What do you say when you are just slugging through the grind of medical issues and frequent discouragement?
And, though I haven’t posted a blog, I have privately journaled, pressing my words and thoughts into a pretty little notebook. The process of this part of my journey has taken me to depths of frustration and heights of joy. It’s been an up and down ride of very good days followed by very bad ones. There are many aspects of breast cancer that you don’t know about until you are in the middle of it. Annoyances, side effects from treatments, symptoms from drugs, sleepless nights…
Somehow by a miracle of grace, I am discovering God’s presence with me through it all.
Maybe like me, you are in the middle of something that you are processing. Perhaps you are waiting, longing for God in the middle. As for me, I’ve come up with one word to sum up my current learning curve: CHOICE.
We may not have full control over our circumstances, but we do get to choose how we will frame them and where we will focus our mind and heart. Psalm 84 has a few verses that mean more to me than ever:
“Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a place of springs…They go from strength to strength till each appears before God.” Psalm 84:5-7
The Valley of Baca represents the dry and desert places, otherwise known as the trials of this life. Here it says that those who have set their hearts on this sacred journey with God actually MAKE the dry times a place of springs. That’s right, the one with the dust in their teeth, the sweat of hardship on their brow, brings water to the desert place. It doesn’t say that they wait for the springs to come, but instead that in the middle of the heat they make it a place of abundance. Where we set our heart seems to be the key. With a heart set in the right direction we can go from strength to strength, even in the low valley’s of life.
But, rather than strength to strength, I often go from worry to worry, self-pity to self-pity, discouragement to discouragement.
I don’t want to settle anymore. I want to be a woman who goes from strength to strength. Don’t you? I don’t want to wait to sing the victory song when the victory is finally won. I want to learn to sing the notes of hope in the heat of the desert, where the spring rains seem impossible, and the problems are more than I can take. It all comes down to where I have set my heart. Is my heart set on the pilgrimage?
( Pilgrimage: an extended journey with a purpose, a sacred journey, a set apart road)
To “set” simply means to put into a particular position or place. When it comes to our thoughts it is good to think of putting our attitude in the position of lining up our mind and thoughts with God’s heart. Are we positioned to line up to the Truth of God’s Word ? Or are we positioned to line up with our feelings and the pain of our circumstance?
When I realize my life is sacred, set apart, on purpose, for God….life is different. Each day I am presented with a question, ” Debbie who will you choose today?” ” What will your choice be?” “Where will you set your heart?” ” Where will you find your strength?”
When I choose to focus on the will of God in the middle of all my problems, I begin to become strong too. My attitude changes as my thoughts line up with God’s way. The journey doesn’t seem half as bad when I realize it has purpose. To remember that my life is set apart by someone greater than myself is life giving.
Did you know your life is set apart by someone greater?
“In Him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will” Ephesians 1:11
He works out everything to conform with the purpose of his will! Are you in the desert waiting for some relief? God is with you my friend! He is working. What will you choose in the middle? Where will you set your heart? Where will you focus your mind?
Do you know someone struggling today? Perhaps you can stop now and say a prayer for them. Talking to God on their behalf is something you can start with. Reaching out to them in love, is another step you can take. People have very real problems that they are tired of bothering others with. Yes, in the problems, we all need to learn to sing the song of hope. Sometimes we just need someone else to lend us the tune and before long we are singing again, dancing in strength and watching our dry places become drenched in grace.
strength to strength,