Home Fellowship: we miss seeing your faces, miss popping popcorn on Thursday nights, miss ladder ball in the yard, miss opening the word with you, and miss praying together.
AGC: we miss driving out to your churches, we miss the drums, we miss the smiling faces, we miss the warm greetings, we miss the matooke!
And so, like Paul, we decided to start writing you letters and posting them here on our blog. We will also continue writing family updates and other thoughts- but we wanted to share this space with you so you know we have not forgotten you!
Today I was reading Psalm 84 and was so encouraged!
"Blessed are those who dwell in Your house;
they will still be praising You.
Blessed is the man whose strength is in You,
whose heart is set on pilgrimage.
As they pass through the Valley of Baca*
they make it a spring, the rain also covers it with pools.
They go from strength to strength...
For the LORD God is a sun and a shield,
The LORD will give grace and. glory;
No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.
O LORD of hosts, blessed is the man who trusts in You!"
Blessed are those who dwell in God's house- they will still be praising You. It doesn't matter where our two feet land when we are in Him. He can take us where He wants us; we will still be praising Him. Can you find a reason to praise Him today right where you are?
Blessed is the one whose strength is in Him- whose heart is set on pilgrimage. I don't have strength enough for this journey. There are days when all I can do is grieve. Most nights I must force myself to stay awake until 8pm. My jet-lagged girls wake at 5am and want my attention. I find the GPS directing me toward a toll road and I have no coins for the toll. It's all too hard; but my strength is in Him. And I must stay the course, keep journeying towards His heart.
As they pass through the valley of weeping they make it a spring... they go from strength to strength. We must pass through the suffering and pain- we cannot go around it, cannot stuff it or ignore it, cannot pretend it doesn't exist. In order to process pain and grief in a healthy way, we must feel it, acknowledge it, ask it what needs to teach us and then we pass through it to the other side. Lament is a vital discipline as we pass through the valley of weeping (read more here). In the process, we become more of who God created us to be, and not less. In My Utmost for His Highest it says:
"Suffering either gives me to myself or it destroys me. You cannot find or receive yourself through success, because you lose your head over pride. And you cannot receive yourself through the monotony of your daily life, because you give in to complaining. The only way to find yourself is in the fires of sorrow... You can always recognize who has been through the fires of sorrow and received himself, and you know that you can go to him in your moment of trouble and find that he has plenty of time for you... if you will receive yourself in the fires of sorrow, God will make you nourishment for other people." -Oswald Chambers
As I pass through the valley of weeping, and allow the pain to transform me into the image of Jesus- I become a source of comfort and encouragement for fellow pilgrims on the journey toward the heart of God.
Blessed is the one who trusts in Him! Oh, friends, He is trustworthy. He is a sun and a shield. He gives grace and glory. He is good. We can trust Him, even when we don't quite understand what He is doing. Keep trusting Him today!
*The Valley of Weeping