"Celebrate Winter" that was the title of my devotion this morning. My first thought was to celebrate the beauty of winter: the snow, the crisp morning air, and the evergreens that stand so tall here in Washington. My thoughts couldn't be farther from what the writer of the devotion had in mind.
First I turned to the scripture that goes along with the title, Psalm 42. The first thing I noticed was a note I had written on July 16, 2004 - from Charles, so many times when I am struggling and once again today as Jamie returns to Iraq and JC's funeral. I immediately found myself back to that day. Feeling sad and anxious about Jamie going back to war. I had struggled so much in the previous months he was there, worry of would he return (he did on 3/11/05) and feelings of sadness about the loss of a dear friend and a friendship that had suffered over the previous two years (mine and Julie's, JC's daughter ~ another story in itself). I remember praying for Julie that day and my decision to stay away from the funeral out of respect for Julie. I heard later she had wondered if I would be there...
Psalm 42 is filled with questions regarding despair and hope. So many reminders that God is with me whenever, wherever and however I am doing.
...as the dear pants...so my soul pants
...my tears have been my food...men question "where is your God"
...these things I remember...how I shouted with joy and thanksgiving
...why am I downcast...put your hope in God
...deep calls to deep...when I read this I think of being overwhelmed, in so deep not even sure how to get out
...by day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me...
...I call unto God who is my Rock "why have you forgotten me?" and He replies "I am here my child"
...put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God!
words of reminder that God is with me, even in my greatest despair and hardest struggles. Never forget Alice, that God loves you and will never ever leave you! Thank you Lord for this strong reminder on this chilly morning.
So now as I think of "celebrating winter" I think of celebrating the dark days of depression (not wanting to be in those days but acknowledging they are a part of me), that even though some days are so difficult for me I can remember and remind myself that God is with me every step of the way and He will never leave me. Though I stumble and fall, He will pick me up again and again. Though my mind wanders to places of major despair he replaces those thoughts with memories of my dear children and delightful grandchildren - reasons to live and celebrate each and every day.
So I close with a thank you to the Lord this morning: thank you for the reminder that you are always near, that your love will never leave me and all I have to do is call on your name and you will be beside me.