Tuesday's...a 13 part series.
"Finding Peace in Psalm 23"
Link up with your revelations to this beautiful, peace filled passage of Scripture.
Please feel free to grab the button on the side to add to your blog.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

His eye is on the sparrow

It's been a while since I have been here in this space. As I have been taking some time to focus on things that are extremely important, I have not forgotten all of you! I thank each of you for your kind words of encouragement and love and for all of your prayers. It means the world to me that so many of you that I do not know in "real" life yet have become a real support in my life! Thank you!!

As I have taken time away, I have found that it is important to keep writing and with the encouragement of my sweet friend Barbie, I have found that in journaling. I have always been one to write things down...taking notes and put to paper what God has placed on my heart but Barbie has taken it one step further by added colour to her thoughts! She found that inspiration from a new blogger to me...and I love this expression of faith. 

These are the words that splashed the pages of my journal Saturday morning:
"It's a dark cloudy morning...looks like rain and yet the birds sing. They sing happily, joyfully...they sing their praises. They seem oblivious to the storm that is brewing. I want to sing like the birds and yet I feel more like the clouds...dark, heavy, ready to let loose the water that hides inside. Yet behind the clouds is the sun. It tries to push through and eventually it will. The sun will shine. The sun does shine. The Son does Shine."
 "I, Jesus...am the bright morning star" Revelation 22:6

After I wrote this, I went outside and watched the storm come in. Anyone who knows me well enough, knows I am not one for storms but I was intrigued by the birds. As the storm came in, I noticed the birds disappear...they took refuge, found a place of comfort and security...a place of protection and reprieve from the storm. As the sky grew darker and the earth shook with claps of thunder, the sky brightened by flashes of light, those birds were nowhere to be seen but as the storm moved on, before the rain had completely quit, those same birds came back out. They started singing again, right where they had left off. The enjoyed the light rain and the earth full of bounty! They were thankful for this shower...a shower of blessing!

Isn't it like that though? Isn't this exactly how we should be in life's storms...taking refuge...finding a place of comfort and security...a place of protection and reprieve? Isn't that exactly what He offers...so when the storm lightens, we can come out singing songs of praise for the storm...for the showers of blessing. Midst the storm it is sometimes hard to find that place of thankfulness, however it is in these times that we can find comfort  in Him and when we look back we can see it as a shower of blessing! He is the only one that can take a test and make it testimony! 

I watched the birds a while longer and as the storm turned about face and came back, the birds retreated again. They found their safe place...there shelter in the storm. They don't stay out in the storm alone and in the way of danger. Life is like that...it is full of ups and downs, storms will come...but God is always there to offer that shelter...that safe place. He doesn't expect us to stand out in the midst of the storm, alone and unprotected...He offers shelter...a safe place.

I will admit, I have not always gone to Him in the midst of this storm. I have found myself on days struggling on my own with the rain pouring down on me, the earth shaking beneath me and lightning bolts that feel as if the are taking aim right at me...but the birds on this Saturday morning have reminded that I do not have to go it alone. I do not have to stand in the rain unprotected. I have a safe place...right in His arms!

He protects each of those birds and He will protect me!

"Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father's care. And even the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." Matthew 10:29-31

( original source )
ps. i am not sure at this point how often i will post...so for now "Finding Peace in Psalm 23" is still on hold. thank you again for your continued prayers!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

taking some time

( source )
I am not really sure how long I will be gone. I need some time...to focus, to think, to re-evaluate, to realign priorities, to pray and to heal. My family needs me, my marriage needs me, my husband needs me...and I need all of them! The last 4 parts of Psalm 23 will be on hold until my return. I hope you will all come back and finish up the series with me then. Thank you for all of your prayers! Be back as soon as I can!

Friday, June 15, 2012


"So, here’s the skinny: every Friday for over a year hundreds of people join a kind of writing flash mob...For five minutes flat. No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation. Unscripted. Unedited. Real. All on the same prompt...Write and see what comes out. There’s no right or wrong." ~Gypsy Mama
( source )
sometimes the path is not well lit

sometimes it seems dark, lonely and even frightening

sometimes you can't see the end

the distance is unknown

the obstacles unsure

how long, how deep, how  much farther?

...how much pain...

...how much sadness...

unanswered questions, unresolved feelings

thoughts overwhelm

time drags on

tears burn...so do words

it's a path that must be taken

a path that will lead to healing

a path that is hard

but a path that will strengthen

...i am not alone...

this path can't be taken alone

He is with me...guiding me...leading me

His word...my lamp...my light

in His hands...my path

in His hands...my healing

clinging to that truth

Thursday, June 14, 2012

comfort in the "tools of the trade"

A Simple Princess
After sharing a bit of my valley, I still wanted to share with you, the information that I had gathered regarding the rod and staff! I have found it quite interesting and hope you will as well. I love how the tools of a shepherd correlate with the tools of The Shepherd! So, here we go!
4b. Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
Before we discuss the shepherd's tools of the trade and how they provide comfort, lets dissect the word comfort, just one of many true attributes of our LORD.

dictionary meaning
  1. to soothe, console, or reassure; bring cheer to
  2. to make physically comfortable
  3. to aid, support or encourage
( source )
thesaurus meaning
  1. assist
  2. calm
  3. confirm
  4. console
  5. ease
  6. encourage
  7. help
  8. nourish
  9. quiet fear
  10. reassure
  11. refresh
  12. revive
  13. soothe
  14. strengthen
  15. support
  16. uphold

The full meaning of the word comfort encompass all of the verses we have examined so far. Verse one speaks of physical comfort as well as spiritual needs being met. Verse two offers assistance and nourishment as well as calming of our body, mind and soul. In verse three we experience refreshment, revival, help and support and the beginning of verse four provides confirmation and reassurance that we do not go it alone, quieting our fears. This journey is guided by our Shepherd who is armed with the specific instruments required for safe travel...the rod and the staff.

The Rod

The Hebrew word for rod is SEBET, which leans to the idea of a stick. This stick would have been chosen by the shepherd himself just as he was starting out in his career. It was picked from a tree and carved, forming it perfectly to fit his hand, creating an extension to his right arm. The shepherd would then practice throwing it for many hours a day perfecting his speed and his accuracy. This instrument stood as a symbol of his strength, power and authority and would be used for three main purposes.
  1. The rod was used to defend against predators. The shepherd use the rod to drive off attacking animals as well as beat at the bush deterring snakes and such. This protection was necessary for the survival of the sheep.
  2. The rod also served as a means of counting and examining the sheep. As the sheep passed under the outstretched rod, the shepherd would not only count each of them but also open their fleece and then use his hands to examine them. The shepherd would check the cleanliness of the wool and for parasites, skin irritations, lesions or any signs of trouble. This intimate detail ensures the health of the sheep.
  3. The rod was used for discipline. When the sheep would stray away, the shepherd would whip his rod across the field sending the sheep scurrying back to the flock.
All of these actions of protection, examination and correction were done out of compassion for his sheep.
( source )
Our Shepherd is compassionate and protects us from our enemy. He will give us the strength to overcome temptations. We, like the sheep may “look” healthy but we can not pull the wool over our Makers eyes. He can see our lesions and parasites and He asks us to confess these sins, not to hide them. He cares about our health...spiritually, mentally and physically. His rod, symbolic of His Word is also used to discipline us...teaching, rebuking, correcting and training us so we will be equipped. He is filled with love and compassion for us, just as the shepherd to his sheep.

The Staff
The Hebrew word for “staff” is MISHENA, which gives the concept of “something to lean on”, “support” or “trust”. Not only is this an instrument that the shepherd himself can lean on, like a walking stick but it is also the tool that the sheep can rely on. Like the rod, the staff has three main purposes.
  1. The staff is used to draw sheep together into intimate relationship. In the crook of the staff, the shepherd will gently pick up a newborn and return it to it's mother being careful not to injure the little one as well as making sure that there is no other scent on the babe as the mother may then reject her own offspring.
  2. The staff is used to bring sheep in close for observation. Regardless of the age of the sheep, the shepherd would reach out and catch one of the sheep to check them. Some sheep tend to be timid and with the staff the shepherd would be able to scoop up one that may be a distance away from him. He would then carefully examine them to make sure they were clean and healthy.
  3. The staff was used for guiding the sheep along the path. Sometimes the sheep would sway off the path and need to be guided back in the right direction or the path may split and the shepherd would reach out his staff and gently direct the sheep as to which road to take.
( source )
In each of these accounts, the Shepherd's compassion and concern for the sheep is evident.
Our Shepherd also desires this intimate relationship with us drawing us close to Him. The staff represents His Holy Spirit, calling us to a heart check as well as guiding us in the right direction.

The rod and the staff comfort me...The Word and the Holy Spirit, they comfort me! 

"Holy Spirit rain down...let your power fall, let your voice be heard, come and change our hearts, as we stand on your word, Holy Spirit rain down!

This is my heart cry as I continue to work towards healing and allowing my LORD to guide me, lead me, carry me from the valley, learning lessons as He uses His rod to protect me, correct me and discipline me and His staff as He draws me near, calls me to a heart check and continues to guide me on the right path! Thank you Lord for loving me enough to comfort me through your Word and your Holy Spirit! 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Can you find comfort in the rod and staff?

A Simple PrincessI had a complete post all ready to go a few weeks ago for this portion of Psalm 23(which I will still post later this week because the information is truly amazing and extremely informative). It went through the definition of comfort and explained in detail the shepherds "tools of the trade" and how they apply to us...His sheep! The all-inclusive list went through how the shepherd picks and uses his tools...the staff to guide, observe and draw his sheep near to him and the rod to defend, count and examine and also to discipline. 

So, I ask...can you find comfort in the "tools of the trade"?
4b. Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
I mentioned last week that I was in the midst of my own dark valley, however I did not share any details. It is a difficult thing to air out your dirty laundry...especially when it seems to come out of know where and you aren't really sure of how you even got there. I knew my hubby was stressed and I also knew we seemed to be a little distant...I thought it was his new job. I mean, it makes sense that with a promotion comes more work load and more stress. That was not the case! The reality is that it is home life that has stressed my hubby out....I have stressed my hubby out! I am still not completely comfortable sharing much more than this, mostly because I am not really sure how we got here...the fact is...we have work to do. We have a strong enough marriage to work it all out, however there is buried stuff that has come to a head that needs to be dealt with. There is hurt feelings and confusion, there is misunderstanding and well, just plain junk that has accumulated. There are places in our marriage that I thought I was getting better at..trust, submission, anger...I thought I was growing in these facets of my life and I am realizing maybe I have not changed as much as I though...maybe not that much at all.

So, do I find comfort in the rod and the staff? Do I find comfort in His Word and in the Holy Spirit?

I want to say a whole-hearted YES!! Yes, I do find comfort when I take the time to listen to Him, to pray, to read scripture, to let it all soak in and to breathe deep. I do find comfort in the fact that I know He is here, guiding me, leading me, carrying me through this tough time. Yes...there is comfort knowing that regardless of where I am and how much I falter...He never changes...He loves me just as I am, but He also loves me too much to leave me here! 

The reality is though, that unless I allow Him to comfort me, I will not feel the presence of Him...I will not know His heart for me! Unless I look for Him in this mess...I will not see Him...I will not see His plan! There have been some "passionate chats" that have attacked, hurt and caused more confusion. In my human nature, I tend to revert to old habit and yell...loud and not always nicely. I am not always in the mood to apologize right away...I stew on things and I hold grudges! I close my mind and my heart to it all! I break down, fall apart and close up and in every one of these situations, I am not allowing His rod and staff to comfort me. In these moments of upset I am not allowing His Spirit to fill me with peace and I am certainly not diving into His word for that comfort either. I need to take the time to look up and seek Him...I know that's where my help is.

( source )
After a heated discussion a few days ago, my husband asked if I wanted to pray with him...together! Before I even thought about it...with frustration at the forefront the words flew off my tongue: "Are you kidding me? I will have my own prayer time...not with you...not now!" I'm not even sure how he felt about my response...I had shut down at that point and he wasn't going to press any farther. We have had a few nights like this.

Truth be told...I hate this! I hate that we are not able to talk right now without hurting, offending or causing some form of misunderstanding! I hate that we are distant and broken! I hate that it has come this far over a bunch of little things! What I am learning though is that although the ole adage of not making a mountain out of a mole hill may be true, when you pile a whole bunch of mole hills together, you create a mountain and so here we are trying to fix it all!! It's going to take time...it's going to take counselling...it's going to take prayer and patience. Boy, when God laid the word peace on my heart as this years challenge...who knew I would be tested this much to find it!

My husband reads my blog periodically and the other day he mentioned that what he was seeing in my words on the screen and what he was seeing in my actions in the everyday did not always correlate...and it's true! I write my heart and share my passion for Jesus but sometimes in the heat of the moment, I lose sight of that...I fly off the handle...I fail at being reasonable and patient...I fail at being caring and loving...I fail! I need to remember to go to Him...seek Him wholeheartedly...rest in His arms of comfort...let Him guide me, watch over me and draw me close with His staff and in this time of struggle He will defend me against the enemy...and no, that is not my husband...He will examine my heart and yes, He will lovingly discipline me. All I have left to say is that  I am so glad that He's not finished with me yet!!

Please feel free to link up your own post on the comforting rod and staff or comment below! Thank you to those who have been praying, even without knowing the valley I am in...your prayers have meant the world to me and it touches my heart that there are so many wonderful women out there that do not know me in real life and yet still reach out and love...such a beautiful testament of God's love in them!! 

I will post the "tools of the trade" post on Thursday, for those that are interested in the details behind the instruments!
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