that God is everpresent. He sees. He knows. He cares. (I wonder if He would do a virtual meeting! lol - you know I'm kidding!)

Today, I will keep my focus on the One who never leaves us. My meditations will be on His ever-abiding presence. He won't walk away - He won't abandon us to go back to "normal." I'll be thankful that He is always as near as our breath. I'll take a deep breath now and then to remind myself. I thank Him for being near. Will you join me?

Thursday, May 21, 2020

The Anchor Holds

This morning as I was meditating on Isaiah 26:3, I thought of an old song. It's called The Anchor Holds. One line says, though the ship is battered. Sometimes it can feel like life is a battering ram that keeps coming back to crush us over and over. Thankfully, this is not an everyday thing for most of us, but for some caregivers, it can feel that way.

As caregivers, we can just get tired. You know what I mean? It takes a lot to do everything for a day for two adults.  Dressing, bathing, feeding, entertaining all take energy, especially when it comes to another whole person no matter what their age or size. It can be exhausting.

I was preparing for my live devotions this morning and found my thoughts going around and around Isaiah 26:3. You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You. Because He trusts in You. Underneath all the busy-ness of our minds and bodies there remains a peace we can count on. Even though our minds can chase a lot of thoughts in a day - we always reel it in and bring it back to Him. And that is where we find perfect peace. No matter how stormy it gets - we find our peace in Him. That's been an anchor that has held me securely all my life - and the last 12 years of caregiving too.

I was focusing on verse three, but when I looked it up to actually lay eyes on it, I grabbed the next verse too. Verse four says Trust in the Lord forever, for in Yah, the Lord, is everlasting strength. I'm so glad He is not selfish and shares His strength with us, aren't you?

Today, I will keep trusting Him - it's not the day to give up! My crazy, hurried thoughts I will turn into prayers to the God who sees, to God - who cares. I'll keep bringing my mind back to Him no matter how hectic the day becomes because I trust Him. And I will trust Him - for one more day. Will you join me?

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

The Simplest Things

Yesterday, while I was on my walk around the neighborhood, I saw a field of wildflowers. Their simple beauty caught my attention and I stopped to take a few pictures of them. It was a little spot of beauty in the midst of my troubled thoughts. I enjoyed them.

Sometimes, it's the simplest things that bring us joy, isn't it? Maybe we get to see a grandchild, hug a kid, or talk on the phone with a friend. And sometimes, it's just a little lonely but beautiful flower that says, all is well. It was a gentle flower swaying in the light breeze, but for a moment it lightened my heavy load and gave my eyes something beautiful to see. It directed my mind to something of beauty instead of the thoughts running through.

Think about the shortest, simplest verse in the Bible. Jesus wept. These two words are simple, but they stand out, don't they. In that moment we see that Jesus, the Son of God, was indeed human. He feels. He cries. Even though that is a simple statement, we know that He gets us. He understands our grief, our worries, our hurts. Psalm 78:39 says He remembered they are but flesh. He knows our frailty and how difficult it can be to trust Him in the storm. He gets us.

That's a lot to draw out of such a simple verse, isn't it? The caregiver's life is anything but simple - it's always complex. And just about the time you think things are settling down something will happen to remind you that it's not a passive lifestyle. God's love and care are simple - yet complex enough to meet us right where we are.

Today, I will think about the simple things - like the truth that God loves us right where we are and how we are. My meditation will be on how He understands my heart and knows all those things I do not have the words to express. I'll be thankful that He sees, He loves, and He reaches into our messes to bring us His peace and comfort; because He gets us. I'll thank Him for that - will you join me?

Monday, May 18, 2020

Attitude of Gratitude

In Oklahoma, things are starting to make a move back toward something that vaguely resembles normal. For caregivers, it may not look much different than our "norm" anyway. But it does seem to cause a sense of uneasiness. Things are normal - but they are not. People are getting back out - but it's not the same yet. Churches are opening their doors but some are not. It's an interesting time to be alive with equally interesting things to observe, isn't it?

While things seem to be getting some better in a few ways, it still feels disruptive. Who do we trust for information, if anyone? How do we know it's safe or not safe for ourselves or our loved ones. The continued uncertainty can lead to these and many more questions that don't have simple, easy answers.

As thoughts were racing through my head this morning, I struggled to get a grip on them and tried to slow them down. I read a few verses here and there and then settled in Psalm 100. Enter His gates with thanksgiving in your heart and His courts with praise...I thought about that for a while and then started to think about things I could be thankful for today.

I know I have shelter, food, and clothing for today. My kids and grandkids are here and in good health. I thanked Him for a beautiful morning for a walk and for the strength and breath to do it. From there, it began to blossom outwards as other things I could be thankful for ran through my mind. It really did help my outlook and my attitude even though I know I have a long day ahead.

Today, take a moment or two, or three to thank Him. Start with your breath and beating heart and work out from there. It helps shape your day and your attitude about everything. There is always something to be thankful for - always. Start with the truth that He didn't abandon us in time. He walks through time with us - we are never alone. My meditations today will focus on finding things to thank Him for. Will you join me?

Friday, May 15, 2020

The Calm in the Storm

I live in Oklahoma so storms are nothing new to me. Even today we have a high risk for severe storms. We just watch the weather a lot. lol. I know that if I'm going to get Chris out for his 20 minutes of vitamin D therapy I'll have to do it while the sun is shining and before the storms roll in.

As a child, I had a horrible fear of storms. I think it comes from when I was about 10 our neighbor's house was struck by lightning. I remember watching out the window from our couch in the living room while the firefighters worked to extinguish it. When I was a teen a house on our block had the same thing happen. I ran outside and watched as their house burned to the ground. In both instances, the people were fine. But I think it made me fear storms a bit.

As an adult, I've worked past all those fears. I am cautious, but not afraid during storms. Yesterday I was reading in Mark 4 where the disciples got in a boat to "go to the other side" with Jesus. In the middle of the water, a storm arose and they were frightened. They woke Jesus up and told Him they were all dying and asked if He even cared. Jesus said, "Peace, be still." And then asked them why they had such little faith. Jesus not only calmed the storm - He was the calm in the storm.

He had no fear even though it was raging all around their boat. Sometimes I wish the storms of life were that easy to tame, don't you? Every day of caregiving can be stormy weather no matter how well we've adjusted to our new norm. But just when we are sure we are going to die, Jesus speaks peace. Doesn't He?

Some days it's easier to find that peace - other days it seems to elude me. But He is always in the boat. He doesn't get out and go back to shore, He doesn't abandon when the waves start rocking our boats around. He is patient and gently commands peace. I appreciate that. You see, no matter how frazzled I am, no matter how antsy or anxious I become - He can calm the storms of my heart with a simple word. Sometimes, His presence is all it takes.

Today, I will meditate on the peace Jesus gives me. Even though my soul feels storm-tossed, I will focus on the underlying peace and the sense of security I have because I know He's in the boat with me. My prayer will be to experience His peace today - for me and for you.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Non Essential

This pandemic hasn't been easy on anyone no matter where you stand on the issue. It's difficult for those on the front lines, without a doubt. It's hard for those who are working, those out of work and those hanging in between in uncertainty. At first, I was a bit amused that so many were having to learn about the social isolation many of us as caregivers are accustomed to. the world responded and it was nice to have access for a brief time to so many Bible studies, teachings, and classes all online. We could finally be a part, right?

But then it seemed to me as if we got pushed further to the back if that was possible. I have to admit I was a little offended but got over it quickly. We've been isolated for years and many of the churches haven't offered an online presence until they needed it. I admit I felt slighted a bit. I translated that as we were not worth the effort. I'm sure no one meant it that way at all - but that's how I interpreted it. And then when we did meet the talk was all about how fast they could get back to their "normal" with no regard for those of us who won't be able to transition back. I felt discarded.

Then, I'm trying to buy common supplies. You know the stuff we need every single month and will continue to need forever once the pandemic has run its course. I needed adult wipes and gloves and they were nowhere to be found. Oh yeah, I'm non-essential. Now I am not minimizing the need of those on the front lines - I do understand that. But I literally cannot find gloves or order them online. This deepened the sense that I am disposable and unimportant in the scheme of things.

My emotions were collapsing and I was being sucked down into the vacuum of despair as if I no longer existed. I struggled with thoughts like I am not important and no one cares. Loneliness swept over my soul until I could not breathe or feel anymore. I honestly hope you don't understand.

Then I thought about David when he came back to Ziklag. He was in that sort of despair. He was battle-worn (can we relate?), he was tired (relate?), then he suffers the loss of his wives and children who have been taken captive, the town has been burned to the ground and to add to his despair - his fellow soldiers blame him for the whole thing. He had to suffer that deep lonely feeling we understand too well.

But David didn't wallow in it like I do. (insert smile) After the men wept until they could weep no more (NLT), it says he encouraged himself in the Lord. Then he prayed. I wonder how he encouraged himself. Did he sing a psalm he wrote? Did he think back to the ways God had blessed him in the past? I wish I had more details. But I know where I can start.

First, I will find something to be grateful for and I'll thank God for as many things tangible and intangible that I can think of. I'll start with grace, His love, and salvation and build out from there. While I already feel better, I will continue to build on that foundation. Then, I will praise God because my lowly circumstances do not change Him one iota. Not one thing shifted in His kingdom when the bottom fell out of my world. I'll put my focus on the things about God that do not change. That will be my praise and my meditation today. Will you join me?

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Not Okay

One thing I enjoy about reading the psalms is the open transparency of the writers. They just lay it all out there - no matter what it is they are thinking or feeling. They have lots of questions for God and they are not afraid to ask them.

I was raised in a time that forbid us to ask our questions. We were supposed to just muddle ahead no matter what we thought. Questions were taboo - especially if the preacher didn't have an answer to thinks that didn't make sense. Well you know what? Life just doesn't always make sense, does it?

I am sure it didn't make sense to Moses to bring the children of Israel out of Egypt and run smack dab into the Red Sea! I'm sure it didn't make sense to Joseph to have dreams given by God in his youth only to end up as a slave for all those years. Things do not always make sense to us because we cannot see past our present circumstances.

I was reading in Psalm 34 this morning about God's deliverance. The psalmist says many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers them out of them all.  My honest thought was, "He has not delivered me." You know? I kept thinking when Chris first had his wreck that God was going to come riding through on His white horse and whisk us away in a sea of healing and restoration. Well, obviously that isn't going to happen. I wonder if Joseph ever wondered about God's deliverance all those years. He couldn't have written a better script himself, huh?

So then, I had to turn to Psalm 77. Asaph is the psalmist this time and he's sharing his not okays with the reader. He goes so far to say, I'm so distressed even to pray! He is mourning his past and feels like God has rejected. In verse 7, Asaph says, Has the Lord rejected me forever? Will He never be kind to me? ...Have His promises permanently failed? The faith-ers don't like those questions. Because they have no answers to them. But they are real and they are heartfelt.

But down in verse 11 Asaph gives himself the answer. He says even if I'm not seeing God move now - even if I'm not seeing Him bring the deliverance I wanted - I will recall all you have done. So, even if we cannot see God working right here, right now. We can encourage ourselves with those things we have seen Him do in the past.

Today, I will make a list of the ways He has delivered me in the past. I'll thank Him for those known healings. For those times He has provided direction, wisdom, and guidance through the Holy Spirit. I'll meditate on the things I have seen Him do before today - before I became "not okay." These will be my meditation and I will remind myself of all His mighty works. Then, I'll rest in Him and trust Him with just today. Will you join me?


Friday, May 8, 2020

Square One

Life has a way of humbling us, doesn't it? Just about the time we start getting things together, it can all fall apart. For me, it's usually a long sleepiness night or two or three in a row that kicks me in the gut. It's in those midnight hours that I cry out to God and honestly wonder where He went and if He even hears. My thoughts go so far as to wonder if He hears does He care?

I consider myself a mature Christian, I write Bible study guides and devotionals for crying out loud. But when I am up all night with Chris struggling to breathe and I've used all the asthma medications and strategies I have - it wears on the soul. That's what it is that takes me back to square one. What is it for you?

Maybe it's those moments when your mom no longer remembers who you are. Or you finally get to FaceTime with her and she won't even wake up enough to say "hi." (That happened to me yesterday.) No one ever said caregiving would be easy. If they did, it's safe to call them a liar. lol. But it certainly strains every one of my faith muscles.

But it's always short-lived no matter how gut-wrenching the midnight hours become. I do a live devotion on Facebook each morning and I opened my Bible to prepare for it after listening to Chris cough most of the night last night. My Bible fell open to Psalm 62 and my eyes landed on verse 5. My soul wait silently for God alone, For my expectation is from Him. My soul nodded in agreement.

I continue to read on through verse eight where the psalmist says pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge or us. I'm reminded that it's okay to tell God exactly what you think and how you feel. It's not like it surprises Him anyway. And there He was once again - meeting me at square one.

When I feel totally faithless - He shows up. He doesn't wait for me to get my faith filled back up to a religiously-appropriate level. He meets me right where I am the weakest and reminds me that He is still my rock. He is still my hope. He is still my refuge. I can trust Him.

Today, I will be thankful that He patiently meets me at square one when I find myself there. He does not throw judgment my way- instead, He just reminds me that He is there too. He is so faith-full.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

That's Mine

This morning I was reading through Philippians. There were actually several things that stood out to me. I'll try not to unload them all here today. Lol. I read Paul's heartfelt prayers for the Philippian Christians and the way he encouraged them to stand in their faith.

As I read Pual's encouraging words I kept thinking this thought over and over. That's still for me! In the first chapter, Paul explains that God,  who had started a good work in them - would complete it. We can claim that. It's still ours and becoming a caregiver or a caregiver doesn't change it a bit! He's still working in us. Our situation doesn't dictate to God - He dictates to our situation.

Later in chapter one, the apostle encourages the new believers to continue striving for the gospel. That still applies. We see people online and off who still need to hear that God loves them and that He longs for a relationship with them. We are still carriers of the good news. Our circumstances are not strong enough to erase the message of love He has toward us and all mankind.

In chapter 2, Paul speaks to the Christian community in Philippi and says It is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. He's still working in us! He still takes pleasure in our growth as we learn to trust Him more. Our present standing in this world is not strong enough or bad enough to take away His works in our lives. He continues to work toward revealing His glory in and through us.

Today, I encourage you to read Philippians again - with new eyes and with a heart that continues to say That's mine - and that's mine too! God has not changed His mind about you! He has not changed His will about you. He didn't give up when life got ugly. He didn't say "never mind" when we got confused. His love is still toward us and He longs to fellowship with our hearts. I will make a moment today to be quiet before Him and acknowledge that He is still on the throne of my heart - and I'll be thankful He didn't move out when the road got rocky! Will you join me?

Monday, May 4, 2020

In the Wilderness




me and chris
In preparation for a session I'm doing tomorrow, I studied one of my favorite psalms this morning. You know what's so cool? The word of God is alive  - it never changes but always reached into whatever state we are and brings new life. I've read Psalm 29 thousands of times. I've taught from it. But here I am looking at it with new eyes. We change - the word doesn't. But it miraculously reaches into our situations time and time again to bring new insights for us. 

So in verse 8, David says the voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness. I am the first to say that it doesn't sound pleasant. It sounds a bit scary really. But there are two significant things that will help change our perspectives. The first thing I want to think about is the term wilderness. Before I started hiking I assumed a wilderness was a dry, barren desert region. This is absolutely not so. Living in Lousiana gave me access to the Kistachie Wilderness area. As I drove there the first time I wondered how it would all turn to desert. What I found was a mountainous region beaming with plants and animals of all kinds. It wasn't barren at all - just undeveloped and mostly untouched by man. 

As caregivers, we can feel like we are in a desert area - no life, no water. Or we may feel we are in a wilderness with life all around us but people are missing. It's a lonely place, the wilderness. But there is life there. There are water and food available. It's rugged and rough but we can keep moving through it. It's not a pleasant place - but we survive day after day.

Now let's look at the word "shake." It may seem like it has a negative connotation to it. But when you look it up in the original, it can mean to bring to birth. Wait. We're talking about the wilderness  - dry and deserted. A lonely place it is. We can't do much but survive - and survive we do! When God shakes our wilderness, it brings forth life. That's right - smack dab in the middle of the most difficult seasons of our lives - He brings birth. 

Today, I will wait for Him to birth life in the seemingly dead areas of my life. I'll wait for His breath to breathe life into my tired soul. Isn't that amazing? He is the author of life - and He'll share it with me to make sure I survive the wildernesses of life. I'm going to watch for His touch today and see how He brings life into my situations. I'll trust Him for breath today. Will you join me?