These days of beginning school again, I find myself looking in simple places for inspiration before I wake the crew each morning. I have to get up early, like really early, to beat the two incorrigible early risers and get some quietness for me. One of them chatters every waking minute, so as much as I detest the alarm’s intrusion at 6 AM, I try to haul myself out for the sake of the day ahead.
I have been reading the Psalms as they correspond to the days of the month, finding they resonate with life as it is right now. “Deliver me, O God… Preserve me… Renew a right spirit in me… Let me hear joy and gladness…”
This is the day for Psalm 23, and I have to confess that in my life I have had some irreverent thoughts such as, “Goodness, I guess he couldn’t think of anything else to share for a meditation at church so he fell back on good old Psalm 23.” I have also read some books that beat this beautiful Psalm to death, so this morning I asked God for something fresh.
Maybe this is old hat to you, but to me it is new and lovely from an ancient place.
Consider verse 3: “He leads me in the path of righteousness for His name’s sake.” I have started substituting the word “reputation” whenever I see “name” in the Psalms. This morning I see that the way of rightness preserves God’s reputation.
Paraphrased for me, this goes something like this: Today God will lead me in a direction that is right, so that His faithfulness and goodness are revealed in me.
Practically it means that today when my children chew their pencils, when the baby chews the toddler (not really, but she has taken up biting since her molars are pushing), when everybody is always wanting more FOOD to chew, I do not need to chew them out. Sorry, I know that is lame. True though.
It means that when (I quote my son here) “I am sick and tired of being gracious”, I extend grace anyway. I might hit the roof when I see the hole they hacked into the lattice so they can hide under the deck, but I can understand the logic behind the idea. And it is behind the shrubbery, after all.
It means that the child with a band aid fetish gets one even though she isn’t bleeding.
It means cheerful wiping of bottoms, and folding of laundry and teaching of prefixes and suffixes and making of quantities of food and dispensing kindness.
I go into the day knowing that I will live it imperfectly, but a path is not a finished product. A path is a direction. I go into this day knowing that within me He has put the power to protect His reputation.