The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. – Zephaniah 3:17
I told him, “Our troubles are minuscule” as we rode together bemoaning things that were trivial trials in our life.
We are well. Our children are well. We have what we need.
But last week, a crow flew just in front of my car as I turned in to the lot and as I’m prone to do, I took it to mean dismay.
I was early for work, not my norm.
Timely, I thought, just perfect for this pessimistic air all around me, my living and breathing blah apprehension.
I open the door to step into the day and they all begin, a few of them now, to make the “caw” call of mockery seeking my notice.
I had a deadline, I resisted the idea, struggled to put together the right “ask” begrudgingly came to work to begin.
A minute into the task, an application for grant funds, I was interrupted and I huffed.
Corrected myself, listened and then explained my deadline.
The one who interrupted my day told me he would pray.
Later, I would be able to share with him the ease of completing the application.
More interruptions, people stopping by to help. I told them I couldn’t talk and they said rather curtly, knowing me…”okay don’t talk”.
Sometimes I’m so “unpeople”.
Left alone with my work, I completed the task, I asked the grantor for what we truly needed rather than something new and contrived, I was honest.
Then, I joined the ones who came to help me with another task they’d volunteered for, my husband, daughter, and grandson, giving up their Thursday to help lighten my load.
I walked in and they were working so very well together, hanging drapes, hanging pictures, it was unnecessary for me to be there.
I quickly chastised my husband as he hung the large painting off kilter. My daughter cut her eyes, cocked her head and said: “Mama, stop barking orders.”
Oh yes, I can be demanding.
I can forget to be grateful. Sitting on the beach, we heard of sudden serious illness and added this father to our dinner blessing.
My husband asked, “Do you think God does things to get our attention? Do you think God wants to humble people through tragic unexpected things?”
Immediately, I replied, “Well, I don’t know how I’ve dodged the bullet then.”
No further discussion.
Almost a week later, a young father has died in an accident and the one on life support has been healed.
Who are we to know? Who are we to comprehend?
God is able. Able to know all.
We are not.
On Saturday, I was grouchy again.
Stubborn and lazy. I was uncertain of putting myself out there again. My art and I would be on display, a new opportunity, a new place to hopefully make a profit. If my aunt and uncle hadn’t traveled two hours for the market, I had decided already to back out.
I sold three paintings, minimal profit.
I answered three people when they asked about Isaiah 30:15 and I told them why this verse is the one I call my life, how I’m better when I’m quietly confident in God.
What I didn’t say was how around 7:00 a.m I had to get myself in check and let my knees find the floor beside my bed to ask God to help me radiate this verse, this “quiet confidence”.
Conversations about comfort occurred, comparisons of struggles and needs were brought to my attention and I listened, I really listened.
A photographer I admire commissioned a piece and she told me that I should, yes …” You should write the book.”
Kind words were offered about my paintings. I accepted them.
The sweetest thing ever, my aunt, an ever observant one said: “I feel so good about you living here, I see how many people need and care about you..”
I said sincerely, thank you to onlookers without a tone of pity or pleading for purchase.
I asked God for the day I needed and He answered by showing me the beauty of contentment and of His being with me.
Now it’s Monday and the birds have begun to show up slowly after an overnight rain. Gradually, they are moving limb to limb, testing the branches and cavorting about.
My prayers are for the hurting, the very sick, both sickness of the heart and the body. For the hard hardness of unforeseen grief and tragic too early death. For those whose role assigned by You is one of bringing comfort and wisdom to all, I pray you equip and embrace them.
My prayers are of gratitude for what I was taught by God this weekend, what I was taught to recognize, consider and not forget,
Your presence, here.
My “art room” is back in order now, my writing space awaits. I’ll get back to it soon, not be hampered by the pressures of my pride, pitifully pitting me against myself.
Such an exhausting battle, unnecessary.
I will wait and I will ask again, how can I write in a way that is quietly confident, that emanates your grace, your mercy, my faith?
How can I see the birds overhead and remember my worth, not be woeful?
How can I glorify you as I continue in intentional surrender?
I can’t wait to see, to sense and to follow in this way, the way of grace and peace.
Show us your glory.
We know you are able.
Help us to recall our hardship only in terms of remembering your healing.
My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me. But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. – Lamentations 3:20-23
Looking for my red birds and robins today.
I know they are near.
Crows maybe too, the noisy crows sent to remind me of deliverance, of mercy.
God, we know you are with us. We know you are able, we are listening for you.
Comfort us as comforters and ease the hurt of grieving hearts.
Because of mercy,