This Week's Focus

Investigate my life, O God
find out everything about me;
Cross-examine and test me,
get a clear picture of what I'm about;
See for yourself whether I've done anything wrong—
then guide me on the road to eternal life.

Psalm 139:23-24

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Day 6 and 7: A psalm (song-prayer) for ...

"Psalms are songs of praise to God as our Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer. Praise is recognizing, appreciating and expressing God's greatness." "Many psalms are intense prayers..."

Saturday morning I participated in our women's solitude retreat. My role there was to pray for the women as they spent time with God.

A little background. This role has been uncomfortable for me. I don't feel "trained." Many times I feel like I "should be" doing things that seem formulaic to me, but which seem to be what is "done." I thought I should get up early and go walk around the gardens and "pray a hedge of protection."

But when I woke up Saturday morning early to get ready to go at 6 a.m., I started by talking to God. Freshly absorbed in his words about being everywhere, I realized I could pray for that protection from right there in my bed, and I did, and then I believe He gave me a whole different picture of how to pray:

I ended up continuing this journey in that role, in that place at Powell Gardens... :) I took Psalm 139, a 3-ring binder, and enough notebook paper for 1 page per woman. I sat under a trellis on the edge of the water garden. While the rain fell gently all around me, and the women spent time alone with God, I wrote/prayed/sang a psalm/prayer/song for each one of them. At the top of each page I wrote, "A Psalm For ____," writing Psalm 139 with their names in it and expanding and altering it as the Holy Spirit guided me. My own sense of their value was increased and deepened so much. My belief in the reality of the words of the psalm expanded in my praying it for my sisters. I know the words are true for them; they must also be true for me. It was exhausting.

And the song of my own life continues to unfold and be written...this journey with Psalm 139 took me by surprise this morming at church when the Holy Spirit unstripped another layer off of my soul in the pastor's sermon. In God's graciousness, he had woven my heart with the words of the psalm for the past week, so that when this layer came off, hurt though it may, I didn't fall apart. And as the Psalm says, he went before me and placed three loving people there to be his arms and mouth at just the right time. He was there with me, in and through them.

It occurred to me recently that my journaling this past week has not reflected any struggle. The struggles have come in the months and years leading up to this. What I am sharing in this blog is the beginning of a surrender; an openness to God after much resistance. This is me just spreading my arms wide and crying out to God to show me, teach me, heal me a little more, give me a new heart...

The pain of this morning is the pain of that process. Some parts of my heart are dead and hard like rock. God's holy excavation of them heals, but it also hurts. The change is my reaction: instead of running, I am staying in it. Instead of numbing, I am experiencing it. I celebrate my Lord's continuing work in my soul. I know he is composing a beautiful song.