I have recently become acutely aware that at some point in my walk through the valley, while slogging along, dragging my feet from one sludge pot to the next, all the while looking up from whence cometh my help, I had come to a grinding halt. Not only had I ceased moving forward, it became painfully clear that I have built a little shack with walls of discouragement, a roof of despondence, all held together with self-pity. I even planted seeds of hope, only to find I was lacking the focus to water them properly with faith. Oh, I had managed to slog past anxiety and fear thinking they were the biggest, darkest trees in this valley, but had come to a screeching halt in the mud bog of doubt. I have become aware that I am stagnant in my fight to get out of this valley. I must admit, I have been wallowing. Wallowing with intent to press in, but wallowing none the less.
I finally had enough of myself and took a little walk to my prayer closet and threw a little hissy fit at God. Funny thing is I felt like God was saying "It's about time you release this junk to me. I wish you would've given it to me weeks ago. Are you ready to walk in freedom again?"
Oh how the freedom immediately washes over us when we lay the things that hinder down at the cross. We weren't meant to shoulder burdens that were already paid for. We were called to confess them, be forgiven, and abide in his perfect rest. Sometimes the loving discipline of the rod and staff are truly a welcomed comfort.
Psalm 23 we can probably all recite it. These last two weeks I have really been meditating on this chapter. One thing that has brought me comfort that I haven't noticed before is verse two.
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want: He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He is purposing to give us rest. It doesn't say he encourages us to lie down in green pastures, it says he makes us lie down in green pastures and he leads me beside still waters. and He restores my soul. He is the one acting on my behalf, I am simply the receiver. He is so good to his children.
Tuesday, a 9 month old baby girl named Reese, had a brain surgery to remove what they thought to be two tumors. Once into the surgery, they discovered it was one big one wrapped around her brain and brain stem. They said the surgery was successful but little Reese will have to stay in Seattle at Children's for an intensive 6 months of chemo. The family is from Bellingham. Let's join in continued prayer for recovery and strength for the little one, and endurance and peace for the mom and dad. The are believers so are leaning on the Lord for their strength.
Another little punkin, 18 month old Ella, from my church is recovering tonight from an emergency procedure in her throat. After days of an unexplained fever, they discovered a 3 inch abscess in her throat. She is recovering at Children's as well. Pray for strength and peace for mom and especially dad. He is really having a hard time watching this.
A friend of Mark's, Chris, is in the hospital and they thought it was an appendicitis but it isn't. Lord please give the doctors wisdom as the observe him looking for the problem. Allow it to be something that can be quickly remedied.
Our church sent a team of 6 to help out after the storms ravaged Joplin Missouri. They left to head back home today. Pray for continued safety for this trip. Give them renewed energy and allow them some rest and relaxation as they make a stop at Mount Rushmore. Then give them safe travels back to Blaine.
Mark continues to practice his perseverance while waiting on the Lord for a job. This has been a trying time of waiting and learning to press in and stay pressed in. We are greeted with yet another opportunity to practice this as we realized that he gets his potential last unemployment check next week. He may qualify for an extension but we won't know till it runs out. Lord, meet him where he is. Heal the places that are hurting that only you can see. Overwhelm his heart with the presence of your Holy Spirit so that he has no other choice than to praise you.
We have four expectant mothers in our church and another friend is expecting. Pray for continued health for mom and all these precious little lives. Lord we ask for safe deliveries of healthy babies and quick recovery times for all these mommies.
I would love prayer for strength and endurance as well as health. I think my body is in a perpetual state of responding to stress that I am continually trying to suppress. Right now it is showing up in my stomach as ulcers and cramping in my colon. Lovely!
Theresa and Roy are moving into a home that the Lord provided for them. The situation has been in his hands and they are feeling peace about this next step. I would pray they would continue to rest in the Lord's blessing.
While our family asks for your prayers we also have so much to praise God for. We are a year into this unemployment season and God has been so faithful and abundantly provided for our family. We have lacked nothing. Some months got tight but it has only allowed us to trust him more. We were even blessed with the opportunity to go to Spokane for a very special wedding and then drive down to Boise for the next few days. This much needed break allowed us to see a lot of family, some that we haven't seen for a long time. It was a great time for the kids to see cousins and re-connect.
Of the four expectant mothers in our church, the first one has safely given birth to a little boy earlier today. Thank you Lord Jesus for little Charlie.
The Lord is my Shepard 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. Your 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 forever.