i am beginning to really see and understand that the lynchpin in this life is trust. do we trust people? do we trust the Lord? do we trust ourselves? can we trust the government? can we trust our pastors? can we even trust history? gosh…..i dunno. probably not. from the very beginning of time people kept secrets. adam & eve hid from the Lord. durr.
so, no…..people can’t be trusted. so that really just leaves the Lord. and i am all in favor of trusting the Lord. He hasn’t let me down yet. He’s pretty much my only friend that is always on time. do i understand everything He does and why He does it? heck no! remember, it’s jessie here……i’m the woman who gave birth to a beautiful baby girl who had 4 major heart defects and underwent open heart surgery at 4 days old and again at 4 months old. hi. remember me? i’m still here. but yes…..i do trust the Lord. if you wanna understand my journey of how i got from heart defects to trusting God again, just go read the whole journey this blog spans.
like a bajillion other people i’m in the middle of reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. not gonna get into it too much but i briefly wanted to say how eloquently she weaves in and out of her own trust and distrust of the Lord and how eye-opening it’s been for me. thanks Ann, your honestly is so refreshing.
i like to use this blog as a place to unpack some thoughts that roll around in my brain. i am a verbal processor and writing or talking helps me to fully communicate my thoughts. when i was a teacher i always ended up learning more about the subject matter when i taught it outloud because i am such an external processor. so, for those of you who enjoy (or even get something out of) my mumbo jumbo, then cheers! i’ve got a hefty suitcase i need to unpack, so here goes.
last week i was blindsided by a verse that i have had memorized for most of my life:
The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
okay, maybe you’ve had it memorized too but can i just back up a second? The Lord does all these nice, sweet things, yadda yadda yadda and He takes care of us and even when we’re going through hell we don’t need to be afraid because He’s with us and His rod and His sta….what? wait a second. His what? His rod? woah woah woah….. it says here that the Lord’s rod and His staff do what? they comfort me? oh boy.
WHAM right in my face.
- a switch or bundle of switches used to administer corporal punishment.
- power, esp of a tyrannical kind; a dictator’s iron rod.
yeah, i know….the Lord punishes those He loves, but this….this one caught me off guard because it says that with His rod and His staff we are comforted. the staff i get. the staff is for guidance, like a shepherd for his sheep; a pastor for his congregation. but a rod usually implies pain. am i right? a few weeks ago i wrote on embracing the pain (see help i’m alive). and here it is in the Bible of all places….when we embrace the pain we will receive comfort! great scott!
in One Thousand Gifts chapter 7 Ann unravels the story of Jacob and Esau for one of her sons. how Jacob literally, freaking wrestles with God asking God to bless him and during the whole ruckus God breaks his hip. big deal. God could’ve killed him, right? why his hip? check out what Ann says to her son:
“A long time ago a preacher named James H. McConkey asked a friend of his, a doctor, “What is the significance of God’s touching Jacob upon the sinew of his thigh?”
And the doctor told him, “The sinew of the thigh is the strongest in the human body. A horse couldn’t even tear it apart.”
These are the words I have never forgotten, what preacher McConkey said: “Ah, I see. The Lord has to break us down at the strongest part of our self-life before He can have His own way of blessing with us.”
the rod is meant to comfort us because once He breaks us at the strongest part of our self-life, THEN will He bless us in His own way. oh man. i am no preacher guys, but these things have been rolling around in my head and really, realllllly challenging me.
am i really willing to trust the Lord so hardcore that i will allow Him to break me at the strongest part of my self-life in order to have the blessing – not MY way – but His way? holy smokes!!! that i could come to such a place with the Lord that i somewhat understand what it means to have His rod and His staff comfort me. dang.
what other options do i have? listen….i have been through the valley of the shadow of death and He was with me. i have had moments of being broken at my strongest point. i literally was paralyzed with a newborn baby and had to choose whether i would continue to trust the Lord or not. then i gave birth to a baby who i didn’t know would live or die! and i said yes to trusting the Lord. because where else on this freaking green earth can i put my hope? where?
we’ve already ascertained that people are gonna let us down. duh. i’m gonna let myself down – do that every day. sooooo……that only leaves the mystery and beauty and fear and doubt and adventure of trusting the Lord. so yeah…..i am all in, Jesus. all my chips are in and you are all i have. all bets on Jesus, guys. i want to be blessed the way you want to bless me. i want to know you and trust you enough to be broken at my strongest place, like Jacob. i want to know what it means to be comforted by your rod and your staff. not to be weird and religious about it and act like hard things aren’t hard – i hate it when people do that. hard things are effing hard and shit is shit people, but even in my kicking and screaming i want to still be able to look up into the face of Father God and trust and be comforted.
Job 13:15 Though he slay me, yet I will trust him.
last night my son had a total meltdown at a friend’s house and i had to pluck him up and take a little moment with him in the bathroom. while i was attempting to discipline him calmly asking him to improve his behavior he only responded with more kicking, screaming, defiance, tears and aggression. when it hit me “your rod and your staff they comfort me”!!! so as he squirmed his skinny, little 2 year old butt on the toilet seat, screaming bloody murder, i ever-so-gently leaned in and bear hugged him; pressed my lips to his ear. i began stroking his back and weaving my fingers in and out of his hair and magically, miraculously he stopped screaming. he stopped squirming. he stopped arguing. i just held him. your rod comforts me. then i softly began whispering in his ear that his behavior was uncalled for and that i knew he could be a better boy and he agreed and said “sorry mommy”. your rod comforts me. i was comforting my son while i disciplined him. we worked out his issues in my bear hug with my lips to his ear and when we reemerged from the bathroom he chose to sit in my lap with my arms wrapped around him the rest of the time we were there.
i see it. it’s about trust. sheesh i have a long way to come….but wow what a lesson! right now, today i am choosing to let the Lord wrap His arms around me while i am in this broken place. i trust. and where i don’t trust, help me to trust, Lord. oh Lord…..help me to trust. you’re my only hope.