Posted in Perspective, Thoughts, Thoughts from Life, Thoughts from Scripture

My Dwelling Place

Consciousness slowly began to invade my dreams as the morning dawned. Daytime was simply a reminder. A reminder of all of the uncertainty and chaos surrounding my family. But my first thought was not worry. It was not uncertainty. It was not even a list of all of the things I needed to do today, including adjusting my work schedule to compensate for being off schedule this week. No, the first thought that pounded my brain was this:

The LORD is my dwelling place.

You see, the biggest concern on my mind right now is where my family will live as of the first week of June.

For nearly five years, we’ve been blessed with an amazingly wonderful parsonage in a delightful rural town. We have planted fruit trees in the yard and grape vines along the back fence. We have room to spread out – and room to line the walls with bookshelves.

But God is moving us. He worked out every detail flawlessly, guiding us with perfect direction every step of the way. Even though the decision was exceedingly hard emotionally, it was very clear. And we’ve been incredibly supported both by our current church family and our brand new one.

The only thing that has not been clear is the housing solution. There are things we crave – permanence; moving only once; space for our children; a place for the cats (for the kids’ sake…).

But this morning, none of those things invaded my thoughts first. Instead, I was given a Scripture-based reminder.

I’ll confess, I can’t find that exact phrasing in the Bible, but I sure can find support for it. My first thoughts go to Psalm 91, a beautiful song of refuge.

But ultimately, two things occur to me related to this early-morning thought:

  • The Word of God is alive and powerful. Oh, my dear friend, never ever forget that! How we must immerse ourselves in it! How we must know it well! Even the passages not intentionally committed to memory must be viewed and reviewed over and over again until they are so familiar that the Spirit can bring them to mind. But the memorization doesn’t hurt either!

    Scripture is the number one way our Lord, Savior, Father, Master, Creator, Sustainer, Helper, Healer, Comforter…(I could go on and on) communicates with us. Everything we need is right there. And even in those moments when our consciousness is not active, His Word is. It speaks to us. It pours into us. And it gives us just what we need in that moment, if we will listen.

  • The Lord is all we need. Yes, yes, I know that my family still needs physical shelter just a couple of weeks from now. And, we are continually praying that God guides our search and our decision-making process, bringing us to a satisfactory conclusion very soon.

    Ultimately, though, whatever our need – whatever our search – the Lord is the answer. Period. Not a specific house or any other specific provision. Just Him. He is my shelter. My dwelling place. My provision.

Do I want an end to our current uncertainty? Yes. Without question. Do I have specific desires related to how the housing problem gets solved? Definitely! I know what I long to have for my family!

But can I trust the Lord even in the uncertainty? Without a doubt.

There will be hard days, just as there already have been. There will be more days when I cry out in frustration and discouragement because nothing seems to be working out. There will be days when I wonder if I’m just not listening well, thinking that’s why God seems to be silent.

But ultimately I can trust Him. And I will trust Him. And once He gives His answer, I can look back on this day and know that He awakened me this morning with His Word on my heart and His promises on my tongue.

The LORD is my dwelling place.

Posted in Perspective

God’s Sunday Reminders

As the thunder rolls with great power this morning, I think only these words truly describe what is running through my mind…

Oh Lord my God

When I in awesome wonder

Consider all the worlds Thy hands have made

I see the stars

I hear the rolling thunder

Thy power throughout the universe displayed

Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee

How great Thou art!

How great Thou art!

Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee

How great Thou art!

How great Thou art!

Posted in Perspective, Thoughts from Life

Standards

Last weekend I was working on a printing project. Part of it involved trimming some unwanted white edging from around the edges of pictures. So, I sat comfortably on the couch with the pictures in my lap, trimming away the excess.

I worked on the project off and on for a couple of days, including Sunday afternoon. I had changed out of my church dress into a cool white skirt. So, there I sat on the couch holding the pictures in my white lap, trimming off the white when the inevitable happened. I looked beside me at my stack of supposedly trimmed pictures only to notice that several of them still had white edges! I picked one of them up to trim it, but suddenly couldn’t see the white anymore. It disappeared against the white of my skirt, immediately clarifying how I’d missed the offensive edge in the first place. I changed tactics and held the pictures against the background of untrimmed pages and easily discarded the unwanted white.

It’s amazing what a change of perspective does. I thought my pictures were good, but when I held them against the colored background of the couch instead of my skirt, I immediately saw they were nowhere near good. They were still flawed. They still needed work.

The same is true of lives. It is so easy to hold ourselves up to the wrong standards. I do it frequently. I compare my spiritual growth to that of others. I compare my parenting, my actions as a wife in general and a pastor’s wife specifically, my housekeeping, my cooking, my schedule, my homeschooling, my writing, and so on and so forth.

It’s such a simple idea, really, that is brought again and again to my attention: it’s all about perspective. In fact, I now have a blog category devoted entirely to the idea of perspective. And yet, I so easily forget.

Who are you comparing yourself to today? Once you have that answer, ask yourself this one: Who should you be comparing yourself to today?

Holding my pictures up against the white background of my skirt hid an unacceptable flaw and made the pictures seem perfect. But, they weren’t. Holding our own actions up to the standards of one another can leave us feeling completely inadequate or beautifully successful. And both can be total lies.

When we hold ourselves up to the brilliant perfection of God, we will always fail to measure up. Always. But, when we are reminded that we are already made perfect in Christ, suddenly our whole perspective changes. We are once again reminded of the awesome price paid for our perfection, and we hunger to live out the righteousness that God already sees in us. Suddenly, our decisions are not made based on how someone else would do it. Suddenly, our adjustments of behavior aren’t brought on by guilt trips or the craving to keep up with the Joneses. Instead, every action taken is done in the delight of living Christ’s righteousness.

May we hold ourselves up against the standard of Christ and nothing else.