Tuesday, June 15, 2010

THIS is the day...

This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24

It is so good to be at the Doric in Winona Lake and visiting with the girls here. Last night Joy and I stayed up late in her room just talking. We ranged from doctrine and theology to gin and tonic. A good portion of our conversation, and several of the wonderful girl conversations I've had here, had to do with what we want to do with our lives, what we struggle with, a desire for sharing life with a specific someone, not wanting to be alone, frustrations that come with all of this.

I've been thinking lately about not wanting to be alone. Yet last night after talks of guys, and marriage, and kids, and careers, my gin/tonic/cran juice was wearing off and I wasn't sleepy anymore, though it was late so Joy pulled out this children's book of kooky lullabies and sang to me.

"Go to sleep, my zoodle,
my flibbety-fitsy foo.
Go to sleep, sweet noodle.
It's time to say, "Ah-choo.

The chickens in the bathtub,
the closet full of sheep,
the sneakers in the freezer
are all drifting off to sleep..."

As Joy sang this delightful nonsense from her bed to mine I was full of the happiness of THAT moment in time, not just that minute, or this day, but this season. This 'now'. I remembered that one day we probably will be wives and mothers and life will be very different. We may keep in touch but there probably won't be across the country sleepovers, drop everything travels, the same kind of questions and possibilities for what's next. This time will be missed and so should not be missed out on the first time around.

That isn't to say that the next season won't be beautiful, because I believe it will be, in a different way. It isn't to say that this season is full of all freedom and the hoped for future all constraint and burden. Each is beautiful in it's own time (Eccl 3:11) and each has different costs, responsibilities and delights. I believe it's okay to have desires for the next season, to look forward to it and I even think that talking about and desiring those things is part of the season now. As long as the desire for what's ahead doesn't steal from what's present.

"Life is the messy bits" says Vanessa Redgrave's character in 'Letters to Juliet'

THIS is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Hallelujah for the Psalms!

Thank the Lord for the Psalms! Today I started on 'The Search for Significance' workbook in my quiet times. 'The Search for Significance' is a great book that helps you identify the lies we so often believe about ourselves and learn to replace them with the truth of God's Word. It's awesome and has helped me a great deal in renewing my mind and beginning to know my worth is founded in Christ not my performance or others approval. I'm looking forward to going deeper into the teachings and this morning part of beginning the workbook was to reread the first chapter which is about honesty with ourselves and God.

The author of the book, Robert S. McGee shared how he used to get caught in the belief that as Christians we 'should exude an attitude of happiness and contentment in all things'. This meant he brushed away hurtful situations that 'didn't matter' and wasn't honest about them. Really they did matter, even if they were small. Small things left unchecked can often become big things. A friend helped him start becoming more honest with himself and God. "Realizing I was hurt because my idea was rejected has enabled me to be honest with the Lord about my feelings and begin working through them."

What I love most about this chapter though, and what I wanted to share here, was what Mr. McGee shares about the Psalms.

"...the Scriptures tell us that God does not want us to be superficial- in our relationship with Him, with others, or in our own lives. David wrote, 'Surely You desire truth in the inner parts; You teach me wisdom in the inmost place.' Psalm 51:6
The Lord desires truth and honesty at the deepest level, and wants us to experience His love, forgiveness and power in all areas of our lives.

The Psalms give us tremendous insight about what it means to be honest with the Lord. David and other psalmists wrote and spoke honestly about the full range of their responses to situations. For example, David expressed his anger with the Lord because he felt abandoned by Him:

I say to God my Rock, "Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?

Ps 42:9-10

At times David was very angry with others, and expressed that anger to the Lord in terms that reveal the depth of his feelings:

Break the teeth in their mouths, O God; tear out, O Lord, the fangs of the lions!
Let them vanish like water that flows away; when they draw the bow, let their arrows be blunted
Like a slug melting away as it moves along, like a stillborn child, may they not see the sun.
Before your pots can feel the heat of thorns-whether they be green or dry- the wicked will be swept away.

Ps 58:6-9

David wrote of his despair about difficult situations:

My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death assail me.
Fear and trembling have beset me; horror has overwhelmed me.

Ps 55:4-5

And he communicated his despair to the Lord:

Why do you hide your face and forget our misery and oppression?
We are brought down to the dust; our bodies cling to the ground.

Ps44:24-25

Sometimes he was confused:

How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart?

Ps 13:1-2

Sometimes, David communicated his love for the Lord:

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for You, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?

Ps 42:1-2

At times David trusted in the Lord:

The Lord is my light and my salvation- whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life- of whom shall I be afraid?
When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall.
Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident.

Ps 27:1-3

At other times, he was filled with praise for God:

I will exalt You, my God the King; I will praise Your name for ever and ever.
Every day I will praise You and extol Your name for ever and ever.
Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; His greatness no one can fathom.

Ps 145:1-3

These passages demonstrate that God, who spoke of David as a man after His own heart, wants us to be open and honest with Him about all of our emotions, not just the pleasant ones.
Experiencing (God's) love does not mean that all of our thoughts, emotions, and behvaiours will be pleasant and pure. It means that we can be real, feeling pain and joy, love and anger, confidence and confusion."

So today I'm thankful for such a range of emotions, thoughts, humanness shown in the Psalms and reminding me that it is not just okay, but desirable to be honest with my heavenly Father.
I hope that this is a blessing to you as well. May your day be filled with His love and grace and may you be honest with our great God who already knows where you're at.