Wednesday, April 15, 2009
The Pressure's On: Chapter Four
Micca's words are in red
I absolutely loved the section about God's body guards Goodness and Mercy!
I have spent some time in the 23rd Psalm recently. The Psalms are such a wonderful place to go when facing a trial. Whether that trial was brought on by your own sin, or circumstances beyond your control we find much mercy and grace amongst these beautiful verses of praise and lament.
The 23rd Psalm is probably the most famous of the Psalms. It speaks of God's infinite care of us. I loved the visual of Goodness and Mercy as body guards following me. All the days of my life even! Wonderful promise! No matter where I go(dark valley), no matter whoever else may be after me (the enemy) no matter my sin (pride, selfishness, self pity) They (Goodness and Mercy) will be there!
"When you're barely holding on, when you can't handle one more day of stress, when you can't parent those kids another minute, when you're about to blow - relying on God's Goodness and Mercy to show up will pacify your anxieties."
I can attest to that fact because there have been many, many days in my life recently when I have felt like I couldn't make it another day, when I barely had the energy or will to even get out of bed let alone care for my family. On those days time and time again I felt God's goodness. Sometimes in the form of a phone call and loving encouragement from a sister in Christ or a pretty card in the mail from a coworker at my old job. God's mercy came to my son through His word in a jail cell, it lifted him up and in doing so lifted me as well.
In the section about contentment I learned that a lack of contentment does not always have to do with things or possessions. I have all I need physically, a nice home, plenty of food, my health, I could go on and on. Yet emotionally, my family is in crisis. My oldest son is in jail facing a possible prison term. My three other children are bewildered in the wake of his drug addiction and crimes. Two of the three have written him letters and have forgiven him. The third is not speaking of it at all. The enemy has had his way with the oldest and in turn it has affected all of us. We are all scarred by recent events.
I had dreamt that at this time in our lives we would be enjoying an adult relationship with the oldest two. The oldest I assumed, would be graduated from college by now, his sister on her way to graduation. I was looking forward to spending more time with the younger two boys as their siblings were making their way in the world.
"You're not where you planned or hoped to be, and you certainly don't like it"
No, I don't like it one little bit!
"You don't have to like it, but if you will choose to thank God for His provisions regardless of your feelings toward them, you'll experience the same contentment Paul encountered.
This is true! Unfortunately I can't say it is true for me every day but I can say I am finding contentment more and more.
Ironically my son who is in jail has found himself very thankful for where he is. After his court hearing last week he shared with me a conversation he had with several of his cell mates. Whenever someone comes back from court the conversation is always filled with speculation about possible sentencing. There have been several who seem to think he will not get any prison time at all. I have encouraged him not to spend too much time dwelling there but to give it up to God that his will would be done. For we know that not one thing is outside of His sovereign control. Brett shared with his cell mates that he is happy that he was caught for he realizes that if not for his arrest he would most certainly be strung out on heroin today. He went on to talk about the truth that he had walked away from God before he ever tried drugs. As awful as his life has been, he has learned to praise God for it because through it he is once again walking with Him.
This truth rolls right into the next section "God Has Gone Ahead of You". What a wonderful testimony of how God impressed upon Micca's father to purchase life insurance.
Something I have shared before here on my blog bears sharing again now. God went ahead of me by denying our home equity loan. I was so disappointed at the time. I was looking forward to fixing up my dream home. Of course I had no way of knowing what the future held for me. Had we gotten the loan we would not have been able to refinance our mortgage. It was the refinance that has allowed me to quit my job. The money saved along with a timely raise for my husband equalled the amount I made with my part time job.
I'm sure if I had to work God would have equipped me to walk that path. That being said, I am so blessed that I have been able to spend this time here at home. The boys are in school and both have athletics afterwards so I have a lot of time during the day to be in bible study and prayer. I am here when they are here, I am able to take them where they need to go. One son has been open to talk about his brother. I am thankful for the opportunities we have had to talk about it. The other is a harder nut to crack, but I am praying for him and I have faith that God will bring healing in His time.
At first when my sister heard from my mom that I quit my job she was worried that I would fall into a pit and never get out. She thought I needed to stay busy, to keep my mind off of our circumstances. Maybe for some people that may have been the best course of action but for me I needed to be here, to be on my knees, at times on my face before God.
"God is aware of your needs and ready and willing to provide...."
Micca wraps up this chapter by encouraging us that "Regardless of the road you travel - Lonely Lane, Brokenhearted Boulevard, or Poverty Parkway - Goodness and Mercy will follow after you." Yes friends they will, Even a road littered with the evils of drugs. Goodness and Mercy have followed me on this road. They have held me up at times and shielded me from the snares left by the enemy. I could have easily fallen victim to the snare of judgement and condemnation of my son's girlfriend for she enabled him for a long time. Yet Mercy would not allow me to and God's Goodness has encouraged me to love her and pray for her.
I am hopeful for the future, my son is seeking God daily. I am able to visit him twice a week and we talk on the phone quite often. Knowing that Goodness and Mercy are following us is what enables us to find peace and contentment in this hard place that neither of us want to be.