Not knowing what to do, as the deadline approaches, I’ve decided to write exactly how I feel at this moment, for I truly need the Lord to restore my soul, and lead me in paths of righteousness right now.
When I signed up to participate on Faithful Bloggers in the Group Writing Project on Psalm 23 and I chose verse 3 (“He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His Name’s sake”) I thought it would be so wonderful and envisioned pouring over the Scriptures and digging deeper into a chapter that has significant meaning for me. During recuperation from ovarian cancer, while undergoing chemotherapy, this was one of the few chapters of the Bible that I still could remember, or that meant anything to me. I thought about the verses, running over and over them in my mind.
Chemo Brain is No Excuse
Chemo has had one dismal effect on me, and that is my loss of memory, and thinking ability. Lately, I’ve been having especial difficulty with the inability to remember–virtually anything. After signing up to write on this verse, it was as if it had never happened. About two days ago, when I received a “reminder” email from Courtney of Faithful Bloggers, I began to read it with a puzzled look on my face, and then sudden dawning! Oh, no!! I’d totally forgotten about it!! How could I have forgotten?! Now I was faced with the fact that the weekend was completely filled with the arrival of my brother and nephew from out-of-state, and family gatherings, and 11 people at my home for dinner and spending the day and evening with us today. When everyone had left tonight earlier than I expected (about 8:30), I thought, “Thank you, Lord, it’s only 8:30 p.m. and you’ve given me time to write something, (though I’d prayed and prayed for wisdom on what to write and nothing was coming). My mind felt like mush and I was fighting falling asleep, but I was determined to use the time and write something! It might not be great, but I was not going to back out on a commitment!!
I made my husband some popcorn and while he sat at his laptop, I sat down–exhausted–to try to write. Two minutes later, my husband, obviously seeing an opportunity, began to talk to me about his ideas for plans for a trip in a couple of months, one which I’ve been begging to postpone (or at least postpone the planning of) because of all the company we’ve had this summer. I love to plan trips! I absolutely love to travel. But, I have felt so incapable of thinking about this trip until all our company is gone, and in my soul (one definition is “my mind, will and emotions,”) I have felt my brain lock up, my will stiffen and my emotions overrun. I sat listening to him talk, but I was quickly becoming overwhelmed. I’ve been trying to do a better job of showing him respect, and love, by encouraging his ideas, and vision for our family. Right now, though, my desire to meet my commitment, my exhaustion, and my frustration over this trip planning (which had not been going well,) but wanting to show respect to my husband at the same time, was bringing great conflict within me. Floodwaters rising fast within me and gasping for air, something horrible was imminently going to happen unless I found an escape route fast! I felt like I was going to explode. Pretty much, I did. That “conversation” not having gone well, my husband went to bed, and I sat in utter frustration, feeling even more of a failure. My mind unable to even think clearly, I sat and tried to understand what had just happened and what I was supposed to do. (“He leads me in paths of righteousness.”)
Wondering why the Lord had allowed all this to happen, and why He was not answering my prayer for insight, I considered just saying, “I can’t do it.” But, that just didn’t seem right. So, I tried to see what the Lord was trying to tell me. I have felt like such a failure lately. As a wife, I see so many ways I need to improve. As a woman, as a mom, as a housewife…well, let’s just say “inadequate” was an apt word to describe my feelings about myself lately. How could I write something profound when my soul was so empty. I’m on empty, and I’m supposed to write something to fill someone else’s tank? Not possible. Then I realized, God was giving me an opportunity to live it out. To show, rather than tell, Psalm 23:3.
We’re All Empty and Need God
Bringing my emptiness to Him, I acknowledged to Him (once more) that I can’t do it. I am inadequate. I am not able. I need Him so much! Right now, bringing my empty soul (mind, will, and emotions) to Him, He begins to fill me with a sense of His presence, and the knowledge of His love for me. He leads me to verses that comfort me and show me others in the Bible (many others) have felt the same way. In fact, in the Bible, no one was able. They all were “failures” in one way or another, at one time or another. They and I have one thing in common–we all have had to trust and rely on Christ.
Thinking on Scripture, He wraps His truth around my mind like a blanket. He reminds me that the reason I’m “undone” is that my physical body needs rest and sleep! He encourages me to try again tomorrow. He bathes my soul with the oil of His Spirit, wraps me in His love and tenderly hovers over me singing songs of love and encouragement. He exhorts me to ask forgiveness. He brings to my mind how others in the Bible have followed His ways, how they have made things right, how they have kept on following Him through difficult times, and trials, by laying before Him their problems, and obeying what He told them (one example from my reading yesterday morning is Hezekiah–read Isaiah 37-40) He shows me that He always answers my prayers. Even now, when I thought He wasn’t giving me any help or answer (for I truly heard nothing from Him) He was answering, and using my emptiness to speak to me.
He Restores My Soul
Restoration of my soul doesn’t happen overnight, or in a moment. It begins in a moment perhaps, but it is a healing. It takes time. My soul will be so much better after a good night’s sleep, for one thing. I must get the physical rest I need, and spend time in His Word. I must restore relationships by asking forgiveness, and He will show me where I’ve veered off the path, but then I must allow Him to bring me back to the “paths of righteousness”. When you’ve gone off track a ways, you sometimes lose time, but He can “restore the years the locusts have eaten.” He is absolutely faithful, and I must never forget that. He will restore my soul and lead me in paths of righteousness–for His Name’s sake.
I must never think it is about me. It is for “His Name’s sake.” His glory is at stake. I have to care more about His reputation than my own! Forgive me, Lord. I can get so introspective when my soul needs restoring. But, He will share His glory with no one. (“I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another.” Isaiah 42:8) “Thank You, Lord, that You are willing to use such a flawed vessel as me to bring You glory.” The restoration has begun, the next steps on the “paths of righteousness” (asking forgiveness, making things right, trusting Him more) are clear. He has shown the Light of His Word on my path. Psalm 119:105 (“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”) “From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the Lord’s Name is to be praised.” Psalm 113:3
Thank You, Lord, that You restore my soul and lead me in paths of righteousness for Your Name’s sake. I love You, Lord.
Thanks for reading Faith’s Firm Foundation!