Thursday, May 19, 2011

Refresh Me, Dear Lord

After the move and all that it included, I was feeling the need to be refreshed.  Actually I was feeling that way even before the move, so I was now longing to be refreshed.

It seemed kind of crazy to go on a week-long-family-vacation immediately following a relocation, but the timing became more and more perfect as the departure day neared.  I. needed. a vacation.  So, as the paint was drying and the last box was unpacked, I stayed up late packing suitcases for a road trip to the mountains of West Virginia.

The seventeen hour drive with two little ones was on its way, and my husband began the journey in the driver's seat.  Thankfully I had remembered to go through our CD collection (No, I don't have an iPod or anything like it, and I am okay with that) and pick out a bunch of CDs for us to listen to as we drove to WV and back.  As we started listening and singing along I was reminded of how much I love music.  Music is so very refreshing to me.  Well I guess it depends on the music, but this music was so refreshing to me.  It also brought me back to two other times in my life.

We were listening to Caedmon's Call's 40 Acres, which by the way is one of my all-time favorite albums, and I remembered when I was a new Christian back at the end of high school and beginning of college.  That CD was played so many times as I cruised around in my little black Ford Ranger searching for who I was and who I wanted to be.  I could sing those songs word for word and hum them note for note, and I still never tired of it.

I also thought of my semester in London while I was in college.  It was the fall of 2001, and there was a lot going on in the world.  There was also a lot going on within myself.  I was pretty sure I had met the man of my dreams (I did), I had just been in a bad car wreck (with him) and been obviously protected by the Lord (We totaled my sister's car), I was in another country on the other side of the world away from everyone I was close to, and I was with a group of people that I didn't really know very well, yet.  I grew up there.  What I mean is that I did my growing up there.  As I walked the streets of London either with my friends or alone I could literally feel myself growing up.  By the end of that semester I looked in the mirror at a different woman than the one who first stepped foot on British soil months earlier.  I liked this new woman, and I never could believe that I was actually there.  I had actually done it.  I had ventured way out and learned so much about the world, about God, about myself...  I have such fond memories of that time, and many of them included this same CD playing in my ears as I walked or sat at the park and read or journaled.

Both of these times that came to mind were times in my life where I was maturing, learning, and longing for the Lord's touch.  I was longing for the Lord's touch of refreshment and leading to guide me along His paths for me.  I can only smile when I think of those times when I sensed the Lord doing just that.  His refreshing touch is like wind in a sail or a living breath that fills up the lungs.  I need it.  I must have it.  I can only come to Him to find it.

So here I am again.  Though I am in a much different place than I was back then - over ten years ago - there are still many familiar thoughts and emotions I now realize accompany this time in my life just as they did back then.  A wise mentor of mine years ago encouraged me to not let these cycles of life surprise me.  Instead I must realize what I learned last time and what I missed last time and move on to learn more this time around.  Hopefully these cycles become smaller and quicker as I grow and mature because I recognize them sooner and deal with them more quickly.  In fact these cycles are evidence of God's grace and love in my life and His desire to mature me.

I know how I got here.  I got here by letting my priorities shift just enough to cause inner, and sometimes outer, chaos.  It doesn't take much to rock the boat of order, but I am thankful for that.  Otherwise I may get even more off track before getting uncomfortable again and looking towards my Savior for order and tranquility again.  God is so kind in this.  He carries me toward a sort of holy discontentedness that points again towards my need for Him.  Though I know what I am doing when I neglect my time with Him, I still do it sometimes, and so here I am again - needing His refreshing touch.  Sure I have read scripture, even if just a verse or two, everyday.  I talk with Him everyday, but the quality times of study and prayer have been placed on the back burner lately more often than not.  This doesn't work for long.

Well as we drove and listened and sang along He did refresh me.  He stirred in my heart and my spirit a quiet contentedness and peace and anticipation that can only come from Him.  It's a comfort knowing that He is in control and that I can run to His open arms any time I feel weary - whether it's my own doing or not.  And there He reminds me of His truth that sets me free and brings life.  Then I am again equipped for the day ahead of me.  Then I can carry on again with the strength I need and the resolve to make the most of what He has given me.  Then I can spur others on, as well.  Then I can remember what His word says:

"Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the LORD.  He will be like a bush in the wastelands; he will not see prosperity when it comes.  He will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives.  But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in Him.  He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.  It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green.  It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit."  (Jeremiah 17:5-8)

When I trust in myself I get very thirsty and in need of refreshment, but when I trust in Him, the LORD Almighty, I am satisfied and content able to rest and to bear fruit that glorifies Him.

With only a couple of days left of our trip, I want to be intentional to listen as He directs me and brings me to His refreshing streams.

Are you thirsty today? 

Call on the name of the Giver of Living Water and be refreshed. You'll be glad you did.

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