Floyd has had some peaceful days this week. He’s had two "big events". He’s had a haircut! He was starting to look like a hippie again. :) We have a couple dear friends who go to the hospital and cut his hair every so often when needed. I'm very thankful for their loving care. He's looking very spiffy now!
And, he’s been moved to a new, larger room. It's lovely to have more space, and it'll be a help to the therapists working on him too. It's a sunny room, and he can look outside.
I have had some wonderful news this week. I had my PET scan. We've been very anxious to get an update on what is happening internally with the cancer. I'm happy to report that the scan results said I'm "all clear." There's no cancer head to toe! I was very relieved. Thank you Lord! Now I will do everything I can to keep it away. God has been rebuilding my strength, health, and energy. I'm so grateful.
There's been a verse ringing in my mind in recent days. "Be still and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10. I've been in a season of "being still" for 23 months now. I went very abruptly from our normal life - to the trauma of Floyd's sudden illness - to these long months of "aloneness." It was quite a dramatic shift.
There have been times in this long stillness when I've wanted more activity. And yet I've felt that God has ordained this season. I've come to realize that the "stillness" is what has helped me to survive! I've needed the peace and quiet to be with the Lord, to "recharge" my inner batteries, and to rest and get new energy.
I wonder if our modern world has gotten so busy that it's sometimes hard for us to "turn off" and be still with Him. It requires a simplicity that I've had to learn to walk in. The Lord has sweetly taught me to rest in Him, and find my fulfillment in Him not in what I'm doing for Him. There are some precious benefits that I've been learning about being still.
· There is a sweet peace that comes in the stillness. It's powerful! In some ways it's like a flood over my spirit, but it's so gentle that it doesn't feel in any way overwhelming. It's a "peace that passes understanding" (Philippians 4:7), and has enabled me to keep going in the midst of constant turmoil from all that has transpired on this journey.
· Being still has allowed me to fully focus on Him, not on the problems. I'm able to "cast my burdens on Him" (1 Peter 5:7), and then direct my heart fully towards Him. It becomes a precious time of fellowship with my loving Father.
· Being still allows times of prayer, worship, and reading the Word. I don't divide them up - they just seem to flow from one to the other, and interweave back and forth. I have come to be grateful for each one in new ways.
· All this allows me to hear His voice in the stillness without all the competing "noise" of my normal busyness. Hearing His voice speak into my heart and mind has become a precious treasure.
· Being still has brought a wonderful "gift" of allowing me time and quiet to process this journey, to reflect on what I'm learning and what God is saying. That's what I eventually share in my updates. Without this gift, I don't know if I could have survived this journey. God knew I would need this! He has given me the aloneness and stillness to help me.
· Being still also gives room for a re-energizing to replace all that has been drained away by the stress of the ups and downs of the journey. The ups and downs seemed daily at the beginning of this journey. It was so intense and hard on my emotions. The stillness allowed for refreshment and healing to come.
On a very practical level, I've learned to sit and take deep breaths. It's amazing how much that simple exercise helps! It helps to reduce stress, and bring calm to your body.
I realize that most of you will never go on a journey like mine. But I have a sense that God may want to bring some of the same benefits into your life by some times of being still in the midst of what you're walking through. The blessings of the stillness are so beautiful.
"Be silent, every living thing, in the presence of the Lord." Zechariah 2:13
"Truly my soul finds rest in God." Psalm 62:1
"They who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:31
"Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him." Psalm 62:5
"Listen to this, Job; stop and consider God's wonders." Job 37:14
"The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still." Exodus 14:14
I've thought of how many things have been done for the Lord from sickbeds and prison cells.......times of being still. Many of our classic devotionals have been written by saints going through these trials. I'm grateful for the blessings God has brought into my life during these months of stillness. How faithful He is!
"He will cover you with His feathers; you will take refuge under His wings. His faithfulness will be a protective shield." Psalm 91:4
I have read this verse so many times over the journey we've been on. I've pictured myself "tucked" under His wings and being covered with His feathers. I have thanked the Lord that His faithfulness has protected me, helped me, and carried me.
A few days ago one of our All Nations staff shared an amazing photo of a mother bird with 2 of her little chicks tucked under her wings. I've used it as the picture for this blog. I wish I knew what she was protecting them from. Whatever it was, she was on full "guard" duty. I love having a photo that captures what I've been praying for and thanking the Lord for. I imagine God's wings are huge! Lots of us can tuck in under them.
Tucked under His wings close to His heart, we can feel His heartbeat. God's heart beats with love and care for us. He wants to keep us from harm. In His "holy overshadowing" He wants to protect us.
All we have to do under His wings is rest while God is watching out for danger and protecting us. For the danger to get to us, it has to go through Him. The threat couldn't get to those baby chicks without first attacking the mother.
Under His wings, we're safe. Nothing can harm us. His wings are gentle in holding us, but they are strong in protecting us.
I read that when a mother bird senses danger, she doesn't swoop down and cover her chicks. She perches herself in a safe place, and calls them to her. They go running to her, and tuck under her wings. What a visual - that's what we need to do in hard times. Go running to our wonderful Lord!
It helps me to picture staying tucked in close to Him. I'm looking to Him to help see me through.
"Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him." Psalm 34:8
"Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings." Psalm 17:8
"How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! The children of men take refuge in the shadow of Your wings." Psalm 36:7
"Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me, for in You I take refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed." Psalm 57:1
"Let me dwell in Your tent forever! Let me take refuge under the shelter of Your wings!" Psalm 61:4
"For You have been my help, and in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy." Psalm 63:7
When the hard times come, when danger is threatening us in any way - I want to remember those little chicks, and go running to tuck myself under the Father's wings where we find shelter and refuge.