"He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name's sake."
God has blessed me so greatly in these past few weeks with a season of restoration, rest, and renewal. While life has continued on at full swing, my soul has found rest in Him. It's been one of those dry seasons for a long time... the kind where I seek my own way, rely on my own strength, and feel bitterness toward those who are full of living water and light. But God has been pursuing me all the way, showing me His mercy and tenderness. I have seen His goodness in so many ways - through encouraging friends, miraculous events, His word, and the church. I know that apart from Him I am tired, run down, confused, and hurt. But as I have opened my heart to Him again, I have found joy, peace, understanding, energy, and meaning.
Some things I have learned in the valley...
1. Shame leads to isolation. In my prideful sin, I hide so I am not exposed by the light. As I have sought fellowship and intimacy with others, God has convicted me and encouraged me so greatly!
2. Doing nothing leads to backsliding. I have failed to develop habits that deepen my relationship with God. Satan has used distraction to keep me from growing, and I need to recognize when that is happening. If you're reading this - please ask me if I've established a steady "quiet time". I need some accountability here. My goal is to start small, with one hour on Sunday mornings.
3. I need to start living my faith. When faith becomes just ritual and habit, it is meaningless. True religion is to serve the widows and orphans in their distress. Lord, help me to give and serve and bear fruit for you!
I love the end of Ps. 23:3... "for His name's sake." When God gives me rest, restoration, and growth in righteousness, it is not just so that I can be a better person. It is ultimately so that His name will be honored and lifted high!
And in the midst of this personal "change of seasons," I have been so heartbroken and touched by the devestation in Haiti. I believe that God is sovereign over this disaster, and pray that He will work mighty miracles for His name's sake! Please pray for the Baptist Haiti Mission, which has one of just a few functioning hospitals. Their doctors have been working non-stop since the earthquake, and they are so dependent on incoming planes for supplies. Please pray continually for them to have the energy and supplies they need - and for many lives to be saved (physically and spiritually!). Here is one post from their Twitter: "the FAITH of Haiti Christians singing praises as they search for survivors is an inspiration and lesson to Christians everywhere." Praise Jehovah Jireh for upholding and giving joy to his children in Haiti. May many be saved by their testimony!