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A Promise In the Night {For When You Have Trouble Sleeping}

Poetry and PromisesIt was the night before my surgery and to say I had trouble sleeping would be quite the understatement. Leaping sheep battled it out with a host of what if’s attempting to keep me awake. But we know only one thing wields the weapon of choice against every what if that comes against us: God’s Word.

In that moment, it was Psalm 121:4.

“…indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither sleep nor slumber.”

We can sleep because our God never does.

While we sleep He continues to:

Work all things out for our good and His ultimate glory. (Romans 8:28) Do wondrous things {because He is great!} (Psalm 86:10)
Supply your every need. (Philippians 4:19)
Carry out the good work He began in you to its completion. (Philippians 1:6)
Fulfill every promise made to His children. And the list goes on.

Psalm 121:4 God never sleeps nor slumbersNotice the verbs. God is at work, on guard at all times. He never tires. He never takes a coffee break, and He never steps away to dote on a favorite child. He is with us at all times even when we don’t feel it.

When I memorized Psalm 121:4 years ago I did so to share with a friend who was going through a dark time. Now that same truth was bringing me comfort as I repeated it over and over, gaining confidence with every repeat that God was in control. And in the hush that followed, I “heard” the words Now go to sleep my child. And I did, without one worry or one what if in sight.

So, what keeps you up at night? Here’s the thing about worry. It’s an insidious creature. It can disguise itself in the form of trying to think through the following day, its demands, and how this or that {good thing!} could be accomplished. Or, what needs to be added to the grocery list, or maybe how a particular venture could be financially advantageous, or what the kids will wear to school tomorrow. None of these things are bad. In fact, it would behoove {I love this word!} us all to consider these things at some point in our day but I’m finding in my own life that it’s the thoughts attempting to battle the sheep for my sleep’s attention that are the very things I may not be fully releasing to the Lord.

Yet another reminder that there’s only one Shepherd who can bring true rest to our sheep-like souls.

In closing, I’d like to share a true story that illustrates this psalm beautifully.

Back in the days of WWII, the Germans were bombing London all night, every night. After one terrible attack, the people of London began to search through the rubble looking for the dead and the injured. After a while, all been accounted for but one old grandmother, a Mrs. Smith. They searched everywhere for her and finally, someone found her in her bedroom, asleep in her bed. They were shocked and asked her, “Mrs. Smith, how you could sleep with those bombs dropping all around?” She said, “Well the Bible says that ‘He who keeps Israel never slumbers nor sleeps.’ I decided there was no use in both of us staying up, so I just went to sleep and left it in the Lord’s hands.”

When you read the (partial) list above of the truths God is accomplishing while you sleep, is there one that stood out above the rest for you? If so, I’d love for you to share it in the comment section below. Thank you for stopping by!

 

The beautiful artwork used for my Poetry and Promises graphic is courtesy of Ann Marie Bone. Please visit her Facebook fan page to connect with her and to see more of her amazing work.Thank you so much, Ann.


Are You Hoarding God’s Gifts?

While encouraging Piper’s coloring skills last week, the word popped out without warning. I’d promised myself to keep the word Perfect! under wraps, especially with my grandchildren, but there it was in all its glory. 

It’s a seemingly innocent word but it can wreak havoc in our psyche if we’re not careful.  

From a writing standpoint, this word has left me paralyzed more times than I’d like to admit.

If the “perfect” word doesn’t come to mind, I can’t begin the poem. 
If the “perfect” word picture doesn’t happen, how can I finish the devotion? 
And on and on. 

So pages of uncompleted work scribbled between two thin blue lines remain scattered among our library, shelved by perfectionism.

Perhaps it’s for this reason I can’t get enough of Emily P. Freeman’s book, A Million Little Ways. Asterisks, underlined words and phrases, Wows!, and several exclamation marks find their way on practically every page. Yes, it’s that good.

One favorite chapter Offer includes this wisdom:

When I hoard my gifts and my gifting under piles of doubt, perfectionism, and demand for appreciation, I forget the six pots in Cana filled with dusty water, the ones holding nearly thirty gallons each. I forget how Jesus takes small offerings and turns them around to glorify his Father.

A salty splotch of water mingled slowly with underlined words as I read this paragraph for a second time. Never had I associated my perfectionism with hoarding God’s gifts. All along, I’d considered my finished piece of work as an offering to the Lord—but now I see it’s because of Christ’s finished work that I can find rest in offering my best, but far from perfect work, for His glory.

If you’re struggling to climb out from beneath piles of doubt, perfectionism, or a demand for appreciation, I would welcome the opportunity to pray for you (and ask that you pray for me, as well.) I have a feeling we’re not alone on this journey!

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6

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