Her quiet voice was filled with a panic as she called down from the top of the stairs.
I think it was the urgency that interrupted my sleep, more than the intrusion of words.
“He’s screaming, Mama…he woke up screaming and I don’t know what’s wrong.”
I rushed to the side of his bed; his eyes were so sad and I barely emptied a plastic bin of Hot Wheels in time to hold under his chin.
“I think I’m okay, Mom. I think I’m done.”
I quietly rinsed out the contents in the 2am dark, moving slow as to not wake up the other sleeping ones.
His cries had me rushing back, kneeling in front of him as being sick took over again.
It was a dance we played through the night, he and I, until he was truly asleep and I crawled back under my covers around 4.
Lack of sleep and unsettling words shared mid morning have had me wrestling throughout this day to grasp on to hope and joy and peace.
I pull out my notebook for the first day of this Psalm 119 memory challenge and I whisper the words out loud on our front porch,
Blessed are those whose way is blameless,
who walk in the law of the Lord!
Blessed are those who keep His testimonies,
who seek Him with their whole heart.Psalm 119:1-2
The thought of keeping my way blameless is daunting, if not impossible. David, in Psalm 51, even said that his sin is ever before him.
But the enemy works to keep the believer locked in a pattern of shame – believing that they cannot possibly commit these words to heart because of all they have done.
I think though, that there is abundant and stunning grace here – grace that all of us can cling to.
Jesus, the One Who is the Way, Whose way was, and is, and always will be blameless, covers us with His righteousness – His life, when we surrender ours to Him, becomes our own.
When we know this, how can we not seek Him with our whole heart? How can we not press in close, even in the exhaustion, discouragement and fear?
This past weekend, we wandered through a labyrinth edged with tiny lavender plants – nothing was blooming, only the white heads of the dandelions waiting to be blown in the wind, the irrigation ditches freshly dug, and the hot sun beating down.
We laughed over the simplicity of it, how unimpressive it looked at the moment, but in July, when the farm opens again, it will look different, the curved lines will be filled in, the fragrance from the lavender that surround will be the air that is breathed.
And I think, it’s a bit like this journey of 176 verses and 88 weeks. Right now, it looks simple, maybe a little impossible, but if through this, my heart is trained to seek Him wholly, to fill my mind with the mediations of His goodness and grace, to have my speech peppered with words that point to Christ, then I’m willing to take this journey.
I brought home two different lavender plants, planted them in those black pots on my front step.
I noticed this afternoon how one was already drooping.
I took out some water and poured it over the soil at it’s base and within minutes, it was already standing taller, straighter, reaching for the heat of the sun.
And this is what the Word of God does – when fear begins to snake its tendrils around my heart, when my mind becomes clouded with fear and my words become sharp, I repeat the words I’m beginning to learn – remind my spirit that walking in the way of the Lord brings true happiness rooted in Him.
For that’s what the Hebrew word ‘esher is translated as: blessed, happy.
Happiness, blessing, isn’t found in outward circumstances, but in relationship and fellowship with Jesus.
So in the smallness of the beginning, let this be the foundation of the next 88 weeks with a joyful expectation of seeing how Jesus will be seen in our moments and days.
If you would like to read more about why one should even memorize scripture, I found this article incredible helpful and encouraging: https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/why-memorize-scripture
And if you would like to download the first month’s set of memory cards and memorize along with a group of us, you can find those here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/x5vcfiy8ubzsdrd/mt4spsalm119may.pdf?dl=0