My Strength Was Renewed

On the first morning of on our Grown-Up Friend Vacation last fall, I went up to the roof of our rental home in Santa Barbara, CA. The house was packed with people – friends either pouring their morning coffee or and still snoozing. I decided to seize the opportunity to spend some time alone and read my bible before the day’s festivities began.

I don’t think it was an accident I opened right to Psalm 103.

Praise the Lord, my soul;
    all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
    and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
    and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

You see, it had been a long summer.

Not a bad summer, by any means, but a long one.

It was the middle of race season for Bryant, so he was away from home a lot. I was just starting a new, part-time job and also had a couple writing deadlines to meet. And both my kiddos were home full-time without school. Between attempting to get work done, Bryant’s racing and traveling, and feeble efforts to entertain the kids all day long, I was tired.

I was so ready for this vacation, but also worrying about everything that could possibly happen while I was gone. Of course, there was the never-ending To-Do list that would be waiting for me upon my return, but it was going to be the longest we’d ever left Meda up until then, as well. Oh, and then there was the anxiety I felt because my female dog was in heat and would be around male dogs. (That, my friends, is a prime story for another blog post. Stay tuned. *shakes head*)

All of this was flying through my head, nd it was my first day away.

As I settled on top of a picnic table (yes, there was one on the roof! How cool and non-realistic is that??), I distinctly remember verse 5 leaping off the page at me.

who satisfies your desires with good things
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Looking up from the Book, the sun was pushing through the pacific haze that had settled around the mountains and meandered all the way down to the ocean. From where I sat, I could see everything – from the details of neighboring houses, to tiny boat specs hanging where the sky met the ocean. I was in a prime spot to see both close up and far off.

And it was good.

There I was, sitting smack dab in the middle of “good things” and I couldn’t stop thinking and worrying about what was going on at home.

At the sake of being obvious, I feel the need to point out how right there, perched on a roof-top picnic table, Jesus LITERALLY pulled me into into the pages of Psalm 103 and forced me live it.

He used that first morning to set up the tone of the rest of the vacation – to show me how he had pulled me out of the tiresome pit of summer (v. 4) and was satisfying my desires with good things (v. 5). I was, quite literally, sitting on top of a building full of good things and good opportunities and good relationships.

Insert conviction.

I’m embarrassed to admit it (because, honestly, who wants to slay themselves all over the inter-webs for the world to read?), but to put it bluntly, I was being sinful. Ungrateful and selfish, to name just a couple transgressions. (I’ll spare the details of the rest of my sins from that week. Because I still want you to, at least, sort-of like me.)

God had provided me with AMAZING free time, with AMAZING friends, in an AMAZING location. I was smack dab in the middle of a literal paradise and couldn’t even recognize that. I was consumed with thoughts of what I’d left behind.

Unfortunately, I think this is true for me a lot of the time. I have so many blessings I don’t initially see clearly and end up taking for granted. From the small things – like a daily kiss or hug from my husband and kids, a working dishwasher, $5 for a cup of Starbucks… To the big things – like a wonderful home, a healthy and beautiful family, a (paid-off! Whoop!) college degree…

Or a Savior who rescued me.

And for that alone, all of my inmost being should be praising His HOLY name.
All. The. Time.

Now, looking back, I can see all of verse 5 – full circle. Returning home, I was refreshed and renewed. After being away for a week, I was more than ready to see my kids and spend time with them. After having zero responsibilities, it was nice to get back in the swing of things with work and the day-to-day mundane stuff.

Now – let’s be real for a minute. As a full-time wife and mom of littles, that freshness only lasted a certain amount of time. (Is it sinful of me to say I’m MORE THAN ready to go back to that rooftop right now?? *winks*)

But daily I’m working to make note of the good things God satisfies me with (v.5). My prayer is that maybe if I’m more successful at that, I will have a much more shallow pit to be rescued from (v.4).

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Oh, and because I know you’re wondering… the dog ended up being fine. There were no puppies to worry about! 😉

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  • Reply Kim Stewart February 26, 2015 at 1:05 pm

    Kristin, what encouragement to #livefree today: “But daily I’m working to make note of the good things God satisfies me with.” Oh how I need to be satisfied in Him alone! Have a great day, Kim Stewart

  • Reply Crystal Hornback February 26, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    Kristin, thank you for this encouragement! I’m taking myself to that rooftop picnic table today (in theory, of course, since it’s single digits outside and the grass in my backyard is nowhere near the ocean). Satisfy my soul, oh Lord.

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