Depression (meditation on Psalm 139)

Clouds Obscure My Vision

All my thoughts are gray.
I am lost in despondency.
I cannot move for the weight of my darkness.
O Lord, You search for me, because You care for me.
I make my bed in Sheol.
Behold, You are here with me.
You stoop down to meet me, because You love me.
You come along side me, because of Your great compassion.
You understand how I feel, because You walked these paths.
You cry with me and do not run out of tears.
This gray day has been known by You since I was first made,
Its purpose is not lost, because You are with me.
Your compassion for me will never end; it will never grow old.
You surround me and have laid Your hand upon me.
I scarcely understand.
Though I forsake myself, You will not.
And someday, I will enter Your rest,
Because Your grip is sure and You know the way.

Wildflowers of Life

Wildflowers Along the Icicle

Balsamroot along the Icicle River

All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.  1 Peter 1:24-25

Sometimes I just read the Bible like a homework assignment…and get very little out of it. Then there are those moments when I meet God in the Word, resting in His presence. I lay still, letting the words and the Holy Spirit wash over me to change me and refocus the day. The funny thing is I never seem to develop any skill at being still and resting before God. Instead, I have to start from scratch each time, going over the same terrain of reigning in my will and submitting to his will. I know God endeavors to make it easy to rest. I am the one who makes it hard.

Morning Feast

morning lupine

Morning taste of glory

Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love  Psalm 143:8

As I begin this day my thoughts gravitate to my failures, lack of discipline, lack of prayer, too much TV, wrong thoughts, and I feel pulled down unable to enjoy the day due to my shame. But then a voice says it is by grace you have been saved (Eph. 2:8-9). Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need (Heb. 4:16). I grab hold of these words, laying aside my self-doubt and shame, to begin this day again in Christ. Renewed to pray for my family, trusting that my failures will not foil God’s love and provision for them. That His love has not diminished and remains as wide and long and high and deep for me as it is for the greatest saint (Eph. 3:18). By faith the day changes from one of struggle with sadness and shame to one of victory and thanksgiving unto the LORD. Knowing He is good, His love endures forever (Psalm 136). This is my morning feast, my wake up coffee.

O taste and see that the LORD is good! Happy is the man who takes refuge in Him!  Psalm 34:8

Spring Cascade of Color

Spring Bouquet

Balsamroot spill over from the heights

This picture, from above my home, shows the Spring cascade of color.

The desert and the parched land will be glad;
the wilderness will rejoice and blossom… But only the redeemed will walk there,
and the ransomed of the Lord will return.
They will enter Zion with singing;
everlasting joy will crown their heads.
Gladness and joy will overtake them,
and sorrow and sighing will flee away. Isaiah 35:1, 9-10

My hope is not in the beauty of this world, but in Jesus my creator, my redeemer, my shepherd, my king. Only in Him do gladness and joy reside forever. Only in Him will sorrow and sighing be excluded from spoiling eternity.

Harbinger

Glacier Lily

Harbinger of Spring

The Glacier Lily is one of the first wildflowers announcing Spring. It is a welcome harbinger of all the beauty coming in the weeks ahead.

To get this picture I had to get down close to the ground, upon trying to get up my joints and back complained mightily. The groan told me Spring had long since come and gone for my body. But those aches and pains reminded me of another harbinger that holds an even greater hope.

For while we are in this tent (our mortal body), we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. 2 Corinthians 5:4-5

The Holy Spirit is a harbinger of what is to come. But more than that, God’s Spirit is an initial deposit in us of all the good He wants to bestow.

Because of His Spirit within, I can rejoice in my groaning for I know it is temporary, and God will use it to mold me into something far greater than the Glacier Lily.

Light in the Background

Early morning light

Early morning sunshine through the woods

This scene attracted my attention because of the light behind the trees. The foreground is cold with snow covering the tree limbs, but in the background the sun light holds the promise of a beautiful day. The sunlight truly makes all the difference in this picture.

Recently I had been praying for a dear Aunt in hospice going through the last stages of life. On the day before she died I used the 23 Psalm as a prayer for her and the family. When I came to verse 4 it literally jumped off the page.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for You are with me. Psalm 23:4

God’s presence is what makes all the difference in life. There is no circumstance, no illness, no terror that will overwhelm having Jesus with us. On the flip side, there is nothing (fame, wealth, power, or person) that can match having Him in our life.

Jesus is with my aunt, her family and with me. As I allowed this truth to sink in, my heart and mind calmed in His presence. He is the light behind the trees of grief and sorrow. The wonderful knowledge that He is with us will never lose its power to brighten the day of fear, grief, or shame, into a day of hope, comfort, and ultimately joy.

Grace Like Falling Snow

skier sleeping lady

Snow flake upon snow flake bringing winter joy.

For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. John 1:16

Thank you Lord, that Your grace is not a one time gift, for I would have used it up long ago.

Thank you Lord, that Your grace goes beyond the forgiveness of my past sins to include my future.

Thank you Lord, that grace is also about the assurance of Your presence in my life, that You will be with me in all that takes place (O Immanuel).

Thank you Lord, that by Your grace, You want to change me from what I am, to what You want me to be.

I praise You that this miraculous transformation happens by Your strength not mine.

Thank you Lord, that Your grace soaks up what I have spilled, not just in my life, but also in the lives of those I have hurt.

Thank you Lord, that grace will never lose its power with use, or become dull with time.

Grace upon grace springing up eternally from Your fullness to my wholeness.

Pleasant Places

Blooming orchards and Balsamroot in the foothills of the Cascades

Blooming orchards and Balsamroot in the foothills of the Cascades

The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
I have a goodly heritage.
(Psalm 16:5-6)

It is Spring. The orchards and Balsamroot are blooming and I am blessed to be surrounded by all this beauty. What makes it even more thrilling is that the creator of all this, has given Himself to me, and I am His.