Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you." Philippians 4:4-9
Thursday, July 16, 2009
I spent the afternoon yesterday out on the lake in the boat. It was pretty close to perfect. The dark blue mountains provided a beautiful backdrop for clear water and a bald eagle that swooped overhead.
The serenity was only slightly interrupted by my 14-year-old sister and her friends discussing the latest gossip about Zac Efron, the use of pre-wrap in your hair to hold back your bangs, and the fact that moisturizing chapstick with 15 SPF is much more protective in the sun than lip gloss. No kidding. :-)
Nevertheless, I was seriously refreshed. God's been teaching me a hard lesson in letting go of control, and yesterday it came almost easily. And as I sat there on the boat, I started to think about all of the things in life that bring refreshment to me right now...without consciously choosing to do so, I started to dwell on the things that I'm thankful for...and the list was long.
One of the greatest blessings in my life right now is my family. Along with my awesome husband, I am continually influenced by parents (all 4!) who love God and listen to His voice. I also have brothers and sisters who, I know, are carrying our pain with us and for us and lifting us to the Lord in prayer when we don't know how. Our family is an incredible channel of God's grace, and their constant encouragement is a source of refreshment like no other.
And, if that were not enough, God has surrounded Shaun and I with a church family who truly grieves with us and intercedes on our behalf. I still get cards and notes daily from brothers and sisters in Christ who empathize fully because they have experienced loss in their own lives. And, even though our losses are often different, they are still losses. There is great comradery in suffering. Knowing that we are not alone is, in a very significant way, a source of renewal.
I also have many women who have chosen to enter into my pain and love me in the ugly emotional state I'm in with a fierce love. Sometimes in the middle of the night, when I am overcome with sorrow, I ask God to wake someone ...anyone...up to pray for me. I, almost inevitably, get a text message or a call or a note in the morning from one of those women to tell me that they were praying for me through the night. I read a quote in a book this week that said if you walk closely with wisdom, it will eventually wear off. I certainly hope so. I am definitely surrounded by godly wisdom. You, ladies, speak truth to me when I need it, spill tear upon tear of love for me and my little boy, read Scripture to me when you don't have the words yourselves, and remind me of God's promises. You have nurtured my soul more than you will ever know. I will never be able to thank you enough.
But, as I sat on the boat, I realized that the ultimate source of refreshment right now (and always) is the time that I've been privileged to spend in God's Word. I'd love to say that I've come to Scripture over and over in the past two months out of habit or because I thought it would be a great idea...more often than not, I've opened my Bible out of sheer desperation...I need God to give me something to hang on to because I'm crumbling. But He does! Psalm 19 says that God's words are perfect, "reviving the soul." His Word has been a little CPR at times for my failing spirit! And I want to encourage you that if you've never opened a Bible, or it's been a few weeks, months, years...today would be a great day to do so. There is joy, unspeakable joy, in the presence of God! And when our eyes are focused on Him and His truth, we become thankful people, just as He intended, and we are shielded by His peace. Streams of refreshment in the desert.
"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.