He anoints my head with oil, my cup overflows

When I was a little girl, my grandma taught me the Lord’s Prayer. “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name…” We used to say it together before bed when my sister and I spent the night.

Those formal words from the King James version still bring me comfort and peace.

Many years later, 20 weeks pregnant with my youngest child, I began memorizing Psalm 23. I needed an extra avenue for comfort and peace. Together, they served me well in very trying times, and I meditate on Psalm 23 almost every day now. One of the things I love most is its all-encompassing nature. It truly tells of God’s sovereignty, love, power, protection, and generosity.

As we move into the future, I know more than ever that I must rely on the Lord for my every need. When I am hungry, He provides. When I am afraid, He strengthens. When I am hurting, He comforts. When I am confused, lost, or overwhelmed, He restores.

And when I trust Him, He anoints my head with oil, and my cup overflows. So today’s confession is a reminder to trust Him with everything.

He anoints my head with oil. My cup overflows.

Oil in the Bible is often symbolic of the Holy Spirit. Power, peace, and protection. This line gives me a visual of tipping my head back and allowing Him to pour thick, amber colored oil over my head. It seeps down to my skin and saturates me. It affects everything I do and think. Just as the Holy Spirit should affect me.

When I move in this anointing, I don’t have room to fear. I view people and life through His filter. The world is not a frightening place. Instead every interaction becomes an opportunity to point back to Him. I will confess this today and I will live in His power, peace, and protection.

What is your favorite part of Psalm 23?

Nothing is impossible with God

The last two weeks have been an interesting time in my house. For the first time ever, I’ve battled panic attacks that threaten to lay me flat on the floor, gasping for air, sure my heart is going to come to a dead stop. Or I’ve nearly climbed the walls with anxiety that sends adrenaline soaring and blood screaming through my veins. The only thing that keeps me from showing this panic to my children is reciting Psalm 23. I’ve also watched my four-year-old son scream, unable to catch his breath, and almost throw up in fear. I have no idea what he’s afraid of, but it seems to control almost every move.

I make light of my own panic because there’s really no reason for it. (Not that the realization stops my fear, but it is true. Forget what seems to be real; the truth is that I have not been given a spirit of fear. Realizing it and confessing it is the first step to making it real for me.) But seeing it in my child is a different matter. Fear – and overcoming it – is hard enough inside my own head. How do I teach my son to recognize the truth and fight against the fear?

The only way I know is to speak the truth over him, over our entire family. We move forward with normal activities, and if I have to leave him with a Sunday school teacher or a Bible study teacher, I pray and trust God to take care of him. Doing this, I’ve seen the fear we both experience recede. I love today’s confession (the ‘I’ in our alphabet of confessions) because it speaks to the myriad of reasons I battle breathtaking fear.

Nothing is impossible with God.

Do you really believe this? We serve the God of the impossible. What are your dreams or goals? What are your wildest prayers? Here are a few of mine, and what I think of when I pray them.

Establish a successful storytelling career? Impossible.

Raise happy, healthy, Jesus-loving children in a world of pride, excess, and indulgence? Impossible.

Banish all forms of fear, and embrace the future and the hope He plans for me? Impossible.

But nothing is impossible with God. Luke 1:37 says so. For that reason, I’ll continue confessing the truth over myself and my family. My God will make a way, and the impossible will become possible. Beyond that, the possible will become achievable. Nothing is impossible with God.

What impossible things have you seen God do lately?

God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted

God is Almighty.

Blessed be the name of the Lord.

He is compassionate and full of comfort.

Have you ever tried to go through the alphabet and ascribe one of God’s traits to each letter? I never did until now. It’s harder than I thought, but not because I can’t think of anything. (Okay, X and Z have me a little stumped.) I’m having trouble landing on just ONE of God’s traits for each letter. Today’s affirmation for C is no different, and maybe you have some thoughts on this one too.

I had the beautiful opportunity this weekend to talk to a few people about their fears and their deepest sorrows come to life. For one woman, it was an intense fear of heights that impacts time spent with her mother, who lives over several steep mountain passes. For another woman, it was a tragic loss that no one will ever understand. And for yet another, it was the fear of losing a loved one to the past. As I prayed for these women, God’s heart became clear. And so did today’s affirmation.

The comforter nature of God is so evident in the Bible. I could confess His Creator-nature or His companionship. I could pull out Scripture about being committed to Him, or about how He cleanses us from sin. All those things are true and worth considering. And yet, it’s His compassion that people often overlook. It’s His kindness that leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4). Okay, kindness is a ‘k’ word, but you get the point.

God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Today’s confession comes from Matthew 5:4, but the Psalms are chock-full of evidence of God’s comfort.

Psalm 10:17: “LORD, you know the hopes of the helpless. Surely you will hear their cries and comfort them.”

Psalm 23:4: “Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.”

Psalm 94:19: “When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.”

Psalm 119:50: “Your promise revives me; it comforts me in all my troubles.”

God comforts us, but what a blessing it is to comfort others in the name of the Lord. It builds my faith and reminds me of the truth. God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted. And for those who mourn, I pray that God’s promise comforts them, and that His comfort will give them renewed hope.

What troubles do you face today? How do you feel God’s comfort in the midst of them?

The Lord is my shepherd

Parents have an impossibly hard job, I think. To teach and prepare little ones for life is a daunting task. On the list of daily to-do’s: everything from good manners to good hygiene, from ABCs to 123’s, from stranger danger to kindness and compassion, from discernment to faith matters, and more.

Why didn’t I think of this before having children??

Another thing I didn’t think about was the relentless responsibility involved. For the last few nights, my littles have slept poorly – and so have I. One has a cold, the other has a bad dream. One has a stuffy nose, the other needs a light on. Thirsty, hungry, “I hafta pee,” there’s a monster under the bed. It goes on all night and my down time becomes get-up-again time.

In the haze of parenthood, I want someone to take care of me. I know I’m a terribly vain and selfish creature, but I think a lot of people share this particular desire. It’s a lovely feeling of being cherished and valued when someone sees my needs and offers to meet them. That’s why I find such comfort in Psalm 23. I say it to myself today, and it brings perspective to my life as a momma and a wife and a catch-all queen.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

When I think about a shepherd, I realize he provides everything his sheep need. Safety, food, a place to sleep, loving care, comfort, and companionship. Really, these are the things I need. They help me get through the endless tasks and do even more. If you’re exhausted today, feeling the effects of relentless life, confess this truth with me: The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

What pieces of scripture bring comfort to your soul?