The Valley of Vision
This book is old. Not so much in regards to how long it has been in my possession, but old in that the meditations/prayers found within this book are from men of old. It is a compilation that conveys beautifully and theologically the affections for God in the heart of a believer and also truths about God.
Though the book itself was published in 1975, editor, Arthur G. Bennett, pulled from various works written by men such as Richard Baxter, Thomas Watson, John Bunyan, and Charles Spurgeon just to name a few. The words of fourteen men living as early as 1608 and as late as 1892 grace the pages of this book.
Given the time, meditating on just one of these prayers a day has proved to be a fountain of wealth, refreshing a soul that needs such reminding.
This excerpt from a prayer titled “Continual Repentance” reaches down deep within me:
“Grant me never to lose sight of
the exceeding sinfulness of sin,
the exceeding righteousness of salvation,
the exceeding glory of Christ,
the exceeding beauty of holiness,
the exceeding wonder of grace.”
Jesus Is With Me
Jesus Is With Me by Debby Anderson is a children’s book that my mother-in-law bought for Norah soon after she started sitting up and showing interest in books. While reading Glimpses of Grace last night, I notice that Gloria Furman mentions that her children also read this book; however, the spin she puts on it has revived a simple childlike truth in my heart. The premise of the whole book is for a child to see that wherever they are, whatever they may be doing, Jesus is with them. It’s also to be sung to the tune of “Jingle Bells” so it ranges from “up in space, every place, Jesus is with me” to “in a jeep, beep, beep, beep – Jesus is with me.” I’ve read through this book so many times with Norah, clapped to it in the car with her while she was crying, and now here I see a reality it is speaking of: Jesus IS with me! Everywhere. In everything I’m doing. That speaks to the mundane things alright.
Though I haven’t had this book for longer than a year and a half, it has become old to me. I have moved on to different books with Norah. Ones that have less bite marks and hold my attention a bit more since this one has been drilled into my head day after day for so long. But today, I’m thanking God for a gift, this reminder that I am a worshiper at all times. What I fix my worship on is called into question, not whether or not if the One to whom worship is due is present or not.
I’ve been used to my body for, well, 24 years now. To say the least, it gets old fast. I’m not talking about “aging” necessarily, but more so the fact that I get annoyed with it. It’s old news. Normally, I don’t overflow with thankfulness on a daily basis when considering this body. I see it as a steady imperfection, something that I always have to work on. It annoys me more days than not. From hair to weight to skin to you name it, complaint after complaint after complaint.
But today is different. I’m counting my body as a gift. I’m thankful when I look at my body today and see that it is not only 24 years and still going strong, but God has filled my womb with a child. When I consider the calling in that, housing a soul for the glory of God, the previously mention complaints appear pretty filthy in comparison to the will of an infinitely wise and all-knowing Creator.
I have limbs fully capable of carrying out the day’s tasks. I have fingers to feel the dirt as I plant a pansy in the flowerbed. (Though the winter months with dried and cracked finger tips from washing dishes, cold, washing more dishes, cold, washing hands after changing diapers, etc. can fester annoyance in me at times!) I have legs fully intact and movable to chase after my toddler. A heart beats in my chest and serves as a reminder that Someone is behind this 24 year old thing I call my body.
After all, I was made for Him. The way that I was knit together in my mother’s womb was a profound mystery performed by an infinitely good God. I know this as it is explained in God’s word:
“For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.”
I also consider this: The last thing I want my children, Norah especially, to hear from me are complaints about my body. It is a temporal trouble often rooted in a heart issue with lacking satisfaction in God. The words that come from my mouth concerning my body should be that of thankfulness. I’m challenged to make that difference.
I see my body in a new way today. It’s a gift. All that’s entailed to maintain it is a great mystery to me, but I’m thankful for it. Today, I’m boasting in my weakness – I have foofed at my body for far too long now (and I’m sure I will have days where I do it again) but praise God for it! He is made great in my weakness!