Literally, that’s where I’ve been this past month. Physically all over the place, emotionally all over the place and mentally all over the place. I haven’t written in a while partially because of that, partially because my heart has just felt weary that it seems every time I had thoughts swirling around in my head the effort to bring those thoughts from my head to a page just took too much. So I’d move on to other less mentally challenging things, like finding new creative things to do on pinterest and looking for great deals on craigslist. Seriously, I have spent WAY too much time on these two sites (however, I have a lot of great pins on my “home decor” board as a result, and more projects then I could possibly do stirring in my head). Besides pinterest and craigslist (which you’ll understand why in a moment those sites have so recently captured me), here’s a taste of what our past couple of months have been like. We wrapped up our summer assignment for our ministry (working with a group of students who come down here for the summer to learn how to walk with Jesus on a summer missions trip) the beginning of July and then moved in with a couple of dear friends for 2 weeks as the new house we were renting (ahhh… now you understand pinterest and craigslist!) wasn’t available until August 1. We had a family reunion out in Yosemite (of which I continue to confuse with Yellowstone… I’m not from the west), so we decided to head out a week before hand and take Dasah on her first (and really our first) Dennis Family Vacation and road trip through California (It was absolutely refreshing, we made some sweet sweet family memories and I’ll write about that next post). After 2 weeks on vacation we spent a night with our friends back in Orlando and then moved into our new rental home of which I got sick on the day we moved in (I wasn’t really doing a whole lot anyways since one of the perks of pregnancy is no one expects you to lift anything… so I directed the 15 men that showed up from our church to help!). We had a few days to unpack before we had a week of wrapping up things for our summer assignment and now we are in the thick of settling into our new home and thinking so much about Sophie as we approach her 1 year birthday. This past month has been stressful, to say it mildly, but it has still been filled with some sweet sweet times with friends and family and enjoying the time the Lord gives us with Dasah. However, even in a “normal” season of life, with “normal” heightened stresses (what’s really “normal” anyways?) often the first thing to go is my time with the Lord. And to be totally honest, it was the same for me this time. I have to fight to create time to meet with the Lord, to drink deeply from His word and sometimes I just don’t have the energy to fight for that time. I still walked with Jesus this month, I still talked with Him, but I knew I was trying to get through each day living off of last weeks spiritual bread. Can you imagine a pregnant woman trying to live off of last weeks bread… she’d be a crazy person after missing just one meal! That was me… only spiritually (don’t worry… I still ate actual food very often). My heart was more frazzled, less at peace, more irritable, fearful, anxious for the future, I could go on. Yet, I am so thankful for His grace, that “His mercies are new EVERY morning”, that He is faithful even when I am not. Even so, the past few weeks the Lord has opened my eyes to new depths of what it means that His word is my LIFE. There is NOTHING that has brought me life this month like His word has. NOTHING. Stick me by the ocean, with incredible views non stop (like what we had for a majority of our California trip) and my heart is typically happy, free and full of life. However, this time I didn’t experience His creation giving me life in the ways I’m used to and I realized that what my heart craves, needs in a way I grasped a little deeper this past month… is Him.
“As the deer pants for the water, so my soul PANTS for YOU.” Psalm 42:1
“My soul clings to the dust; give me LIFE according to your WORD!” Psalm 119:25
“My soul melts away for sorrow; strengthen me according to your WORD!” Psalm 119: 28
“If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction. I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have given me LIFE.” Psalm 119:92-93 (emphasis mine)
This past month I’ve tasted what the psalmist knew to be true that if God’s word is not invading my heart on a consistent basis I will not find life. A stressful season for anyone is often an easy time to find yourself soothing the stress with quick fixes, quick moments of what we think will refresh us fully (okay so it does REALLY feel good to finish a project, unpack a box, and pin a few hundred great ideas you know you’ll never get to on pinterest)… but still those moments of refreshment can be so fleeting. And the moments when I’ve experienced “peace that passes understanding” have consistently been the times when I’m leaning into Jesus, when His words are fresh on my heart and mind, whether simply a verse or a passage I read earlier. Isaiah 55:10,11 says
10 “The rain and snow come down from the heavens
and stay on the ground to water the earth.
They cause the grain to grow,
producing seed for the farmer
and bread for the hungry.
11 It is the same with my word.
I send it out, and it ALWAYS produces fruit.
It will accomplish all I want it to,
and it will prosper everywhere I send it.” (emphasis mine)
Always.. His word will ALWAYS produce fruit, it will NEVER return empty. Even in the times where I open up His word and it can “feel” so dry and empty… still His words are DOING something in my heart and working for His purposes… that is how powerful His word is. Not my words, not a great author or speakers words… only HIS words produce that kind of life and fruit.
Are His words your very life? Do you hunger for them in the way that the psalmist does? I do not like this season of life that I’m in right now, yet even as I write I’m realizing that it is a priviledge to be in a season of sorrow, of stress, where nothing brings me life like He does. To know Him like that, to know how He really is the only true giver of life and true joy… that is a great great gift.
If you want to know how to pray for us, I could give you a huge long list, but right now… pray that we would find life in the Lord and His word in far richer ways then we’ve ever known this season.