Let the Words of My Mouth

God gives sleep

It is pointless that you get up early and stay up late,
    eating the bread of hard labor
    because God gives sleep to those he loves.” Psalm 127:2, CEB

Many nights I lie awake, most nights. I have prayed, meditated, read books until they fall upon my chest, played calming sounds, left my phone in another room, applied all the wisdom of sleep hygiene, yet still I lie awake.

If you give sleep to those you love, Lord, well…

A home sleep study revealed the problem; since the doctor himself called to share the seriousness of the results, sleep has come even harder.

I stop breathing so many times.

I grew up praying,
“If I should die before I wake…”

Tonight I will lie down in the sleep lab, to discover how technology can help. I am anxious as I read the list sent ahead of time: what to bring, which hair products to avoid, what will happen tonight.

Please, O God, give sleep to one who loves you.

Let the Words of My Mouth

When God did this…

When the Lord changed Zion’s circumstances for the better,
    it was like we had been dreaming. (Psalm 126:1, CEB)

It’s a formula:
When God did this…
(Fill in the blank with fed, saved, freed, whatever you want now),
People celebrated and rejoiced.

Now, O God, please,
Do “this” again.
We want to celebrate again!
We want to praise you!

And it’s understandable, isn’t it?

We want a good taste in our mouths instead of a bitter one,
A spring of refreshing water instead of a dried up wadi,
A banquet so grand we will forget we were starving just a moment ago,
A bouquet of daffodils to replace our bowl full of ashes.

Reflectionary, The Words of Her Mouth

Hebrew uncertain

“The wicked rod won’t remain in the land given to the righteous so that they don’t use their hands to do anything wrong.” Psalm 125:3, CEB

A footnote, the letter “q,” directs me to the bottom margin for further explanation.

“Heb(rew) uncertain,” I read.

The meaning sometimes seems obvious to me, but I remind myself, “you bring your context to every verse you read.” 

Who’s to say what it means for our hearts to be right?  Who among us gets to say?

Uncertain.

I hold onto this: 

God is close by, protecting us; God will not abandon us to the rule of the wicked, or even to the tempting tools the wicked use.

What rod tempts us?

Take it away, O God. Take it away. 

The Words of Her Mouth

Other people’s anger

Blessed be the Lord,
who has not given us
as prey to their teeth.

Psalm 124:6, NRSV

Lord, O, Lord!

Other people’s anger is nothing new,
and never seems to go away.
Ancient people felt chewed up by their enemies,
just the way we do today;
set up, persecuted, threatened
there are times when we rightly feel like prey.

(Church. Oh, Church.)

In the immortal words of noted theologian
Taylor Swift,
“Haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate,”
and sometimes I shake it off
the way my mother said to
when I scraped my knee.

But what I want to know, dear God, is this:

How can we not just shake it off,
or fight back in kind,
but make it better?


Cross-posted at RevGalBlogPals.

The Words of Her Mouth

More than enough

IMG_2812We’ve had more than enough mockery from the self-confident,
    more than enough shame from the proud. Psalm 123:4, CEB

How do we keep faith when we are persecuted in your name?
We keep our eyes on you.
We live our lives for you.

We are not waiting for your mercy; we trust we have it.

When earthly powers claim you, claim your authority, but act without love, we know better.

You are more than enough; we keep our eyes on you.

The Words of Her Mouth

I was glad

I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord. – Psalm 122:1, KJV

I was glad to put on
my patent leather shoes, O God,
and go to your house,
where I sat in a little chair
and learned that Jesus loved me,
that you love everyone.

I kept going to your house,
gladly,
but I began to notice
how some people wanted
to close the doors,
to keep your house
to themselves.

Yet your love for all
is in the world,
is in the Word.

I dream of the day
when all your holy places
are like the hoped-for city
where all people will gather.

I will be glad to go there.

The Words of Her Mouth

Written on a napkin

The Lord will keep
    your going out and your coming in
    from this time on and forevermore.
– Psalm 121:8, NRSV

I reversed the words
As a show of confidence
In God
In my love
In my life:
“The Lord will keep
Your coming out and your going in
From this time on and forevermore.”