He leads me beside still waters...

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes my lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths for His name sake.
Psalm 23:1-3
This spring has been filled with more heartache then ever in my christian walk.  The loss of our child, the inability to get pregnant again, loss of friendship, my grandma's failing health, and ministering in really difficult circumstances.  The inability to fix any of it has wrecked havoc on my soul.  (and yes mom, I am okay ;)

I am a fixer.  

Recently when talking with our pastor, he shared this story about peace.  

A pastor asked 2 people what peace meant to them.  The first answered with a beautiful description much like the picture above, a quiet stream, stillness and time of refreshment and a feeling of "all is right in the world".  The 2nd answered with a much different depiction of an eagle nest perched high up on a cliff with raging waters and jagged rocks below in the middle of a hurricane, all the while the eagle was safe and dry despite the storm brewing.  

Both depict peace, but often in our lives, the latter speaks to our circumstances more than the former.  God doesn't promise smooth sailing but he does promise protection in the storms of this life.

As I reflected back on my journal from this spring (remember THIS POST), I have been diligently trying to seek God as often as I can after a teary commitment 8 weeks ago (after another failed pregnancy test).  My time with him isn't always in written form but the act of trying has led to a deeper, more intimate relationship with God.  My heart is not fixed, relationships are still broken, my heart still hurts, there is still no baby but God has ordained this time of walking quietly along side him to show me how faithful he is despite our circumstances. 

Often times, especially in the blog world, we depict the highlights of our life and leave out the messy bits, but no one is immune to the messy bits.  I love this quote from my bible study notes related to psalm 23.  "We can struggle with our enemies--but strength and courage cannot overcome death.  It has the final word.  Only ONE PERSON can walk along with us through death's darkest valley and bring us safely to the other side--the God of life, our shepherd."

In addition to all of this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the arrows of the evil one.  
Eph. 6:16

On this rock I will build my church and the gates of hades will not overcome it.  
Matthew 16:18

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:13

 We cannot overcome in our own strength but in our weakness, God's strength is revealed to those who seek Him!

God I am weak and fragile.  My heart aches.  I have let my circumstances dictate my thought life. I want to get out of this place you have set me in.  I know in my head, it is for my good.  But it is uncomfortable.  Help me to seek you above my circumstances, to stay on the high road, praising your name, focusing on my many blessings both big and small.  I have so much to be thankful for.  You are worthy of my praise. Let me use this time to be instructed and learn during our quiet times together, allow me to see what you would have me learn.  Help me to be content, like the eagle perched on the cliff, regardless of my circumstances.  You are big enough and I trust you.  Amen

God has revealed to me that in our circumstances, the greatest way to restore hope and joy is to focus on the good in life from a beautiful sunset to an announcement dear friends are having a baby boy.  It is amazing what a little spin around at bedtime produces when everyone shares what they are thankful for.  

Be joyful in hope, patient in afflication, and faithful in prayer.
Romans 12:12

It is not about waiting for the storm to pass, but learning to dance in the rain.
(one of my all time favorite quotes)