There's been this aching in my chest and this tension in my shoulders for the past several weeks. This year thus far has been a challenging one for our family and it seems now that no one is exempt from difficulties and uncertainty and fear of the unknown as we navigate a pandemic and all of the facets of quarantine.
When my focus is on all of the unfamiliar that lies ahead of us, on the sheer vastness of what lies ahead of us and the sheer lack that I have, on my inadequacy and incompetence, it is as if I am drowning. My gaze has wavered...
The Lord is my shepherd.
I have what I need.
I feel out of control as I am sinking and I desperately want to control something. I am grasping at everything and anything in order to feel capable, enough. My head and my heart know better, but I almost cannot stop myself from spiraling, from spinning and toiling...
He lets me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters.
Still everything seems unmanageable and I wonder why. I wonder HOW. How is the cry of my heart as the things around me that used to be my firm foundation have now crumbled and I am stripped bare, vulnerable and exposed without the things of this world to run and hide in. There's not much that FEELS good right now and I wonder how in the world my troubled, restless and aching heart could be a part of the plan, how any GOOD could come from all this turmoil..
He renews my life;
he leads me along the right paths
for his name's sake.
But still, this doesn't make any sense! Everything is falling apart. I feel like I can't see, can't breathe, can't sense You here. My shoulders are throbbing from the weight of it all and my heart is crushed and as much as I want YOU, to hear my cries and to not delay a moment longer, to pull me from this desolate pit, from the muck and the mire, I feel scared and alone as the darkness creeps nearer and...
Even when I go through the darkest valley,
I fear no danger,
for you are with me;
you rod and your staff- they comfort me.
This wrestling with my present circumstances through this psalm, I'm realizing now as I type well into the night... the Lord has woven this into a remembrance of the His goodness and faithfulness. You see, the things that have my heart overwhelmed in this season are not the things that have poured out of me tonight. The feelings are similar, this season very much a wilderness.. but what has happened is that God has recounted for me, called to my mind, a season of unspeakable grief and sorrow, of paralyzing fear and anguish.
And doesn't that seem backwards? To call to mind a time when your world crashed around you while your life is crashing down around you in a new, different sort of way? A couple of years ago, life as I knew it ended. There was suddenly a great divide: life before the accident and life after the accident. I felt like I was suffocating, like I couldn't press on one more day, hour, moment.. Yes, every bit of it hurt worse than anything I had experienced before; yes, it is true that there was a long stretch of doubt and unbelief..
But that's not all. That is certainly not the end. In fact, it was only the beginning.
While I can lay out all of the devastation of that season, I can also recount every bit of beauty that came forth from those ashes.
When I was rocked by the unexpected, I found that my God was not caught unaware. I found that my God had gone before me, grounding me deep in His Word, preparing my heart for the battle that was ahead.
When my heart and flesh failed, when I felt I couldn't go on, my God sustained me.
When I felt alone and unseen, my God opened my eyes to see how many ways He had been pursuing me.
When my heart was hardened and when all of the ugliness was pulled out into the open, His mercy covered me.
When my shame weighed heavy, His grace was weightier still.
When I was sure there was no way, HE made a way.
As backwards as it seems, this sort of bone-deep remembrance is exactly what our hearts need. When we can't see a way out, we remember all the times before that we stood in this exact place of disorientation and watched as Jesus made a way where we thought there was none.
Sweet friend, one of the greatest things you can do with your brokenness, with all your confusion and questions, is to remember. Right where you are, sister. Speak His goodness and faithfulness over your weary and burdened heart and let His rest wash over you. Declare His goodness and faithfulness over your circumstances. He was good and He was faithful then; He certainly is right now. Speak it right back to Him.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows
Only goodness and faithful love
will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD
as long as I live.
written by: Olivia Caldwell
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