In the shelter of Thy wings

All my kids are gone.  Jared is at camp.  Lonna is on vacation with one of her friends (what a blessing of a friend who takes you on vacation with her!).  Hilary is at my parents’ house.  Hilary leaving was a last minute decision.  I knew that with both Lonna and Jared gone, Hilary would be lonely and needy of extra attention and interaction.  My energy levels are so unpredictable right now… I didn’t think it would be a pleasant time for her.    So, my father was kind enough to make the ten hour round trip from Kentucky to fetch her for her first vacation away from home alone.

She was a bit torn the night before she left.  As I laid with her on her bed for a little extra snuggle time, she talked about how much she would miss me…me and the dog.  🙂  You could tell she was excited, yet apprehensive.  Then, morning came and my father arrived.  Immediately, Hilary grabbed the bag with her clothes in it and threw it over her shoulder.  “Bye, Mommy!  I’m ready to go!”

I miss the little booger, but it was a good choice.  I’ve been able to rest without mother’s guilt that I’m not “doing enough” for everyone.  My husband has been satisfied with simple meals, and all is well.  I’ve even been doing some further simplifying of our home.  I had to pick something that I could do sitting down, so I’m tackling all my office papers.  What a hideous job it is…no wonder I put it off!  Drowning in a sea of paper is not conducive to prayer, however, so I look forward to taming this beast and eliminating an area of stress in my daily routine.

I’ve never been one to enjoy being separated from my children.  Not to say that I don’t ever wish to be alone.  But I just want everyone to go into the other room for awhile, ya know?  I don’t want them to actually leave!  Lonna comes back today, Hilary will be here tomorrow, and Jared will return on Saturday.  I’m ready.

Throughout this time of physical challenge, I’ve been comforted by praying the Psalms.  I’m turning to the example of our monastic heritage and have been reading through the entire Psalter each week.  The Psalter is divided into twenty sections, called kathismata.  If you read three kathismata each day, but only two on Sunday, you pray the entire Psalter in one week.

What a refreshment it is to pray the Psalms!  Not just to read them, but to pray the words with heart and soul.  I pray one kathisma in the morning, afternoon, and evening, and it has been a great help.

Yesterday, I was struck by that very word…help.  Over and over again as I read the psalms from the 8th kathisma, I came across phrases like these:

“for thou, O God, art my helper”, “Thou art become my helper”, “for He is my God, my savior and my helper”, etc.

and as often as help was mentioned, so was hope:

“in God I have set my hope”, “hope in Him”, “my hope is in God”, etc.

Help and hope.  Not hope only that God will eliminate all pain and suffering.  That He will make all things cheery and perfect.  Not shallow hope.  Rather, it is hope through help.  God is my helper.  The One who allows me to work alongside Him.  Who urges and supports and upholds.  I have hope that He will heal my infirmities, but I do not fear anything that comes my way, for God is my helper.

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