I sat in the garden, attempting to enjoy a blissful moment of peace in the relative cool of mid-morning. But even in a garden, thoughts wander – little niggling fears, doubts, suspicions, convictions steal into the solitude and beauty. In the span of a mere quarter of an hour, I had hurled accusations, attempted a defense, and then obtained a guilty verdict. Against myself.
So far in this calendar year we have had two of our four children marry, one graduate from college, another from high school. We moved from our large comfortable mini-ranch in the country to a smaller cozy home in the suburbs. My husband quit his business career of 26 years and entered into ministry. He is happily working at rebuilding that ministry, setting up a network to bring churches together with local ministries in the hopes of connecting resources with people – and vice versa – all to build the kingdom of Christ in our local community. (“What exactly IS it your husband does?”) Regular paychecks and health insurance are a thing of the past. Pets, and relationships with friends and family, have suffered and been lost.
It has been a crazy year for an introverted control freak like myself. I am exhausted! God has gently stretched me, loosened my grip, taken things out of my control, and taught me to trust Him. Completely. Well, almost completely. There are still days I wrestle with Him, not necessarily doubting His plan, but questioning His perfect timing and provision. Oops.
And then there are the days I wrestle with myself. Wondering how I could have been a better mom, wife, friend, daughter, sister. Beating myself up about past mistakes. Wondering if I am of any value. When will I learn?
Surrounded by the fragrant breezes and colorful blossoms, in my garden I am once again reminded of my Creator, and of my value to Him and IN Him. He refreshes my soul, restores my hope, redeems my past, and refills my joy. For though my life, and the world around me, has radically changed, and though relationships and people change, God never changes.
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” ~ James 1:17
God does not vary. He does not turn away from who He is or from what He has said. He is the great I AM. Always.
He has promised to be with me always (Matthew 28:20) and to never abandon me (Hebrews 13:5). His words are truth (John 17:17). He cannot lie (Titus 1:2). He is faithful to finish the work He has started (Philippians 1:6). In Him I am forgiven and washed clean (1 John 1:9). He makes all things new (2 Corinthians 5:17).
In God I know I can safely put my trust. And find rest. As David so perfectly stated in the well-known and beloved Psalm 23:
“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. 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. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever.”