The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
I don’t usually start my blogs with a scripture. But today and this year I have felt this verse over and over.
Honestly with as painful as this year has been, it is quite a beautiful thing to actual feel and identify with scripture. I have grown up in church my whole life. I thought I was saved the majority of my life but that was not so. I only believe I have been truly saved for 6 or 7 years. But thats a story for another day.
But suffice it to say I was oversaturated with Scripture. I heard the magic key verses a million times to the point that they were something to wrap bad things up in a nice package and cover them with scripture and dispose. It should fix all the problems, now dust your hands off and lets move on to something new.
So of course Psalms 23 was one of those verses. It may be one of those verses you learn as soon as you can comprehend something.
But this year this verse has really come alive to me. Right now I feel as though this year has been the Valley of the shadow of death. Its dark, I am deep in the valley, I have moments of fear and its only God guiding me through that I don’t give up or give in to the fear wholeheartedly. The darkness has shifted many times this year in different ways it hasn’t stayed the same. Fear for my family, fear for my marriage, fear over my children, of others thoughts, of my being enough for anyone. But no matter what form the darkness was it has lingered and hovered over us most of the year.
I don’t like the struggles we are walking through. They are painful. But also it is proving to be beautiful too. God is there. I would rather be in a better time of life with God but at least God is the constant. Good times – God, Bad times – God. He is showing me that no matter what, God is what I want most. He is the only good thing in this life worth having. And honestly if thats the one thing that has been true and the lesson I learned this year, it was worth it. Its good to be brought to nothing to realize God is everything and the only thing worth holding on to despite what life might take from you.
Lately He is really trying to reiterate to me to weed through all the things thrown at me and see that things aren’t horrible. I have a husband who is loving and healthy and provides for us well and works crazy hard. I have 5 beautiful children who are healthy and wonderful. We were blessed to have the 5th one recently and he is truly a miracle and a blessing to me. We have a running car and a house. We eat three meals a day. We are blessed beyond measure.
I can sit there and tear things down, complaining that kids don’t do their chores, or they misbehave, I could complain that I am tired after 5 months of not sleeping as much as I need because of nursing a baby at night. I could say our van is getting to the end of its life, I could even tell you that a family of 7 are busting out of our tiny house. I did just tell you that. But as these thoughts to bite at my brain and try to cause frustration and aggravation and unhappiness God has been working in me through all the hardships to take what I have and remember it is all a gift. Its my sinful humanity that wants to find fault in any situation, and believe me I am super awesome at finding fault in anything. But I am thankful for a good and loving father who will not allow me to stay that way.
Yes my kids misbehave and they aren’t the best at chores, but they are human just like me. They are funny interesting people that God uses daily to teach me lessons. They love me and that is beautiful.
Yes, I am a tired mom, having a baby at 37 is a lot different from having a baby in your 20’s but despite the tiredness this baby is so full of smiles and joy and gurgles and sunshine! He has been a saving grace to our family in this year of darkness. And a little sleep loss is not the worst thing in the world. I am beyond thankful to get to experience this age again at my older age because I can appreciate it so much more, especially with a teenager in the house.
Our van may be at the end of its life but its still running and I trust God will provide as needed when it decides to kick the bucket. We are busting out of the seams in our home that we love dearly. 4 kids sleeping in one room is a bit much (don’t get me started on the messiness of that room) and since we homeschool it does make people a bit crazy to live in such close quarters, theres not really any escaping each other. But we have a lovely home in a beautiful neighborhood. We live in a pretty tightknit community where the neighbors really actually know each other and thats a blessing. My kids have next door neighbor friends. And besides our neighborhood God is teaching us how to get along living so closely together in our family. I don’t think things will stay the same forever despite that they might feel that way at the moment. They never do. I do know in my heart God is teaching us something in this and though it can be frustrating I want to embrace this lesson and time even so.
God is working on me. He reminds me daily to live life to the fullest despite all the tiny ankle biting problems that want to build into a mountain. Just yesterday I realized I had been so full of anxiety the first 4 months of my sons life. We had nursing problems, it had been 7 years since I had a baby and had forgotten so much. I was sure I was failing him in feeding, I was failing him because I couldn’t get him to nap, he was never going to sleep through the night, and in all those things I was failing my family as well because I couldn’t do all the things I once could like homeschooling efficiently, helping with chores, spending time with my kids and cooking. I was also very cranky. And my poor husband had to deal with this crying anxiety laden lady often. Now 5 months have hit and all of a sudden the baby is napping and mostly sleeping through the night and I am starting to homeschool more and life is starting to finally have a rhythm and its wonderful. I look back and see all my anxiety was for no reason, I just needed to trust that with work and patience life will get back to normal and to savor my time and try to see what God might be teaching me through the difficulties. Trust God!
I serve the God of the universe and He calls me His daughter. I don’t deserve that magnitude of blessing, but He bestows it on me anyway. I will only through His help not squander my time on frustrations, I will perservere through His grace and mercy and strength and seize the day. I want to be used by God and live the life He created me for. I have to meditate on Him every moment not to let lifes irritations drown me. That is what He wants anyway for me to commune with and meditate on Him. He is my savior!
After this painful year of our church shutting its doors, and Viam Crucis going the way of the Cross quite literally. Our lives too have gone the way of the cross. Everything has died, life as we knew it is not the same all the way from friendships to places we took comfort. God has stripped us of all comfort.
I hope in this verse for next year.
Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. John 12:24
This year I am pretty sure we died in every way.
I am praying next year starts over with a spark of hope and a new life is born.
I pray he restores my and my family’s soul. He prepares a table before us, He thankfully leads us down paths of righteousness, He protects us! Surely goodness and Mercy will follow us all the days of our lives and I have assurance I will live in the House of the Lord forever! Thats beautiful. There is hope in this grey and hopeless world.