Last week I hit a wall. I found myself feeling a lot of pressure because I had fallen very behind in many responsibilities and some committments that I had made. Most of these committments had been made before I knew I was pregnant and before I knew that this pregnancy would be more physically and emotionally challenging than any other to date (and I hope more than any other future ones). Physically I have been more tired and needing more sleep than I expected. Emotionally I have struggled because I have spent so much of my time sleeping, eating, and making sure my other children and my husband are taken care of that I felt very overwhelmed with other duties.
I got to the point where I was holding it together, but if anything - and I mean any little thing - came up while I was in that state all would be lost. I was at my breaking point. Maybe I could have prevented getting there some, but maybe I had to get there in order to get through it and move on. Maybe all of it was out of my control, and I really could not have prevented it.
That "any little thing" I mentioned did happen, and I was now done. It was one of those "I'm fine. I just need to cry right now," moments. I was fine. I did need to cry. I did cry. Then I was a lot better. Though the circumstances were perhaps brought on by the fact that I am pregnant, this was not a pregnancy set of emotions. This had been building. I have been here before.
I take very seriously a committment made, so I was unsure what needed to be done. It had become clear that I could not follow through with everything I had going on. I needed guidance from the Lord!
After collecting myself again, I resolved to get through the next few things I had going on and spend some time resting and seeking the Lord for the answers I needed. What a day it was, and by the end of it I was spent. I continued to ask the Lord for help, and I also remembered that I had not read my children's devotions (small lessons from the Bible meant to be read each day to continue to grow in the knowledge and wisdom to help live a life to serve and love Jesus) for the day to them. It was time to sit down and focus on the Lord with them.
Jesus Calling: 365 Devotions for Kids, by Sarah Young. (She has a version for adults entitled, Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence and a journaling devotional called, Jesus Calling: A 365 Day Journaling Devotional. I haven't checked those out enough to comment on them, yet, but I have been enjoying the children's one.)
One important note is that I think this devotional is written more for older children, but reading it aloud to my younger children and explaining some of the ideas presented that may be more relevant to an older child has worked well for us. My favorite thing about this devotional is that I think it clearly displays a life that is lived everyday for Christ in a practical way, without sacrificing truth and thought-provoking points of life application (like I feel so many other children's devotionals leave out). Even my four year old has really grown in her understanding of trusting in Jesus with everyday issues since we have been reading this devotional together.
You can read the reviews on Amazon and gain more insight from different perspectives, as well. Some people don't like that it is written as if Jesus were speaking. The way I handle this is explaining that based on Scripture (and each page begins with at least one verse and ends with several passages to look up in the Bible), this is what Jesus might say if He joined us here right now. These are the truths that He wants us to know, so we can stand firm in Him and resist the lies that come at us. As my children get older, we will continue to explain this even more. It is a very personal and very scriptural devotional.
So, I opened up to the day we were on in this devotional. The title read, Your Strength, Your Song, and opened with this verse:
"The LORD is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise Him." (Exodus 15:2)
The very next line was: "Remember, I am your Strength and your Song."
Wow, did that sound like a good reminder to me! I needed His strength that day in a big way! What did it mean that He was my Song? There are several other verses in the Bible that use this phrasing, as well.
"Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation." (Isaiah 12:2)
"The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation." (Psalm 118:14)
The word "song" in these passages literally means "music, melody, song," in the original Hebrew. Looking at the context of this verse in Exodus, it is important to note that this was part of the song that Moses was singing among the Israelites after the LORD had helped them cross the Red Sea and defeat their enemies. This was a victorious song!
Furthermore, pastor, speaker, and author, John MacArthur, mentions in a commentary on the verse above from Isaiah that "the doubling of the personal name of God serves to emphasize His role as the covenant-keeping One." He keeps His covenant with me no matter what I do or say and no matter how I feel. He keeps His covenant. How comforting. (Maybe we can discuss covenant somtime soon - it's awesome!)
He is my Strength and my Song. When I rely on Him and His truth, even and especially when I am at my weakest, His strength prevails and carries me through. When I see His deliverance what other song can I sing than one that praises Him and brings Him glory? This is a beautiful picture of the intimacy with which He loves us. I hope that if you don't understand this love or don't realize this love, yet, that you will indeed one day. It makes life so much sweeter. Oh, I just love Him!
He did surely refresh me with these words of truth. I needed that refreshing badly.
Over the next couple of days following this, He continued to guide me and answer the questions I had about my committments. I am so thankful that I can call on the God who made the universe and actually hear back from Him! I can only do this because of what Jesus did for me on the cross. He bridged the gap between me and Himself and made a way for me to enter into the Holy of Holies and commune with the Living and Almighty God. This gift is available to all who receive it.
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast." (Ephesians 2:8)
I'm so thankful that I don't always have it together - like that is even possible. It is in my weakness, and my recognition of that weakness, that I realize my need for my Lord. He is my Strength and my Song, and I will ever praise Him.
Was it a coincidence that on the day I needed to hear this message Sarah Young had put it in a devotional form that I would read aloud to my children? Haha! I think not. God knew that is what I would need on that day, and I am sure that I was not alone. I can only smile when I think about how perfect His timing is.
He can be trusted.
"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful." (Hebrews 10:23)