It was last Friday night when I hopped into the car and headed down to the train station to pick up Jon and Olivia from an overnight trip. I occasionally find myself amazed that I can just grab my bag and drive away alone. It wasn't very long ago, it seems, that I had to load and buckle in all my little companions every single place I went. With few exceptions, I was always accompanied by my little brood and everything took much more time and forethought.
But now I drive places on my own quite frequently, and the ease of it is still remarkable. Being conscious of time and the ever practical person that I am, I try to redeem this time for good. I often listen to recordings, quote scripture, or pray. Knowing how undisciplined my mind can be, I frequently pray or quote scripture out loud. This has proven to be a huge benefit to me.
So on this drive to the station last Friday, I rounded our street and began quoting Psalm 103 to the best of my ability. "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me bless his holy name..." I frequently pray those words and instruct my heart in the morning when I am weighed down by hurt and anxiety, or because my heart doesn't desire to bless but to curse the arrival of the morning. God is worthy of my praise regardless of how my fickle heart feels, so I quoted again as I drove in the dark. This time, however, the act of speaking out loud caused a single word to stand out like never before: "He CROWNS you with steadfast love and mercy..."
I am crowned by God. My thoughts lingered there a while. What does it mean to be crowned by steadfast love and mercy? Regardless of my understanding, it is an absolute, wonderful, and unchangeable fact!
Princesses wear crowns: I am a daughter of the King of kings!
Steadfast love means it is constant: God will never, ever turn away from loving me!
Mercy is my daily need: God sees my frailty and bestows upon me his compassion!
The world may see my "crown" only as one increasing in lines on my forehead and grey hairs on my head, but God sees me as precious and increasing in beauty as he conforms me to the image of Jesus!
"He crowns you with steadfast love and mercy"
Another portion of Psalm 103 says, "As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and it's place remembers it no more."
Here in Southern California, we know all about withering grass! We've had some rain, but we know the green grass and the flowers will soon be gone.
The days of our lives are fleeting. The days I have with my children are even shorter. I know this so well.
And yet I struggle. Our days are so very full. It is difficult to pull away from all the demands and busy schedules and savor our days together, nurture relationships, and enjoy this wonderful life and world around us. Sometimes it requires creativity, or scrapping the schedule and my ideas of how things ought to be.
I did just that last week. Olivia had accompanied Jon on a business trip (and got to see some beloved friends), so the boys and I postponed school work and took off for the green hills before practice.
Moss collecting again
Always with some sort of plan their heads...
My mind waves red flags when I see boys running to water, or stepping out onto floating logs!
Give a boy a high place and he will automatically crown himself the conqueror!
The trunk of my car is a picture of our day: Cleats for sports, a math book for formal education, collections from nature for informal education.
After practices, I took the boys out for burgers....
Friday afternoon, again, we pushed aside our school work till later and biked into town for a hot chocolate..
In closing, here is a comfort: Though man's days are like withering grass -- here today and gone tomorrow, and it's place remembering it no more -- God's love for those who belong to him is eternal!
"But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him."
If we belong to him, crowned as his children because of his great love and mercy toward those who fear him, then we are the objects of his love, which is from everlasting to everlasting!