Monday, November 1, 2010

A Gift From the Past

Two years ago, I had the privilege of going to a Beth Moore conference in Louisville, Kentucky.  For someone with a forgetful mind, I surprisingly remember much of what she spoke about and the theme for that weekend.  As always it was touching, entertaining and meaningful.  But more importantly, I came away with a gift:  Beth shared with us a way of studying scripture that I have taken to heart.  She reads a small portion of scripture each day until she comes to a verse that just speaks to her.  Then she takes that verse, writes it on a spiral-bound notecard, and carries it around with her to meditate on it.  I went home from that conference and began to do the same.

I need to admit upfront that this is not something I have been consistent with.  When I am doing a Bible study or involved in a book club, I tend to let this go.  I wish I wouldn't.  But it is a fruitful tool that profits me much.

I have been struggling with feelings of anxiety lately.  This is something that occurs occasionally for me, and it's usually mild.  But I hate it.  The other night, the anxiety was set off by a simple unbidden thought.  And the solitary thought flew unchecked through my mind and brought a flock of nagging friends.  The unease nested in my spirit until I was feeling overwhelmed with all the unwelcomed imaginings.  And that's when the whisper of Words filled my mind, "Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God" (Psalm 20:7).

The words were a spark of hope ready to smoke out the brood of bad tidings in my head.  I remembered my scripture cards and quickly retrieved them to turn to the very first one. These were some of the words uncovered:

The LORD is exalted, for He dwells on high; He will fill Zion with justice and righteousness.  He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge.  ~Isaiah 33:5-6

Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts. "Be strong, do not fear; your God will come . . . to save you.  ~Isaiah 35:3-4

"For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you."  ~Isaiah 41:13

"I will not forget you!  See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands."  ~Isaiah 49:15-16

Scripture after scripture, of over one hundred cards filled, spoke to me of God's might, love and faithfulness.   I realized that at the time I began this collection of verses, I was also feeling anxious.  Two years ago for some of the same reasons and others different, I was feeling the weight of fear.  And He pulled me through and left me with a gift to use again. 

The last page in my second notebook of cards finishes the gift beautifully.  "Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm.  Nothing is too hard for You."  Jeremiah (32:7). 

My anxiety is not too hard for Him.  The world and all its problems?  Not too hard for Him.  The gift of peace rests on me.  And I give thanks. 

holy experience

Giving thanks for gifts new and old #379-400:

anxiety that makes me lean closer

scripture from the past

a Word, living and active

a teacher who gives good gifts

more rain

protection from the storm

Baby Girl's kissable piggies

handmade items

some Christmas shopping already finished

The Stinker's good help in so many things

sharing joy with my brother and new sis

dressing up for fun

family parties in the fall

white chili on a cool Sunday

perfect gifts from family

my preemie nephew now 16!

a great prayer given by him

teenagers' tenderness with a toddler princess

my husband's constant friendship

cleaning up the kitchen together

nothing too hard for God



Emily said...

His words speak truth, don't they? Especially when that anxiety creeps in and threatens to tighten the chest down, refusing to let lungs stretch out and receive grace. I've been there so many times...

My favorite truth words in times of anxiety--written in my Bible cover almost 20 years ago--is Isaiah 2:22--"Stop trusting in man, who has but a breath in his nostrils. Of what account is he?"

Praying that He would lift the weight of anxiety today as you choose to trust His good words.

Misty said...

i've been besieged by depression lately and i imagine that's a close cousin of anxiety.
and there, your first verse, is MY life verse, one i haven't thought of in far too long!!!! i'm determined to get it tattooed somewhere so i can't forget not to cling to all my horses and chariots and instead cling to my God!!!
thank you so much for sharing here, b/cs i needed the reminder. and for that i'm glad he allowed you the anxiety so you would reseek his promises to be faithful!

MamaMonki said...

What a terrific idea. I used to write down quotes and lines I found in books in a journal - I wish I knew where that journal was today. But I love the idea of taking verses from the bible and meditating on them. (I think I'm going to go home and dig through my hope chest and see if my journal ended up in there though) Hope you have a terrific week.

Natalie said...

Love your heart and love the scriptures! I am doing Breaking Free with Beth Moore right now and it is primarily a study of Isaiah. I am growing to really love this book of the Bible.

I understand about what you mentioned on my blog. I have thought the same thing but for right now, feel called to keep going.

Praying for your anxiety to be lifted! I would still love to meet up with you sometime in Indy. I know it is about to get busy but perhaps we can figure out a time?

Hope your day is a wonderful one filled with His peace.

Natalie at Mommy on Fire

Jenny said...

Ah, Scripture to ward off or fight anxiety, I am very familiar with those valuable weapons. His Word is mighty. Peace to you.

mom2six said...

Struggling with my own issues here and your words, "The words were a spark of hope ready to smoke out the brood of bad tidings in my head." make my day. For I also find that His Words bring hope and chase out the lies spoken to my discouraged soul.

anne graves said...

Marlo - Thanks for the good verses of encouragement. I can always use a reminder of His care and His ability to take care of us. He not only wants to, but He can! Thanks for sharing! Hope that you all are good. I know you are just about ready to send out those Christmas cards! Love you, friend!

Annesta said...

I am so glad I stopped by for a visit tonight. I have used that method of scripture study in the past and have slipped away from the practice. On your encouragement, I am taking it up again.
Thank you for such a great reminder.
blessings to you

Sharon Kirby said...

I suffer from anxiety almost all the time. It's such a pervasive enemy, because it's such a "peace-stealer."

But God is there...every step, every moment...saying, "Be still."

One of my favorite fear-busters (from the Amplified translation):

"Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns], once and for all on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully." (1 Peter 5:7)


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