Be My Sabbath

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No Longer My Own (music)

Juggernaut Cars and Glorious Chariots

Along with my Bible I have a little pile of devotionals I try and read every day. Not because I have to, but because on any given day I genuinely hunger for God needing constant reminders of Truth to keep me anchored, sane, and centered. Like panning for gold, I sift through them one by one in search of something shiny and strong to hold in my heart as hidden treasure.

Wrapping up my quiet time one morning, I glanced ahead to the next day’s date…August 8. For a moment I couldn’t remember what was significant about it. I just knew there was something familiar about August 8.

And then it hit me…

It was that day thirty years ago that I married my husband. The first one.

Wedding Day – August 8, 1987

You think you’ll never forget certain dates in your life. The date of a birth, or a death, or some sort of trauma, an anniversary, a wedding, or the date the divorce was final. It surprised me that it actually took a minute to jog my memory.

Weirdly, just a few weeks prior, a passage from my ‘Springs in the Valley’ devotional made its way onto the pages of my journal. The writer spoke of that person who was “the juggernaut car to crush my soul into the very dust” who became “a glorious chariot to carry me to the heights of heavenly patience and long suffering…”

Intense, I know. The language is strong. I had to look up the word ‘juggernaut’ to gain the implied meaning…something (such as a force, campaign, or movement) that is extremely large and powerful and cannot be stopped; a very large, heavy truck.

Now, please don’t mistake this as husband bashing. That is not at all my intent. Nor do I recommend the practice. I loved that man for more than half my life. He’s the father of my children and had many good qualities that we as a family both celebrated and benefited from.

My point is to reveal the hidden treasure God showed me that day. A new way to frame my story. My ex is not just this painful thing or that painful thing. He is, in fact, that ‘glorious chariot’ in my life. That tool that God used to mold me into someone quite different than before. To mold me…into something more. And for that I am thankful.

Psalm 30:11-12 (NIV)

Coincidentally, or perhaps not so, the Psalms reading for that date included Chapter 30, verses 11-12. And on August 8, I posted it on Facebook punctuated with several exclamation points…“You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever.” 

And God certainly has. He’s turned my mourning into dancing and clothed me with joy. But, not entirely for the reason you might expect.

Wedding Day – December 2016

It’s not simply because I moved onto Husband #2 and now I can finally be happy (although we are quite happy!). It’s not because I’m naive enough to think that the second half of life will be all kittens and rainbows. Nothing against kittens. It’s just that I prefer a certain Shihtzu.

No. What’s significant is that I had actually underlined these verses in my Bible many years ago. Even in the midst of the struggle. It was a verse that had become evident in my life in spite of the crazy it had become. Because God had taught me how to dance, and keep on dancing. He taught me how to choose joy, and keep on choosing it. He even taught me something miraculous about gratitude: it is entirely possible to have it in spite of the not-so-fun and in spite of the not-so-happy.

As I belabored whether or not to write yet another post about that time in my life, I resolved to do it anyway. If it helps someone have a more redemptive perspective on those juggernaut vehicles in his/her own life, so be it. I have done a good thing.

Or rather, God has.

At the time of this writing my daily reading from the Psalms began in Chapter 31, verse 19…“How great is your goodness which you have stored up for those who fear you, which you bestow in the sight of men on those who take refuge in you.” 

For His many blessings (husbands included!), and the tools which take me further up and further in, I say thank you. For, oh, the treasure I’ve found in Jesus Christ! Of much greater worth than gold.

Two songs come to mind as I close. Lyrics from American singer/songwriter Bobby Darin…
If I were a carpenter
And you were a lady
Would you marry me anyway? (Yes!)
Would you have my baby? (At this age? Are you kidding me?!)

Angel and Statue – Rome by Samantha Higgs

Ha! And the ‘ole negro spiritual by Wallace Willis…
Swing low, sweet chariot
Coming for to carry me home
Swing low, sweet chariot
Coming for to carry me home

As we think on life’s significant dates and times, let us frame them or re-frame them if necessary, to propel us toward greater heights in Jesus. To put it another way, strap yourself in and enjoy the ride! He’ll be waiting on the other side…

Love and prayers from a carpenter’s wife (and a Carpenter’s bride!)…

Cheri

 

 

Psalms, Swords, and Sleepless Nights

Hello, friends…

Hope your summer is going just swimmingly! My last gig was Mother’s Day, so I’ve been home a stretch doing the wife thing and working on bookings. I also managed to schedule a mini-writer’s retreat and made some progress on that book I dabble with from time to time. Carpenter Husband and I celebrated six months of marriage in June and recently added tennis playing to our repertoire. Kinda strange that in tennis “love” means having a score of zero. One might say love is good in life, but not so much in tennis. Thankfully, we’re not keeping score.

So, that’s a quick update on me. I’d love to hear from you, too. Feel free to comment below or grab me on Facebook.

And now for my blog. Hope it encourages somebody!

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Introducing Carpenter Husband’s dog, Sadie (Hebrew origin=”mercy”). She’s a Brittany. I’m happy to report she and Daisy get along just fine!

At the end of a full day I was tired and ready to catch some shut eye. Lights out, dogs settled, with Carpenter Husband drifting off to sleep. By all intents and purposes all was calm and peaceful. Except my mind. Someone forgot to shut it off. And that night in a rare episode of mental drift, it began ruminating over events of the past. Think Meat Loaf’s lyric “objects in the rear view mirror may appear closer than they are.”

Faced with such an unwelcome disruption, especially one already blood-redeemed, it could’ve taken me out. But, I knew better. Rather than waste another minute on this hard thing I couldn’t change, I decided to go to war. My weapon of choice? The word of God. I’ve found it to be quite sharp.

Careful not to wake my sleeping beauties…I quietly slipped out of bed into the other room. Settling into my favorite reading chair, I unzipped my Bible and picked up my daily reading schedule. Ah, Psalm 144. I hadn’t read it yet. Better late than never.

Praise be to the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle. He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge…

I read it aloud. The whole Psalm. It felt so right I decided to keep on reading. If this was an attack of the enemy, I had come to the right place. Turning the page, I moved on to Psalm 145, then Psalm 146, all the while reading each word aloud with intention. Psalm 147, 148, 149, and, finally, Psalm 150. I’m not sure how long it took and I suppose I would’ve kept on reading, but it only goes to Psalm 150. Besides, God had given me what I needed.

Psalm 149:4-5…For the Lord takes delight in His people; He crowns the humble with victory. Let His faithful people rejoice in this honor and sing for joy on their beds.

Sing for joy.

On their beds.

Just moments before, I had been struggling to find peace, let alone sleep. Songs of joy had gone silent, snuffed out by nettlesome images of the past. And now God was showing me through His great and intimate Love Letter that He could restore them to me. On my bed.

“Take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6:17

An interesting observation arose following this experience. What if I had only read the one psalm? Or stopped after two or three? The part I needed to hear didn’t come until six psalms in. I might have missed it. Worse yet, what if I had not wielded the weapon at all? But, instead continued to battle in the flesh. Unarmed and vulnerable. I might not have obtained the promise my heart needed to hear. And I certainly wouldn’t have returned to bed at peace.

I guess the lesson here is this: God has something to say. Period. In the heat of the battle, when the enemy seems to be gaining ground, it is no time to recoil. Nor wallow in the muck. Instead, we are called to look up, rise up, and pick up The Sword. Wield it until deliverance comes. And it will.

I don’t know what battles you’re facing. Perhaps your nettlesome past (or someone else’s) has nettled quite enough. What I do know is our best defense, and offense really, are the most precious and powerful words of God. Brave on the front line of all these battles, He goes before.

Unsheath it, beloved. Morning, noon, and night.

Strong and steady standing in the Light,

Cheri