TT: Thoughts on Psalm 27

This week I’ve been working really hard on my memorization.  As I lay in bed at night (after I write in my gratitude journal), I use my little flashlight to see the words of this Psalm that I’ve written in my little notebook.  I read each verse over and over and try to “picture” the verse’s message in an attempt to get it firmly planted in my brain.

The first few verses really puzzle me.  Well, not the first one, it’s pretty self-explanatory.

1 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?

A great statement of faith, isn’t it?  And in a generic sense, I am so with it.  Who should we fear if the LORD is our strength?  But then David gets a little more specific.  And I, with my little brain, get confused.

2 When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall.

3 Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident.

Now, The Bull has been reading through the books of I Kings and II Kings at dinner time and let me tell you, the people of Israel went through some really bad, scary things during these years.  Wars. . . Solomon was the only king who did not fight at least one war.  Lots of people died in the wars, and not just the fighting men as entire cities had been destroyed.

Seiges. . . wow!  Several times a city was surrounded by the enemy’s army and the people were literally starving to death, doing horrible things because they were truly hungry and there was no food.

Even in David’s lifetime, people were dying and there were horrible things that happened.  “Devour my flesh” could also be translated “slander me,” and as we know this was something with which David was quite familiar.  As I’m memorizing this passage I am wondering how can he be confident and not fearful??

I am not a fan of the theology that says “if we have faith in God we will never have bad things happen in our life.”  It does not seem to be reality, as bad things happen in everybody’s life, even the LORD’s!  Indeed, these passages seem to be saying something entirely different.  “Even though we have bad things happen in our lives, we can still have faith in God.”

Maybe faith, then, isn’t a solution to the problems of our lives, but a way to endure them?  It’s not the way to a happy, good-times life, but . . . ? (I don’t know what.)

I still do not understand this confidence that David has.  Is he saying that he’s confident he will win the war because he is on the LORD’s side?  Is he saying that he’s confident that the outcome will be “good,” even if he dies in battle or seige?

4 One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.

I absolutely love this verse.  I, too, would love to “gaze upon the beauty of the LORD.”  But I’m not sure that I can agree with asking only “one thing.”  Is this “one thing” enough for our lives? I can think of dozens of things that I am and have been asking the LORD.  Maybe this “one thing” is the most important thing.

The next verse is wonderful too:

5 For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock.

That “day of trouble,” I’m guessing, could be the wars and seiges that David already talked about.  Or any one of the difficulties that he endured.  I’m not sure how one could be hidden “in the shelter of his tabernacle” AND “set . . . high upon a rock” both at the same time.  Under and on?  Maybe it’s a really big tabernacle?  Maybe David meant the foundation or mountain on which the tabernacle was built?

6 Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the Lord.

Despite the bad things in life, David chose to praise the LORD.  This is so hard to do, although I want to.

Today I am thankful for David’s example of how to handle the difficult parts of life.

One last thing.  Can you help out my friend, Debi?  She is donating $1 to pediatric cancer research for every comment left on this post.  It has almost been a year since  Tuesday died from neuroblastoma . . . I imagine that this week is going to be hard(er than usual) for her family and friends.

(Join Lynn this month to share Thankful Thursday postings.)

Oh, almost forgot!!  Be sure to enter my give away and you might just get a box of purples.  :)

TT WWY: Thankfulness and Praise

Today I’m doing a new thing. I have recently found this blog and it is such a blessing.  I’ve decided to link up with these sweet women to share this grief journey, in the hopes that this “putting one foot in front of the other” will get easier over time.  (Because it seems, some days, that’s all I’m doing.  Just keep on going, keep putting one foot in front of the other, and hope to get through the day.)

Today I am thankful that I found this blog and for Kelly who runs it, for her desire to encourage others who are hurting.  And I am thankful for the chance to praise Him no matter the circumstances, which seemed wonderfully appropriate for combining with the Thankful Thursday meme.

Two of the attributes of the LORD that totally amaze me are onmipresence (which is just a big fancy word that says that He is everywhere at the same time) and omniscience (another big fancy word that means that He knows everything.)

A great explanation for omnipresence is found in I Kings 8.  Solomon has just finished building a lovely temple for the LORD.  The previous chapter details all the work that was done on the Temple, the beauty and expense that was put into every carving and column and candlestick.  It had taken years to build.  In verse 27 (NIV) we read of Solomon’s prayer at the temple’s dedication:  “But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built!”

One of my favorite examples of His omniscience is recorded in Daniel 2:22.  Two years ago (although it seems about a million years ago) some friends and I worked through the Daniel study by Beth Moore and this was one of the passages I memorized during that time.  (And promptly forgot, I’m afraid!)  Daniel and the other learned men have just been told that they are to be executed, since the king had had a nasty dream that nobody could tell him.  And he didn’t want just the interpretation. . . he wanted them to tell him the dream also!  It was truly an impossible situation.

So when Daniel received this news, he and his buddies Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah got right to work. . . spending the whole night praying.  And the LORD came through for them and told Daniel the dream and its meaning.  Before Daniel goes to talk with the king, he gives this beautiful little song of praise about the LORD:  “He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him.

For my part. . .

I thank You, LORD, that You have never left me, even in the darkest days of this journey.  I am so glad that You were there when we lost our little Shelomith, even if we couldn’t see or feel You.  I praise You for Your all knowing ways, that You knew what would be happening with my baby long before I did.  It blows me away that You knew me before I was born, and You knew my baby’s story before it ever started.  I don’t understand why we lost him, but I am grateful that You know what comes next all the way until the end of this story.

(Join Lynn this month to share Thankful Thursday postings.)

(Visit Kelly for more information about Walking With You or Sufficient Grace Ministries.)

TT: Emmanuel, God In The Flesh

While it is very likely that Jesus was not born on December 25, we can nonetheless take heart in that he definitely was born.

A line from a hymn is sticking with me today.

“Pleased as man, with man to dwell,
Jesus our Emmanuel.”
(From “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing”)

And while this was not the beginning of God dwelling with us (see John 1:14,) the manger scene nevertheless puts flesh to a difficult-to-understood spiritual reality.

I am thankful today for Emmanuel, “God with us,” who daily accompanies us on this sometimes painful, sometimes joyful journey that we call “life.”

I want to wish you all a merry Christmas and a joyous, happy holiday season.  Thank you for your kind words and support in this past year!  Moosey Love to you all.

Edited to add!  If you have posted with Thankful Thursday for a while, you probably know Denise of Shortybear’s Place.  She is a faithful commenter, she has posted on (I think) every one of my Thankful Thursday postings.  She is in need of prayers right now. . .Her husband had a stroke last night!  Visit her blog for more info.

(Join Laurie this month to share Thankful Thursday postings.)

TT: CLEAN!

Thursday afternoon I got an email.  It was followed by a phone call several hours later, after the children were in bed.  It was good news, thankfully!  We so much needed good news after the sadness earlier in the year.

Months ago, I asked for prayer for Aunt Mel as she had been diagnosed with stage III endometrial cancer.  Every three weeks throughout the summer, she went in for chemotherapy.  October brought radiation.  It was rough going but she did well with the treatments.

On Tuesday she had a CAT scan and a PET scan.  She got the results at her appointment on Thursday morning.

CLEAN!

What an awesome report!  They are fairly confident that there are no cancer cells in her body, although she will need to go back for more testing in 3 months and 6 months.

Today I am thankful for her health, and even for the difficult treatments that brought this about.  For the LORD who has truly been gracious to us in this matter.  Gracious to me, especially.  She is a very special person to me and I am SO thankful to be able to have her around for a little while longer.

I am also thankful that I was able to talk with her for three hours on Thursday night.  It made for a late night but it was a wonderful, encouraging conversation.  And while we talked, I reorganized the pantry and folded newsletters.  (I’m also thankful for that added bonus of productivity during the conversation!)

(Join Laurie this month to share Thankful Thursday postings.)

TT: Waiting For A Blessing

(Friday again. . . I’m trying really hard to get it together. . .maybe next week will be better?)

This week, being that it was Veteran’s Day, a local building materials store had a discount for veterans.  We are in the midst of building an addition on our house and had planned to get a few things.  Except that when The Bull went in to make his purchases, he forgot one little item.

The insulation.

OK that’s actually a big big BIG item.

“Oh well,” we figured.  “There will be another sale sometime, we can wait to purchase it.”  And we promptly forgot about it.

Until he went back in to the store yesterday and found a pile of insulation.  Its outer packaging had been damaged in transit to the store and said insulation was discounted quite a bit.  So we ended up getting it for way less than we would have paid on Wednesday, even with his veteran’s discount.

W O W ! ! !

Isn’t it lovely when it works this way sometimes?  I’m sure you’ve all received that email that tells of the people who were not at the World Trade Center on that horrible morning of September 11, 2001.  These people were held up by life–a broken shoelace, a donut run, a missed bus, a child moving too slowly in getting ready for the day.  And they all were not where they were supposed to be.  And survived . . . because of delays that would drive me up the wall on a typical day.

Personally, I am the type to get really frustrated when my plan doesn’t work.  Because I know the best way to schedule my time, my days, right?  It is so frustrating when (another Wednesday incident!) I get home from the grocery store to find an email about a really good sale that I missed out on.

A day late, a dollar short!

Or three hours late, and $15 dollars short, in the case of the groceries.

I’m learning that I need to let go of my plans.  No matter how much I’ve considered and planned and figured what will be best, there is One who is still in charge.  And He alone knows what is truly best for my life.

And I need to remember that when we miss the big sale, He may have an even bigger blessing in store for us.

A few weeks after we lost Shelomith, I was talking with a friend who had miscarried multiple times.  She told me about one that was especially difficult, wiping away tears.  And yet, she said:  “Had I not miscarried, I would not have my son B.  And I can’t imagine life without him!”

I don’t know what the LORD has planned for us.  Will I ever conceive again?  If I do, will I miscarry again or carry the baby to term?  Or–will I conceive and bear a dozen more children?  There are no guarantees in life, are there?  (Aside from the death and taxes thing, of course.)

And maybe the blessings that come to us from this difficult time have nothing to do with children, and everything to do with walking a little closer to Him.

(Although honestly . . . I do like the idea of having another baby sometime.  :D  )

This has happened for me before.  It was horribly, terribly hard to lose my first husbandAnd yet, if I had not, I would not have moved to Alaska and met the friends that have been so dear to me today.  Including The Bull.  When we were newlyweds and moved from our little cabin in the woods to a different town, we left behind a lot of wonderful people and it was a sad, sad time for us.  And yet, if we had not had this loss, we would not be where we are today, in the midst of caring friends and with the wonderful blessings that we’ve found here.

It’s not theory for me.  Loss is always, always hard.  But there are always bright spots in the grief.  There’s an old expression I remember hearing in middle school:  “When God closes a door, He opens a window.”

So I know that I can keep on holding onto the hope that He allows the hard things in our lives and that He will bring blessings beyond what we could hope or imagine.  (see I Corinthians 2:9, Ephesians 3:20.)

So today, I’m thankful that I’m not in control.  Which makes me cringe to type!  And yet, it’s so true.  I’m thankful that I’m learning to rest in His plans.

(Join Iris this month to share Thankful Thursday postings.)

TT: I Will Never Leave You

(Yes, I know it’s Friday.  Thursday got away from me too quickly.)

Thursday morning I woke up with this song running through my head.

The video is quite a bit heart wrenching in itself, but the chorus just grabs me.

I believe always, always
Our Savior never fails
Even when all hope is gone
God knows our pain and his promise remains
He will be with you always

It reminds me of a verse that I totally love, Hebrews 13:5, “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,   ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’” (NIV)

It utterly amazes me how many different people to whom God has given this promise.

To Jacob:  “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” (Genesis 28:15, NIV)

To Moses:  “The Lord replied, ‘My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.'” (Exodus 33:14, NIV)

To the Israelite people:  “[Moses said,] Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”  (Deuteronomy 31:6, NIV)

To Joshua:  “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”  (Joshua 1:9, NIV)

And I know that this is written many more times than I can dig out right now!

It’s very comforting to me right now, right now.  No matter what might be happening in our lives, HE will never leave ME nor forsake ME.  That’s a big thing on my thankful list today.

(As an update: Aunt Mel had her last radiation treatment this week!!!  YAY!! Please pray for her recovery and for whatever comes next.)

(Another update: Stellan is in Boston with his McMama right now for medical care, possibly another ablation next week.  Please join us in praying for his medical care, and his family.)

(Join Iris this month to share Thankful Thursday postings.)

(This post is sponsored by the punctuation mark, The Parentheses (!)  Always a great pair.)  ;)

TT: With A Little Help From . . .

Last night we had a short time at our church to remember our baby, Shelomith.  I printed a thank-you card with a passage that I memorized back in January with some folks:

“For you created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.  When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body.  All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.  How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you.”  (Psalm 139:13-18, NIV)

Needless to say, this passage has quite a new meaning for me now.

The Bull tried to read this passage last night.  He had a hard time getting through it.  Why not?  He’s only wanted to be a father since he was in high school.  Losing our baby has been really hard on him.

It’s been really hard on me, too.  Miscarriage is not something I ever really thought I would go through.  Although, looking back on it now. . .I knew so many women who had been down this rough road before that I knew who to turn to for advice and support.  Including a friend from elementary school, who I reconnected with just two or three months ago, who miscarried last year.  At 16 weeks.  (Hmmm, divine providence, you think?)

What I didn’t expect was to hear so many other women, some of whom I have known for decades, say that they, too, have miscarried.  Miscarriage is, for some, a painful secret that is not shared for many reasons.

And I also didn’t expect the support and love that has been poured out on our family these past two and a half weeks.

Today I’ve got to say that I am so, so thankful for our friends.  Some have called, some have emailed, some have stopped by to visit.  Friends have brought meals, cookies, pie, birthday cake.  Friends have mailed cards.  Friends have left loving, sweet comments on this blog.  I’ve spent lots of time talking and emailing and it’s been so helpful to know that I can share my heart with these close friends.

Today I am immensely thankful for the friends, near and far, who have made this journey a little bit easier for us.

(Join Lynn this month to share Thankful Thursday postings.)

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