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PRAYING YOUR TEARS (PSALMS 30, 31, 32)

“FOR THE BELIEVER, LIFE HOLDS

DEEPER SORROW AND DEEPER JOY.”

(TIM KELLER)

WE SEE OUR SIN

AND KNOW IT HAS BROKEN THE HEART OF GOD.

WE SEE THE BROKENNESS IN THE WORLD

AND KNOW IT ISN’T HOW THINGS ARE MEANT TO BE.

YET, HERE IS THE PROMISE

IF WE SOW OUR TEARS,

HE WILL TURN OUR MOURNING INTO DANCING

MOURNINGINTODANCING526606_10151556780431469_1376690455_n

HE WILL REMIND US THAT OUR TIMES ARE IN HIS HAND,

Psalm31-15HE WILL REMIND US WHAT HE HAS STORED UP FOR US,

psalm31_19AND THAT, NO MATTER HOW DEEP OUR SIN,

FORGIVENESS IS GIVEN.

psalm325

HE, INDEED, IS OUR HIDING PLACE

AND HE WILL SURROUND OUR HEART

WITH SONGS OF DELIVERANCE.

All three psalms deal with the believer’s deeper sorrow and deeper joy. What we must learn is how to pray our sorrows, to sow our tears. Amazingly, our tears, when prayed, can actually reap a harvest of joy. And the sermon we will hear this week is one of my top three favorite Keller sermons — I’ve listened to it at least a dozen times. It’s actually on psalm 126, but has the same theme as these three psalms.

p126-sow-sheavesSunday Icebreaker

1. What stands out to you from the above and why?

2. Do you agree with Keller’s opening quote that the believer experiences deeper sorrow and deeper joy? If so, explain a specific way you have seen that in your life.

Monday: Psalm 30. Joy comes in the morning.

On an earthly level, David is out of the caves of Abdullum and into his own home. He is also anticipating, finally, the building of the temple. His earthly sorrow has been turned to joy. But it is also important to see that David and the temple are types pointing to Christ.

3. Read Psalm 30:1-5 aloud and then answer:

    A. What praise do you find in these verses?

    B. In verses 1-5, how can you see Christ and both the crucifixion and resurrection?

    C. In these verses you can also see how sorrow can actually produce joy. Find it, if you can.

    D. 2 Corinthians 4:17 gives another clue as to how sorrow can actually produce joy. Find it, if you can.

    E. Thank God for how He turned Christ’s sorrow into joy and what it also means for you.

4. Read Psalm 30:6-12 aloud and then answer:

    A. At first I saw primarily David in these verses, but Patrick Reardon points out that in Gethsemane, Jesus did ask that he could be spared “this cup.” How might phrases from this passage illustrate that?

    B. Think of something you asked the Lord to spare you from and He did not. Though you may not yet see the end of the story, what confident hope do you have because of God’s promises?

    C. Thank God for His promises in this situation and ask Him to help you cling to them and remember them.

Tuesday-Wednesday: Psalm 31: My life is spent with sorrow

This is a lament, and we see it in the words of Job, Jonah, Jeremiah, and Jesus. We can quote it too, when we lament. The lament is the way to stay close to God when you don’t see the end of the story, when He has not yet turned your mourning into dancing. You are honest with God, telling him how your truly feel. That opens the way for dialogue. In most of the psalms of lament as is true in this one, it ends with a resolution to praise and trust the Lord despite the fact that the psalmist is still waiting.

5. Take either Job or Jeremiah, if you can, and describe their sorrows.

6. Read Psalm 31 in its entirety and find a passage that illustrates:

    A. The psalmist’s trust in God

    B. The psalmist’s longing for God to hear him

    C. The psalmist’s pain and feeling of being forgotten

    D. The psalmist’s resolve to trust the Lord

Verse 15 reminds me of a song Kathy Troccoli wrote that has always ministered to me. I remember Kathy singing this to Steve in our home during his illness — Steve in his chair, eyes closed. Him thanking her gently afterwards.

    E. How can verse 14 minister to you when God is doing things as you hoped?

    F. The psalmist, in verse 22 remembers another time when he felt forgotten, yet God came. Can you remember a time like that in your life so you can use it to speak to your soul?

7. Whatever pain you are going through right now, lament, using this psalm to help you pray your tears.

8. Read Psalm 31 in its entirety and if any part of this lament quickens you, stop and meditate. Share here.

Thursday: Psalm 32: Tears of Repentance

confession-and-the-transparent-life-jpegI think a big reason that this blog ministers is your transparency. Being real with one another and with God — not pretending to have it all together when we don’t — but then also, truly repenting. The U-Turn.

9. Read Psalm 32:1-4 and list reasons why it is important to keep short accounts with the Lord.

10. How do you make a habit of confession?

11. Read Psalm 32:5-7 and list the blessings of sincere repentance.

12. Listen to Sara Groves sing “Hiding Place” above and then, in prayer:

A. Confess the ways you are broken

B. Recall the Words He has spoken that show His love for you

C. Allow Him to fill your heart with songs of deliverance

13. Read Psalm 32:8-9 and find the promise and condition.

14. Come to Him now with a problem in your life and let Him teach you. Be still and listen –have a play-dough heart.

15. How does this psalm end?

Friday: Keller free sermon: Praying your Tears (This is actually on Psalm 126, but a similar theme to Psalms 30, 31, and 32): LINK

16. Share your notes and thoughts.

Saturday:

17. What’s your take-a-way and why?

 

 

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361 comments

  1. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why? 
    So much! The girl doing a grand jete! ” You turned my mourning into dancing”, Sara Groves song lyrics, ” You are always for me”, And Psalm 31:19. It is only He who could have turned my mourning of infertility into dancing. He is always for me. And we know any move of God, it was better than we ever imagined. For one who never had adoption on her radar, is now overly excited about the notion that dances in and out of her mind all day. Please let me continue to take refuge in Him and  fear Him as I discover the goodness He has stored up.
    2. Do you agree with Keller’s opening quote that the believer experiences deeper sorrow and deeper joy? If so, explain a specific way you have seen that in your life.
    Knowing children are a gift from the Lord and His desire for us to fill the earth…. Hoping, but yet not knowing, if I will ever have a child with my husband’s smile or green eyes….Having thoughts of ” Did I upset my heavenly Father? Is there something I did or didn’t do? ” Yes,  those thoughts have brought me deep sorrow. The thought that my sins took him to the cross. Deep sorrow. If you don’t understand the pain and suffering of Jesus, one might be sad, but not sure the depth of that sadness. And I DEFINILTY  know the joy I experience because He is my savior. This joy is far greater than any joy I had before He saved me. After experiencing trials throughout my life I know that my ability to have joy through those trials is only because I know the love of Christ.

     
     

  2. 6. Read Psalm 31 in its entirety and find a passage that illustrates:
    A. The psalmist’s trust in God   Into your hand I commit my spirit (v. 5)
    B. The psalmist’s longing for God to hear him   Incline your ear to me (v. 2)
    C. The psalmist’s pain and feeling of being forgotten  Because of all my adversaries I have become a reproach, especially to my neighbors, and an object of dread to my acquaintances; those who see me in the street flee from me. I have been forgotten like one who is dead; (vs 11-12)
       
    D. The psalmist’s resolve to trust the Lord   But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hand. (vs 14-15)
     

  3.  
    Sorry if this posts 2x. I’m having issues with my computer.
    1. What stands out to you from the above and why? 
    So much! The girl doing a grand jete – “You turned my mourning into dancing”, Sara Groves song lyrics, ” You are always for me”, And Psalm 31:19. It is only He who could have turned my mourning of infertility into dancing. He is always for me. And we know any move of God, is always better than we ever imagined. For one who never had adoption on her radar, is now overly excited about the notion that dances in and out of her mind all day. May I continue to take refuge in Him and fear Him as I discover the goodness He has stored up.
    2. Do you agree with Keller’s opening quote that the believer experiences deeper sorrow and deeper joy? If so, explain a specific way you have seen that in your life.
     
    Knowing children are a gift from the Lord and His desire for us to fill the earth…. Hoping, but yet not knowing, if I will ever have a child with my husband’s smile or green eyes….Having thoughts, “Did I upset my heavenly Father? Is there something I did or didn’t do? ” Yes, those thoughts have brought me deep sorrow. The thought that my sins took him to the cross. Deep sorrow. If you don’t understand the pain and suffering of Jesus, one might be sad, but not sure the depth of that sadness. And I DEFINILTY  know the joy I experience because He is my savior. This joy is far greater than any joy I had before He saved me. After experiencing trials throughout my life, I know that my ability to have joy through those trials is only because I know the love of Christ.
     
     
     

    1. Sweet Natalie, you know you got my tears on your last paragraph…could have been my journal 10 years ago. I am praying that you CLING TO THE TRUTH–trust in God’s character, it never changes. He promises that He has forgiven our sin, He is not punishing You. He promises He has a plan–and it is good. He likes to be creative (that’s what I tell my kids about our family!) You are precious to Him. And just a side note…I too had the same prayer–will I ever have a child with my husband’s green eyes? And he wanted a child with my curly hair….and though my kids came from my heart and not my womb, our first child is a curly-haired green eyed gift 🙂
      prayers for you sister~

      1. Oh Elizabeth….I didn’t know that about your 1st child…how precious a gift from God….for both your children!

        Prayers for you too Natalie

      2. Oh Natalie & Elizabeth…you BOTH got my tears – good tears that remind me of God’s faithfulness in the midst of a similar situation. My journal entries are only 1-2 years old, but WOW, God has completely changed my perspective and has given me new dreams to replace the shattered ones. Although I’ve been away again for some time from the blog, I think this is a great chance to go back to re-visit my very intense laments of the past several years. I’m praying for you too, Natalie!

  4. 5. Take either Job or Jeremiah, if you can, and describe their sorrows.
     
    I thought it might be more of a challenge to choose Jeremiah, as I have spent more time on Job.  Jeremiah had a good many sorrows: 
    (1) His audiences were most often antagonistic or apathetic.  When he wasn’t ignored, his life was threatened. He served as God’s spokesman to Judah for 40 years.
    (2) He experienced times when Judah showed signs of spiritual awakening only to see the nation switch back to idolatry.   His ministry spanned the reigns of five different kings, and all led the people away from God except King Josiah.  
    (3)  He saw many of his fellow prophets murdered.   Jeremiah remained faithful despsite his frustrations and discouragement.   
    (4)  He watched Judah’s defeat at the hands of the Babylonians  (bringing God’s judgment which was followed by God’s mercy).   Jeremiah responded to all of this with God’s message and with his own personal tears.  
     
    6. Read Psalm 31 in its entirety and find a passage that illustrates:
        A. The psalmist’s trust in God
     
    “You are my rock and my fortress…” (vs. 3)
    “Into your hands I commit my spirit;” (vs. 5)
    “I trust in the Lord.”  (vs 6b)
    “You have set my feet in a spacious place.” (vs. 8)
    “But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, ‘You are my God.'”  (vs. 14)
    “Praise be to the Lord, for he showed his wonderful love to me when I was in a besieged city.”  (vs 21)

        B. The psalmist’s longing for God to hear him
     
    “Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue;”  (vs. 2)
    “Free me from the trap that is set for me, for you are my refuge.”  (vs. 4)
    “Be merciful to me, O Lord, for I am in distress….”  (vs. 9)
    “Let your face shine on your servant;” (vs. 16)
     
        C. The psalmist’s pain and feeling of being forgotten
     
    My eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and my body with grief.”  (vs. 9b)
    “My life is consumed by anguish and my tears by groaning; my strength fails because of my affliction and my bones grow weak.” (vs) 10
    “I am forgotten by them as though I were dead; I have become like broken pottery.”  (vs. 12)
    “In my alarm I said, ‘I am cut off from our sight!'” (vs. 22)
     
        D. The psalmist’s resolve to trust the Lord
     
    “In you, O lord, I have taken refuge…” (vs. 1)
    “I trust in the Lord.”  (vs. 6b)
    “But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, ‘You are my God.'” (vs. 14)
    “The Lord preserves the faithful…” (vs. 23a)

    1. Thank you Deanna, for that short, concise summary of Jeremiah.

  5. 5. Take either Job or Jeremiah, if you can, and describe their sorrows.
    I thought I would try Jeremiah, but I got a bit overwhelmed by what all I don’t know, and I am short on time this week. Renee and Deanna did a great job, here is my very weak attempt. God used Jeremiah to deliver his judgment against Judah for their sin of idolatry. He warned Jeremiah (1:17-18) that it would not be easy. Jeremiah was imprisoned, persecuted, beaten. They did not listen to him. (Jer. 17:23) “Yet they did not listen or incline their ear, but stiffened their neck, that they might not hear and receive instruction.” And wanted to kill him. Even his close friends were waiting for him to fail (20:10). He was not allowed to go into the temple (36:5) He was thrown into the cistern.
     
    6. Read Psalm 31 in its entirety and find a passage that illustrates:
        A. The psalmist’s trust in God:
    Hard to choose, but what speaks loudest to me, is “You take me out of the net they have hidden for me, for you are my refuge”—something about the net, its almost like a brick wall of Renee’s post—I can create an entrapping “net” in my own attempt at security—and it doesn’t work, it doesn’t feel good—but still, its scary to think of being loose from it. So for the psalmist to allow God to take him out of the net, and to commit himself into His hands—requires great trust.
        B. The psalmist’s longing for God to hear him:
    “Incline your ear to me; rescue me speedily!”
        C. The psalmist’s pain and feeling of being forgotten:
     
    Wow, this brought tears “I had said in my alarm,“I am cut off from your sight.””. I think it helps me to know the psalmist has felt it too.
       
    D. The psalmist’s resolve to trust the Lord:“But you heard the voice of my pleas for mercy when I cried to you for help….Love the Lord…Be strong…wait for the Lord”
        E. How can verse 14 minister to you when God is doing things as you hoped?
    This reminds me of the Garden and the Cup. To turn my thoughts “but…”, declare my trust, and remember that He is God, not my will but His be done. Very hard to say in the midst of pain—but I know it is the only answer—the only way to step forward. I’m just not always ready to step.

        F. The psalmist, in verse 22 remembers another time when he felt forgotten, yet God came. Can you remember a time like that in your life so you can use it to speak to your soul?
     
    A time I felt forgotten-yes, much comes to mind, too much really to share here, but it is a significant part of my “story”. And then He came. Abundantly. Actually I can see not He was always there.

    Sometimes a light surprises
    The Christian while he sings;
    It is the Lord who rises
    With healing in His wings:
    When comforts are declining,
    He grants the soul again
    A season of clear shining,
    To cheer it after the rain.
    ~Indelible Grace

  6. 7. Whatever pain you are going through right now, lament, using this psalm to help you pray your tears.
    This is hard, Dee!
    Lord, I would usually say my pain now is a current relationship—but I feel You calling me to go deeper here today. I am hesitant. But the pain isn’t in that relationship, it is in me. The question that swirls my mind—will I ever be ____ enough? A million different things fill in the blank depending on the hour, the circumstances. I fear failure so much that many things (like cooking!) I don’t even really try. Better to not try very hard and be mediocre than really try, and fail. I am comfortable in my B+ self. I don’t really want to excel, the attention is too much, but I don’t want to fail. That is where I sit. It is my safe place, I have tried to make it my refuge—don’t try too hard or you may succeed and get too much attention, or you will disappoint, and that will sting. I live in this “safe zone” in most areas I can think of, including relationships. If I enter in, I feel fragile, vulnerable, exposed and I don’t like the feeling. I confess that at the root I think is approval, yes. I want to be ___ enough, and yet You have made me weak. You have made me a breakable jar of clay—mold-able, shape-able, but fragile. You say that this is how You can best use me. You have given me the treasure of the Gospel and Lord I want to live it—but my fears cause me to want to plaster something over the clay… Oh Lord, help my unbelief, help me to trust You more. Take my heart Lord and let it be, ever only all for Thee.

    1. Elizabeth,   Ditto –  “This is hard, Dee!”  (and a relief, too)
       
      You hit the nail on the head (except cooking isn’t near the top of my list!):  

      I fear failure so much that many things (like cooking!) I don’t even really try. Better to not try very hard and be mediocre than really try, and fail. I am comfortable in my B+ self. I don’t really want to excel, the attention is too much, but I don’t want to fail.

    2. Elizabeth..
       
      I pray your prayer for you….but the Lord loves you just like you are…and as I see you too….

      .gracious and beautiful…inside and out.
       
      By the way……..
      HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!
       
       

      1. Thank you so much Joyce–how did you remember that?! I don’t even have it entered on FB–you’re amazing. Love you too and still praying for your sleep 🙂
        And happy birthday to Jill!

        1. Happy Happy HAPPY Birthday Elizabeth!!!! I hope your day is as beautiful as you are. I Love you my dear kindred friend. I am so grateful for you. You are so full of His beauty-for you love so well and I love that we can share our hearts..and in the end turning each other’s face to Him–YOU are a gift to me-so glad you were born. :)))

      2. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Elizabeth! and HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Jill!   So thankful for both of you and glad you are here. 

        1. Since suddenly everyone is having birthdays……(and someone knows these things!)…..I might have to add that Renee (with or without the gravatar) had a birthday 10 days ago…… 🙂  I was there to celebrate it.  Thus it is so!  

    3. Just to comment on Elizabeth’s lament- You are so open and honest and touch me in a vulnerable spot. this root of approval is such a weed in my life. I also want to be in that “safe zone”. I do fear failure and ask God to help me to trust more. as that dear hymn says, “Take my heart and let it be, ever only all for Thee.” Thanks, Elizabeth

      1. Thank you Shirley–I’ll be praying for you too to be set free~

    4. Amen, Elizabeth…that “not good enough” ploy of the evil one is wicked.  I can relate, believe me…still working to replace that stinkin’ approval/affirmation idol that rears it’s ugly head from time to time.
       
      Happy belated birthday, Renee, Elizabeth and Jill!

  7. E. How can verse 14 minister to you when God is doing things as you hoped?Turning to God, acknowledging that I trust him, and saying “You are MY GOD” increases my confidence that He is good & He is in control.  Looking to Him & seeing who He is changes my perspective, changes me.  This might even be more important when God is doing things as I hoped because then I’m more likely to forget that I NEED Him.  When life is a pain and I know I can’t do anything to alter the situations, I feel helpless enough to turn to Him.
        F. The psalmist, in verse 22 remembers another time when he felt forgotten, yet God came. Can you remember a time like that in your life so you can use it to speak to your soul?
         Yes!   Sometimes I love yes/no questions 😉

  8. 5. Take either Job or Jeremiah, if you can, and describe their sorrows.
     A few years ago I wrote Lamentations 3:19-25 (the ‘great is your faithfulness passage’) on the caringbridge site of a young woman with cancer and enormous physical hurdles.  I wrote that its author, Jeremiah, was known as the weeping prophet and yet, his trust was in God’s faithfulness.
     
     Then I thought….hmmm.  I better read Jeremiah and see if I know what I’m talking about.  So I did.  And I took it slow and read a lot of commentary and made copious notes in my Bible margins.  I did this over a year’s time.  (wasn’t the only Bible reading I did that year…but I kept coming back to it.)  It’s a hard book to read.  Not only is it the longest…..but I thought, maybe the saddest.  And there is a lot that I don’t understand.  My learning was by no means conclusive but here’s some of what Jeremiah’s sorrow was all about:  
     
    He mourned and wept for his people….his wounded, crushed and backslidden people.  (The NIV uses ‘backslidden’ a lot.  I had always thought that was a term made up by the ‘revival’ preachers I grew up with 🙂 )  Jeremiah was described as being anguished of spirit.  (4:19, 9:1, 10:19,20, 23:9).     He wept openly because of the sin and the judgement of his people.  9:1, 10.  So maybe Keller’s premise is really true here.  Jeremiah felt a greater sorrow than one who didn’t know and honor the living God.    He carried in his heart the burden for a lost people.  He pleads with the Lord for his people and surprisingly  (I have many ? marks in my margins)…. God told him to stop praying for them.  He said in 14:11-12 ‘do not pray for the welfare of this people’.  and in 14:10….’the Lord does not accept this people’ .. and in 15:1,2…’the Lord’s heart does not go out to this people.  Send them away.”  This is way too sad!  Jeremiah must have felt completely torn up inside.  I got rather depressed reading the book.   BUT as we must believe.  God is loving and sovereign.  I don’t understand.  I surely don’t.  As I don’t understand so many of my own sorrows.  Yet….Jeremiah continually affirmed his commissioning as a prophet.  (3:12,  7:2, 27,28)  and he was resolute and fearless in his service to God.  
     
    He also wrote much about the restoration.  The new and everlasting covenant.  The healing of his people.  (Chapters 30-33)  The renewal (24:6,7)  God’s compassion (Ch. 42)  and our Redeemer (50:34).  God’s control.  The clay in the hands of the potter. (ch. 18)   He wrote that mourning would be turned into dancing!  (31:13) Imagine that!  Perhaps our man, Jeremiah read the Psalter….the work of the Psalmists… or vice versa?   

  9. 7. Whatever pain you are going through right now, lament, using this psalm to help you pray your tears.  
    Oh Lord, you have known me and protected me since before I was born.  Thank you for having your hands around me my whole life.  Hear me now.  Some things in the past seem too painful or too much work to think or talk about, yet I can’t seem to ignore recent reminders.  I don’t know why I born prone to some weaknesses.  I could blame genetics, but I know you are in control; you could have arranged the genes differently.  You formed me in my mother’s womb.  God, I’ve never wondered “why?” for circumstances; it hurts so much to think about them.  I don’t wonder why at all anymore, but the pain and reminders of the pain still come back.  You know the betrayal, the lies, the shame; I’m feeling it all now.  Even the battle today, thinking about the word “transparent” — You see my many ways of hiding both when transparency seems too difficult & “fake” is not an option; even when I’m hiding from others, I know you are my refuge.  I am like a broken vessel, glued together with water-soluble glue, and the tears and the storms are breaking me again.  You, my God, are faithful in my brokenness and your love is steadfast.  I can count on you.  “O LORD, let me not be put to shame, for I call upon you; let the wicked be put to shame.” Remind me that you are in control and prevent me from manipulating situations so that I attempt to put the wicked to shame. God, you are so good. I praise you for who you are and for loving me. Let my heart take courage because I see you. May you be honored. In Jesus’ name.

    FYI: I was feeling more vulnerable last week and this week, and one of my attempts to hide was removing the gravatar. It does sound nuts, but neither that bright dolphin or my pic seemed like good options. This afternoon I decided that the gray silhouette that shows up when we don’t use an avatar is a good example of transparency: My gravatar is so transparent, you can see right through it 😉

    1. This is beautiful Renee. And I have to tell you, I too understand that vulnerable feeling that made you want to remove your gravatar. As I was typing my last answer, and contemplating the rest of these increasingly exposing questions (!), I thought–‘hey, maybe if I changed to a code name and removed my picture, I could share more…’ still thinking about it!

      1. Great idea to switch to a code name 😛

        1. Now we’ll never know it’s you!  Or is it?  We all need secret decoder rings and we could all go incognito!

        2. Wanda-ha! Secret decoder rings.. :))

      2. Renee and Elizabeth-me too..on the last question I gave some detail then erased it and made it more generic but even then I thought-I need to be careful what I put out there..I also desire to post every week Dee’s blog study on my Facebook wall but hesitate because sometimes I say things on here I don’t want my dad or someone else on my f.b. coming here to read. I know that sounds selfish but..I do like the gravatars and the names-it helps me to put the thoughts with the person also it helps when praying..so it would be strange otherwise-yet I am with both of you. 🙂

        1. My code name could be S.A. (for secret agent) ..I could even put on a hat and sunglasses and put that up as my gravatar. Hmmmmm….

    2. I prefer your pretty smile sweet Renee.

  10. Removing the gravatar isn’t nuts.  I’ve thought about it this week too.  Beautiful prayer, Renee.  

  11.  
        F. The psalmist, in verse 22 remembers another time when he felt forgotten, yet God came. Can you remember a time like that in your life so you can use it to speak to your soul?   
    I have a very specific example of when I felt very forgotten.  It was what precipitated finding a Christian counselor to help me get through some of my pain.  But (see below) I can’t disclose the nature of it.  God did come.  It is still an ongoing struggle though.  I will need to work on this silently.  And I do need to speak to my soul…..for there is much pain there tonight.  
    7. Whatever pain you are going through right now, lament, using this psalm to help you pray your tears.
     
     Lately, I have just realized the broad scope of readership this blog has and I have this gut feeling that I must say less about my personal circumstances.  My pain and struggles are so entwined with the lives of those I love and I have to respect privacy.  I’m a talker and a detail person.  I’m not good at being vague so I’m still wrestling with how to proceed.   My biggest hurts are struggles in which I need to be more silent.  Very hard for me to do.  I don’t wear a mask well at all.   Had I thought this through when I began, I may have come up with a psuedonym and faked a photo……Now I wonder?   Anyway…..my lament will be a private one today.  
     
     

    1. Wanda I identify with your number 7 so well! 
      “I’m a talker and a detail person.  I’m not good at being vague …” And, I too, don’t wear a mask well. You should go back to several years ago when I just started posting. My life is “out there.” Oh well, it is who I am. I also think it helps us to know one another better so we can pray for each other with more authenticity. I understand when things get too private however, and hope the reflection tonight helps you through the pain. I will pray for that for you.
       

    2. Wanda..
      Praying for you private lament for you too.

  12. 4. Read Psalm 30:6-12 aloud and then answer:
        A. At first I saw primarily David in these verses, but Patrick Reardon points out that in Gethsemane, Jesus did ask that he could be spared “this cup.” How might phrases from this passage illustrate that?
    “Hear, Lord, and be merciful to me; Lord, be my help.” (Psalm 30:10 NIV)
     
    and
     
    “You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. Lord my God, I will praise you forever.” (Psalm 30:11, 12 NIV)
     
        B. Think of something you asked the Lord to spare you from and He did not. Though you may not yet see the end of the story, what confident hope do you have because of God’s promises?
     
    I do not know where my daughter will end up in her life. For the third time we moved her (in February) and she is having landlord troubles again. She is black and white in her thinking, so it is difficult to explain gray. I am trying to let her take care of the issues mostly on her own because she will not always have us to help her. It is hard. Do I tell the landlord of her intelligence/disability? Or, do I allow her to manage on her own and wherever the cards fall….? I don’t understand why God won’t step in; or maybe He has. I know He loves her and He understands her throughly. After 22 years I can’t say I “get” her. Feels like I’m a failure often, but I am doing the best I can. So, with all of that said, I must just have faith. I have looked for specific passages about raising teenage children in the bible and haven’t come up with too much. However, it does say that I should be patient and wait on The Lord. It says I should love everyone (that includes Sarah even when I feel like lashing back at her when she is rude to me). It says that He has plans for us (even though that might be 70 years….), etc. I just have to live the life the wants me to and stop worrying about her. She will find her way, although it might not be the way I choose for her.
     
        C. Thank God for His promises in this situation and ask Him to help you cling to them and remember them.
     
    Dear Lord please help me! Thank You for being with me in awful times and good times; I know You are near. Protect Sarah in that awful, big city, as You already have all these months. Help Sarah to realize others exist and she has to learn to communicate with them. Lord please bring a Christian into her life who will be kind to her. Open Sarah’s heart to want to be around good people who have good, clean lives.  I know these are my ideas of a good life for Sarah. You may have other plans. I may never know the outcome or the “why,” (like Job – although You did basically put him in his place because he questioned You) and that is ok. I trust You know best. I have child-like faith Lord. Thank You! Amen.

    1. Oh Laura. ..Sarah has come a long way in the last two years. ..maybe God is leading her  in the right direction slowly…at his pace.  Makes it so hard for you. ..we don’t want our children to have hard times…but that’s how God is teaching them….so they learn:(
       
      .I pray do

      1. Thanks Joyce. 

  13.    E. How can verse 14 minister to you when God is doing things as you hoped?
     
    Verse 14 states “But I trust in you, O Lord,  I say  ‘You are my God'”    I’m not 100% sure this is possible, but I want to say that during the times when God is doing things as I had hoped,  I can store up trust in my heart, so that in the tough times (when I’m not so sure about God’s support) I can remember these “good” times and have faith that God is still with me and is seeing to my benefit.    I think I do make an effort to do that.  However, frequently when I am suddenly thrust into a tough situation, I will still panic!     I think “Where did God go?” or “What did I do to displease Him that brought this on to me now?”     If I say “You are my God,” that is not a limited affirmation  (it is always, not sometimes).  I don’t know why that isn’t always my first response.

        F. The psalmist, in verse 22 remembers another time when he felt forgotten, yet God came. Can you remember a time like that in your life so you can use it to speak to your soul?     
     
    Just a couple of weeks ago,  I was getting ready for bed when I noticed a small blood stain on my clothing.   Where did that come from?    Then I discovered that it was coming from a small skin lesion that I had noticed for almost a year.   When I first noticed it, I compared it to a photo in a medical book, which indicated it was nothing to be worried about.   I had virtually forgotten about it.   Now suddenly it is bleeding — not a good sign at all!   I’m ashamed to say I panicked.   “Oh, no, I must have been wrong in my diagnosis — perhaps it was melanoma.  Oh, how could God let something like this happen to me?”   I wondered for which of my sins  I was being punished — I could think of some possibilities!    Then matters got worse.  When I called my usual dermatologist’s office, I was informed they couldn’t see me until late September.   I hung up  the phone in despair.   “My goodness, if it is melanoma, I would be too far gone by the time I could get it diagnosed!”   I felt God was not helping me one bit at this point!    Then I remembered that one of my nieces works for a different dermatologist.   So I called that office and evoked the name of my niece (“I’m Brooke’s aunt”) , and I got an appointment that same day!   When the doctor saw me, he studied the lesion with his goggles for a long time (I’m holding my breath), and then he smiles and  says,  “I think the treatment will be a bandaid!”     He informed me that the sebhorrheic wart would fall off on its own in a week or two — and as it turns out,  he was right about that!   I felt such a flood of relief and gratitude to God, but it was mixed with shame!    Why did I panic like that? Why didn’t I remember all the times God has gotten me through it (whatever it was)?  Where was my trust?      Will I remember this, so that I can speak to my soul the next time?    I certainly hope so!     

    1. Deanna……I was holding my breath as I was reading your account!  You wrote it so well with such suspense.  I am grateful with you that a band aid cured it 🙂  Your lesson teaches me though.  I do need to apply those kinds of answers to my panic mode as well.

      1. Deanna, ditto to Wanda’s comment about holding her breath.  I’m thankful for the bandaid cure; I was in suspense, too!  It’s so easy to become frightened about the “worst case scenario” even when that’s not at all what’s taking place.

  14.  How can verse 14 minister to you when God is doing things as you hoped?
     
    “But I trust in you, Oh Lord.  I say, ‘you are my God’.     It is a resolute statement.  There are no conditions.   You are God.  I trust you.  Period.   I confess that I find it sort of disconcerting when I see people say ‘God is so good’  and then go on to declare: the business is booming.  the kids are getting huge scholarships to expensive schools.  They got the new dream job.  The house sold at the price they wanted.  etc.  (I see this sort of thing on facebook a lot and it can become an an announcement of extravagance with a hint of pride at times.)    Well…..it IS good to praise him when things are good.  But I think many times, it’s easier to say “God is good” when some dramatic thing just happened.  And sometimes, those dramatic things came about with very little struggle.    I don’t hear ‘God is so good’ declared nearly as often when one recounts their day to day blessings.  The daisies blooming in the ditches.  The long walk with a neighbor.  The phone call from a friend.  Sometimes, people are especially silent during the hard times.  I understand that in many ways.  This verse is not declaring it to others but to the Lord. I want to be someone who declares with resolute confidence that “You are my God.  I trust in you.”  at all times.   “Lord, give me the heart and the humility to remember your goodness at all times.”
     
    Much more than the declaration of the big, dramatic blessing….I am moved by  ‘Habbakuk faith’…….”though the fig tree does not bloom and there be no fruit on the vine……still I will praise Him…”  

    1. Wanda, I love that Habbakuk verse.  Thanks for posting it here.  Years ago, when asked to talk at an event, still in the midst of a very difficult season, I shared that verse … and it does come to mind periodically.  In reality, God’s faithfulness during hard times IS MORE amazing, MORE dramatic than the booming business, dream job, scholarships, etc.  I see those examples all the time with unbelievers, with atheists, too (though not with the line “God is good”).   I’m sure I have a lot to learn from those who are praising Him in the midst of famine, starvation, and persecution. 

    2. “You are my God.  I trust in you.”  at all times.   “Lord, give me the heart and the humility to remember your goodness at all times.”
      This is wonderful, Wanda…Amen!
       
      I often wonder too when someone says “God is good” in a transactional type way…in response to when something good happens for them, if they would still be saying “God is good”  if something not so good happened…unfortunately, I think sometimes (often?) this might be so.  I suppose this is a mixture of my being judgmental and an aversion to the “prosperity gospel”.

  15. I praise him with you Wanda!

  16. Have a great Birthday today Elizabeth!!!….you are so loved here!!

  17. While reading Psalm 32:7 ( NKJ) upon seeing the word “selah”  I’m suggesting listening to You Are My Hiding Place sung by Selah:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_dR0H0tAYT8

    1. Mrsheartsong-thanks so much for this song..it is so good. 

    2. Thanks, Mrs. Heartsong……just watched and worshiped with this beautiful song……

    3. Welcome Mrs Heartsong!
       
      Or is this Renee with a code name?

      I’ll go by 007.

      1. 007 made me laugh, Joyce!

  18. What praise do you find in these verses?
    Praise his holy name (=praising God), praise and thanksgiving for faithfulness in healing and rescue.
    In verses 1-5, how can you see Christ and both the crucifixion and resurrection?
    lifted me, brought me up, spared me = resurrection
    the depths,  the grave, the pit = crucifixion
    In these verses you can also see how sorrow can actually produce joy. Find it, if you can.
    God’s anger results in sorrow and repentance. God’s favour follows, producing joy.
     2 Corinthians 4:17 gives another clue as to how sorrow can actually produce joy. Find it, if you can.
    Joy comes from keeping our eyes on eternal results rather than temporal.
      Thank God for how He turned Christ’s sorrow into joy and what it also means for you.
    Heb 12:2 reminds us that Christ had his eyes on ‘the joy set before him’ and that enabled him to endure the cross. Therefore, we are encouraged to fix our eyes on him – as God will turn our sorrow and pain into joy also.

  19. 3D. 2 Cor 4:17 give another clue…find it, if you can.
    The troubles we face presently are only momentary and small in the scheme of eternity.  They produce glory in eternity that is far beyond the trouble/adversity experienced in this world.
     
    E. Thank God for how He turned Christ’s sorrow into joy and what it means for you.
    Lord, thank You for making a way for me that I could not make for myself, for freeing me from myself and the evil one.  Thank You, Jesus, for enduring the pain and suffering of death to redeem my sinful soul.  Thank You for loving me with a faithful, continuous love that is beyond my comprehension.  The sorrow of Your death turned to joy and victory in Your resurrection.  I love You dear Lord, thank You for loving me first.

  20. 4A. How might phrases from this passage illustrate that?
    v.8…”I cried out to you, O Lord. I begged the Lord for mercy”
    v. 10…”Hear me, Lord, and have mercy on me. Help me, O Lord.”
     
    B. Think of something you asked the Lord to spare you from and He did not. Though you may not yet see the end of the story, what confident hope do you have because of God’s promises?
    The confident hope from God’s promises is that troubles, adversity is momentary and small in the scheme of eternity and actually produce eternal glory.  God has well in hand…He will transform mourning with joy.
     
    C. Thank God for His promises …help you cling to them and remember them.
    Thank You, Lord, that You have all well in hand.  You see my life so much differently than I; You see my life from a timeless, eternal view.  Help me, Lord, not to dwell on troubles of this world that are momentary and small in the scheme of eternity; help me to focus on You, giving you thanks and praise that You are with me and for me always.  You are my ever present help.  To You be the glory, honor, praise, and my thanksgiving…You, dear Lord, and You alone.

  21. 5. Take either Job or Jeremiah and describe their sorrows.
    In Job’s view, he had done everything “right”…he is a decent, righteous man and should be spared suffering, but Satan causes much suffering for Job (e.g., loss of children, illness) as a test.  Job views his suffering as completely unfair.  Suffering, in Job’s world view, is fair for those who are unrighteous, who act badly, but not for “good” people such as himself.  Job is basing his standing with God not on God’s grace and mercy, but on his (Job’s) self perceived righteousness…like a transaction.

  22. It was hard to narrow my “pick” down to just one passage that, A) showed the Psalmists’ trust in God, but I do love where verses 14, 15 and on fall in this Psalm!  On the heels of just POURING OUT sorrow, grief, sighing, distress, being forgotten, broken and an object of others’ evil scheming, the Psalmist declares …..”But I trust in you, O Lord: I say ‘You are my God’. My times are in your hand…..”  Wow.  Do I ever need to “preach” this to my soul!  Many times a day I would do well to stop the action and say to my soul…..”BUT…..I trust in you O Lord….”  How simple.  How right.
    B. The Psalmists’ longing for God to hear him:    woven throughout the entire Psalm……”Incline your ear to me”(2), “Be gracious to me, for I am in distress”(9), “O Lord, let me not be put to shame, for I call upon you”(17)…….
    C. The Psalmists’ pain and feeling of being forgotten:  “in distress, my eye wasted with grief, my soul and body also, my life is spent with sorrow, my years with sighing, my strength fails, my bones waste away, I’m a reproach to others…..they flee from me……..they scheme together against me…..they plot to take my life……”.    “Plot to take my life” sounded a little extreme to me (though obviously not to David…..or the Lord Jesus)…..until I thought about how often it is true – sadly even within the body of believers….and even, grieviously, in my own heart – we do indeed plot to take the life of others.  There are limitless ways to do this……but surely such things as gossip are clearly life killing rather than life giving.   My jealousy of others is a desire to “take the life away” from them…….and claim it for myself…….O Lord, forgive me.  
    D.  The Psalmists’ resolve to trust the Lord:  I love that word, resolve!  And I love that the Psalmist, even with word one, declares “In you O Lord do I take refuge.”  It seems that, once that is established, he is free to pour out his grief, his sorrows, his sense of isolation, his fears, his distress, his alarm…….and how precious that by the time he has come full circle he is drawing in others…….I just have this sense of a trust in the Lord that imparts to one a “wide open arms” way of living life……..and exhorting  others to “Love the Lord…..be strong……let your heart take courage!…”  How lovely.

    1. Convicting (and true) thoughts about plotting to take the lives of others through gossip, jealousy.   Guilty here.  Good reminder, Jackie.

  23. Oh Wanda, I just saw your post about trust in the Lord ……and longing for Habbakuk faith…..Amen, amen!!!!!  I feel like I could have written your post…..except you expressed it perfectly!!!  Thank you.  

  24. At first I saw primarily David in these verses, but Patrick Reardon points out that in Gethsemane, Jesus did ask that he could be spared “this cup.” How might phrases from this passage illustrate that?
    verses 8 and 9 apply well to Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane.  In v8, the plea for mercy. In v9, “What gain is there in my destruction, in my going down into the pit?”
    Think of something you asked the Lord to spare you from and He did not. Though you may not yet see the end of the story, what confident hope do you have because of God’s promises?
    The biggest disappointment in my life has been John’s death. As the paramedics were in the bedroom trying to revive him, we were in an adjacent room praying that God might spare John and our family. He was pronounced dead soon after arriving at the hospital.
    I am confident that our grief and loneliness is temporary; we will both be in Jesus’ presence in eternity.
    Thank God for His promises in this situation and ask Him to help you cling to them and remember them.
    Father, you have provided for me and for my family abundantly. I thank you for my daughter who is walking and growing in faith, and plead for the other children, that they may be brought to a place where they too call on you, even if that path takes them to dark places. Father I pray that my heart will understand that you are all I need; I have everything I need in you and my heart can rest and stop seeking more.

  25. 5. Take either Job or Jeremiah, if you can, and describe their sorrows.
    Jeremiah had to endure harsh treatment by his people because he delivered God’s message to them but also had to endure consistently warning them not to chase idols then watching them chase them and be destroyed. Their sin broke Jeremiah’s heart in the deepest levels. His faced sorrow upon sorrows for they didn’t want to hear God because they were so into their idols. Jeremiah was thrown in a dungeon and chained..Jeremiah felt what God felt when God was used for he was taken out of prison and used only when trouble hit so the King would know what to do-and when Jeremiah told him what to do he and the people didn’t do it and suffered immensely at the hands of their enemy. Jeremiah suffered with them and watched the enemy burn and pillage the temple while the people were taken captive. Jeremiah suffered because his heart desired what God’s did-for the people to turn their affections from their idols to God.  
     
    6. Read Psalm 31 in its entirety and find a passage that illustrates:
        A. The psalmist’s trust in God
    V5 and 6. Into your hand I commit my spirit-you have redeemed me O Lord, faithful God. I hate those who pay regard to worthless idols,
        but I trust in the Lord.
     
        B. The psalmist’s longing for God to hear him
    V2 Incline your ear to me;
        rescue me speedily!Be a rock of refuge for me,    a strong fortress to save me!
       
    C. The psalmist’s pain and feeling of being forgotten
    v12 I have been forgotten like one who is dead;    I have become like a broken vessel.
       
    D. The psalmist’s resolve to trust the Lord
    v14-16  But I trust in you, O Lord;
        I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hand;    rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors! Make your face shine on your servant;    save me in your steadfast love!

  26. 8. Read Psalm 31 in its entirety and if any part of this lament quickens you, stop and meditate. Share here.
    What quickens me as I consider one of my most pressing and persistent struggles is this: 
    Verse 3:  SINCE you are my rock and my fortress……Oh, yes, Lord.  There is no question.  I don’t have to be an easy target for the arrows of the enemy.  I don’t have to be feeling alone and exposed where the hard stuff is sure to feel uppermost.  I HAVE a fortress.  A place of peace  A place of comfort.  A place where I can rest secure.
     
    for the sake of your name, lead and guide me……   When I seek to do your will and to follow where you lead, help me to have a pure motive,  not for a good outcome for me but for the sake of your holy name.  Keep sinking this deeper into my mind and heart.  Keep me from selfishly seeking what looks like the right thing if it is just to please me and not to honor you.  It is hard sometimes to distinguish.  I NEED your leading.  I NEED your guiding.  And I want to give you the honor in the decisions I make……and in the waiting and being patient until I know for sure that you have granted my desire or given me a new desire. 
     
    Vs. 5: and redeem me, O Lord, the God of truth..….I am so in need of TRUTH.  You know my heart.  You know the disappointment.  You know the constant struggle in my soul.  I can’t always sort out the truth from the facade.  I can’t always sort out what is my preference or what is right in your eyes.  Please show me the TRUTH.  Please answer the cry of my heart.  You are my God.  I trust in You.  Amen.  
     

  27. Elizabeth and Renee..Testing..lol..;)

    1. hahahahaha.   Oh my!     I was going to dig up an old pic or gravatar and draw a mustache on it.  But I’d probably spend hours trying to figure out how to do it.  THIS IS WONDERFUL.  I love the belly laugh!  Hope I didn’t spoil your identity below.  I know that can happen in S.A. work and it is quite dangerous 😀

      1. This teaches me something.  Different photos, plus big sunglasses, change an image enough so that people do look different.  I had to scroll up to earlier posts to double check S.A. identity.
        “SECRET” tip:  Use disguise with a different email address so it doesn’t disguise doesn’t attach to all your old posts.  BUT, don’t really do it because then Dee has to approve post if you switch email  (Sorry, Dee, I did that a long time ago.)

    2. Yep…..you fooled me!  S.A.  So funny!  At least the stress of being ‘found out’ has brought some good levity!  🙂

    3. Dee-sorry about that!  I used the same email but with a different name so I thought it wouldn’t have to go into moderation-If mine are going into moderation I am so sorry!  I will use my name..but keep the spy pic.. 😉

  28. After teaching for four years at an urban school, 45 minutes away from my home, and giving myself fully to those students and teachers, I found I was extremely lonely, without connections to my neighbors and city.  This scared me.  Even though I had spiritual connections with my school prayer group, the sheer distance made “fellowship”  difficult.  I made the decision to retire because of my loss of fellowship with believers.  (Mind you, even though my husband is a pastor, I did not have the fellowship I needed to grow.)  I am now seeking God’s direction to guide me into the deeper fellowship I need for my spiritul growth, as well as into my next mission for him.  For someone who has been so inovled in fellowship for so long, I can finally identify with those who sstagnate because they have not taken the time to nurture their spiritual fellowship.
    As I walk this new path, I trust The Lord to keep me transparent and open to coneying my struggles to others with similar needs.

    1. Welcome Sherry!  I hope you are able to find peace and face to face fellowship in this big transition time.  I know that is a slow process sometimes.  This is a great place to stay in the Word with others too.

  29. 8. Read Psalm 31 in its entirety and if any part of this lament quickens you, stop and meditate. Share here.
     
    v1, v5   “Let me never be put to shame” & “Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O LORD, faithful God.” I can trust Him with the absolute core of my being, even when others are against me. He has redeemed me and shown himself faithful over time, time after time.
     
    v. 6 I hate those who pay regard to worthless idols, but I trust in the LORD. Yes, I do see injustice all around me. God is in control; my responsibility is to trust his leading — not to get distressed about everything or butt into every situation and try to fix it.
     
    v. 7 I will rejoice and be glad in your steadfast love, because you have seen my affliction; He has seen the worst about me and he still loves me. Jesus doesn’t simply mask or cover my sin and weakness; he sees it and redeems it. His love gets my attention — not shame and humiliation. Do I try to put people to shame to change their behaviors rather than love them? I want to be on guard against Christian circles that use shame as a mechanism of control
     
    v. 19 Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you the light and momentary affliction in contrast with the eternal weight of glory again. SO encouraging.

  30. “I think a big reason that this blog ministers is your transparency.”    I might have had unnecessary or misplaced panic about the word transparency.  Then again, I’m not so sure!  I’m a “what you see is what you get” kind of person”   — so when I don’t want others to “get” me, I’m less likely to be seen (I do have to leave the house today!!!).   Here’s where I’m kinda stuck:   One of the reasons I don’t want to go into specific painful details and reemphasize “damage” over and over is because that is not my identity.   I am redeemed, the bride of Christ — with all the wonder, beauty, love and other good stuff that entails 🙂  I am very aware that I am “damaged goods” and not good enough for some Christian circles.  By bringing up past damage or forgiven sins too much, I reinforce the “damaged goods” identity  — and I do (painfully) cross over into old memories.  I know God is in the process of restoring me — and will be for all of this life;  I do want to be sensitive to his leading and be transparent, confessing my sins, especially to him.  I’ve fully acknowledged some things to myself only within the past 6 months, e.g., “I was ______.”  That is beginning to be part of my identity, but only in the sense of being redeemed.  I know there are all sorts of “survivor” sites, blogs, forums where people spill their guts, provide details.  That isn’t me; it doesn’t even seem healthy to spend much time reading those sites — though I believe they serve an important purpose.  
     
    I could argue that being vague is to protect other people (it is, to a degree), but I do have other reasons, too:  1)  yes, to protect myself — maybe too much of that; 2) my focus:  the turn in the lament and praising God — I have plenty of new stuff to lament about, and I’m not feeling a big need to re-lament over some old stuff (I do when it hurts); and 3)  cringing when I write this one:  During the last several years, I have been told (by a fewl people who don’t know each other) that I have the gift of prophecy.  At first I barely heard it.  Then I wanted to give the gift back (maybe I could re-gift it!!).  I can’t say that I am happy about it, but it might be true.  I do see what is wrong around me; it hurts like crazy.  In the past, I wanted to and tried to “fix it.”  It didn’t work!! and it almost destroyed me.  I know God is teaching me to trust him more, lean on him, go to him more; but much of the time, I still don’t turn to him automatically.  I don’t even think of it.  Maybe He is teaching me to keep my mouth shut more (considering how much I write, people might find that hard to believe!!) until He has control of my mouth and until I am turning to Him more.   I KNOW I can get myself in a lot of trouble (been there, done that, will do it again) by saying what I think.AND I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO THINK ABOUT TRANSPARENCY.  My head is spinning.  Gotta get one of those disguises that S.A. (aka Rebecca) talked about 🙂

    1. There is some irony in that this is the week that at least 4 of us expressed our hesitance in being transparent because of how many people are reading this and how it could impact anyone who knows us…..in the same lesson that Dee so truthfully stated that transparency is probably why this blog ministers to people so much.   I agree that it does minister because of that.  I am actually amazed as I’ve gotten to ‘know’ people here how many of us have similar struggles … (for each of the major things that trouble me the most….I have learned that there’s a group of women here who can relate to each of those struggles……different women for different adversity)  and that is truly a comfort and a help.  I know that just the fact that this is a place where so many of us do have very deep sorrows in our lives and we can share the heartache as well as the triumphs makes it a place of safety for many.  
       
      My issues with transparency come when the things that are most troubling to me involve my family members and/or also my church family members.  I know if I was sitting face to face with the women here, I could relay those things fairly honestly but when I know the audience is so much larger…..I have realized (after probably already saying way too much) that a lot of hurt and misunderstanding could come about because I reveal too much.  There’s too much to lose for me.  But it’s hard because those struggles are the ones that are what is really going on inside me.
      Also hard because without the correct details, inevitably things are misunderstood.  
       
      I need to work on being more transparent about my own spiritual life without filling in all the details of my family life.  That’s hard because it’s very intertwined.   Nearly all of my personal ‘stories’ in relating to the scriptures and questions involve family.   
       
      PS……Renee……I would venture to say that the friends who have told you you have the gift of prophecy are quite spot on.   I’ve known you nearly 40 years….(gulp)…….but our friendship in the past 5 or so has gone deeper than the other years combined.  I wouldn’t have seen that decades ago, but knowing you so much better now…..yes, it does fit in many ways.   And I don’t think ‘re-gifting’ is an option!   

      1. Wanda, I guess that since I am being semi-transparent, I won’t try to convince anyone that we met when we were zero years old 😀

        1. ha!    didn’t we meet in a church nursery somewhere??  😉

    2. Hi everyone. I have been joining you in the study this summer and reading comments when I can. I love the incognito idea because  it is so hard to speak from the heart and yet filter what we say.  I do think we could all go completely incognito and would still know who each other. It would be kind of fun.
      Renee there is so much of what you said here that touches my heart. How do you do that while making me laugh too?
      1. Damaged is not your identity. Amen to that! Bless my soul. I needed that.
      2. I agree with you that the gift of prophecy is not one that is as desirable. It is often heart rending. I sometimes think that is because God is revealing His heart to you and He suffers so with what goes on in this world. I am convinced that He often shows us things for no other reason but that we can pray about them and that is hard work. I look back on many times when speaking up only inflamed the situation but prayer might have changed it.
      While it may not feel like a useful gift, I think it is one so precious to The Lord and very close to His heart.
      Love you sister
      I love all of you. Your transparency is precious to me.

      1. Anne, so good to “see” you and your flowers here 😉

      2. Hi Anne! So nice to know you are still participating! Hope you are well 🙂

      3. Miss you Anne!

  31. Dee,  🙁    I thought you only had to approve comments if we used a different email address (because I noticed a couple times when I made typos in the email that you had to approve my responses).   But — ugh! — I’m hoping that you don’t have to approve if I use a new (or no) gravatar or a modified name (if it is attached to my real email).  Um, I do use two email addresses but thought that since both had been approved that I was avoiding the filter. That might not be true.   Let me know what I do that creates more work for you!!

  32. Hi everyone! I just wanted to let you know I posted a dance video to the Facebook account yesterday. I am working on the second dance today and hope to have it posted tomorrow.

  33. 5. Take either Job or Jeremiah, if you can, and describe their sorrows.
     
    Job was a wealthy, godly man; he had it all…….marriage, kids, a homestead. A wonderful life. Satan and God had a discussion about Job, God’s faithful servant. Satan didn’t believe Job would continue to be faithful when troubles arose for him. God believed he would. God allowed satan to test Job. Job lost everything. Satan then struck his body with lesions. Job would not give up on God. His wife and friends question his faith. For goodness sake he was scratching with pottery! They believe he should throw in the towel. He doesn’t. In the end he questions God, but God questions back asking who he thinks he is questioning God’s plan. God restores Job’s life.
     
    6. Read Psalm 31 in its entirety and find a passage that illustrates:
     
        A. The psalmist’s trust in God
     
    “But I trust in you, Lord; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hands; deliver me from the hands of my enemies, from those who pursue me.” (Psalm 31:14, 15 NIV)
     
        B. The psalmist’s longing for God to hear him
     
    “Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your unfailing love. Let me not be put to shame, Lord, for I have cried out to you; but let the wicked be put to shame and be silent in the realm of the dead.” (Psalm 31:16, 17 NIV)
     
        C. The psalmist’s pain and feeling of being forgotten
     
    “I am forgotten as though I were dead; I have become like broken pottery.” (Psalm 31:12 NIV)
     
        D. The psalmist’s resolve to trust the Lord
     
    “Praise be to the Lord, for he showed me the wonders of his love when I was in a city under siege. Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.” (Psalm 31:21, 24 NIV)

  34. Nice, concise summary of Job…..Laura.  Watching for the next dance video too!

  35. F. The psalmist, in verse 22 remembers another time when he felt forgotten, yet God came. Can you remember a time like that in your life so you can use it to speak to your soul?
    I used to think that God was coldly ignoring my prayers or perhaps was powerless to intervene in my struggle with infertility. I remember my counselor asking, “But do you trust that God still has your best interests at heart?”…and I couldn’t answer yes to that question. It was very painful to realize and acknowledge that sense of abandonment. But speaking it out loud and acknowledging it was just what it took to get the wheels spinning on my quest for intimacy once more with my Creator, who ultimately DID and DOES have my best interests at heart.

      1. Thank you for the sweet words of encouragement, Dee! Yes, I think we all struggle with the issue of “feeling” abandoned by God at some point. My struggle was also partially that I didn’t WANT to acknowledge those feelings, since I knew many other people were suffering so much more than I was,…but my counselor was so helpful in pointing out that that didn’t change the fact that my feelings were there and they needed to be dealt with…

  36. 9. Read Psalm 32:1-4 and list reasons why it is important to keep short accounts with the Lord.  
    v. 1, 2   I was going to write “forgiveness” but I remember when I was in high school (at least a little bit from then), and I was always afraid that if I forgot to confess something, I was condemned…   That changed when a pastor shared Rom 8:1 with me:  “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”  So, forgiveness, sin being covered, the Lord not counting our sins against us is true for believers — even if the unconfessed sins accumulate (definitely don’t recommend that).    Am I reading this right?   However, there is a sense of freedom that comes with confession.
     
    v.2  “in whose spirit there is no deceit” When I am not confessing my sins, I start lying to myself and I am not at peace. Also, that comes out in relationships. Sometimes, it is evident to me that others are lying to themselves; it must be evident to others when I am lying to myself. Not a good way to build trust or strengthen relationships.
    vs 3 & 4 sickness, weakness, heaviness (weariness?)

    10. How do you make a habit of confession?  Um, I don’t make a habit of confession.  The closest thing to “habit” is being on this blog when we are praying the psalms and it includes confession.   I can see one way that can change — and also help change another habit that keeps me up half the night.  I read on my cell phone at crazy hours.  I did stop for awhile, but started in again.  By reading phone apps late at night/VERY early in the morning, I am “out of it” when I need to get up — which also hurts my time with the Lord in the morning.  Substituting email, news, work stuff with prayer/confession at night would help a LOT.  If I stop using my cell phone as an alarm clock, giving in to the temptation will be less convenient. Looking forward to reading other responses, getting other ideas.  

      1. I agree.  I am not sure transparency is so much about our “dirty laundry” as it is about our struggle to remain in God’s call, remain obedient to his direction.  That is the struggle that every person, churched or non-churched, needs to see, because that is why we remain on this earth.  We are God’s chosen voices and live to show how Christ impacts us daily, moment by moment.  People do not want to see the “edited version of my life” but the reality of my struggle.  That will be how Christ speaks to them, just as it is how He best speaks to me.

      2. Thanks, Dee.  The fact that you asked the question about confession/keeping accounts short with the Lord helped me so much — created a ton of awareness.   And awareness has been huge in re-orienting every area of my life around Jesus.
        I’ve been thinking a lot about transparency and discernment as I’ve been running errands today.  It doesn’t take a whole lot of sensitivity to know that I cannot share much about a couple of my biggest current struggles to remain in God’s call.  I strongly sensed (still do) his leading into a difficult situation.  Because my gifts and strengths fit where I am, I’ve been asked to take a more prominent role.  I’ve said “no” — and have continued to be asked.  The hardest part is that I’m not great at saying “no” and have agreed to too much in the past because “somebody has to do it.”   I have complete peace and am trusting God about my place in the current spiritual battle, and have no peace about playing a different, more prominent role (now anyway).  Yet to write any more than I just did, even though it is dead center in how God is leading me right now, would be unethical.  Descriptions of some areas of my life have to be highly edited simply because it’s the right thing to do.    It seems as if how God is leading me is so interconnected with past experiences I don’t want to share, current experiences I will not share because they are confidential, and other people’s lives that I’ll either not post at all or edit what I write for some questions.  He developed the gifts I have for the current situation in the very difficult experiences of the past.  (and I just deleted a general description of how he developed them: TMI)
         
        What is exciting is that God is leading me step by step.  This is so cool because that increases my confidence in him that I don’t need a larger vision for other areas of my life either (HE is my vision).  He will reveal what I need to know when I need it.  Often I get frustrated because I don’t have a bigger vision, when it seems like everyone else does!  My vision often consists of “life will change” prior to big changes.  What I’m learning now is to be obedient now.  He’s teaching me to listen to him and take those daily steps, while I keep my mouth shut about the specifics.  
         
        This might be as much related to common sense or having lived with/taught about ethical codes for years rather than about discernment???   I dunno– I’m not even supposed to put some stuff in writing in email, so maybe I’m just following instructions.  Pretty obvious that I don’t always follow instructions though 🙂

        1. I appreciate what you say about vision, Renee.  “I don’t need a larger vision…..he IS my vision and he will reveal what I need to know when I need it”  Oh…that is so true.  I spend too much time trying to figure out the ‘what are you calling me to, Lord?’ when I know without doubt that he is always calling me into a deeper walk with Him.  Every time I am in that kind of deep intimacy, the rest comes just when I need it.  But I have not thought of it in just this way before……”Be Thou My Vision”……(and don’t let me get distracted by thinking I need to create a vision to please you, Lord)…..
           
          I understand what you’re saying about professional ethics and needing to edit many examples too.  I feel the same with the struggles I have with family.  Discernment is a GOOD word!  

  37.     E. How can verse 14 minister to you when God is doing things as you hoped?
     
    But I trust in you, Lord; I say, “You are my God.” (Psalm 31:14 NIV)
     
    it it is a reminder; it can be said over and over as a comfort.
     
        F. The psalmist, in verse 22 remembers another time when he felt forgotten, yet God came. Can you remember a time like that in your life so you can use it to speak to your soul?
     
    yes, I have had many times I know God is with me when I felt discouraged and forgotten.
     
    7. Whatever pain you are going through right now, lament, using this psalm to help you pray your tears.
     
    Dearest Lord, you know my heart. I want to do the right thing but I often don’t. You are there to guide me and I don’t listen. So human! I need you to come quickly and rescue me from my personal idol. Help me to focus on you when that idol rears its ugly head. Keep satan away from me; don’t let him “get” to me! Don’t let him flaunt my weakness in front of me! Don’t forget me God. I am always Yours No matter what comes of my situation. I love You Lord, Amen.
     

  38. 5. Take either Job or Jeremiah, if you can, and describe their sorrows. Job had lost everything. He lost all that we humans are thankful for on a daily basis. He lost home, family, and health. On top of that his friends are condemning and Job feels that his Gd has left Him, too (this was before Psalms, etc., so where did He find His comfort? Had God given Him promises to lean on? or only his faith?)
     
    6. Read Psalm 31 in its entirety and find a passage that illustrates:
        A. The psalmist’s trust in God –  “Into your hand I commit my spirit.” The ultimate trust. 
        B. The psalmist’s longing for God to hear him – the Psalmist asks several times for God to hear him. 
        C. The psalmist’s pain and feeling of being forgotten –  v11-13. “Terror on every side.”
        D. The psalmist’s resolve to trust the Lord – BUT (v. 14) I trust in you, my times are in your hand. 
     

  39.     E. How can verse 14 minister to you when God is doing things as you hoped?I am not sure if this is supposed to be “not doing things as I hoped?” 
    Either way BUT in verse 14 is always good, when I am getting what I want or what I don’t want. It is easy for me to disguise my gratefulness in getting what I want as gratefulness for God. But deep down I am just relieved to not have to ‘suffer’ or persevere. =/   Even when good things come in my life I MUST have the Lord be my portion (remembering our Psalm 16 discussion, that will never leave my memory, it impacted me greatly especially in conjunction with my son’s surgery).  I love God for God and not what He can give me ,  but when I get going and start to maneuver in this world my heart forgets and I start whining about the things I want. He works in my heart to help me love Him. The Holy Spirit whispers to me, “God is.” In good or bad God is. It makes my requests for good different, and it also affects clinging to Him during the bad. 
        F. The psalmist, in verse 22 remembers another time when he felt forgotten, yet God came. Can you remember a time like that in your life so you can use it to speak to your soul?
    My journey of the last 3 years has been this roller coaster of painful circumstances, feeling forgotten, being broken, convinced of the terribleness of (my) life, looking for the light BUT He heard my voice. I didn’t even know what I needed, how severely my prideful heart needed to be broken….not so that the pride could be broken as much as so He could show me His love!  He has made the time I was ‘forgotten’ as a sweet time that He was actually working, moving, drawing me so that He could show me Him.  This changes how I speak to my soul because even in my most painful time on this earth He was there.

  40.  6 E. How can verse 14 minister to you when God is doing things as you hoped?
     It reminds me of the truth! Verse 14 reminds me that He is my God-the good things he has done for me aren’t my god, and to trust and love Him above even the good things he has done for me.
       
    F. The psalmist, in verse 22 remembers another time when he felt forgotten, yet God came. Can you remember a time like that in your life so you can use it to speak to your soul?
    There have been several times. When provision was running out the last three or four years-dwindling slowly until last year when we lost a huge portion, and at the same time we were struggling finding a Gospel centered church- I felt forgotten-cast aside. Yet I “knew” he hadn’t, but I was wondering where He was and then started condemning myself. Yet God abundantly came again turning my face to Him through Dee and my sisters here on the blog, through unexpected provision-and in regard to a new church home!  We weren’t looking for ‘perfect’ just a Gospel centered home rather than morality focused-the Gospel being the A-Z rather than the ABC’s..But funny-He came to us like He did to David in a sense-not with mere provisions but HE CAME..through the valley He moved us closer to Him as we are really clinging to Him. I am truly experiencing rather than just ‘knowing’ that He IS indeed bigger and everything IS His.  Yet..I do know I am just an infant in my understanding, in my Lamenting, in my letting go and trusting Him-of turning from running to my idols and instead running to Him-and my dark twisty heart is beyond my understanding, but right now I am clinging for He has shown me indeed He is King of my battles-of my heart and He indeed sits over the flood. 
     
     

    1. Rebecca…..can you explain what you mean when you say……”the A-Z gospel rather than the ABC’s. ”  I do believe I know what you mean…..but I think maybe this phrase this comes from teaching about gospel centeredness that has it’s own way of describing it?  I think I get it because of looking at Sunday School curriculum in this light (I used to be a Children’s Ministry Director) and from what I understand of the curriculum that replaced the one I chose (after I resigned and someone took my place) is that it is moralistic rather than complete gospel.  But….I’d like to hear your explanation so I know I’m on the same page.  Thank you!

  41. 6A. The psalmist’s trust in God.
    v. 6…”I trust in the Lord”.
     
    B. The psalmist’s longing for God to hear him.
    v. 2…”turn Your ear to me”
     
    C. The psalmist’s pain and feeling of being forgotten.
    v. 9…”for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and my body with grief.”
     
    D. The psalmist’s resolve to trust the Lord.
    v. 14…”But I trust in You, O Lord; … You are my God”
     
    E. How can v. 14 minister to you when God is doing things as you hoped.
    v. 14 reminds me that it is the Lord in whom I trust and should give credit.  Good things, successes, etc. are not resulting from myself, others, circumstances, etc., it is the Lord who is the foundation of all…He provides all…it is His plan, His will.  If things are going as I hope, it is the Lord that should be thanked and not Nanci that takes credit.
     
    F. Can you remember a time like that in your life so you can use it to speak to your soul.
    Yes…hindsight can provide a clarity/understanding that cannot be obtained in the midst of crisis times; this clarity/understanding can help in bringing calm, confidence, and discernment in future situations.  In the midst of the crisis, it may have been difficult for me to sense the Lord’s presence, but in hindsight, I can see His presence surrounding me, comforting me, guiding me, etc.

  42. 9. Psalm 32:1-4, list reasons why it is important to keep short accounts with the Lord.
    It is to our benefit to confess and sincerely repent of our sins.  We do not want a spirit of deceit.  David tells us in v. 3 that when he “kept silent” he “wasted away…groaning all day long” and v. 4 that the hand of the Lord “was heavy upon me”.  Forgiveness of our sin sincerely repented is provided by the Lord…the Lord’s forgiveness renews and refreshes; it is a new beginning.
     
    10. How do you make a habit of confession.
    I have very consciously been trying to hold captive my thoughts…when I think something unkind, judgmental, etc., I try to immediately stop and confess my sin and ask for the Lord’s mercy and forgiveness. 
    When I drive to and from work, this is time spent with the Lord.  It is during quiet, one-on-one times like this with the Lord that He works on my heart, helping me to see transgressions that I might otherwise overlook, guiding me in making right choices, motivating sincere repentance, opening my mind to new thoughts and/or ideas, unpacking something that I have read, heard, or seen, etc. 

  43. 11. Psalm 32:5-7; list the blessings of sincere repentance.
    Freedom from guilt, renewal of a right relationship with the Lord, forgiveness of sin/deliverance from the clutches of the evil one.
     
    12A. Confess the ways you are broken.
    Lord, so often I look to other things rather than focusing on you; I am so easily distracted.  I make comparisons and judgments that are not mine to make.  My blessing overflow, yet I don’t always recognize and acknowledge them as such…I often take for granted what you provide.  My actions and in-actions show lack of trust, doubt and a laziness.  You gave me all, yet I don’t give You my all.
     
    B.  Recall the words He has spoken that show His love for you.
    “I am my Beloved’s, and my Beloved is mine.” Song of Songs 6:3
    “I am with you always” Matthew 28:20
    “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my righteous right hand.”  Isaiah 41:10
    “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  John 3:16

  44. 13. Psalm 32:8-9, find the promise and condition.
    The Lord promises to guide me “along the best pathway” for my life, to advise me and watch over me.  The condition is that the Lord wants me to be malleable and obedient to Him, to trust His ways and means.
     
    15. How does this psalm end?
    Celebratory:  rejoice in the Lord…shout for joy…be glad.

  45. 9. Read Psalm 32:1-4 and list reasons why it is important to keep short accounts with the Lord.
     
    We are blessed when we share and confess to God. Keeping the sin inside eats us up. 
     
    10. How do you make a habit of confession?
     
    It is part of my prayer. I thank God for blessings and ask forgiveness for specific sins.

  46. 8. Read Psalm 31 in its entirety and if any part of this lament quickens you, stop and meditate. Share here.
     
    Verse 5 — “Into your hands, I commit my spirit’  redeem me, O Lord, the God of truth.”      These were David’s words but they were repeated by Jesus on the cross and by Stephen when he was being stoned.    In my last prayer each night,  I tend to cluster the things that are bothering me the most at the end of my prayer, and because these are almost always things I have absolutely no control over, I often pray “I commit all that I have and love into your hands for your care.”    It is sort of my way of handing things over to God and acknowledging his sovereignty and power.     I don’t usually pray the last half of this verse, but I may begin to do so, as I struggle like all the rest of you with the tension between desire for transparency and the fear of it.  “Redeem me, O Lord, the God of truth.”     It is not that I don’t tell the truth, but that sometimes fear makes me withhold some things.   I don’t have that problem in talking to the Lord, because I know He knows it all already anyway.     

    1. These are very good thoughts Deanna.  I loved the Mitford series of books about Father Tim and how he he always referred to ‘the prayer that never fails’…..(your will be done)….throughout his day when he referred to all the things completely out of his control.  Your thoughts reminded me of that.  I LOVE the “Redeem me, O Lord, the God of truth.”  too. Two of my favorite things about the Lord …..  He redeems.  and He is truth.  I need to start saying that to the Lord regularly too.  THANKS for the prompt!

  47. 9. Read Psalm 32:1-4 and list reasons why it is important to keep short accounts with the Lord.
     
    It brings such relief to get it “off our chest” and into God’s ears.
    The word which is translated “blessed” is also sometimes translated “happy.”    Happy is the man whose transgressions are forgiven, and happy is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him, and in whose spirit is no deceit.  
    Then, when we consider the negative side:   what if we keep silent and don’t confess?   Then we continue to feel awful — it can actually makes us feel bad physically as well as mentally and spiritually.   I have certainly felt “His heavy hand upon me” at times when I have avoided coming clean before God.     

    10. How do you make a habit of confession?   
     
    Just by asking in my evening prayers  “Please forgive me of my sins.”    Then I think back over the day and try to remember what those sins were.   Now I will admit that sometimes I don’t see my sins — sometimes I can’t think of anything to name on a particular day.   However, I know better.  I don’t think I ever get through a perfect day.    So then I have to ask the Lord to “show me the sins I have missed.”     He will do it too!   
     

    11. Read Psalm 32:5-7 and list the blessings of sincere repentance.
     
    I think sincere repentance just does one big thing — it turns one around — it changes the course of one’s life.   

  48. 9. Read Psalm 32:1-4 and list reasons why it is important to keep short accounts with the Lord.
    When we confess our sin, we receive His blessing. We are declared free, ‘not guilty’. I am one with a really heavy conscious. Just yesterday I stood in line t the Wal-mart customer service desk because they under charged me by .25. I’ve always been this way, but the freedom I feel in being “cleared” is truly a blessing. 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
     
    I have to be careful with my thoughts though, and sometimes my thoughts can go too far before I take them captive and confess them to the Lord. This also made me think of James 1:14-15 “each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.”
     
    10. How do you make a habit of confession?
     
    I like that Sara Groves sings “Early when the day is new, Before the stirring I will come and talk to you And confess the ways I am broken” My morning prayer does often naturally lead to confession as I call upon Him for help with the ways I am so weak. And my confession carries throughout the day–I have a heaviness I can’t shake when I know I need to confess something to the Lord, and normally I do at that moment. But nights are also when my thoughts often seem to fill, and before I allow the enemy to lead me into regret or guilt—I ask Him to take my sin, again, and forgive me, cleanse me, restore me to Him.
     
    11. Read Psalm 32:5-7 and list the blessings of sincere repentance.
     
    Sincere repentance=acknowledging my sin to the Lord, not trying to cover anything up or make excuses for/justify my actions
    Blessings= forgiveness, debt cleared. The Lord offers Himself as my hiding place, my refuge.He protects me from trouble, He surrounds me with “shouts of deliverance”!
     
    12. Listen to Sara Groves sing “Hiding Place” above and then, in prayer:
    A. Confess the ways you are broken
     
    The last several days I have been pondering 2 Cor. 4:7  “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us”.
    God has entrusted the treasure of the Gospel to us, as weak, breakable vessels. I don’t want to be weak and breakable, inadequate and sinful. I don’t want the sorrow and trials. I’m uncomfortable with my exposed weakness. I want to glorify Him, I want to be used—but I feel like saying “I’m Yours…but can I just change my outfit real quick?” I want to get a little cleaned up, presentable, less fragile. My heart is still self-centered at its core, and if I am really honest, I want to “look good”. I don’t want to make mistakes at work or home, I want to be the friend with wisdom, I want to be the one who brings laughter. But I am filled with imperfection—and yet, this is how He wants us, this is how He is glorified. I love humble people. I am blessed that both my closest friend and my husband are very humble. So I see the beauty in it, I see how God shines most when we don’t try to cover up our weakness but instead admit them freely. I’m inspired by them. And in my insecurity, it is hard to always choose humility over attempts at self-justification, but I am really seeing the blessing when I do. I do not think I answered this question AT ALL. So sorry—but I’m off to make dinner ;0

    1.  Elizabeth, I love this:
       
      ” I want to glorify Him, I want to be used—but I feel like saying “I’m Yours…but can I just change my outfit real quick?” I want to get a little cleaned up…”

  49. 9.  Read Psalm 32:1-4 and list reasons why it is important to keep short accounts with the Lord.
    Not only do we lack the spiritual blessing of intimate fellowship and peace….but we feel ‘the Lord’s hand heavy upon us……and our vitality is drained away as in the fever heat of summer’   (NASB)   Boy can I relate to that feeling.  I have zero vitality and absolutely feel drained….my strength completely sapped (NIV) in the heat of summer.  I love Minnesota for many reasons but heat and humidity are not among them!  (I love winter….which works out pretty well since we have a lot of it.)  But when its hot and humid……I can do nothing.  I do actually groan all day.  (Not even an exaggeration).  So I relate to this metaphor completely.  What I need to be much better at is being so sensitive to my sin that I have those same feelings.  The feelings of the oppressive heat that burdens me in the summer sometimes.  I need to have such a tender heart that I feel zapped of energy because of the sin burden.  It is easy to get calloused and forget the heavy heart we once had…….I remember that oppressive feeling of sin more when I was a young child.  Although, when I know I have really hurt someone’s feelings…..that oppression comes easily.  I need it to come just as easily when I have hurt God and no one else knows.  
    10. How do you make a habit of confession?     As you can tell from the above answer…..I am a work in progress.  Prayer comes automatically to me when I first awake in the morning before I get out of bed and I invite the Lord to walk with me and show me His way……(most days anyway)…..and it’s also an automatic response when I get in my car to drive to work.  But I work very casually and have a very short commute so that isn’t as helpful as it once was.  Otherwise, I don’t have a set habit as to time or place.   Doing this blog has helped me to spend time with Him at more or less the same part of day each day…..but I am still not always consistent as to time. And what I also see in the verses is the integrity of the confessor.  No deceit.  Total honesty before the Lord.  I confess that I need to do better at confession. 

    1. Me too wanda.      HAPPY LATE BIRTHDAY TO RENEE AND JILL AND ELIZABETH