Tuesday, February 12, 2013

First Love


 Zephaniah 3:17 The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

Do you ever feel utterly alone? Sometimes when depression sets in, either during illness or tragedy or turmoil, we automatically look for comfort from those with skin on. 
But those of us with skin on, in our humanness, are often so wrapped up in our own troubles, that when someone needs us, we're only half there. We don't feel we have time to stop everything and enter into someone's sorrow fully, though we may pray faithfully.
I am aware of this and have felt it from others, and I try to enter fully into others sorrow--to be Jesus with skin on for them. But alas, sometimes life is topsy-turvy here and I can't do it well. 
But I sincerely want to and I pray to get better at this. I think it is so precious.

God has been gracious to me, the lone Christian in my family clan, by providing e-mail relationships for me with three older women of faith. Their notes encourage me and make me feel loved, and we enjoy praying for each other.

Even the partner I have in the church nursery shares some of the pain of my daily life, in that she has a daughter with similar struggles as my Peter. Though we are the same age and have four children each, her youngest is 18 and mine is 4. So yes, there are differences, but there's that one shared sorrow and being able to share it even for a few minutes while we play with babies, helps both of us. And knowing the flavor of her troubles means that I pray faithfully for her and for her daughter, because I know the depth of the situation more so than others could.

And that is blessing.

And just this week I resumed contact--after I sent her a Christmas letter and picture--with a mom of three I worked with in California when I was a homeschooling facilitator. Her three children are in college now, and one of them has OCD badly enough that he has extreme difficulty taking the exams necessary for his nursing degree, though he's a highly competent student. The stress of the entire program has worsened his OCD and it's been difficult for his mother to watch.

This woman is 55 and her youngest is 18. She lives in Arizona and I live in Ohio. It can only be another e-mail relationship, but I often tell my husband...would I really have time to actually meet with anyone in the flesh? Not right now, for sure. God knows what I need and He puts together what will work.

God put our reunion together and I'm so grateful, for I've thought about her son four times this morning, and I've prayed each time for his peace and for the OCD to go away. And I've eagerly awaited another e-mail from his mother, who is a dear person with a gentle and quiet spirit.
It occurred to me today that she may have an empty nest in the next couple years, and during that transition she will need prayer, even though she may not know it yet.
I will be there, praying from afar, and that feels like such a privilege.

Our skin-on relationships are such a blessing.
And it's a big BUT.

Despite these grace-filled relationships that help me immensely, God still knows I need him more. I need to go to Him every day, but especially when my spirit is high or low, when I'm faltering, when I need direction and comfort.

I thought I had this flu and sinus infection thing beat yesterday (Monday). I woke up feeling decent for the first time in over a week. I cleared away clutter and worked on the laundry diligently, planning on doing the vacuuming and mopping in between school today.

But I was foolish. After doing the saline nasal rinse several times over the weekend, I didn't do it at all yesterday, since I was feeling better. The discomfort returned last night and I only slept about four hours.

Then today, my body feels like the flu all over again. A setback, just when I was so ready to resume my life and activities. Depression threatened to sink me, and I knew God was the only one who could help me.

I love to read this Zephaniah verse:
Zephaniah 3:17 The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. 
I'm so comforted by these words especially: he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love
The reminder that my Father rejoices over me, that he's glad he created me, that he desires to quiet my spirit with his unfailing love? This always heals me within. It's always my hope, answered.
We must go to Him often. He is our hope, answered. Our need, met. Our Father, in all perfection. He is what our souls long for, and until our souls get Him--enough of Him--they will not rest.
It takes greater effort to read the Bible when we're down. Depression can make it hard to concentrate. It's harder to care for ourselves and work smart when our spirits are so low.
And God knows that. The Words of Scripture penetrate deeper when our need is deeper. Simple words that before just seemed beautiful, will seem like life itself in our hour of need. That's what it means to say that the Word of God lives. It responds to our spirit's need. It penetrates the places of our heart that need growth, and comforts where there is pain.
Sometimes, God will purposely leave us without enough skin-on support. We might get on the phone and no one is home. We might send an e-mail and there's no response. 
This is just His intent, so we'll go to the one Source who always has time. The Source who always has an answer. The Source who always understands our inner turmoil. The Source who always leaves us richer, brighter, more joyful and full of peace.
 Give thanks for your support system with skin on, but never forsake your first love.
Mark 12:30
And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 


No comments: