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In Your Presence Is Joy Forevermore

I tell myself I don't have writers block...I don't know what that is...I think I have workers block, I've been working so hard at getting school going that I haven't had time to put thought to paper. But believe me, the thoughts are there.

And every time I make a start there is an interruption or something of higher importance than me explaining life and how it works. The truth is, I don't know how it works and many parts of my life are unfinished business without many plain answers. 

I do have two plain answers though, and that is that prayer works and Psalm 16:11 is so true...I can testify, People...Let me get a witness! Amen...

I remember as a young child I barged into my parents room to ask my mom a question and I found her on her knees imploring God in the heavens. I felt shocked and a little bit scared and very embarrassed that I had interrupted such sacred territory. Since then, I have remembered this picture often; I too have fled to my room for solace and have knelt beside my bed. In these early days of my fourth year of teaching it is an earnest cry for wisdom and physical help...

About a week ago, I had barely finished crying out to God when I got a phone call confirming that indeed I would have help arriving within the next couple days. Lately it's been like that. The sooner I hit the ground praying the faster I get strength and courage to keep going. It feels like a miracle to my wavering soul. 

As school began this fall, Bruce and I were making some big decisions about how we are going to finish out this last year of school and where he should apply to work as a nurse. Spokane is the biggest city nearby and has great opportunities for new nurses. Bruce's natural inclination is to go for where the action is. As we began to look at property nearer to college and hospitals, having already the location of Newport, Washington in mind because of church, it began to look clearer that we should move on this idea sooner rather than later.

I've been struggling with accepting that sometimes God truly does give us what we want. For some reason I can't wrap my brain around that. Always it seems we want something either too willful or not wise enough that God in His wisdom has saved us from countless 'unanswered' prayers. Often I am glad He did...

So that He would bless this decision and also make it possible for us to find a property on Diamond Lake makes me skittish and shy and full of that "pinch me I'm dreaming" feeling. See, I am even afraid to talk about it for fear it won't really happen. 

I think I must not handle disappointments in life very well. When we came back from Chile all those years ago, I struggled with why long and hard. Until I realized that I either needed to believe that it was God that brought us back or I was giving the politics of mere man glorification. Did I want to believe that God was bigger than all human perspectives involved? Or was I going to blame our coming back early on what looked like our own failures and too much politics in the church? I chose to give God the whole messed up ball of yarn. Today, Chile is a good memory in our minds. We may never know why it all happened like it did. I'm OK with that because I know that God used it for His purpose.

When our dear friends and pastor left our church a couple years ago, I felt my world had come to an end. We needed them in our church. They were being the balance to our over zealous cultural errors. They were helping us to see Jesus more clearly. I felt the loss deeply. But as the verse says, God used this loss for my good. I discovered that I was relying too heavily on their contribution. I found I needed to find those truths by learning to abide in The Vine. I learned even more deeply that the church cannot be your God, that your church is only as good as your own personal connection to The Vine.

Maybe it would be more fair to say I handle disappointments slowly. I seem to proceed with more and more caution. I am not sure this is the attitude a Christ follower should have. I think having faith means not throwing caution to the wind, but rather learning to enjoy the wind, because I know the Captain of my ship. 

And that is my struggle. Believing that God gives us pleasurable adventures...That He looks to give us good gifts better than we do for our children.Why am I so sure He must give me hard things to learn about His goodness? Why am I so skittish and wounded and afraid?  I can't earn or do anything great enough to be given sunsets and children and flowers, yet God gives us these good things. Not just things that He thinks are good for us but things we agree are good.

Psalm 16:11 NIV
You make known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

This verse is best explained in reverse. At God's right hand is where you want to be...where you abide. When you are there you are in His presence... that is where you will experience joy forevermore. Your path will be made known because you are hiking along the right trail while being attached to The Vine.

How do you feel you face disappointments?

Do you believe God is looking for good gifts to give you?


  1. I have already been hung up on this one. Is God bigger than our wanting to be good mindsets? He surely is !! Still learning. I am curious about the too good to be true points about moving to Diamond Lake.

  2. Beautiful thoughts, Shilah. I read this to Josh this morning over coffee. We were blessed. I can't wait to have coffee and conversation by the lake with you in the near future.

    1. Yes! for at the lake in about 6 months. :)


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