"The thistle is a prickly flower, aye, but how it is sweetly worn."

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Lord is my Strength and my Song

"The Lord is my strength and my song;
he has become my salvation."
~ Exodus 15:2
I read this verse about a week ago during my quiet time.  I have always read through the Bible during my quiet times, and about the time I headed back to school I also landed myself once again in Exodus.  And because The Lord is sovereign over even my 'reading through the Bible', I could not have found a more ummm 'appropriate' time to land with the Israelites in the desert.
This school year is kicking my tail.  Maybe it was the fact that I spent the first 7 school days in the only room in the building with no AC, where it actually felt like the desert.  Actually, though, it's all these little things seem to have collided in my classroom to make something of a perfect storm.  Isn't it weird how rarely it's something majorly catastrophic, but more the daily little annoyances that add up and ultimately break us down? 
Needless to say, I'm honestly broken.  Everyday as I read about the Israelites struggles through the wilderness, I truly empathize and get it.  This verse above really convicted me when I read it.  It doesn't matter how many little annoyances stack up- even if they stack as high as the Red Sea.  I have a song to sing.  I've been redeemed, and I need to sing so! 
Of course, knowing I need to and actually choosing to do it in the moment are totally different things.  Right now, I'm not.  What I'm really doing is crying and trusting that the Lord will draw near the broken hearted. 
And of course He does.  He gives me just enough strength to keep going.  Even if it is truly just one day at a time.  My goals this year look a lot different this year.  (and let's be honest, thus far, I am failing miserably with my goals...)
1. Use a heck of a lot of JOY oil.  Heavens to Betsy- if this oil did not exist, I might lose my ever loving mind.  I am diffusing it all day every day.  I have a much easier time letting the frustrating moments roll off my back if I use it a lot.  What I need to do is train myself to stop when I am overwhelmed.... run straight to my Joy bottle... huff and apply...  Reallllyyyy need to get better about that.
2.  Use a lot of Release oil on the tense spots.  It amazes me how you can just feel tension in your body.  My lower back and shoulders are in knots by 3:00.  Release truly lives up to its name- the tension leaves me and I can feel it.  It's pretty amazing honestly because you can feel the difference so quickly.  I will never stop ceasing to be amazed by oils- thankful for them so much!
3. Never miss a quiet time.  Yes, I wake up at 4:30 each morning.  Some mornings I don't get my makeup on.  All mornings I eat breakfast on my way out the door.  But oh how beautiful are my minutes with The Lord in the still and the quiet.  He nourishes my soul in ways I can't explain.  I feel like I'm on survival mode- but survival mode isn't possible without Him!  I'm so thankful He is personal!  That early alarm clock is worth soo soo much more than an extra 30 minutes of sleep!
4.  I really, really, really need to get back on the 1000 gifts train.  I do add gifts each morning during my quiet time.  But I need to do more- I need to collect the gifts throughout my day.  Sigh.  Someone hold me accountable and text me during the day to ask what I'm thankful for!
5.  Let it go!  Let it go!  While I've gotten really good at letting my tears go and fall at will, I really need to let go of what I thought this year would look like and accept the reality.  Somewhere in all this, my reality is a gift.  Probably because I have prayed for The Lord to give me a gentle and quiet spirit of peace.  Which of course, only comes through trial.  Where your patience is tested.  So I guess what I'm really trying to say is that The Lord has answered my prayers :)  (It's amazing to me that I still pray God create virtues in me- even though I know that process is PainFul!)
6.  Take time to recharge.  I used to be married to my job.  But I know wearing me out doesn't do anyone any good.  This year I'm dedicating myself to not staying late.  (yes, there are days it's unavoidable... but by and large.... I choose life!)  And the truth is my mission is to love God, love Jimmy, love Jude, love my class- in that order.  A life with skewed priorities is going to fail eventually.
7.  Enjoy shared reading!  I don't love every part of my day.  But I love shared reading with big books with this class!  I sort of wish it was at the end of the day so I could look forward to it.  But- regardless, it is the best part of my day!  Viva la shared reading!
What are your tips for walking through the desert?  I need them!


Cherri said...

Ashley, I am sorry you're having a hard time. That desert is an awful place to be. I have many of those days these days because my sister is in the final days of ovarian cancer and I HATE what it's doing to her. But I have learned to do some things when I feel helpless and hopeless. I praise God. I thank Him out loud for His Son, His Spirit that is my best friend. I play Christian music 24-7. I write in my "frustration" journal. I literally write down the things I can do absolutely nothing about and release them to God. And I go outside and just sit in the sun or walk around this beautiful farm and pray to God, thanking Him for His blessings. Hope that helps. Your sharing gives me and any others a heads up that Satan is attacking you and my prayers are for him to leave you alone! Lift up your head, redemption draws nigh, as the old song goes!

ThistleAshD said...

I love love the idea of a release journal! I will definitely be incorporating that. Sometimes my mind fixates on being frustrated and I can't find the words to get to thanks. But I think a journal like that would help so so much! Thank you for your prayers as always!!!! I'm so sorry that your sister is suffering so much. Praying that y'all's time together will be filled with peace.

Dad said...

I'm not an expert on this, but . . .

One thing that has helped me is remembering (often) that whatever has taken me by surprise, or has left me wondering Why? or What? did NOT take God by surprise. He knew it was coming; He knew how it would hit me; and He is in conrol. Before, during, and after the "Event".

Love ya!

ThistleAshD said...

Thanks dad!!!! I need to remember that by the minute