Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Come Heal With Me; Week 4

He leads me beside still waters.

Notes taken from the book (God's Psychiatry): Sheep are afraid of moving water. This is based on instinct; because of their thick woolly coats, they cannot swim. When sheep are thirsty, they will drink only from still water.

If there is no still water around, this presents a problem for the shepherd. So, while the sheep are resting (He makes me to lie down in green pastures), the shepherd gathers rocks to form a watering pool of still water.

The shepherd understands the fear of his sheep and provides a way of peace and safety.

Mother's Notes Written in the Book: Jehovah shalom (written not once, but twice in the margins). God of peace. God of still waters.

My Notes: After reading these words, I walked into my home and realized--for the first time--that as soon as one enters, the peaceful view of the lake is there. When the water is still, it looks like a pool of ink laying on the canvas of the world. It calls to me from nearly every room...but how often do I go out, sit, and drink of its beauty? Of its respite? Of its peace?

Not often enough.

But I have come to realize that long before I lost Mother, long before I began my struggle with "why?", God was at work gathering stones to form a place of peace where I can heal. The wound of losing Mother to heaven will never be fully healed until I join her there and stand before the Throne of Grace & Mercy with her, shouting "All glory and hallelujah" to the Prince of Peace and to his Father, Jehovah Shalom. But until then, God has prepared a place for me, where I can "drink" of His peace.

My notes to you: Where is your place of peace? Where can you go to find respite, to drink from God's goodness, from His Word, from the quiet he whispers into your soul? You may not have a dock jutting out over a lake. Your place of peace may be the shower, the commute train or the car. It may be your closet or the walk from the front door to the mailbox. Like Suzanne Wesley, mother of John & Charles, you may have to sit in a corner, throw your apron over your head, and demand a moment of peace (most mothers will relate to this). Even if only for a moment each day, find a place where you can be quiet. Take a short walk. A long walk. Whatever you need to do...but make a time of quiet. Of stillness.

My dear friend Robert Benson once told me, "Eva Marie, the only person who knows what God has whispered into your heart is you; but you won't hear him if you don't hush."

A famous line (misquoted) by Emerson goes like this: Let us be silent that we may hear the whisper of God.

Find the place God has prepared for you. It's easy to do. Just look for the rocks...

Monday, December 6, 2010

Come Heal With Me; Week 3

He makes me to lie down in green pastures.

Notes from the book, God's Psychiatry: The books tells me that a shepherd will wake his sheep at 4 in the morning and walk them until about 10, when he forces them to lie down.

He forces them...

As they walk, sheep eat. By 10, they are full of undigested grass; they are hot and tired. If they drink water--even though they may want to keep going toward the water--they will become sick.

The shepherd knows this.

My notes: Remember the Sabbath, the Lord said, and keep it holy. But there's even more to this.

1) The sabbath was made holy by God (Ex. 20:11)
2) Keeping the Sabbath shows we are set apart, sanctified (Ex 31:13).
3) "If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the Lord's Holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and speaking idle words, then you will find your joy in the Lord and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the Land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.

"The mouth of the Lord has spoken" (Isaiah 58: 13-14).

4) The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath (Mark 2:27).

I think it is vitally important now more than ever that I keep the Sabbath day set apart. I work, I stay busy, I don't think. That's the plan, isn't it, when one is grieving? Just. Stay. Busy. In time, you'll forget the immenseness of the pain. Isn't that the way of it?

But, if I'm reading God correctly on this, I need this time to rest. To ponder the things of God. To read. To nap. (Mother always napped on the Sabbath!) To worship, most of all.

And to grieve the lost of my beloved mother...and of my doting daddy four years ago.

Mother wrote this remarkable sentence at the end of the chapter: To a person not content, their pasture can never be green. Only with God in their heart can they ever be content.

My additional thoughts: How can I be content if I don't rest? If I don't remember? How can God heal me, if I don't allow myself to grieve? It's like not allowing a wound to bleed...without the bleeding, the impurities cannot flow out. Keep the impurities in, and just watch what happens.

My notes to you: If you are in a season of grief right now (and even if you are not), take at least one day a week to rest in the Lord. Be still and know that I am God," the Sons of Korah wrote in Psalm 46:10). Do you know what "be still" means in Hebrew?

It still.

Cease from your labor.

A verse from Isaiah that shook me to my core last year (when I read it for the 100th time) is this:

“This is the resting place, let the weary rest”;
and, “This is the place of repose”—
but they would not listen.

But they would not listen... Will you make the Shepherd force you to lie down? Or will you lie down because you trust his leading? Think of the Sabbath as 10 in the morning.
You just may hear the whispers of God as He breathes healing words over your soul.