So very excited to have her, my daughter might be sleeping in her little bed, her husband out working in the storm.
Crisp clean sheets and pillows fresh with light lavender scent and on Saturday night I’d have both she and her brother right next to me in their rooms.
Instead, the storm weakened, there was no need for her to sleep over.
No need for her to stay. I was prepared though, in every possible way.
Several days ago, I heard or read that if there are pleasant hills, there will be valleys.
I wanted not to hear that, wanted to look away as if my understanding of this truth might hasten my finding myself sooner in the valley at the bottom of my current pleasant hill.
My life is not all pleasant; but, pretty much is good, sufficiently and grace-filled.
Has been for the most part for some time. This is why I didn’t want to hear it, shook it off, the possibility of the valley.
David knew valleys. He wrote of them, of the one that skirted the border of death, the one wrought with shame over his significant sexual sin, the one where he faced Goliath, the embodiment of what would prove his strength from God or evil’s victory that would change us all.
David has lessons, lots of them from which we can learn.
“So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come.
Your righteousness, O God, reaches the high heavens. You who have done great things, O God, who is like you?
You who have made me see many troubles and calamities will revive me again; from the depths of the earth you will bring me up again. You will increase my greatness and comfort me again.”
Psalms 71:18-21 ESV
I love to tell the story of the itinerant preacher man who traveled every weekend to the little church around a curvy clay road at the top of the hill, the one called Poplar Springs.
My life was in shambles. I found myself alone with my girl and my boy.
He visited me at my mama’s because we had been visiting the church, my children first for Sunday School and then I joined in.
Word spread quickly in the tiny rural place of my home, my dilemma a disgrace, it only made me strong.
So, I asked Him how I should pray for God’s help to get through.
Just pray for mercy.
So, I did and I do.
Because the mercy I prayed for back then when my babies were young is the mercy I remember still now, and continue to seek.
Mercy in unexpected hardship, mercy in times of unknown outcomes, mercy that wraps its arms around me and is strengthened through remembering.
Strengthened even more in relating to others. Others recorded in God’s word.
The woman at the well called out by others and Jesus. The man who wanted healing but never thought to push himself towards the waters, the man called Saul who became Paul; yet, still knew he wasn’t able on his own.
He knew he needed mercy, for he would always remember how he’d been before, I believe this was his thorn “in his side”.
Like preparing for a storm that didn’t come with the devastation predicted, we should prepare for upheavals of a personal nature.
Praying not just when desperate, learning from God’s word not just searching for something to tell us all is well.
Believing all is well because we remember the mercies of before and we praise Him for the mercy of now.
Today, I’ll prepare good food for my son before he returns from his school’s evacuation. I’ll make enough in case my daughter stops by.
I’ll store up the goodness of these past few days, this weekend’s little victories and exchanges.
I’ll carry them with me as I rest in this time of merciful, this pleasant little place, this hill in my heart.
I’ll move on unafraid towards valleys that might come knowing I’m attended to lovingly, I’m held closely by mercy.
Pray for mercy, just pray for mercy.
My prayer, I once thought such an anxious desperate plea, now a dependence, a comfort and assurance.
If there are hills, there will be valleys.
So, we cling to the mercy of God, treasuring His truth.
God is for us.
God is with us.