Through the last months, sweet, encouraging, God-sent friends sent me words, to eat, to swallow whole – to not just sustain me, but to build my courage, to cheer me on, to lift me up when I stumbled, to give me strength. I have feasted on them – every where in the daily: savored, gulped, swallowed whole, in pieces, snacked, breakfasted, lunched:
“Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10)
I worked at being still – really, really still – inside and out – from my brain, to my heart, to my soul – to my fingers and toes. I still am.
“The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still” ( Exodus 14:14)
It’s been a hard lesson, this being still: hands off, thoughts off – opening my soul eyes to Shaddai fighting for me. Trusting, believing that He was fighting my battles – and believing meant being still and letting Him take to the battle field while He set me in the shade.
You’re my servant, serving on my side. I’ve picked you. I haven’t dropped you.’ Don’t panic. I’m with you. There’s no need to fear for I’m your God. I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you (Isaiah 41:10, The Message)
Sometimes in the midst of the challenge – whether it’s a parenting challenge, a friendship or relationship challenge, a life challenge, or a challenge that strikes at the core of who you are – sometimes in the midst of the challenge, no matter how many people love and encourage, isolation and loneliness become like hungry foxes in the door of the hen-house – when the hens can feel the breath of those hungry foxes. The hens don’t understand the man standing at the door, gun in hand will protect them.With no ability to reason, they lose themselves in their fear. God, though, gave us, you and me, the ability to reason – to see Him stepping in the way of the challenge.
The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing (Zephaniah 3:17)
He gave us the ability for faith and hope – so that at our lowest, His rejoicing over each of us with gladness – real, intentional, personal, heart-to-heart gladness. Our friends and family can’t mean it like He does – can they! That He would sing to me, like I would sing to my boys, to quiet me as I quieted them in a tough moment – to quiet me, to help me be still in the confidence of who I am to Him – to quiet me, soothe me to stillness. I have need to learn to let Him still me with His love.
“You’re the God who sees me!” (Genesis 16:13a)
He sees me – He knows the truth – even when the world doesn’t – even when our children don’t see us, sometimes even our friends and family, or the people in the daily – because, you know, sometimes the world cannot see beyond their own “relative truth,” prejudices and pre-conceived notions to see who you really are. After all, my boys cannot see me beyond, “Mom,” and sometimes a mom cannot see her children beyond who they were in the nest – but God sees the truth of me, the all of me, even the parts I cannot see of myself.
“Courage, dear heart” (C.S. Lewis), a friend messaged. Everyone needs a friend who messages C.S. Lewis quotes. I just wanted to say, thank you, friends – you know who you are. Sometimes we need friends who send chicken dishes and eggplant parmesan or chicken soup and Mac-N-Cheese – but more often than not, we all need friends who send a feast of God’s word.
Tonight, I was walking my golden retriever, Sadie. We walked for a mile. There were stars, cirrus clouds in the black sky – a shadow in some shrubs provoking a growl from the usually quiet Sadie, a frog hopping. I was looking up, singing a quiet, “Holy, Holy – you are Lord God almighty. Worthy is the Lamb. Worthy is the Lamb. You are Holy.” Maybe it was really more a whispering-kind of singing – but I felt a breeze blow about ,cooling me, comforting – and I felt a burden lifted. I’m not sure what burden it was – but this God of Angel Armies He doesn’t want me carrying that burden – and He doesn’t want you carrying burdens like that either.
In the south, hospitality says when someone brings you a dish, you need to send it back filled up. Eat up, friends! Eat up and be filled!