Raise Your Gaze!

robin beachI admit it:  I get homesick sometimes.  Some days this beach-girl misses the salt and sand so much I can hardly stand it.  I found myself longing for the past recently, and wondering, “What am I doing here?”

Over the last few days we’ve been doing some serious grading in our yard which has created quite the mess!  It has rained nearly every day since the new year, and the red clay of the upstate has turned to sludge-mud (which we could not even stand up in)… and it is EVERYWHERE!  Our clothes are stained, our boots are covered, and our white dog has turned orange.  Our patio, garage, and half of our towels are covered as well.  We have been digging holes and planting new trees and bushes, and I reflected back on our well-manicured lawn at our old house in Conway, replete with dozens of vibrant knock-out roses, white fence, and swimming pool in the back yard.  I mused that even the sandy dirt that our dog tracked in there was much easier to clean than this blessed red sludge!

backyard 4

This morning I stood at my kitchen window sipping my morning coffee, looking out over the back yard and the mess that had been created.  The sun was shining brightly upon the slow-drying square that Ed finally got leveled out yesterday.  Weather permitting, there will soon be a concrete pad poured over that mud pit, and a new pool erected that a precious neighbor is gifting us.  Eventually, we will pressure-wash all the mud off of the patio that we just recently laid down ourselves.  Yes, we do all these projects ourselves on our limited budget.  I raised my gaze up toward the back of the yard and there it was:  The remaining cross beam in the old, dilapidated house in the woods behind our property, standing tall and strong, overlooking our domain.

backyard 3

backyard 2

I smiled as I was instantly reminded that our Lord brought us to this place, and He is still with us.  He put us in this marvelous home just two days after selling our home in Conway.  We could not have asked for a nicer house on a safer street with any more privacy than where we are, moving into a city we knew absolutely nothing about!  Ed’s job is going better than ever, and I am slowly getting more part-time hours which helps, but still allows me time to write and hopefully return to fulltime preaching eventually.  He allowed the rain which softened the yard for our necessary digging, and has now brought out the sun and gentle breezes so we may dry out (and recover) from our tedious (and messy) labors.  He truly is in complete control of this thing, and I need not worry nor fret, nor long for the “days of old”.  He did not lead us this far to desert us; He has promised to never leave us nor forsake us.

Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you
have.  For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
(Hebrews  13:5)

So let me encourage you today that no matter how discouraged you may be; no matter how dreary things may look; no matter how dirty and stained your life may seem right now…  RAISE YOUR GAZE!  Lift up your eyes and know that God has this, and He has you!  He watches over you day and night, and truly is in complete control.  Surrender every aspect of your life to Him, and breathe easy.  Stop looking down at your situation, your problems, and your mess.  Don’t focus on the muck beneath your feet, but raise your gaze, and release your praise!  The God of this universe who created the sand and the mud, and the luscious green grass, the rain and the sun, the beaches, the mountains and the tall trees of the forests, has you, dear child, in the palm of His hand.  You are an intricate part of His amazing plan for the ages.

I will lift up my eyes to the hills – from whence comes my help?  My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.  He will not allow your
foot to be moved;  He who keeps you will not slumber.
(Psalm 121:1-3)

 

 

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