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He Loves You Better Than A Mother (Happy Mother’s Day!)

 WHAT A GIFT GOD GAVE US IN OUR MOTHERS.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

My youngest, Annie, e-mailed me last week:

I want my mom! Fever and chills! Dee - sick in bed cartoon

How I remember those days as a young mom when I was sick, Steve was working, and the boys were running wild.

I wanted my mother too!

My mother was the best when I was sick.

Cool washcloths on my forehead,

7-Up and pretzels;

stories, songs, and

looks of loving concern.

For many of us our mothers are no longer on earth.

For others, mothers are not the comforting presence our hearts yearn for.

But though a mother may not be present,

though a mother may be broken,

though a mother may forget,

Isaiah says God will never forget you.

This week is for all of us, with one of the

most comforting promises in Isaiah,

and a favorite Keller sermon.

Many of you have heard the story I will tell this week, about a psalm that is tied to this promise in Isaiah, but I must tell it again. For not only does it illuminate these passages, but it is a vivid reminder of how God can be the best mother:

nurturing and never forgetting us.

 

can a mother forget362530_R_K_by_Ingo-Döring_pixelio.de_1Can a mother forget the baby at her breast?

She may forget.

But I will never forget.

Isaiah 49:15

can a mother forgetgod-when-things-get-tough-7-638

That’s the promise.

I’ll begin the story today, this Mother’s Day,

and continue on as we go through the passages

that show us that God’s love

is even better than a mother’s love.

My story began with a lament. Not too different than

Annie’s lament of last week. But for me it was:

I want my husband!

I was alone in the king-sized bed Steve and I used to share. A bed too big for one, but I cannot let it go.

bedSteve and I used to call each other

“co-dependent insomniacs.”

If one of us couldn’t sleep,

we would whisper to the other:

Are you awake?

And then we would be.

Steve would often pray over me, or even quote nursery rhymes like

Winkin, Blinkin, and Nod.

WINKIN, BLINKIN, AND NODHow I missed him. And so I lamented, for the Scripture teaches us to tell God how we really feel.

He can take it. He wants honesty.

So I cried:

You promised you would be a husband to the widow, but how can You be? You aren’t even flesh and blood. I don’t feel like You are even here!!!

OH LORD, why did you take Steve? There are plenty of lousy husbands, fathers, and doctors — why didn’t You take one of those?

You promised to be with me,

but I don’t sense You here at all.

Sunday:

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

2. On this Mother’s Day, what is one thing for which you can give thanks in regard to your mother?

Monday – Wednesday Bible Study

3. In a classic lament, the psalm begins with an honest lament, telling God how he really feels, and then there is a turn and a trust. Look at Psalm 13 and identify both the lament and the turn and a trust.

The night that I lamented in my bed, a memory came to me of when I was a first time mother and needed to keep J. R. quiet in our little apartment with paper thin walls in the night. Steve needed to sleep, so I would run to that baby when he cried out, unbuttoning my bathrobe as I ran, so as not to lose time. I would take him to my breast but he acted like I wasn’t even there, wailing and flailing. I WAS THERE, MY MILK LET DOWN, BUT HE WOULD NOT LATCH ON. Finally he would find me and I would think, Oh my — what was all that about?

And at that moment I realized God was saying, I am right here, Dee — what is all this about? It was the turn in my lament. But it didn’t stop there, for the next morning the psalm I happened to be on was this one:

psalm-1314. Read Psalm 130:1-2 and describe the cry.

5. Read the following psalm, the psalm that I was on that morning: Psalm 131.

A. What statement of trust does the psalmist make in verse 1?   

B. Compare this with Job 42:1-6. What parallel do you see and what is the significance? (Read the context if you are unfamiliar with it.)

C. Read Psalm 131:2-3 and explain how this follows the psalmist’s resolve to trust that God knows what He is doing. Every day we face challenges. You may feel today like this one today.

baby-crying6. Write your lament here, and then be still and know He is God — then, when you are ready, write your turn and your trust. He loves you better than a mother and longs to comfort you.

7. Read Isaiah 49:14-16

A. What are God’s people saying in verse 14?

B. What promises does God make in verses 15-16?

C. Is this real to you?

Prodigal SonIN REMBRANDT’S “Return of the Prodigal” Henry Nowen observed that the son’s bald head looks like a baby returning to the womb, that the father has one masculine hand and one feminine hand, and that the cape looks like wings sheltering a baby bird.

8. Read Matthew 23:37

A. How does God the Son show His mother-like qualities here?

B. Why do you think God ordained marriage to be one woman and one man?

Thursday-Friday: Keller Sermon: Can A Mother Forget?

https://deebrestin.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Can_a_Mother_Forget.mp3

If the above will not open, go here and get it for free and download it:

http://www.gospelinlife.com/can-a-mother-forget-6210.html

9. Share your notes and comments.

Saturday

 10. What is your take-a-way and why?

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183 comments

  1. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?  
    Well, I love that passage from Isaiah (about God never forgetting us, even if a mom does.)  But secondly, how I feel and understand your lament about there being so many lousy husbands and fathers and doctors that God could have taken!  It is impossible for our finite little (5 or 6 year-old (as Keller says) brains to understand God’s working and dealings in this fallen world.  So often we just have to arrive at a place of faith in His goodness and love for us, despite our lack of understanding…and then we can arrive at peace in the situation, resting in His nature.
    2. On this Mother’s Day, what is one thing for which you can give thanks in regard to your mother?
    My mom (like all moms!) was not perfect.  She had a pretty bad temper and I spent years seeking from others what I did not find in my mom (idolatry!), BUT she loved (and loves) me deeply and she was instrumental in leading me to the Lord, and for that I will be eternally grateful!!!

  2. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
    I love the first picture—was really struck by that. It reminded me of part of my favorite Isaiah 43 (v.2) “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;”
    So sorry Annie was sick, but love her cry to you! I also love Isaiah 49:16—that my name is written on the back of His hand. I’m a list-maker and usually use paper! But if it’s really important, like someone I want to remember to pray for throughout the day, I will put their initial on my hand (in a Sharpie!)—and I see it all day and am reminded to pray. I know He does not need help to remember me—He cannot forget me, and yet, because I am so much a part of His thoughts, I am on His hand—He sees me. Such comfort in that.
     
    2. On this Mother’s Day, what is one thing for which you can give thanks in regard to your mother?
    There are a lot of things I learned from my mom I am thankful for—her resourcefulness, her creativity. But one thing that I don’t often mention, but is powerful for me now, is the relationship she has with one of my sisters. My self-proclaimed “rebel” sister gave my mom a LOT of struggle from a young age through college. So much that I gave myself the role of trying to balance it out with my goodness (hence the years I spent seeing her as the prodigal and me as the good older brother). But some years after college my sister came to the Lord and is now really walking with Him and honestly completely different. My mom never gave up on her and now they talk daily and live near each other and are relatively close. That example of unconditional love and faithfulness is encouraging to me.
     

    1. I love your use of the sharpie on the hand, Elizabeth!!  Thank the Lord we are all, always on His hands.

    2. Elizabeth, I love the Sharpie idea, too! What a great prayer tool!!

    3. The sharpie; what a gift of love to be remembered that way and what a great visual for better understanding the verse.  
      And Elizabeth, I was so struck by your words about your mom’s relationship with your ‘rebel’ sister.  There is so much insight in your words.  Speaks to me both of my growing up years (my mom was very forbearing … but maybe also enabling? … of my younger brother’s rebellious ways) Also makes me think of my relationship with my own kids and how vastly different they all are.   I still have Nouwen’s book on my list to buy!  I take your recommendations very seriously.  

    4. Count me in on loving the “sharpie idea”…what a great idea, so glad you shared it.

  3. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
     
    The bed…my husband and I are downsizing from a king to a queen. We have had our mattress for 25 years! I’m hoping the physical closeness will help our relationship. I think my husband and I are like you and Steve, Dee; “co-dependent insomniacs!” Love that phrase. Sad about your lament to God, but I have lamented that way too; about my dad dying when I was young, my insubordinate children, my mom. I get it.
     
     
     
    2. On this Mother’s Day, what is one thing for which you can give thanks in regard to your mother?
     
    First Mother’s Day without my mom…I’m kinda sad. If I had to choose one thing to give thanks for, it would be her quiet persistence in her “ways.”
     

    1. Laura, I feel for you, missing your mom today. And I know there are others here, too, who have lost their mother.

    2. Praying for you this day, Laura.  It must be very sad to spend the first Mother’s Day without her.

  4. Oh, Dee, I have been a silent studier of your Bible Studies these past few years but had to comment today as that has been and some nights still is, exactly my lament too!    My husband went to be with the Lord 4 years ago this May 29th, dying from cancer, and your book, The God of All Comfort, was my comfort and strength.    He was such a great guy, loved the Lord, witnessed openly and we had such a wonderful relationship, I sleep on his side of our queen bed now, imagining being wrapped in his arms again.    This grief journey is long and hard, but I must choose each day to believe God’s Word that He is now my husband, and not believe my feelings of aloneness because God has His arms wrapped around me still.    You and your journey, a couple of years ahead of me, are my mentor that I look to.
    I give thanks today to my mother (who passed away 6 years ago) for her example of non-judgmental loving regardless of her children’ choices – leaving a legacy of 6 close siblings today.

    1. Mary, good to see you join in!  I am so sorry for you losses (husband and mom.)

    2. Mary Nesbit–welcome. So sorry for your deep losses. Thankful God used Dee’s God of All Comfort (my favorite book)! Glad you are here with us~

    3. Mary, welcome! So glad you are following along and have Dee as a mentor. She is a blessing to all of us, for sure!

    4. Welcome to this special place Mary Nesbitt

    5. Mary, you are walking a very hard road and I am sorry for your loss, yet thankful that Dee’s grief journey and her book, The God of All Comfort, is giving you comfort and encouragement.

    6. Mary N.  Thank you for sharing your heart here.  I so appreciate your honesty and how you are following after Him in the midst of deep sorrow.  Welcome to this fellowship.  

    7. I echo the greetings and welcomes of my bible study blog sisters, Mary N. 

  5. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
     
    Yesterday, I planned a picnic lunch for my mom, mother-in-law, daughter, and myself, at a park. I had prepared a few Bible verses to share with them about the motherly side of God, and the one mentioned above from Isaiah 49 was one I had written down: Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.
    I am so thankful to still have my dear mom, yet there is sorrow, too. After our picnic, I drove mom back to her home. After a few minutes, she asked my daughter and me if we’d like a sandwich. I said, “Mom…where did we just come from?!” She smiled and said, “From outside?” I had to remind her that we just had a picnic lunch. Memories are so important to me, and I feel like I’m making memories with my mom to hold onto and it makes me sad that she probably won’t remember. Just the week before, I had taken her to the same park, yet she said yesterday, “I don’t think I’ve ever been here before.” I am asking God to show me how to just live and enjoy the present moments with my mom.
    Sometimes my lament seems to be, Why do things have to change? Why, as I get older, does life seem to hold more loss, more longing for the way things used to be?

    1. Susan, I understand how you feel. Bitter sweet. My dad suffered from Alzheimer’s & it was a slow goodbye. Wish no one had to suffer this way. Yet I can praise God for allowing some tender, unexpected moments of healing between me & my Dad during his last year on this earth. God is faithful. 

    2. “Sometimes my lament seems to be, Why do things have to change? Why, as I get older, does life seem to hold more loss, more longing for the way things used to be?”  I don’t know all the “why’s” of this, Susan (I have those same questions!) but I wonder if some of the answer maybe so that we (as I think Joni Eareckson once said) will come to realize that “this life can’t keep its’ promises” and our longing turn to our eternal home, with Him.

      1. Yes, Mary, I know…these longings are really for my eternal home. I’ve been feeling kind of sad today and I think one reason is because I watched Ragamuffin last night. It really touched me deeply. I’ve been wanting to ask you, how are you feeling since you’re back on your medication?

        1. Oh I really need to see Ragamuffin sometime!  You all make it sound so good.  Well, actually Susan, my oncologist surprised me and changed the med to a new one and after the third dose I got a terrible headache and nausea and went to the ER!  So, I was too afraid to take it so she has me on nothing for right now (except bone strengthening injections.)  Even still my tumor marker dropped just slightly after being on a med for only 4 days out of the last 4 weeks, so I’m grateful it did not go up.  I got a procedure done on my frozen shoulder and it has helped significantly with mobility (thought the exercises are still extremely painful) and I really long to be able to get past this shoulder issue, at least to the point of being able to stop all pain meds so that I can see if those meds are responsible for some of my issues (I’m almost certain they cause my drowsiness and maybe even some nausea.)  So, I’m doing a bit better but I did have a major crying jag today!  (I’m always on the verge of one, though!)  As Dee says, I try to talk myself down by “speaking truth to my soul, rather than listening to my soul.”  
          I often of Wanda or Elizabeth post updates on FB (since I don’t do FB) but I know you don’t do it either.  Thanks for asking, Susan.  

    3. Susan I so understand what you are talking about regarding your Mom My mother in law has Alzheimer’s. I went to visit her this evening and asked her if she had other company today knowing my sister in law had come. She said no. The girl at the desk heard her and confirmed with me my sister in law had left just an hour or so earlier. It truly is living in the moment. I would love to have more talks with my Mother in law as I used share about the Lord. I honestly do not know where she stands there, but I know the Lord can meet people right where they are at. My prayer is she will KNOW HIM  remember Him. 

      1. Liz, I didn’t know your mother-in-law suffers from Alzheimers. Yes, it is so hard, and I encourage you to keep sharing Jesus with her.

    4. Dee’s words are so true.  You are such a blessing in every moment your mom is with you.  Each present moment.   And though she may not remember yesterday, oh what a memory that is for your daughter!  To spend that time with her mom and both grandmothers; that is a rare and special treasure.  And to have you share scriptures about God’s nurturing mother’s nature….I think she will always remember that.  What a sweet legacy.  

  6. HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!!! (to all you moms.) =)

  7. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
    The Isaiah verse reminds me of God’s grace where I fall short as a mom.  I wish I could be an all-sufficient mom who never lets my kids down, always says and does the right thing, and loves them perfectly.  But, of course, I’m nowhere close to that!  But it’s comforting to know there is a God who loves my kids more than I can imagine and will faithfully meet all their needs and will never fail them or forget them.
    2. On this Mother’s Day, what is one thing for which you can give thanks in regard to your mother?
    My mom’s strength inspires me.  I’ve watched her walk through the loss of a child and then the loss of her husband.  Her faith hasn’t wavered.  She is amazing.

  8. LOVE that top photo of the mom & child in the water!

  9. 2.  Thankful for a mother who loved Jesus and wanted to share Him with others, especially children (even into dementia)

  10. To any who may be following silently, and struggling today on Mother’s Day–I want to say as one who waited 5 years to “try” for kids, and then suffered 5 years of infertility–you are not alone, you are not “less than”, and as Dee SO BEAUTIFULLY reminds us all in this post, YOU ARE NOT FORGOTTEN. He sees you.  I will never forget the pain of sitting through Mother’s Days at Church…pink carnations given out to Moms…and how it seemed the kids around me multiplied that day! If you would like to respond here, I will promise to pray for you today in your struggle. Know that He cares deeply and give your cries to Him. 

    1. Elizabeth, how like you to be sensitive to those struggling today…beautiful post. My Sunday school teacher, who is single, never married, shared how Mother’s Day used to be so very hard for her that she would go to another church on Mother’s Day just because it was easier to not know just who all the moms and grandmothers were in the congregation. God has been faithful to heal…today, the pastor of our church asked her to be the one to pray for the mothers in one of the services.

    2. Elizabeth, your words are so meaningful and your heart is so kind and understanding.  I was suddenly reminded me of a time when I was at a banquet for some christian ministry and it must have been around Mother’s Day, because there was some big emphasis on mothers. Suddenly,  the woman who had invited us, got up and left, fighting back tears.  I did not know how she was struggling with infertility.  When her husband told us, I left and got in my car and drove to her house.  I am positive the red light on the way was the longest light I have ever, to this day, had to wait for.  I wanted to be there for her (though I was so unsure if it was the right thing to do).  That experience  (as a young mom, myself) made me so much more aware of the pain many experience.  Thank you for standing in the gap for many who are grieving this loss.  

      1. oh wanda! I have a flood of tears coming reading this. I knew you were incredibly “special”–but wow, your heart towards this woman, and to have been “her” myself–I am just overwhelmed by your love and concern for her. I have many “stories” on the topic, painful ones I’ve had to forgive because I know people meant well, but just didn’t know how to respond. But this example of you going out of yourself, not letting your uncertainty stop you from going into the mess, that is so like Christ. I know you have a different but deep ache now as a mother for your children–praying again for peace for you–that contentment your mom modeled, and for the truth you taught while they were young, to draw them back to His hold. 

  11. 2. On this Mother’s Day, what is one thing for which you can give thanks in regard to your mother?
    My mother passed away 8 years ago, so today is bittersweet for me though I spent the day with family around me and even my step-mother and Dad. My mother worked hard yet was very creative, but the thing I am perhaps most thankful for is that my mother did not give up on relationships. There were two family members who were like the younger brothers from Jesus’ parable that we call “The Prodigal Son”. Yet she never stopped trying to keep in touch and quietly, patiently reconcile disconnected loved ones. I very much value and need her example. 

    1. Diane, how encouraging for you to remember your mother’s perseverance as you wait for your brother, continuing in patience and prayer. I am praying for him tonight.

      1. Anne, thanks for remembering about my brother and for praying. I also had an aunt that was estranged for quite some time. Mom never gave up. Partly thanks to her and mostly because of what God is teaching me that our Christianity must be lived out in how we do relationships.  To rearrange the words, but not the thoughts of 1 Corinthians 13, — “If we have all the right theology but don’t have love, it profits me nothing”. I am learning that even very hard relationships are worth the trouble of trying and trying to love, even though there is a prominent strain of thought out there that says “If someone gives you grief, give up on that relationship.” God gave His life for me and I am His disciple. I ought to give my life for others for Christ’s sake. It is a hard, hard lesson and I am still learning and walking imperfectly to say the least. I am not saying a person should stay in an abusive relationship. I don’t have all the answers. I just know that I have much to learn about trying to love.

        1. Thank you for this post Diane. It touched me.

        2. Laura, I am thankful to the Lord if my words touched you. You have such a series of tough relationships to navigate. I continue to pray for you.

    2. Poignant words, Diane.  They encourage me again, to persist in love and faithfulness in my own family relationships.  (much harder for me with siblings than with my children).  My mom left us 8 years ago as well and this Mother’s Day, I thought of her a lot.  My sister sent me a recording of her reciting a poem but I haven’t found the right moment to listen yet.  

  12. 1. The first picture stands out to me for 2 reasons, the mother’s joy and the baby’s trust. Even from the side I can see joy on her face, though she is working in difficult circumstance. They may be in danger from currrents or snakes but the baby trusts so securely in his position with his mother that he is peacefully asleep. Her joy and his peace are both the result of her love.
    How much more can we trust our omnipotent, loving Father. We are never in danger when in His presence. But we can’t see or touch Him. I struggle so often to find this place where this baby is. Dee’s lament speaks deeply to me in this. She told Him of her pain, even expressed her anger and He came to her. I know He was pleased with her because that is relationship. We are not silent but express our hearts.

      1. Dee, I love that you post them for us. They are so rich and add so much. 

    1. Anne, I can’t find your last post but something stuck with me about it-your Grace shed on your mom in her weaknesses-I love how you acknowledged how the lack of physical affection affected you yet I love you have given your mom Grace in that and love her just how she is. We all fall short in how we show our love to our children and I pray God gives my boys Grace toward me in my weaknesses in that like He did with you.

      By the way-you always encourage me so in parenting matters. It seems to be a common thread. God has encouraged me through you! You are the one who helped me with ‘stones of remembrance’ a few years ago and then led me to that wonderful book on parenting-which freed me from thinking I have that much power over how my boys will turn out and helped me trust God with them more! I am so grateful you are with us!

  13. What stands out to me is the honesty of a lament. I had to do some talking to my soul this morning. I felt what I was considering self pity setting in regarding a situation with one of my daughters who is now following a faith that apparently they do not even celebrate Mothers Day. Not even a call today. I know she loves me and I do not have to have my relationship be based on any certain day, my lament is the place where she is now at. It was almost a year ago she graduated from  Christian college. She wanted to go there, wanted her faith to get stronger. to think where she is at now she feels it is, and even thanks me for praying she would find truth. I am totally trusting the Lord with this, but some days and this being one (maybe due to my self pity) my heart ached.
    One thing to be thankful about my Mom. Today I gave my Mom the book “1000 Gifts” I told her I was not giving her this book because I felt she needed it I was giving it to her because I felt she lived it. I thank God for the foundation she laid in my faith walk. Taking me to church and introducing me to God though I really never knew Him personally until I was 33. My Mom has been thru much pain and loss but it has to be her faith that has kept her. She has persevered and looks at what to be thankful for.
    I spoke briefly at church today sharing that I am sometimes a bit hesitant to say Happy Mothers Day in such a larger setting. I know there are many who are sad today with such a recent loss of a Mom such as Laura. Or perhaps a Mom missing her spouse. Some do not have good relationships with their Moms or Moms with children. Some Moms missing their children who they have had to bury. ( today was an anniversary  date for one of my sisters)  Or some who want so badly as Elizabeth had shared to be Moms. Or for myself and I know MANY others the child we do not have due to the choice we made for abortion. What I do know in all of these situations is We do have a God who loves us and knows the pain we may feel. He is there to comfort us. He can take these things that break our hearts and use them for His purposes.  I am seeking that purpose.
     

    1. Dear Liz,     Your post found it’s way into my heart on many levels.   First, the pain and disappointment of a child following after a faith/spirituality that does not acknowledge Mother’s Day.  (and I suspect this is one of many deeper concerns.) Oh, I’m so sorry you are feeling that pain. I wish we could sit and talk.  My kids all still appreciate and acknowledge Mother’s and Father’s Day which is a blessing.  But for the Christian holidays  and the national holidays,  I’ve gone through so many emotional struggles over their changing practices and interpretations.  It’s so changed the family time I used to envision.  The love is still there and it is deep, but I feel with you, the ache for more unity in beliefs.  Know that you are not alone.  
      How you gave the book with such an affirmation of your mom’s faith and gratitude; that was so sweet.  And I am very impressed with the words you shared with your congregation.  Your thoughts are so rich and meaningful.  Peace to you today, Liz.  

  14. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why? 
    But even if Mother’s forget, I’d never forget you – never.  The Prodigal Son painting always melts me. It feels like home. 
    Dee’s transparency in The God of All Comfort encourages me to press into Him with honest lament instead of backing away. That beautiful scene when God came to Dee in the Psalm and said, “Dee, Dee I am right here.” God said, He will never ‘forget’ me…never. I think of forget vs. leave me…yes he will never leave me, but he will also never forget me. I am on his mind..written on the back of his hand-He loves me so much. I am always before His eyes and He is living in me. And of course he said ‘never’ twice..that is huge! 🙂 
     

  15. 2. On this Mother’s Day, what is one thing for which you can give thanks in regard to your mother?
    She has always loved me despite me. In my turbulent teenage years she loved me-even in her brokenness when I would drive her over the edge-and she was a single mom. She never turned away from me. She sacrificed so much for us working three jobs and still being there for us all the time.  

    1. I SO greatly admire single moms like this.  Rebecca.  How she loved you through her brokenness.   Such fruit it has borne in your life and the love you give your own children, Rebecca.  This touches my heart.

  16. 2. My mother was not comfortable with outward demonstration of affection. So I did not feel very loved growing up. That resulted in a lot of problems with me.  I came to a point where I made the conscious decision to forgive her. Nothing happened right away but I soon began to see that she had much pain and brokenness in herself. Over the years I have seen that she expressed her love in acts of service. There were so many things that she did for me that I took for granted as a child and a teen. But I remember them often now. I love grapefruit and every time I eat one I think of how she would section them for me in the mornings in a never ending effort to get me to eat breakfast.
    i so look forward to seeing her in heaven. 

    1. Anne, I love the picture of your mom sectioning the grapefruit for you, hoping to get you to eat. My mom is a real grapefruit lover, too; I remember her always fixing them like that, too.

    2. Anne:  Your post is full of good insight and what an example of grace it is, that you forgave and then saw your mom’s love more clearly.  Grapefruit; what a great reminder of her love. 

  17. 3. In a classic lament, the psalm begins with an honest lament, telling God how he really feels, and then there is a turn and a trust. Look at Psalm 13 and identify both the lament and the turn and a trust.
    The Lament is verses 1 and 2 and then the turn starts in verse 3 and trust in verse 5 and 6. 

  18. 3. In a classic lament, the psalm begins with an honest lament, telling God how he really feels, and then there is a turn and a trust. Look at Psalm 13 and identify both the lament and the turn and a trust.
     
    He is waiting for God; he has sorrow “in his heart.” He wonders how long he will have to withstand his enemy. Is the turn in verses 3/4? I’m not sure I get this part…..I kind of feel like the turn and the trust is altogether in the last few verses where he says, “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me.” (‭Psalm‬ ‭13‬:‭5-6‬ NIV) how is verse 3 a turn?

    1. Laura-I could be totally mistaken and I probably am for it is obvious the turn and trust is in verse 5, but I sense the start of a turn when he goes from questioning God’s steadfast love in his lament in verses 1 &2 to asking God to light up his eyes lest his enemies prevail. Then all of a sudden in verse 5 He reflects on God’s steadfast love-how it has abounded in his life evidently, and he lets go and trusts. But I am not looking at commentaries so I could be wrong. 🙂

      1. No Rebecca, that makes sense to me; I think you are right! Thanks!

        1. Laura-I don’t know now! 🙂 I looked at it again and it is pretty obvious where the turn and trust is in verse 5. So I think you are more on target here.

      2. Look down at Susan’s answer just below here….she says she “cheated!”

        1. Laura, LOL! :))

        2. Oh no…I have been caught!:)

  19. 4. Read Psalm 130:1-2 and describe the cry.
    This kind of cry is from the depths inside pleading for mercy. 
    5. Read the following psalm, the psalm that I was on that morning: Psalm 131.
    A. What statement of trust does the psalmist make in verse 1?   
    He is putting aside his arrogance and pride, him trying to figure out what God is doing and why. He is resting in God-content and confident in God.  I see a repentance here for he must have been arrogant prior but now he is turning and trusting.
    B. Compare this with Job 42:1-6. What parallel do you see and what is the significance? (Read the context if you are unfamiliar with it.)
    The parallel is that their encounter with God in their suffering melted them to repentance and rather than resting in their own understanding, they are confident and content in Him accepting the mystery of suffering contented in His sovereignty, His Love, His control. 
     

  20. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
    What stands out to me…
    I remember clearly the “mother’s” love felt after the birth of my first child.  It was a love that I had never experienced previously…self-less, protective, vast love.  This little infant did nothing, but oh how I loved her.  I recall telling my mother how full my heart was for my child; she defined it as “a mother’s love.”  It boggles my mind when I think that this rich, protective, self-less love that I experience for my children and grandchild is just a minute snippet of how the Lord loves His children…loves me.
    Dee’s longing for Steve hurts my heart…the loss of his presence this side of heaven was great as is the ensuing loneliness.  Two peas in a pod…companionship…a blessed relationship…a great reunion awaits. 
     
    2. On this Mother’s Day, what is one thing for which you can give thanks in regard to your mother?
    My mother provided strength and support during difficult times; it was like she would go into a different drive when her children were facing difficulty and hurt.  During my divorce, she would call every Sunday at 6 p.m. to chat; the call was like a life-line for me (I lived a distance from family.)  I remember my mom having a party for me and two other girls (2nd grade?); all the girls in the class had been invited to a classmate’s birthday party, we were the three exceptions, we knew it and felt bad.  Each of us not invited had “issues” with our appearance.  My mom had a special party for us; it was around Halloween, so that was the theme for our party.

    1. Nanci, your mom having the party for you and the other girls…what a special memory for you-her thoughtfulness and kindness and sensitivity to the hurt you were feeling.

    2. Nanci….your descriptions of your mom’s love both when you were a child and as an adult put a lump in my throat.  How these moments warm us and shape us.  

    3. Nanci, I just saw this about “mothers love.” I know exactly what you mean here! I felt that too with my first child…..like I would burst because it was so strong. I don’t know if I felt the same with the others. I just remember that first one.

  21. 2. On this Mother’s Day, what is one thing for which you can give thanks in regard to your mother?
     
    Very often, my mom will look at her hands and say, “Have you ever seen such awful, ugly hands?” What she means is that on her right hand especially, from the knuckles closest to the tips of the fingers, her fingers are crooked from arthritis; the veins on the backs of her hands are prominent (just like her dad’s, she says), the knuckles are big and the skin is thin and wrinkled. But I always tell her that what I see is hands that served, and hands that are beautiful. I see hands that whenever one of my kids had a headache, Grandma would get her Ben-gay and rub their heads and neck until the headache was gone. I see hands that made the most delicious from scratch pies, mixing the dough with her hands. Hands that were always willing to help me with my laundry, or scrubbing a floor. Even today, at almost 88, she is always offering, “What can I do to help you?” When she and my dad come over for dinner, she always wants to help with the dishes or setting the table. Hands that addressed all of my wedding invitations by hand, in calligraphy. Hands that planted the most lovely flowers and washed windows until they sparkled. Just yesterday, when I went to see my mom, we were sitting together and I looked at her hand resting on top of mine. Beautiful hands of my mom.

    1. This is so sweet, Susan.  Tears welled up reading your words and visualizing you and your mom spending time together.  

    2. Oh, Susan…lovely sentiments.  In your prior post, I kept thinking about the blessing of the present, so glad that Wanda mentioned it.  Although our parents may not remember as they did at one time, the present moments are precious for all.

    3. oh Susan–love this, your mom must be where you get your dear nurturing heart “What can I do to help you?” –sounds just like you!

    4. No words Susan, just tears.

  22. 3. In a classic lament, the psalm begins with an honest lament, telling God how he really feels, and then there is a turn and a trust. Look at Psalm 13 and identify both the lament and the turn and a trust.
     
    The repeated lament seems to be, “How long, O Lord?”  The psalmist has been crying out to God, wrestling with his thoughts, carrying sorrow in his heart, seeing his enemies seemingly triumph, and he feels like it is never-ending and God is silent.
    Now I feel like I’m sort of cheating, because when we were studying the psalms, I marked in my Bible that verse 3 is the “turn”…“Look on me and answer, O Lord my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death.” I think the turn is hard to see, but I do see a subtle shift in his focus from all of his troubles to the Lord and he is asking specific things of God.
    The trust is in verse 5 where he says he will trust in God’s unfailing love and rejoice in His salvation, and even in verse 6, he is remembering that “He has been good to me.” It is good to remember past instances when God has answered.

  23. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?   First:  the Isaiah verse.  That was one of my favorites years ago.  In college years, I had a laminated card with a painting of carved hands and a child’s image sculpted into them, along with the verse.  A friend of mine had an actual wood carving of the same.   It was a wonderful visual.    Second:  Dee’s honest lament.  And how amazing it is, that we can cry honestly and agonizingly to our Creator and Redeemer and know that He will not turn us away but welcomes us to lay it before Him.  
    2. On this Mother’s Day, what is one thing for which you can give thanks in regard to your mother?   Her contentment.  I shared recently that mom was the most content woman I have ever known.  ‘Godliness with contentment is great gain’.  She had both.  It was enough for her to know the Lord and enjoy His gifts;  her family, friends, trees, flowers, birds, drives in the country, a quiet evening of conversation, a good book, favorite music.   She never traveled out of the country (oh, I guess we did go to Canada several times;  lived an hour from the border)  only a few times left her state, actually, she infrequently left her immediate area.  She rarely got to see the beautiful songbirds she loved to admire in decorations in her home, she didn’t have many flowers or trees in her tiny yard, her home was extremely humble, but she still delighted in all that she could see and experience and also in what she could imagine from reading and seeing pictures.  And she was grateful for everything that was done for her or given her.  Even in her confused, last year in the nursing home, the staff remarked often to us of her gratitude.  Oh and she had a silly sense of humor too!
     

    1. Wanda, wow…the contentment that your mother possessed is truly an incredible thing, and what a legacy she has left…It was enough for her to know the Lord and enjoy His gifts…

  24. Oh my — another penny dropped this morning.  The problem is that it kept going down from my heart to my stomach — and it came up again.  Listening to a worship CD all morning so that the penny lodges in the right place.  Sort of a momentary paradigm shift (back and forth).  Want to be sure it sticks, but it is SO related to the turn in Psalms of lament

  25. OH  I just now watched the Paul Tripp/Elyse Fitzpatrick interview that was in last week’s blog.  EVERY point resonates in my heart.  How I wish I had heard this 30 years ago. BUT I won’t dwell there.  It is only by God’s grace for me now.  It was only by God’s grace for me then.  (I just didn’t know as much truth about grace as I am learning now.) What is REALLY, really timely, is that these words are so exactly what we need to share with a couple who are in the middle of a huge parenting storm.  The dad just confided in my husband last week, the latest part of the saga; really, really hard stuff.  And parental authority has been so much like Paul describes.  We both listened and immediately concurred that this is exactly what is critical for them and for the future of their son;  a lot is at stake as we speak.  I was able to find it on YouTube so we can share it.  Praying for receptivity for them to listen; for the Spirit to draw them into this grace. 
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZngJkDjtqo  
     
    AND once again, THANK YOU Dee for your sensitivity to the Spirit which brings such deeply needful resources to us.

    1. Wanda–all of Paul Tripp’s series “Getting to the Heart of Parenting” are also on youtube and are EXCELLENT. Here’s a link to the first: https://youtu.be/n8-k1ZiZacw

      1. Thank you, Elizabeth!   I just shared the one from last week with my son and daughter in law who have the large foster family.  I’m glad to know that there are others.  I think they will really like his teaching too~

    2. Wanda, I just watched that video yesterday, too. I’m so glad you have this resource to offer to these parents, as well as your support. I also wish I had had this kind of wisdom many years ago.

  26. 4. Read Psalm 130:1-2 and describe the cry.
     
    The cry is from deep within; this person is at the breaking point!
     
    5. Read the following psalm, the psalm that I was on that morning: Psalm 131.
     
    A. What statement of trust does the psalmist make in verse 1?   
     
    He is leaving the hard “stuff” for God to handle.
     
    B. Compare this with Job 42:1-6. What parallel do you see and what is the significance? (Read the context if you are unfamiliar with it.)
     
     Job is lamenting that he should have left the difficult situations to God, and not worried. Job is looking back on something that has already happened. The Psalmist has foresight to realize that he shouldn’t try to handle the sticky situations.
     
    C. Read Psalm 131:2-3 and explain how this follows the psalmist’s resolve to trust that God knows what He is doing. Every day we face challenges. You may feel today like this one today.
     
    He is resting in The Lord. That is exactly what I am doing this afternoon. I have a hard time sticking to my diet when I get home from school in the afternoons these days. I have to physically remove myself from the downstairs and go up to my bedroom to get away from the kitchen. It’s not really time to eat dinner, and I find myself snacking on things I shouldn’t be eating. I decided to do a little bit of the Bible study blog this afternoon. Wouldn’t you know this Psalm is so apropos today? I needed to rest in the Lord.

  27. 3. In a classic lament, the psalm begins with an honest lament, telling God how he really feels, and then there is a turn and a trust. Look at Psalm 13 and identify both the lament and the turn and a trust.
    This is so amazing. I had glanced ahead and saw an emphasis on Psalms of lament.  And that was enough for me to experience the turn and the trust (and then the same “story” repeated itself over again this morning — just doesn’t seem to let up, but I did turn to Him repeatedly, and back to lament for a little while).

    And now I read Psalm 13.  This is exactly what I have been asking: “How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?”  Verses 1-2, the lament, accurately describe what I either have been experiencing or observing for the past few years.

      Vs 3-4, the transition, crying out to Him, often wondering if the enemy will say ” ‘I have prevailed over [her],’ lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.” And it’s that smirk of the enemies rejoicing, thinking I am shaken, that makes me SO MAD!  This morning, I started to recognize at a deeper level not only who the real enemy is, but also who the real Victor is (and isn’t — it’s not me!).

      Vs 5 and 6, the trust:  This may not make sense??  The verses seem to hit me differently depending on my focus:  e.g, in verse 5, I can focus on “But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.” OR “But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.”   When I focus on the object, HIM, the subject & verb fall into place.  When I focus on the subject and verb, I puke up the penny and get stuck in the lament or even the turn.  I become like The Little Engine that Could, “I think I can [trust/rejoice] rather than looking to the One who said “It is finished,” the One who patiently and graciously listens to my lament until I see His face.  When I see Him, this caboose;) follows the engine, rejoicing that He has won.  I don’t have to pull the train!
     

    1.  “I started to recognize at a deeper level not only who the real enemy is, but also who the real Victor is”This has also been huge for me Renee, I love your wrestling here, I can identify

  28. 7. Read Isaiah 49:14-16 
    A. What are God’s people saying in verse 14?  
    That God has forgotten them. 
    B. What promises does God make in verses 15-16? 
    That even though a mother may forget He will not forget them. He is so mindful and compassionate torward them he has them engraved on the palms of his hands. They are always on his mind.  
    C. Is this real to you?
    He has made this real to me, but I am still a 4 year old in my understanding and honestly I am glad about that. There are days when I doubt, conversations I have with Him when I feel He has forgotten me and days I don’t go to Him and whine like a baby.
     
    There is this strange dynamic inside..a deep confidence yet at the same time bewilderment and then awe that He would love me this intensely and remain faithful when I am unfaithful. I mean just the bits of darkness He brings to the surface in me so He can chisel it-envy, seflishness are the most recent ones..even then the tangled mess in my dark heart goes deeper-It scares me to think of what is in there!! Yet even though He sees my dark heart He doesn’t hold it against me. I am ever naked before Him daily and while He sees the ugly, He sees Jesus-His righteousness covers me. This amazes me. I can’t understand-really why He drew me out and made me His but I am confident He won’t forsake me even if I have days where I can’t sense Him..and more and more I am resting in His Love and I know because honestly the mountain of the approval idol I used to struggle with is dissipating. it is more automatic now than it used to be for me to say to myself and to God..this person/situation isn’t my life, You are God. Your approval is all that matters and you bathe me in that! 
     
    The beautiful part is that when I doubt, He wants me to tell Him and when I do He won’t ‘un-engrave’ me for doubting. 😉 Even during the time I was ‘stonewalling’ Him in my wilderness time. He didn’t forsake me, He drew me out of that even! He knows me better than I know myself and His compassion on me constantly rescuing me from myself-my dark heart and my ingrained behaviors learned from child hood..he is faithfully breaking those chains that stifle our intimacy and remaking me.  It is kind of like when my son doubts my love for him and he cries out and tells me..it hurts me deeply like a knife but the fact that he cried out to me to tell me is huge..it tells me that He does know I love him..he is secure enough in my love to be honest with me and it restores and builds deeper our relationship. 🙂 

  29. 6. Write your lament here, and then be still and know He is God — then, when you are ready, write your turn and your trust. He loves you better than a mother and longs to comfort you.

    Dear Lord, please help me! I am un-energetic; lethargic. I can’t stop “snacking” instead of eating healthy foods. I don’t know if it is the medicine I take that is doing this to me, or what. I am trying to keep my eye upon You O Holy One, but, I am failing. Please help me stay focused on what is truly important here; You. I don’t want to be consumed by this idol. I want to do better, feel better. When I eat right my whole body feels and responds well. When I am at my exercising “peak,” I feel better too. Help me regain what I was before my hip injury. I am so sad right now. When I am in good shape is when I can perform the dance moves that I know are pleasing to You, Dear One. Please intervene in my life! Take out the evil one! You are the only one that can stomp him out for good. Take him away, Lord….I trust that You will. You love me and want me to be calm, and not hyper-focused on this trivial matter in my life. I will wait for You. In my waiting I will search for Your kisses. Thank You for helping me Lord. Thank You for loving me.

  30. 7. Read Isaiah 49:14-16
    A. What are God’s people saying in verse 14?
     
    They believe they have been forgotten by The Lord.
     
    B. What promises does God make in verses 15-16?
     
    He will not forget. He has our hearts written on His hands!
     
    C. Is this real to you?
     
    Yes and no. I do believe it, but just like a child, since I can’t feel it, often, I lose faith that it is real. I am so human. I ask for help and expect immediate results. When I don’t get my way, in a timely fashion, I lose faith. It’s a hard cycle to break! I need to understand that He is with me  always and promises to lead me as long as I am here on earth and accept Him for who he was and is. Sometimes it gets rough; remembering He is with me…there is no physical reminder to make me aware. The scripture is readable, and tells me what I need to know, but I forget to go look! I can develop the skill to get better at reading and understanding; I’m already better than I was a few years ago, so there is hope!

    1. Laura, your last paragraph…I really resonate with it. I was pondering yesterday about Dee’s story above, how her baby would not latch on. I was thinking, that’s like me. I can be upset, sad, disappointed, having a pity party…now why don’t I “latch on” to God? Now my question is, how do I practically do that?! As you said, the Scripture is there to read, but we forget to go look!

  31. 4. Read Psalm 130:1-2 and describe the cry.
     
    It seems he feels so down, so very far away from God, “Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord”. He is at a very low point. Can God even hear his voice? He wants to get God’s attention.
     
    5. Read the following psalm, the psalm that I was on that morning: Psalm 131.
     
    A. What statement of trust does the psalmist make in verse 1?
     
    Trusting in God requires being humble enough to admit that you cannot understand everything and you give up driving yourself crazy trying to figure it all out. You trust God with everything, big and small. The psalmist puts it like this, “I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me.”
     
    B. Compare this with Job 42:1-6. What parallel do you see and what is the significance?
     
    Job uses the same phrase from Psalm 131, “(Surely I spoke of things I did not understand), things too wonderful for me to know.” Maybe Job was like that crying, flailing baby when he was trying to question God and get answers. The peace came when Job admits he doesn’t know but God does, and he trusts and more importantly, RESTS in that.

  32. When i saw the video of steve again I could not help but get frustrated with God a bit! I too was asking the question, why Steve? why not a BAD person….then I scrolled down and read “I have given up my Pride and turned away from my arrogance” and I was shaken to my core. 
    How I struggle to REST in HIS grace some days, how i long to be more then I am, know more then I do, fail less, succeed more. this vs. has wrecked me this morning, and I think im just going to stay here for a bit.
     
    pride is such a double edged sward, it traps you into NEEDING to be right in order to feel loved. It robs you of joy and rest and trust in the one who loves me and  created me to be his CHILD. There is such a temptation when HE has put so many in your life to care for to believe that I am the one “responsible” for them, when i am just a vessel in the Fathers hand, Im not the one responsible for the results, only the obidience. I forget to trust and rest in HIM. I NEED to BELIEVE that I am enough, that I am pretty enough and smart enough and strong enough and talented enough and loving enough….i just need to be enough.
    I think I’ll be camping out here for a while….AGAIN.

      1. Cyndi, me too..love this post-love your heart-love you!

        1. 🙂 so frustrating to think you have something kinda figured out and then….. GOD…..*sigh*
          still camping out here, it may be a while, I think i might need to build a house here!
          I have given up my pride….
           

        2. Cyndi, :))))

  33. 3. In a classic lament, the psalm begins with an honest lament, telling God how he really feels, and then there is a turn and a trust. Look at Psalm 13 and identify both the lament and the turn and a trust.
    The lament: “How long?” How long must I feel forgotten? Consider me, remember me…light my eyes…
    The turn: (vs. 5) “But I have trusted in Your steadfast love” …my heart will rejoice and sing because of what You have done for me. 
    4. Read Psalm 130:1-2 and describe the cry.
    There is such a desperateness in this cry! Hear me! OH how this hits close to home! I had a cry like this on Mother’s Day! We had gone for a hike and I thought we lost our kids—headlines were forming in my mind “mother loses kids…on Mother’s day!”—and out loud my cries sounded just like this Psalm!
     
    5. Read the following psalm, the psalm that I was on that morning: Psalm 131.
    A. What statement of trust does the psalmist make in verse 1?   
    He is not proud, but humble before the Lord. “… my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me.”
    B. Compare this with Job 42:1-6. What parallel do you see and what is the significance? (Read the context if you are unfamiliar with it.)
    He sees how he had been prideful to question God, and owns that he had “uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me”. Now he sees who the Lord is, and is humbled, despising his own pride. 
    C. Read Psalm 131:2-3 and explain how this follows the psalmist’s resolve to trust that God knows what He is doing. Every day we face challenges. You may feel today like this one today.
    He has “calmed and quieted” his soul. He rests content, trusting in the Lord’s perfect provision. I hate how hard it is for me to get to this place. I am finding that when I do, it is when I have reminded myself of His faithfulness in the past (learned that from Dee, through the Psalms!)There is almost a logic to that that helps me, the way my brain works. I remember who He is, who He is not, and speak truth to my soul, over and over. Getting to that point though, still takes longer than I’d like at times. 
     

  34. 4. “Out of the depths….” At first glance, I picture crying out from a place of deep pain, sorrow or fear.  But reading on, the psalmist is pleading for mercy.  So, it is out of the depths of sin.  Sin can make me feel like I’m in a deep pit, so far from God, all I can do is cry out, putting hope in a merciful God to save me.
    5. Read the following psalm, the psalm that I was on that morning: Psalm 131.
    A. What statement of trust does the psalmist make in verse 1?   
    B. Compare this with Job 42:1-6. What parallel do you see and what is the significance? (Read the context if you are unfamiliar with it.)
    They both seem to be confessing pride that sometimes makes us forget that the things of God are “too wonderful” for our comprehension.  Need to return to a humble position of reverence for God and complete dependence on Him alone.
    C. Read Psalm 131:2-3 and explain how this follows the psalmist’s resolve to trust that God knows what He is doing.
    He is able to provide for every need.  It takes humility to find that place of rest in His all-sufficiency.  Need to quiet my mind and stop trying to figure everything out when facing challenges.

    1. Welcome Jody!

    2. Welcome, Jody!

    3. Jody–glad you’re here!

  35. i did not write a lament because I am in a post trial phase right now. I think it is most beneficial for me to remember how it was and what brought the turn. When everything was out of control I struggled to hold on to trust. It was very hard to think clearly on the roller coaster. My mind clung to trust but my heart rebelled in fear. Finally someone slapped me with truth. It was like a hysterical person coming to her senses with a slap. “You need some scriptures to hold onto.” he said. From all of our teaching here, I know that, but it just did not come to me then. So I quickly grabbed the first 2 verses of Psalm 91 and the seas calmed. Actually it wasn’t long until God brought resolution to the problem.
    Trust was the turn for me and speaking the truth to my soul brought trust. 
    I think it was important for me to come to that place of complete lack of control. Does that not break pride?

    1. Trust was the turn for me and speaking the truth to my soul brought trust. 

      It’s so cool and amazing how speaking God’s word has the power to do that.

  36. 8. Read Matthew 23:37

    A. How does God the Son show His mother-like qualities here?
     
    He wants to gather His chicks and hide them under his wing. He is lamenting when His children are not behaving…hmmm I really know how that feels!
     
    B. Why do you think God ordained marriage to be one woman and one man?
     
    Marriage is about carrying on the human race…procreation. Children are born because the woman is fertilized by the man. By giving different qualities, or characteristics, to each, He planned that children would develop properly. The man and woman complement each other. Children need both viewpoints. I know that my husband can deal more effectively with my children in a way that I can’t. Too bad that for many years I tried to control every little thing in my household, by myself, because I didn’t think he could do it as well as I could 🙁 it took a long time for me to get it right, but in am a “recovered” control freak! He handles Sarah much better than I do. It is really pretty freeing for me!
     

  37. 3. Look at Psalm 13 and identify both the lament and the turn and a trust.
    lament: v. 1-2…where are You? I need You and You are not here.
    turn: v. 3…”give light to my eyes,” i.e., help me to see You, help me to understand
    trust: v. 5-6…trust in the Lord’s unfailing love.
     
    4. Psalm 130:1-2, describe the cry.
    A cry for the Lord’s attention, a cry for mercy.
     
    5A. What statement of trust does the psalmist make in v. 1?
    Contentment…the psalmist is content in his knowing the Lord is his provision; the Lord will provide all that he needs.  Trust…the psalmist trusts that the Lord knows what is in his best interest and will provide just that.

  38. C. Read Psalm 131:2-3 and explain how this follows the psalmist’s resolve to trust that God knows what He is doing.
     
    Following the resolve to trust is a quieting of one’s soul, a contentment and I also see a resting in dependency, just like the baby is dependent upon its mother. It’s not being stoic, or outwardly putting on a brave face, because he says “…like a weaned child is my soul within me.” This is a deep, abiding, inward peace. It must come from a lot of talking to one’s soul, speaking truth to the soul.

  39. 5B. Compare with Job 42:1-6; what parallel do you see and what is the significance?
    Job realizes his place in terms of him and the Lord.  He realizes that he knows just a small sliver of his reality and circumstances while the Lord see the full picture in His infinite knowledge.  Similar to the psalmist, Job turns his focus from “self” (e.g., discontent, lack of trust, lack of humility) to focus on the Lord, trusting in His infinite wisdom, goodness, and unfailing love.
    When the focus is on “self,” the self focus provides fertile soil for discontent, mistrust, and a turning from the Lord.  When our focus is on the Lord, we are secure in knowing that we are cared for and loved unfailingly by the almighty Creator Lord; we are secure that our best interests, regardless of our understanding, is being provided by the Lord.  Focus on the Lord provides peace and humility…we know that the Lord is God and in control.

  40. If anyone is interested–Mike Reeves is on Renewing your mind today. It was fun to get in my car and that familiar voice started talking! I’m a bit distracted this week–but loving the good comments. We got a puppy Monday night, so at least it’s a happy distraction 🙂

    1. Elizabeth, it’s fun to think that we are both listening to Mike Reeves in the car! I sometimes tune into Renewing Your Mind at 7:30am right after I drop my daughter off at school! The church history has been fascinating.

  41. Welcome Jody!…so glad that you are joining in.  I had to take a second glance…you look very much like my sister.
     
    Oh, Elizabeth…a puppy…gender? name? breed/type?  I bet the kids are loving the addition to the family!

    1. Thank you Nanci–she’s a golden retriever, 8 weeks! Named her Georgia. We have a yellow lab who is almost 13…I think my husband thought we might get a “break” after her, but I gently reminded him I sort of come with a dog! It’s amazing the JOY a puppy can bring–with so much hard stuff in life, it’s a sweet gift from the Lord (if you’re a dog person I guess!) She’s a real sweet ball of fur–she sleeps snuggled up to our lab and hasn’t cried a bit these first 2 nights! 🙂

      1. Elizabeth-I knew you were a dog person and I just love that you are and that you reminded your husband that you ‘come with a dog’. ;)))) 

      2. Oh…sweet Georgia…:)  I completely understand the joy a puppy/dog brings…congratulations on the newest addition to the family…enjoy!

  42. About lamenting and wrestling:    I’ve been working a lot on the study questions on paper.  As is often the case, much of what I’ve been gleaning from Dee’s lesson correlates so well with what I’ve been reading in Keller’s book on Suffering.  The chapter I just read is on trusting and it fit perfectly.  I haven’t sat down and written a lament, but I’ve written several pages to try summarize what God’s been teaching me.  And I’ve lamented.  Oh my, have I lamented these past two days.  What’s been interesting is that I haven’t been in nearly as much emotional crisis this week as many, but when I read Psalm 13, I can almost always relate.  The long years waiting for answers to some of my greatest struggles in life come to surface immediately when I read these words:  
    “How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart?    
     
    I spent a long time today, thinking about what it means to wrestle.  When you wrestle with someone in a physical way; there’s a lot of back and forth.  You manage a winning move which is followed by an opponent’s move where you lose ground.   Maybe a large gain and then another large loss.   In my spiritual/emotional life, it can look something like this:   My thoughts are fearful. My thoughts are hopeful.  My thoughts are chaotic/confusing.  My thoughts are peaceful.  I think my days are meaningless.  I think my days have purpose.    And it can go on and on.  Back and forth.  But to wrestle means that I am being active.  I am not apathetic or lethargic.  I am doing something.  I am trying to work it out.  I am using both offense and defense.    There is some good in the process of wrestling through these hard thoughts.  Strength can be gained.  The opponent is faced.  A stand is taken.  If victory is conceded, I have learned something from the match and can move on to the next round with more knowledge and more experience.  
     
    But then I thought of the enemy.  In the long term wrestling matches I’ve been in for the past decade and longer for some (very different scenarios) certainly Satan is an enemy.  But how does he show himself?  He’s manifested in filling my mind with fear, anxiety and confusion to come against my trust and resolve.   And if fear, anxiety and confusion triumph, then I am saying that God is not worthy of my trust.  I am not relying on Him, but giving into the fear of the unknown.  
     
    Fear wins a match.  Then trust wins a match.  I go back and forth.  But how long does it go on?  How long, O Lord?    When I was thinking on this today, I realized that, unlike a physical wrestling match where two opponents wrestle until one out maneuvers or outlasts the other, what I need to win the wrestling match against the enemies of fear, anxiety and confusion is to simply lay myself down.  To stop striving. To walk away from the enemy.  To take my stand by turning my back on the enemy.  Only when I walk away from the striving and walk into the arms of the waiting Savior, can I win the wrestling match.  Because He has already won the battle over my enemies of fear, anxiety and confusion.  
     
    I was thinking about the verse in Psalm 131 and how the psalmist says that ‘these things are too wonderful for me’  and thinking that in the long term struggles I have, none of the details look wonderful at all.  There’s nothing wonderful about a loved one turning their back on the living God to follow after other gods.  There’s nothing wonderful about chronic, serious illness, nothing wonderful about constant turmoil over church practices and divisive doctrines.  BUT there was nothing wonderful about all the pain and suffering Joseph encountered either.  The injustice, betrayal, rejection; the lies, the selfishness, the conniving.  Yet, though the brothers meant it for harm, God used it for good.  And all that God had planned was too wonderful for Joseph to see and yet he trusted.  He trusted in the Hidden God.  (Such a good chapter in Keller’s book).  
     
    And there did not seem to be anything wonderful when Jesus hung on a cross, beaten, humiliated and dying in agony.   Keller says,  
     
    “But then, there you are at the cross with the few of his disciples who have the stomach to watch. And you hear people say,  I’ve had it with this God.  How could he abandon the best man we have ever seen?  I don’t see how God could bring any good out of this.  What would you say?   You would likely agree.  And yet you are standing there looking at the greatest, most brilliant thing God could ever do for the human race.  On the cross, both justice and love are being satisfied—evil, sin and death are being defeated.  You are looking at an absolute beauty, but because you cannot fit it into your own limited understanding, you are in danger of walking away from God.  Don’t do it!  Do what Jesus did.  Trust God.  Do what Joseph did in the dungeon.  It takes the entire Bible to help us understand all the reasons that Jesus’ death on the cross was nt just a failure and a tragedy but was consummate wisdom.  It takes a major part of Genesis to help us understand God’s purposes in Joseph’s tribulations. ”  (Tim Keller) 
     
    I can wrestle and see no answers year after year.  and I often cry,  How long O Lord?    And I can wish there was a book written that I could read about my own story and how it all works out in the end.  But I need to look at the cross and know that God is working.  He has defeated the enemy.  I can trust Him.  

    1. Wow. I’m so glad I read this. Your thoughts match many of mine, and you put into words some spiritual notions for which I didn’t think words even existed.  It is clear to me that you “get it”, this never-ending tension between all that relentlessly tries to pull us from Christ and the deep longing within ourselves to draw near to Him and find rest.  
      I like the Tim Keller quote.  What was the book that was from?
       

      1. Thank you, Jody and welcome to this discussion too!  I am enjoying your comments this week.  The paragraph is from ‘Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering’ by Tim Keller. 

      2. Jody,
         
        Welcome to this safe place of vulnerable women.  Gleaning from your posts here.  Thank you.
         
        I’m reading a book by Robert Gelinas entitled The Mercy Prayer.   He poses this question:  “What if our closeness to Christ actually increases the frequency of our requests for his mercy? …….Our recognition of our need for mercy only intensifies the closer we get to God.  It’s as if the cross awakens our appetite for his compassion.”   He goes on to say, “Mercy is God stopping something in our lives that otherwise would naturally occur.  It is a supernatural intervention st that the normal, expected, deserved course of events doesn’t happen.  It’s a miracle.”     
         
        Love this old song (lyrics date back to 1776)  re-done by Sarah McCracken,  on the mercy of our God.    Its one I keep going back to when I sit down with my guitar:
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vUEgqGNFiMs

        1. Nila,  that is such a beautiful song~such deep lyrics.  Thanks for sharing it.  I love to think of you playing and singing it too.  Your emphasis on God’s mercy has spoken to me over this past year.  Once again, I am impressed by the book you are reading and the quote you shared from it. 

        2. Love the song Nila! Thanks for posting it 🙂 miss you!

    2. Wanda,
      Thank you for these thoughts on lamenting and wrestling……..
      I have always loved this little poem by Amy Carmichael:
       
      Amidst the multitude of thoughts
      Which in my heart do fight,
      My soul, lest it be overcharged,
      Thy comforts do delight ~

      1. Nila…..the Amy Carmichael poem is perfect.  I remember lessons from her from when I was a little girl in Sunday school and there are so many gems in her life and writing.  Thanks.

    3. Wanda-LOVE.your.heart.

    4. Wanda, I too struggle/struggled with fear, anxiety, and the like…you are absolutly correct about the ensuing peace in turning from striving and trusting the Lord to carry the burden…but how often I go back and pick the yuck back up again…why?  Our view is SO limited, we can’t see all the beautiful facets of the Lord’s plan; we so often judge something as less than or not good enough when in the Lord’s reality/plan it is more than enough.  I so appreciate hindsight in assessing circumstances…in looking back at how I felt at the time and seeing the blessings resulting…what a lovely gift from the Lord. 

    5. This is a rich post Wanda, thank you for sharing it.

    6. Wanda, I agree with everyone – this is such a rich post. You really take the time to reflect, think, ponder, and even write out your struggles. When you do that, I see how you then make the turn to trust. I can so relate to the “my thoughts are fearful, my thoughts are hopeful. I think my days are meaningless. I think my days have purpose.” Thanks for sharing.

  43. oh Wanda–this really, really hit my heart tonight. I followed along with every emotion as I read through it all, and THEN your last paragraph–OH: “And I can wish there was a book written that I could read about my own story and how it all works out in the end.  But I need to look at the cross and know that God is working.  He has defeated the enemy.  I can trust Him.” A pastor friend said recently “nothing can hurt you if you have the Cross”. I feel much of the “wrestling” you speak of. A fiery battle I thought was at least somewhat “won”–re-ignited with all its power and this time, I really, really have just wanted to quit. Done. Enough. But, today I felt the turn–not to go back to my old trying so hard, “striving” as you said–but really, I have a strange confidence this time. I don’t feel as threatened, I am still tired of the fighting, but I don’t feel like I have to anymore, and yet, it’s not a defeated giving up, I think, I pray, I am LAYING it down, more than I ever have, and then I am walking on, and enjoying some peace (and the joy of my puppy is helping!). Sorry–didn’t mean to spiel on this reply–really meant to say “thank you” and I’m praying for you again now. Peace not of the world, but that can only come from Him. 

    1. Elizabeth – this happens to me here…..(often with Wanda!)…..I read your paragraph and realized that I could have written it right out of my own life!!!  Amen!!  I can so relate to “the fiery battle, Done, Enough., the turn, the strange confidence, tired yet not defeated (shades of 2 Corinthians 4:7-9), thinking, praying, LAYING it down…..walking on….peace….even the joy of pup(s) (plural in my case!).  Girl, you nailed it.  And where does the glory and praise go?  To Jesus Christ and the Cross…..the power of His very death and resurrection in our lives — who can explain??  Joy.  
       
      Wanda= your words on wrestling were exquisite!  What a thoughtful and piercing contribution to the discussion.  Thanks.  🙂  
       
       

      1. oh jackie–I’ve missed your posts–you add such rich life here, prayers for you and your daughter. Thank you for the reminder of 2 Cor 4:7-9–so fitting, I will cling to it! ” But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” AMEN!
         

      2. Jackie, where have you been? Is everything ok? Miss you!

  44. Thanks Elizabeth.   I must admit that the idea of ‘reading a book about your own life’ came from Keller’s chapter.  I didn’t want to quote another whole paragraph so I incorporated it into my words but oh, that thought really hit me too.  I love your excitement over your new puppy!  

  45. 6. Tonight my lament is for the sake of my children, who are growing up in a world that is increasingly hostile toward God.  Fear could really overtake me if I dwell on thoughts of their future.  “Jesus, save them! Make their faith rock-solid. How long will the waywardness of this world continue? How much evil will you put up with? Without you, they won’t survive. The thought of it is too much to bear.  Be their shield of protection. Your word says, ‘The fear of the Lord leads to life, then one rests content, untouched by trouble.’ May they fear you, Lord and be safe in your arms.”

    1. Jody-I have read your comments-your fragrance is in the air and flowers in bloom-wow.. I so love having you with us!

    2. Jody – I wanted to add my welcome to the other voices here…..and this post was wonderful!  God’s Word does reach down and meet us right in the middle of our messy lives doesn’t it?  “The fear of the Lord leads to life……”and “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God…”.  Our children – young and old – need these truths of Scripture to saturate every fiber of their being!  Oh Great and Mighty God….our eyes are on You.  Right in this moment I lift up every single child, whether very young or very old, represented by the women gathered here to glorify Your Great Name.  Pierce them deeply with Your arrows of Truth and Grace.  Fears abound in our children….whether spoken or unspoken.  We call upon You….our only hope…..and ask that You would change their hearts…..that they would learn to fear You and You alone.  That they would walk out their days upon this earth in the power of Your love and grace.  Please make their stories to be beauty from ashes…..dry bones that LIVE.  From hearts of stone to hearts of flesh.  May they learn to love You Lord….more than life itself.  Amen.  

  46. 8. Read Matthew 23:37 
    A. How does God the Son show His mother-like qualities here?
    He desired to nurture them like a mother bird gathers her brood under her wings. Taking them in comforting them and giving them rest. 
    B. Why do you think God ordained marriage to be one woman and one man?
    To reflect Him. God used Dee’s studies totally changed my perspective on this and through the prodigal painting-the feminine and masculine hands embracing the prodigal and the wing like robe wrapped around him. There is both masculine and feminine here which reflects God’s nature.