1: I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
4-5: I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.
18: The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.
I last posted as I reflected on some of the sad/difficult things of 2010 and I had meant to get to a post about all of the things I am thankful for (and there is much), but the last month has continued to be one full of tears. I have found myself in a place where my faith is being tested, a place where the burdens of this life seem too much to bear, and quite frankly at times I have felt the presence of darkness closing in on me.
In the midst of some personal difficulties that have been emotionally exhausting, the normal wear & tear of trying to figure out being a mom and being in ministry, and just "life," I have experienced loss. About 2 1/2 weeks ago my uncle passed away suddenly. I have many fond memories from my childhood of him, even though I haven't seen him much in the last few years because of the distance between Iowa and Arizona. My heart is burdened especially for my cousin (his only daughter) who is pregnant with her first child.
This morning I came back from work to read a few emails. There were three main people who needed prayer, and before I even had time to pray I got the news that one had passed away. Derek Hotsinpiller (for anyone reading from Bridgeport, WV) was shot this morning. He was a U.S. Marshall out doing his job, when an individual opened fire. I played soccer for a few years with his older brother Dustin, and his mother Pam has been a great influence on me for Christ. I still remember watching Pam's faith as she walked through the sudden death of her husband 8 years ago, and I just can't believe she will now bury her young son.
Today is one of those days that I think I have to choose to turn to Jesus and rely on his strength to get through, because even the normal details (like taking care of my kids and figuring out dinner) almost seem like too much. My heart is just so sad and I'm not even one of these dear people on the very front-line of loss (like my cousin, Pam or Dustin).
I know that God's Word does not change and His character does not either. I know that I can depend on Him no matter what, but the past few months (this month in particular) have been really draining and I am becoming more aware of my "wandering heart" and how easily I can doubt. Still, I am thankful that as my faith is tested, it is also growing stronger. My dependence on God is also strengthening my awareness of His presence in my life.