If King David blogged

The ladies’ Bible study I attend is watching a video series by Dr. Godfrey called Learning to Love the Psalms. Our last lesson taught about the peculiarities of Psalm 39, the last verse in particular: “Look away from me, that I may smile again, before I depart and am no more!”

Many times we hear of the psalmist asking God to turn His face toward him, but now David asks God to look away. He is overwhelmed and worn out. He doesn’t want to be disciplined right now. He can’t take the pressure. He’s done for the day. He wants to smile and be happy, but the things God is putting him through are hard. Really hard.

If King David blogged, Psalm 39 would be his overwhelm post. I’ve had plenty of those myself. Words run out because containing them is too difficult. Holding life together has become an impossibility. What God expects is more than I can do. I just want to rest and let someone else take the limelight. Concentrate on someone else for now, God. Don’t forget me, but don’t look at me right now.

I’ve been there. It’s good to know David has been there, too. It’s good to know that Psalm 40 comes next. Listen to this: “He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God” (40:3a). God brings us to the brink of impossibility, and then He puts praise toward Him in our hearts. That’s pretty good of God. I sure wouldn’t be able to praise Him without Him putting that praise there.

So, praise the Lord.

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An Afternoon Nap

An Afternoon Nap by Harry Mitten Wilson (1877-1923)

Sleep is a weird thing for me. I’ve had insomnia. I’ve had sleep with consistent nightmares. And sometimes I sleep just fine. Sometimes I love it; other times I dread it. Lately, I’ve been wanting to sleep, which I know is a sign that I want to skip as much awake life as I can. I do force myself to not go to bed right away. But last night I didn’t. I went to bed early and allowed myself to stay resting (if not actually asleep) until my normal get-up time. So if I’m still easily tipped off-kilter, at least I’m also well-rested. That must count for something.

Actually, I learned today that my real need is dealing with sin, not dealing with relationships or feelings. I knew that already, but it’s good to learn again. And Jesus already dealt with the sin and took care of my real need. So I’m good to go. Did you hear that brain? You’re good to go.

I like this painting for its beauty. It’s like she’s dreaming this sweet-smelling summer world, and she’s in it, too. Best of both worlds. She’s good to go. It could be a really ugly painting with dead flowers and storm clouds and whatnot, and maybe you couldn’t even tell that the girl was sleeping peacefully. Maybe she was really ugly, too. She could still be good to go, on the spiritual side. You never know by looking. Or feeling. But sometimes art is symbolic of spiritual things. If this one is, then perhaps she’s resting in a beautiful psalm, like Psalm 23, which my daughter is memorizing. “He makes me lie down in green pastures… He restores my soul.”

Morning Quiet Time

I am spending my morning quiet time writing to you. Normally I spend it in my room, but this morning the thought of being alone in my bedroom seems like a bad idea. I’m not handling life well this morning, and I’m hoping this little blog writing session will smooth out some of the wrinkles.

So what are some of my problems? Well, my son and I went to the dentist yesterday. My hygienist was extremely kind and understanding. She asked if I flossed, and when I said “Not often” she whispered, “Don’t worry; I have to ask that.” Eddie’s hygienist could have been the spokesperson for the American Dental Association. Hardly even a real human. None of my children have ever had cavities. I haven’t had a cavity in at least fifteen years. I make decisions like going to the dentist once a year instead of twice, and getting x-rays once every two years. Because dentists are super expensive, and we don’t have insurance for it. I kept putting off paying $50 at a crack for those sealants they put on the kids’ molars. That’s what really set off Miss ADA. She took a large picture of the tartar in my son’s back tooth and exclaimed about it as she showed it to me. She bullied me into agreeing to the sealants. She left and I started crying during Miss Understanding’s polishing routine.

You see, I never really know how we pay for anything. I know we’ve had a negative net income for at least two years (probably longer). I know my husband chooses which bills to pay and which to ignore. I know he comes home and stresses out over the cost of protein and how not feeding the cows protein is affecting the milk production. And all his expensive machinery breaks in expensive places. How do I even dare go to the dentist? How can we afford to eat? How am I going to justify buying Christmas presents this year? I have begun freelance writing online, but it’s not very lucrative, and honestly, I don’t have enough time to write as much as I should to actually make something substantial. So far I’ve written 14 posts and sold 1 for $9. That’s less than one-fifth of one of those sealants.

I want a budget. Except my husband is one of those fly by the seat of his pants sort of guys. Any budget designed by him would be irrelevant within a week.

The Bible says not to store up treasure on earth. But I want a savings account with something in it. We don’t even have that.

The Bible says look to the lilies. There are none. It’s October. (Yes, I’m purposely being stubborn here. I shouldn’t worry. God provides. I know that in my head, but right now I’m having a really hard time understanding why I shouldn’t worry about finances.)

Plus, I have church lunch this coming Sunday, a party my children would love to attend on Saturday, I have to bring snack to 45 homeschool co-op kids on Tuesday, and my Sunday School class of preschool and kindergartners just became three kids larger. Plus my sculpture project for Tuesday is dependent on my husband cutting some boards for me, which he has been talking about for months but hasn’t done yet. I should have told him, “No, I’m going to buy a handsaw and do it myself.” I really should have. I am really tired of being dependent on him. But what choice do I have? I have none. My business idea made nine dollars. And oh yes, I’m supposed to be teaching my kids. It’s Week 10 of our homeschool.

Okay. Morning quiet times need some sort of prayer in them. Dear Lord, I need help putting things in perspective. All this stuff I’ve written about is weighing me down, but it weighs less than a feather to You. You’ve died for my sin of not trusting. Please forgive me. I’m such a failure, and You’re such not a failure. Help me to be invisible so everyone else out there (the people who actually see me, and not just blog-world) sees You, not my stupid self. Thank You for caring enough to listen. In Your Name, Amen.

 

Fall

The following excerpt is from a prose poem by Robert Bly entitled “Fall” (1962). It reminds me of the farm I grew up on, which is vastly different from the farm I now live on (even though I’m only a quarter-mile northwest). The seasons always seemed a little more pronounced on my dad’s farm. Here a woods to the west of the house blocks parts of the world.

The dusk has come, a glow in the west, as if seen through the isinglass on old coal stoves, and the cows stand around the barn door; now the farmer looks up at the paling sky reminding him of death, and in the fields the bones of the corn rustle faintly in the last wind, and the half moon stands in the south.

Now the lights from barn windows can be seen through bare trees.

 

Song of Hiawatha

The rhythms of this narrative poem soothe me. I love reading this poem out loud. The imagery here is also beautiful, and if not soothing, then exquisite. Enjoy. Read it out loud. Or whisper it.

Can it be the sun descending
O’er the level plain of water?
Or the Red Swan floating, flying,
Wounded by the magic arrow,
Staining all the waves with crimson,
With the crimson of its life-blood,
Filling all the air with splendor,
With the splendor of its plumage?
Yes; it is the sun descending,
Sinking down into the water;
All the sky is stained with purple,
All the water flushed with crimson!
No; it is the Red Swan floating,
Diving down beneath the water;
To the sky its wings are lifted,
With its blood the waves are reddened!
Over it the Star of Evening
Melts and trembles through the purple,
Hangs suspended in the twilight.
No; it is a bead of wampum
On the robes of the Great Spirit
As he passes through the twilight,
Walks in silence through the heavens.

— from The Song of Hiawatha by Henry W. Longfellow, 1855

Day Away Home

Once upon a clear fall day a homeschool mom decided enough was enough. She was going on vacation. So she donned her favorite red and black plaid shirt, comfy jeans, put her hair up, and told her children to be good; she’d be right back. She went outside to feed the cats, got a good breath of cool air, and then she came back in. However, she did not come back home! She came to the Day Away Home (which is totally imaginary, but it just goes to show she spends much time around her daughters who play imaginary all the time).

Day Away Home itinerary:
Item 1. School. Even away from normality, one must be educated. Today happened to be science video day, which brought the class into the transition forests of the Great Lakes region. We looked up into the treetops and were thankful for the way God renews His earth.

Item 2. Streams to the River, River to the Sea by Scott O’Dell. Oh, we are enthralled with this story of Sacagawea. It is definitely a trip out west. An exploration. We were really horrified that the icky Frenchman won the Hand Game and so won Sacagawea as his wife, but we’re glad she could go with Lewis and Clark.

Item 3. Dinner. We ate food this mom enjoys but doesn’t often make: fried slices of ring bologna and mashed potatoes with pineapple on the side.

Item 4. Apple Orchard. A yearly trip to the orchard playground and store. A giant pumpkin stood in the front (was it real? was it a Cinderella coach?) A new castle structure added intrigue to the playground, and a certain nine-year-old boy who is usually bored with anything his sisters enjoy managed to entertain himself quite nicely.

Item 5. Leaf Maze. Aforementioned nine-year-old boy went to much effort to create an elaborate leaf maze in the Day Away Home backyard, complete with checkpoints and an entry sign-in sheet. Mother and sisters completed the maze and amazingly mother made it out without asking for directions!

Item 6. Games on the floor. Uno and Spot It! were the games of choice.

The day wound down, and I suppose I am no longer on my day away. But that’s okay. I have a good grown-up book waiting for me upstairs. 🙂

Nature’s Rest

Nature’s Rest by Robert Duncan (1952-present)

O Jesus, ever with us stay,
Make all our moments calm and bright;
Chase the dark night of sin away,
Shed o’er the world Thy holy light,
Shed o’er the world Thy holy light.

— last verse of “O Jesus, Joy of Loving Hearts” by William B. Bradbury (1816-1868)