meditate

Be Still My Soul

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“There may also be times when…we respond in trust and worship and still feel grief. We may still feel intense sorrow. This process of following the structure of the laments is not a magical incantation that erases all our emotions. It’s not a step by step list to follow that will take away our problems. But it is a journey that draws us closer to God….[The joy of the Lord] can co-mingle with other emotions. It can co-exist side by side with other feelings and circumstances like sorrow and fear. Even when life is at its hardest, gospel joy is still there. It is always present, like an anchor in the storms of life.”- Christina Fox, A Heart Set Free.

Does this resonate with you? As I grow in my faith, and in awareness of the heaviness of a world groaning for redemption, the intermingling of worship and sorrow in Scripture is a deep comfort to me.

It’s a painful process to release our earthly hopes, to knock our idols down, to live in the wilderness.

Sometimes it feels natural to find refuge in God. Sometimes we don’t like His answers. It’s hard to wait for the dawn, to plead for healing, to seek reconciliation, to shed our sins, to long for justice, to be changed, to find hope in the eternal.

“Knowing Jesus gives us hope, but it doesn’t take away the pain. It isn’t meant to. The pain is actually God-ordained to produce things in us that would not be able to be produced any other way. Knowing Jesus is meant to give us reasons to rejoice alongside the pain. They walk hand-in-hand, one doesn’t cancel the other out.”

“When such sorrow ends in trust, we find a cornerstone upon which we can build the remaining days of our lives–and we can know (finally) that this cornerstone cannot be shaken.”

Praise God that NOTHING can separate us from his love (Romans 8)!

“Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
2 Corinthians 12: 8-9

“This is my comfort in affliction,
that your promise gives me life…
It is good for me that I was afflicted,
that I might learn your statues…
for you have been my help,
and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.
My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me.”
Psalm 119:50,71, 63:7

“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
–C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

“For then do we make room for Christ’s grace, when in true humility of mind, we feel and confess our own weakness. The valleys are watered with rain to make them fruitful, while in the mean time, the high summits of the lofty mountains remain dry. Let that man, therefore, become a valley, who is desirous to receive the heavenly rain of God’s spiritual grace.”
–John Calvin, on Second Corinthians

“Come to me all who are weary and heaven laden, and I will give you rest.”
Matthew 11:28

“Be still, my soul; the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord,
When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul; when change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.”

A little more…

Click HERE for a playlist of songs I’ve been gathering bit by bit with these thoughts in mind, reminders to wrestle for hope and to worship on tough days.

Faithful preaching in First Peter on “Faith Refined by Grief.”

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monthly review

Our First Month in Kansas

JUNE:

We packed up and left my late grandparent’s home, where I was living with the boys during Derek’s basic training. We’re going to miss that sprawling farmhouse and country life.

Derek drove the truck, and I drove the van with the boys. The boys were great travelers (the DVD player in our new van definitely helped!) and we stopped in Illinois for the night, and arrived in Manhattan, KS late the next day.

We moved into an apartment near Fort Riley, and unloaded the truck. Boxes everywhere!

JULY:

Derek had a four day weekend for the holiday, which helped us get most everything unpacked.

We visited our new church, Manhattan Presbyterian. This was a huge answer to prayer and we are so thankful to have a wonderful community to join. We’ve enjoyed worshiping each week, slowly getting involved, and the fellowship in people’s homes and outside of Sunday morning service.

On the Fourth of July we watched the local parade, ate BBQ, took the boys to see Despicable Me 3, and watched fireworks from our bedroom window.

On July 10th, we celebrated Theo’s second birthday! As you can tell from the video, he loves to be Batman, and wears this cape almost all day, everyday. He’s obsessed.

The views of the Flint Hills are beautiful, and video can’t really do it justice. This month has been hot, usually hitting 100 every day, but we’re hopefully going to see it start to cool down.

We’ve played at a fun splash pad, ate fries at 5 Guys Burgers more than once, opened up birthday packages that made the boys’ day, visited the library, found a little produce market to get our summer tomato fix, and snuck a couple playground visits in between the heat. While Kansas doesn’t feel quite like home yet, I know when the time comes that we’ll be sad to leave it.

celebrations, theodore matthew

Theodore’s Second Birthday

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the birthday boy opening a card from Papa Gregor and Grandma Kelly (his mouth is blue from a lollipop he got at the apartment office)

Theo’s birthday snuck up on us this year, since we have been busy moving and packing in the last couple weeks.

We kept things simple, and Jude suggested that Chick-fil-a would be fun. So when Derek got home from work we drove 20 min to Chick-fil-a (a new luxury for us) and let the boys play “aliens” in the playscape with other kids, until they were sweaty and out of breath enough to sit and eat their meal. Well, Jude anyways. Theo was content to take a break a lot sooner, and he ate a lot more than Jude. He’s a less distracted eater, and while Jude eats just enough to get by, Theo enjoys the experience for itself.

We stopped at Walmart for a cake, which pained my homecooked soul a little, but the boys were so excited to pick a cake out. We talked Jude down from “the best cake for Feo,” and went for the 8 inch round cake over the giant Batman sheet cake. After we brought it home, we cleaned up a little Batman action figure to put on top, and circled him with candles. Theo loved it and they’ve been eating cake since Monday, a little at a time.

Here’s the funny part: Theo is a creature of habit. He likes routine, and protocol. Once we do things a certain way, that’s the way it should be done and needs to be repeated. When Michigan spring turned from 50 degrees to 80 degrees in one week, he was so mad at me that I wouldn’t let him wear his flannel hat, and heavy coat in the stroller anymore. That just wasn’t the way we did things! He’s adjusted to sunglasses and sandals now and will probably have another fit with the heavy coat comes out again.

The morning after his birthday, at 6 am, he woke me up crying for “Batman.” I thought he meant watching a movie or something, and said no. He lead me to the fridge and pointed to the cake. So I got the cake out and gave him a slice (it’s his birthday cake after all). He still wasn’t happy, repeating “Batman, batman,” until he found the little figurine on the counter and brought it over for me to put on the cake. Ahh….that’s it! So we’re good, right? Nope. Total commitment to repetition means we had to find candles, light them, and sing happy birthday again before we could enjoy a slice. That’s the only way this particular cake could be properly served! I honestly think it was about the routine he had in his mind, and not so much about the special attention. Either way, he enjoyed it and it made me laugh to be standing in the kitchen at 6 am in my pajamas, just the two of us, singing happy birthday to him again. He wanted the same thing the next day, but two times of lighting candles was plenty, haha.

​Happy Birthday, sweet little boy! You add so much joy to our family!