Friday, January 31, 2014

Loud and clear.

Yesterday was a long, hard day. By the end of it, I was exhausted, in a lot of pain, and very discouraged. My body doesn't have a history of enjoying the last 8 weeks of pregnancy. It is challenging to discipline yourself to take one day at a time (sometimes it's better to take just an hour at a time) and not look too far ahead. Yesterday I made the mistake of wondering out loud how I was going to make it through the next 6-8 weeks, with the level of pain I was feeling (hardly able to walk or get off the couch, many contractions, tired from broken nights of uncomfortable sleep, Etc). I had a good cry, made an ice pack, took a hot bath, and had a few bites of froyo before heading to bed. 

This morning I woke up with the same discomfort as yesterday. At 4am. I decided to just start the day and took a shower. And here I sit, at the table with my Bible study, reading about the way God led the Israelites through the wilderness. This message was written for me, today. 

God is Jehovah Jireh - our provider. He gave the Israelites His presence in the form of a cloud to direct the people and to protect them from their enemies. 

Exodus 14:19-20...
"But Moses said to the people, "Don't be afraid. Stand firm and see the Lord's salvation. He will provide for you today; for the Egyptians you see today, you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you must be quiet."

Other translations have the last part of those verses as saying "you need only to be still." 

Ok. So here I am, trying to fight my own battles. Discouraged by the ways I feel stuck. This winter (in combination with bedrest) is starting to feel like a very real wilderness, trapping the kids and I inside of the house with no signs of spring or the hope that February won't drag on. All I want to do (in all honesty) is fast forward the next 4 weeks and find myself in March. I love those days that seem to fly by in moments of productivity and activity and all the fun, sweet memories that are made at the same time. But those days for me ground to a halt 2 weeks ago, and now I'm forced to accept a slower pace, a more intense awareness of just how many minutes are in an hour, and how many hours there really are in the day. It's a little crazy-making. 

And yet this morning, God is saying to me "Know that I'm The Lord your God, Ashley! I will fight for you. I will protect you and provide for you. All you need to do is be still."

I have a hard time in general being still. I chose stillness for the better part of the last year when I woke early to spend an hour or two with God in the quietest part of my day. But the rest of the hours in those days were FULL! and FAST! and DEMANDING! And most of them flew by. Now I feel as if The Lord has a firm hand on my shoulder, pushing me down. If I won't learn this lesson on my own, He will use other means to accomplish His will in my life. He will use the natural parts of my life - being a mother, carrying a child - to refine me. He will use contractions and pain and discouragement to get my attention, break down the harder parts of my heart, and open my eyes to the fearfully wonderful things He has yet for me to learn about Him. Who He is. What He's done for the people He loves. A better way of living this life He has given me to live. 

I need only to be still. 

The purpose of being still, according to Psalm 46:10? To know that He is God. 

The next verses my study references are Psalm 139:1-6... And it talks about how The Lord hems me in, behind and before, just like The Lord provided for the Israelites as they wandered in the desert. "What a precious glimpse at the tender heart of the Father, who went beyond His children's need for direction and protection to fill their emotional need for a perpetual light in the dark of night." (Beth Moore)

These are the very same verses I have penned on the small chalkboard in our foyer, written last summer. Hemmed in, indeed. I could not feel more surrounded by Him this morning, and what a humbling position that is for this undeserving daughter. 

Ok, Lord. Not my will but Yours. I'm surrendering today, and the next 2 months in particular, to you. Have your way; it's higher than mine. And give me the grace to accept it and find joy in the submission. 

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