This week (and many weeks lately, honestly) I have been overcome with how much beauty there is in life. I mean this world is just so achingly beautiful. I have literal aches in my heart because I don't know if I can stand the way I feel about things. And its just random things. Like this view out my classroom window. I love that bright red tree in the middle. I love the way my room is so high and I can look out and see the yellowing trees stretching for miles. I love the yellow brown prairie grasses that are everywhere round here. I love the grey clouds blanketing the early morning sky. I love the steam rising from the roofs. I love branches laid bare waiting for winter.
Today I saw the most perfect full moon over the hillsides as I was on my way to drop off Jude. So bright and full and I would have given anything to capture it. I could cause wrecks on a daily basis with all the shots I want to take of grassfields and sunrises. I really want to start carrying my good camera around and trying to take more pictures. But pictures or not, I am just so awed by the glory of each new day.
During my quiet time today, I read Joshua 10, Psalm 143 and 2 Thessalonians 2. I will touch on Thessalonians in a couple days since I will finish that book tomorrow morning. However, a couple verses in Psalm 143 really spoke to me today, and honestly Joshua 10 tied in to it. It's really interesting to me how often each chapter I read seems to flow together. God's amazing like that, ya know?
Psalm 143: 5, 7- You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living...
Set me free from my prison, that I may praise your name.
I am just amazed more and more each day by how very little I really need. The Lord is our portion in the land of the living. That means He is what we need on this earth. We are so quick to place high importance on people we love, things we love, places we love. But none of those things are our portion. And the reality is, if taken too seriously (ie worshipped) even the good things become our prison. I am so thankful each day that the Lord shows me how He is the only thing worth gaining. I feel so free from so many things.
The past 2 years of divorce and single parenthood have nothing short of a fight for freedom. The beautiful thing though, was it was never me fighting. It was always the Lord fighting these thoughts and feelings and people and everything for me. (see Joshua 10:25- do not be afraid, do not be discouraged. be strong and courageous. This is what the Lord will do to all the enemies you are going to fight.) He's freed me from so much- and still freeing me. There has been such joy in being freed from the need to be trendy, which has been the current prison. The freedom of self control. The freedom of not worrying as much about money. The freedom of being able to give to others more than before. The freedom of having my mind being directed to Christ every time I feel myself going down the familiar path of "I want". I really perceived that this cutting back the excesses was going to be a true 'sacrifice' on my part. And I guess, at the beginning, it was. But as I move forward, there is no sacrifice about it. Just joy. I love how Christ continually places the things I think I'm losing with more of Him, more joy.
Set me free from my prison that I may praise your name...
I was freed for a purpose. I was freed from marriage for a purpose. I was freed from worthlessness thoughts for a purpose. I was freed from materialism for a purpose. I was freed from discontent for a purpose. I was freed from codependence for a purpose. So many things. The question is what do I do with this freedom. I praise the Lord, my Redeemer, my Savior. Because the testimony of the redeemed has been the only thing that's ever changed the world in the first place.
I don't know where I'm going from here. But I know what I'm going to do. I'm going to praise the Lord. In the morning. When I'm doing cafeteria duty. When I'm telling students to sit on their pockets for the umpteenth time. When I'm smiling. When I'm listening to a story. When I'm having coffee. When I'm reading to Jude. Whenever and wherever. That is where my purpose is for that moment. Each second I have a purpose. Praise the one who set me free.