Maid to be Still

Yesterday morning started out a little different than most mornings have lately. I woke up with some heartache from the night before so I talked to the LORD about it and saw He gave me more peace than the day before- probably because I asked.

I’m trying to become more dependent on Him instead of anyone else, looking to Him to be the primary supplier of my needs in every area of my life.

I grabbed my phone after praying and tried to read a devotion I’ve had saved on my phone for months now, but my eyes weren’t ready to focus just yet. Luckily there is an option to have it read to me so I opted for that. Afterwards I got out of bed.

I brushed my teeth and put on my pants. Not long after, I went into the bathroom. I remember making the choice to sort of bend to do something instead of leaning over and I coughed at the same time. It seems I heard a snap. I can’t exactly remember if I heard it or just felt it inside my lower back but there was intense pain that came along with it. I couldn’t move.

Thankfully my husband is on vacation and hadn’t left the house yet so I yelled for him. He helped me to the floor, per my request. I forced myself to move forward and I put my face on the side of the cold iron bathtub. It was as if something flashed before my eyes. Not necessarily my life but the thought of not being able to get up and walk again.

I’ve pulled a muscle or two in my day but nothing like this. My lower back has hurt before, putting me in tears at work, but nothing like this.

I was able to back myself out of the bathroom on my hands and knees and crawl into the bedroom. I painfully made my way down onto the floor and just layed there. My husband was there beside me but there was nothing he could do.

As I lay there in pain, silent tears began to roll down my face. After a few minutes, Jason helped me stand up and walk to the couch. He told me to straighten my body up and walk upright.

A trip to the Dr, some hours, shots and x-rays later, I was relieved to be told it was muscle strain.

When we got back home Jason had some business to tend to so my daughter stayed with me. She ended up falling asleep and I didn’t want to wake her so I got up on my own when I had to.

Some movements still cause great pain but I understand sometimes you just have to press on, be tough and suffer through it.

In these past 24 hours, I’ve been made to be still and know that God is God. He is the Great Physician and Mighty Healer – not just of our bodies, but of our hearts.

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭46:10‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

I’ve spent a lot of time over the past month or so struggling to overcome deep hurt in my heart. Many nights of lying in bed with a lump in my throat that made it nearly impossible to even swallow. There is a saying about life being a bitter pill, sometimes hard to swallow. Maybe that is what the person that first said it was talking about.

Even though certain pain is seemingly unbearable, I believe the times we struggle, alone, is God’s way of wanting us to run into the arms of a (or another) man: Jesus Christ.

As humans we long for that tangible someone to care and be there, to heal our hearts from the hurt and pain we feel. The LORD longs for us to seek Him. He is the only One who can truly satisfy the heart and soul and help us more than anyone or anything else the world can offer.

The last time I laid in bed with silent tears, I noticed the lump wasn’t there. I paid attention to that and wondered, is the lump in your throat really you fighting the tears off? It’s hard to be vulnerable but that is what the LORD desires. I believe we often fight tears because it causes is to be aware and come face to face with our emotions and pain.

It’s easier to turn hurt into anger. We think of it as being strong, unshakable, but it really turns in to bitterness and hardness of heart. Anger gives a foothold to the devil. He’s then able to grab hold of us by the foot and lead us further in to sin.

“Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.”

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭4:26-27‬ ‭KJV‬‬

I’ve passed by a church sign several times lately that says, “Humble yourselves and pray.” So many times things happen in our lives that show us we need to humble ourselves and so many times we choose to not. I hear a still small voice say

“…for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”

‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭5:5(b)-7‬ ‭KJV‬‬

The LORD has been bringing it to my attention how much pride I really have. He’s reminding me there is nothing I can do without His help. He’s allowed me to be broken in so many ways lately, but I understand why. He wants to put me back together properly.

Maybe it had to become physical for me as well. Maybe I had to become completely vulnerable, helpless, on my knees in all aspects- to the point of total reliance.

It doesn’t mean it’s easy to combine spiritual truths with my own life and current circumstances. It isn’t easy to walk upright when you’re in so much pain. Other ways are so much easier, but again, the Word says,

“He who walks in his uprightness fears the LORD, But he who is perverse in his ways despises Him.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭14:2‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

When the chips are down and no one else is around, by choice or not, our faithful Friend is still there.

“And the LORD, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.””
‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭31:8‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

All too often we chase a love we want to have that really isn’t there. We search for unfailing love in all the wrong places. We run away from that good and perfect love that God is the supplier of. Sometimes it feels like He hurts us but we really hurt ourselves. Sometimes I think God allows us to feel the hurt so we may draw nearer to Him.

He is there in the midst of our pain and He doesn’t walk away. When the pain is more bearable, He still doesn’t walk away. He stays and helps us.

With the covid, many have had to be secluded. Many have been made to be still, no matter what the case may be. I hope if people haven’t, they will search Him out to fill the lonely void in their hearts, taking this opportunity He is allowing to know that He is God.

Dear Lord, help us to give you all the glory. Help us to place no one or no thing before you. Help us feel your living, loving presence in our lives at all times. Help us to give others the same mercy and grace you give us. Help us to remember You are near to the broken hearted. Please forgive us where we fail You. Help us to walk upright in the midst of our pain. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Solitaire

I had no choice but to go back and work on myself, by myself, in complete solitude. To be able to continue on, I had no choice but to do so.

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Since my job of cleaning houses requires very little brain power, last summer I decided to download a solitaire game on my phone. I’ve heard people say it is a good activity to keep your mind active. It didn’t take long for me to become addicted to this pastime.

As I played the game, I learned more and more. I paid attention to the cards I needed and tossed the rest aside, moving towards the prize: winning the game. I stayed focused on all the cards around me. I soon developed a strategy to help me move swiftly through the game. I watched for the opportunity to make the right move, constantly moving forward. At times I became discouraged, but the more I played, the less I quit. I was determined to finish the game.

On this particular game, I also had the option to play in tournaments. As I began doing so, I saw others and looked on them with pity as they trailed behind. Even though I wanted to win, I felt bad when others didn’t. The cards they were given just weren’t played right. There was the option to end the game before it was finished, but if you quit, you had no chance. If you could hold up and place in the top three, you could move on to the next level. 

At times I would see players begin to gain points rapidly toward the end. Sometimes they would end up winning, but sometimes they still lost. I would watch the one in last place and I knew their struggle. I would see their hesitation to press “END GAME”. I knew that feeling from my own experience. You don’t want to give up when you’ve come so far, yet sometimes that’s exactly what we do.

I started winning many tournaments. I spent way too much time on this habit-forming game. Once I’d won so many times, I started relying solely on my strategy. Eventually there came a time when it wasn’t working for me anymore. Maybe it would even be considered cheating to the experts, yet that loophole had gotten me so far. I began to lose at the game. My option to enter tournaments had closed due to my many losses.

I had no choice but to go back and work on myself, by myself, in complete solitude. To be able to continue on, I had no choice but to do so.

As I have lived the Christian life, I’ve made use of the cards I’ve been dealt. I’ve stayed focused and I’ve lost focus. I’ve seen the enemy (aka the devil) hit me where it hurts. I’ve seen me struggle to “stay in the game”. I’ve seen my strategy fail. And I have found myself completely removed from the tournament. 

As I sit here typing, the house is quiet. Everyone is back to work and school and I have the day off. I’m trying to spend my time wisely, staying busy doing things that need to be done. Only the sound of the keys pounding on my keyboard, the dryer and the occasional vehicle passing by break the complete silence, yet the silence is deafening. I am alone. I have a lot of things on my mind and I can’t fix them. I hear the Holy Spirit whisper, “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10 [a] NKJV) In my stillness, I am made whole. And the silence? It helps me to better hear God’s still, small voice. I know I need to study His Word, I need to pray and I need to do these things alone, by myself, in complete solitude with my Father. I listen, by reading, what He has to say and even if I don’t understand now, I know that He is God and I am not and that is reassuring to me.

Be encouraged, be still and don’t quit the “game”. (By the way, it IS NOT a game- just an analogy.) Thank you for reading and God bless!