I love to sing. Standing in the shower. When I’m putting makeup on in the bathroom. While driving down the road. Cooking in the kitchen. Everyone who lives with me is used to me singing my heart out. It’s what I do. Singing is my favorite way to pray. I have a list of songs I pray/sing depending on my mood, on what is going on that particular day. It’s my expression of my faith. This song by Kari Jobe (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mq59iE3MhXM) is one I’ve been listening to a lot lately. My favorite part is the chorus which I find myself singing over and over.
Be still, my soul, the Lord is on thy side
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain
Leave to thy God to order and provide
In every change He faithful will remain
Be still, my soul, thy best, thy heavenly friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end
Be still, my soul, thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as He has the past
Thy hope, thy confidence, let nothing shake
All now mysterious shall be bright at last
Be still, my soul, the waves and winds still know
His voice Who ruled them while He dwelt below
In you I rest, in You I found my hope
In you I trust, You never let me go
I place my life within your hands alone
Be still, my soul
Be still, my soul, the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord
When disappointed grief and fear are gone
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored
Be still, my soul, when change and tears are past
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last
Be still. What does that mean exactly, to be still? The Hebrew word for “be still” is Raphah which means to sink, relax, sink down, let drop, abate, withdraw, be idle, refrain, forsake, to be quiet, to show oneself slack. Psalm 46:10 says “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” It’s a verb, a command. It’s not a request or a do-it-if-you-feel-like-it kind of a thing. God always has his reasons when He tells us to do something. And it’s always for our good.
Mark 4:35-40 says, “On that day, when evening came, He said to them, ‘Let us go over to the other side.’ Leaving the crowd, they took Him along with them in the boat, just as He was; and other boats were with Him. And there arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up. Jesus Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke Him and said to Him, ‘Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?’ And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Hush, be still.’ And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm.”
I find it so interesting that the Lord doesn’t ask us to be still, he commands it. He commanded the winds to hush and the calm came. And in the same way, when I am anxious, afraid, nervous, emotional, He tells me to be still. Easier said than done, isn’t it? Oh how I need to show myself slack, withdraw, be quiet and relax in those times of uncertainty. The God of the universe who is so very capable of calming the winds and waves on a stormy day is also the one who desires to calm our hearts and minds. But we so easily get in the way of Him working out the kinks and jumbled mess we often find ourselves in. Be still. For me that means shutting down. Taking the time to get in a dark, quiet place. Closing off the thoughts that run rampant in my mind. Shedding cleansing tears to rid myself of all the pent up emotion. It’s hard to do, but oh so needed. Singing. I am still when I am singing. This song is one of my tried and true prayers. In you I rest. In you I find my hope. In you I trust. You never let me go. I place my life within your hands alone. Be still my soul. I’ll be honest. This past week has been tough. So much going on. Too many things to think about. Hurdles and barriers and not being able to open doors but instead finding myself stuck in the hallway. Life is like that. We think we have things figured out only to look away and everything has changed. And I find in these times of uncertainty, in these times of change, in these times of feeling out of control, God is calling me to be still. There is always a heart issue. Always something I need to lay at His feet. I’m a work in progress. Always have been. Always will be. We are all a work in progress. But I find I am honestly the most content when I am still. When things are going well, when I finally feel I am back on my feet, when everything lines up and goes as planned, I don’t have the need for God that I experience when He calls me to be still. It’s in those times of quietness, refraining from moving in any direction, withdrawal from action, that I experience a closeness with my Father I can’t put into words. Just today I found myself walking to the mailbox thanking God for a certain difficulty I am not enjoying. But it’s the closeness I feel during theses times of uncertainty that draws me to the One who holds my tomorrows and brightens my path today. I’m good at doing things my way. I excel at making decisions, carrying out plans, telling the world how things are going to be done. But it’s during those times of complete independence I find I am the weakest. I am the most insecure. I am utterly tired. Because my strength may feel powerful, but that false front of security is what lays me at His feet begging for mercy, asking for direction, praying for grace. I would rather be still in my Heavenly Father’s presence every day of my life, not knowing how to do the next step than to be independent and full of self. Because my way is messy. Today I found myself randomly driving through a neighborhood crying on the phone to my dad about this and that and the other. Things that are all causing me stress. Things out of my control. Things only the Lord can work out. And as much as it hurts, and as I told my dad “I just want one thing to be easy for once, I just want one thing to go right”, I know this time of being still is what is keeping the hand of God on my life. Because when I am still, when I am not in control, He is the one able to do His best work in me. My life is not about me and all my plans. It’s about God using me for His glory. I simply forget. So when I, like the disciples, get all worked up over the storm around me, all I have to do is call on the name of Jesus so he can calm not only the storm but also my anxious heart.
Be still. It can also very much be a time to find thankfulness. To touch grace. To breathe in mercy. To give love. Being still, whether in good moments or bad, means I get to choose to focus on all the good. Oh there is lots of good. Family. Friends. Health. Sun peeking through the windows. Food warming in the oven. Clean fresh sheets to cuddle into. Heated seats while out on cold, windy days. McDonald’s Diet Coke when I need a pick me up. Lots of fingernail polish choices when I want to be girly. Hangers upon hangers of clothes to choose from. Community with church friends. Freedom to come and go as I choose. Education. Laughter. Love from my man. Games stacked high on the shelf for family time. Forgiveness. Oh the blessings. There are plenty. An overabundance. Sometimes we need the stillness to remember the blessing.
Tomorrow we see the epileptologist in Omaha. I’m not even sure why we are going because when Ryan was released from the hospital two weeks ago, he said he would see us in three months. But the other day Travis talked to the nurse and was told he wants to see us this week. So off we will go. This is definitely a be still moment. My mind wants to play all kinds of tricks and games trying to figure out why we are heading back to the clinic so soon. And maybe it’s something very simple. I have no idea. I already have so many emotions jumbled up in my heart because of Ryan and all the hurt that goes with having a child with a chronic life altering condition. We aren’t trying any new meds (we’ve been on almost all of them), we aren’t doing an MRI (too dangerous with his vagus nerve stimulator), we aren’t doing surgery, we won’t do clinical trials. I can’t come up with anything. But the God who calms the storm is already there waiting to still this girl.
You just might hear me singing tomorrow – in you I rest, in you I find my hope…..