I've had a lot of opportunities lately to stress out. I mean serious opportunities. Stuff I could really get my mind all wrapped up in and go emotionally looney tunes about. Big issues, like with Allie's dad and stepmom and having to send her 400 miles away to visit them for weeks at a time. Big issues, like Samuel trying his hardest to come early and finding himself pretty comfortable in the breech position, despite my desire to have a big, healthy, strapping boy be born naturally at 40 weeks. :) Big issues, like a strong-willed child that I have no clue how to handle. Trying to remain calm, restful, and stress-free in the midst of it all has been quite a challenge for me these last few weeks.
"BUT GOD, WHO IS RICH IN MERCY, BECAUSE OF HIS GREAT LOVE WITH WHICH HE LOVED US. . . " (Eph 2:4). . . has lavishly blessed me with the most amazing people. We've had awesome friends and neighbors bringing over delicious meals. Helping take care of the kids. Helping in any way they can. Loving on us in the Lord. We had a major leak in a pipe over the weekend that flooded the laundry room. Brian made a few phone calls, and within an hour two incredible friends were here, work gloves on, ready to help. They fixed the leak, praise the Lord, and my laundry room is now clean and dry. Last night we had roast, potatoes, corn, lima beans, carrots and rolls- all delicious, all made by someone else and brought to our house warm and ready to eat.
"BUT GOD, WHO IS RICH IN MERCY, BECAUSE OF HIS GREAT LOVE WITH WHICH HE LOVED US. . . " (Eph 2:4). . . has me, not coincidentally, reading through some Scriptures, commentaries and books right now that are meant just for me, just for now at this juncture in my life. One passage that keeps coming back into my heart, that has always seemed so elementary to me because it was one of the first I memorized in 4th grade, is Psalm 23.
"The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want." = I can want for nothing because He knows everything I need!! And He's got it covered!!
"He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters; He restores my soul." = He knows my heart. He knows that if something like bed rest doesn't happen to me, I am often too busy to sit at His feet and be blessed with His Word like this. He is making me to lie down right now (literally!) and leading me beside still waters to restore my soul. He really is!
"He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake." -He's taking me on a journey right now of surrender that will ultimately glorify Him in my life.
"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me." = As I walk through valleys of emotional turmoil, fear, anxiety, doubt, etc. He is with me, comforting me, reminding me that everything really will be alright. More than alright, it will be wonderful because He is my Shepherd.
"You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies"= this has become richer as I'm studying "The Family Meal Table and Hospitality" by Nancy Campbell as well as Song of Solomon and realizing that God's banqueting table that He invites us to is lavish and rich and all-satisfying.
"You anoint my head with oil"= oil of gladness, oil of healing, oil of the Holy Spirit.
"MY CUP RUNNETH OVER"= Yes, Hallelujah, it does. It really, really does.
"Surely goodness and mercy will follow me ALL THE DAYS OF MY LIFE"= I am assured that His goodness and mercy WILL follow me through ALL the days of my life, good ones and bad ones!
"And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever"= Now in this life and in eternity, I will dwell with Him. No matter what else happens. Thank you Lord!
I am also reading through "The Christian's Secrets to a Happy Life" by Hannah Whitall Smith (a MUST read for YOU!) and in it she talks about anxious thoughts that the enemy loves to torment us with. She says that we must say to the enemy when those thoughts come into our heads, "I have found you out now. It is you who are suggesting these dreadful thoughts to me, and I hate them, and will have nothing to do with them. The Lord is my Savior. Take these thoughts to Him, and settle them in His presence." Smith says that all discouragement is from the devil, and we must flee from it as we would flee from sin.
"BUT GOD, WHO IS RICH IN MERCY, BECAUSE OF HIS GREAT LOVE WITH WHICH HE LOVED US. . . "(Eph 2:4) . . . So many "little" things have just been icing on the cake. Yesterday Maggie got a box in the mail for her birthday from Aunt Valerie. We just love Aunt Valerie. :) She sent Maggie lots of fun things, including this beautiful blue dress and a matching one for Allie. That alone is providential, because I can always find matching dresses in the little girls' sizes but never one that also matches in Allie's size, leaving Allie out of the fun. Now she has one that matches. :)
She also sent me a skirt that I cannot wait to wear after Samuel is born!! It's lovely isn't it?!? :)
With such rich, lavish blessings as this that are continually happening in my life as evidences of God's great love, grace and mercy, how could I be stressed??
"O Lord, You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You maintain my lot. The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Yes, I have a good inheritance." -Psalm 16:5-6