Psalm 84

How wonderful when my mind dwells with faith on You
Almighty, truly God
How often I yearn for that faith, envy those who have that faith
How often I ask why not me
For goodness sake, because of goodness, in goodness
Those whose lives are simpler than mine
Those who have the gift, the grace of firm faith
They are blessed with easy closeness to You
They live praising you effortlessly
They find strength – not confusion – in their faith
They go through life as through a beautiful valley
Watered by faith, swimming in pools of grace
Even in troubles, they go from strength to strength
Strength of faith, strength in God
While I flounder, drowning in pools of doubt
Hear my prayer – ah, but what is my prayer?
Do I really want You to make me a different me?
Do I really want the assurance of easy faith?
Do I really want to be an anointed one?
Here I am, God, believing – or trying to believe –
That better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere
I read that You are a sun and shield, that You bestow favor and honor
That You withhold no good thing from those whose walk is blameless
But in my mind You remain elusive, You come and go
One day I may spend in the sureness of You, Your existence, Your grace
But a thousand upon a thousand I spend in darkness and doubt
Struggling against all that weighs me down, all the not good things and thoughts
God Almighty, what can I pray today except that You
You who may or may not exist
Bless me as one who trusts in You and doubts You. Amen

Psalm 85

A prayer for the restoration of God’s favor

My Sovereign Wisdom Woman, You saved me, You redeemed me
You pardon all my sins
Please and praise
Help me – again – Ruler of my life, to remember that
Help me to live it
Will I forever feel ignored by You?
Will I always lack confidence that You even exist?
Will I never believe what I hope to be true?
When will I simply rejoice in You?
In Your steadfast love despite my fickleness
Rejoice in the certain reality of my salvation
Speak peace to me
Help me be faithful and turn my heart to You
Let Your glory fill my life
Let Your steadfast love and enduring faithfulness
Seal my mind from doubt
Let Your merciful righteousness and sure peace
Kiss away my hurts, my angers
Let Your enduring faithfulness be my foundation
Your merciful righteousness my highest protection
Let Your goodness gentle me, guide me
Show me the way. Amen

Psalm 76

On a beautiful, peaceful summer Sunday
All feels quiet and lush, both around me and inside me
It is easy to believe, today, in a great, benevolent God
A God who conquers my fears, my insecurities, my doubts
A God who defeats the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune”
That constantly war against my peace, my wholeness
On days like today, it is so easy to praise a glorious God
A mighty God, who banishes my terrible Ds
So that none of them can harm me
It is easy to laugh at my doubts, depression, despair
Because today, on this beautiful day when my internal world
Seems simply a continuation of a beautiful natural world
Today, if I look no further than my home
If I think no further than myself
How easy it is to praise an awesome God
A God who defends me, who judges me kindly. Please and Praise
A God who stills my uneasiness
A God who lifts my oppressed spirit
Ah yes, today God seems awesome to me, in my life
God who conquers all
God who is worthy of my praise and my vows
God who is worthy of my gifts, my all
So easy, today, in the peaceful beauty of my home
So easy to echo the psalmist
But how do I keep this internal peace, this faith
When the world around me turns ugly
How do I understand an all powerful God
In the face of such injustice and ugliness
I do not know, so today I will enjoy a Sabbath rest
In the beauty of Your created world – a beauty that includes me. Amen

Psalm 77

“I cry aloud to God…that God may hear me”
I am troubled so I seek God, but not for peace but for rebuke
“My soul refuses to be comforted
I think of God and I moan”; I try to pray and I fail.
Please and Praise
I try
Is it You, God, who keeps me restless and troubled
Is it You who keeps me focused on regrets and failures
Is it You would keeps me asking if You exist
And if You do exist, why do You seem not to care for me
Not to help me, not to let me feel, let me know
Your steadfast love, Your promised redemption, Your salvation
Your grace, Your mercy, Your compassion
Why do I feel oppressed by Your demands, Your displeasure
Please, Please, Please – I try to praise
I try to believe that it is me and not You
Who has failed in belief, in love
Help me, please, to remember all the times You have rescued me
Help me to remember all the times of peace I have found in You
Help me to remember and believe Psalm 1
Help me to meditate on Your power, Your might
Your ability to conquer my demons
Help my mind to follow Your holy path
To rejoice in Your greatness
“You are the God who works wonders”
You are MY God, my God who has proven Your power in my life
Time and again
You have redeemed me, not once for all, but over and over again
Saving me from drowning in my doubts
Saving me from the torrents of my despair
Saving me from the arrows of depression
That pierce my peace of mind
Overpowering the whirlwind of my feelings of defeat
Lighting up my darkness with Your faithfulness
That carried me through the raging seas of my doubts
So often I fail to see You, to recognize Your saving grace
Yet always You lead me, gentle my spirit
You give me Your saints
To guide and encourage me. Amen

TCOG

God “is our father; he is father to us all, whatever religion we are. We are all created by God, we are his children.” Mother Teresa

I think I make a mistake when I think of myself as a child of God. Because I think of myself as an ADULT child (much like I am an ACOA – Adult Child of an Alcoholic – I think of myself as an ACOG).

But I suspect it is closer to correct to think of myself as a TCOG – a toddler child of God. Like a toddler, I can cooperate or resist, but I can’t control my own life – and, more often then not, when I try to do so I get myself in trouble. I can control and manipulate my “toys” but for safety, security and all that is essential to my growth and well-being, I must rely on and cooperate with my Parent.

Psalm 78

For seventy-two verses
The psalmist recounts God’s faithfulness
To the unfaithful
God gets angry, She punishes, She casts away
But returns again and again
Her love stronger than anger
Faithful to the unfaithful
Finding the lost, saving the good
Defeating the powerful, discarding the evil
With plagues, She freed Her people from slavery
Opened the closed sea for their safe passage
Closed the open sea against their pursuers
Through the desert She led them
With cloud and fire, miracles and commandments
Despite their doubts and complaints
She quenched their thirst, satisfied their hunger
In the promised land She established them
Preserved them despite their failings
Despite their desertion again and again
Through defeat, even in Her anger, She loved them
After the winnowing, with the remnant, for the good
She established Her sanctuary
Brought Her people back to Jerusalem
And always She gave them
Moses and Miriam, David and Naomi, Jesus and Mary Magdala
All Herself
Shepherding Her people with truth and skill
I am Her people
I am Israel’s daughter
I follow until I wander
I believe until I doubt
I trust until I despair
I love until I become distracted, indifferent
I crave peace until I am hurt, angered
I am satisfied until I am envious
I laugh until I forget joy
I worship until I ignore my blessings
And still, always,
When I have flayed myself into pieces
When I am defeated, discouraged, depressed
When I have forgotten God
She remembers me
She rescues me, believes in me, loves me
She gathers the pieces of me
Saves the good, discards the rest
And brings me back to Her. Amen.

The Persistence of Notness

It’s so loud
Deafening, hurting my ears
The not hearing

It’s so hard
Bruising, hurting my body
The not touching

It’s so bright
Blinding, pressing my eyes
The not seeing

It’s so foul
Rotting, wrinkling my nose
The not smelling

It’s so bitter
Filling, fouling my mouth
The not tasting

It’s so complete
Crushing, pressing close
The not here

It’s so powerful
Shaping, twisting life
Death