Just breathe...or sigh...

Our oldest daughter, Katie, married Chris in 2007.  The day was filled with friends, family, fun, celebration, and my own "praying mantis" blessing so tenderly offered in just the right place at just the right time.

We were so thankful for a fabulous videographer who captured moments that we missed and would never have enjoyed and appreciated without the expertise behind the camera.  Even recently I have used portions of the video at retreats and seminars; my sister continues to use a particular song/event as she teaches high school writing.  The videographer caught everything....

Laughingly as the final dvd treasure was presented to us, she commented, "you know, Susan, we could have created an entire song set around one thing that the camera found you doing often..."  I had a few thoughts of what she might be eluding to - tears, silliness, laughter, me giving another direction to someone, a hug...  None of my guesses were correct.

You sighed... over and over again. defines a sigh (as a verb) - to let out one's breath audibly, as from sorrow, weariness, or relief.

I watched a portion of the dvd just the other day, and I saw it... more than once.  Reliving a couple of those moments in my mind, my memory was clear.... letting out breath as from.. what?  Sorrow - Katie was our first to marry, weariness - much planning/preparation had been our week, relief - well, ... it is [almost] finished, and, for me, joy - I could barely take it all in.

Some of my sighing moments were just sheer overwhelming emotion of the moments... breathing in the excitement, the joy, the tenderness of a precious wedding, so many dear people in one place.  I remember at the reception when Chris (son-in-law) and I had a quiet moment on the small dance floor.  "Look around, Chris, everyone in this room is here in this very moment because they love you and Katie and want to encourage and support you... I am overwhelmed."  He was, too.  I feel sure I sighed.

I guess there is some momentary relief in the exhale of a sigh.  It follows a reasonably intentional "inhale" of air... then release.

In Mark chapter 8, Jesus was approached by the Pharisees asked once again for a sign from Heaven to convince them of Jesus' claims and identity.  The ESV version says, "And He (Jesus) sighed deeply in His spirit and said, Why does this generation seek a sign?"

Jesus sighed... I know we lose some wording in translation, but was He sorrowful, weary, relieved??  Frustrated, disappointed?  Was Jesus thinking, 'I am here... in front of you... in the flesh.. oh, ye of such little faith...."

Do I cause Jesus to sigh when I need a sign?  When I refuse to fully trust Him?  When I lack the discipline to search His word for comfort?   When I simply rely on my selfish thinking?

Oh dear friends, we have access to His words, His heart, His character through His word... We have ALL the signs!  His word is THE sign... the power and presence through the Holy Spirt is our full access to Him.  The sign above the head of Jesus on the cross caused me to sigh in awe... King of the Jews...

Thank you, Jesus for signing your name with your blood for my sin - in my place...

His word is precious, is active, is alive, and look.... Psalm 38:9 - He knows...

Lord, my every desire is known to You; my sighing is not hidden from you.

So, let's take a moment, deep breathe in.... sigh... He, the Almighty Creator of the Universe knows... and dear beloved, He knows why you sigh... and He is with you....

Detour - this can't be right...

Don't you love it when God teaches you something so elementary... and you get it.  :)  So often, I hear myself saying... that just cannot be right.. it doesn't make sense to me.

I visited my parents over the weekend - its a beautiful drive through the farms of Kentucky and then the winding roads and mountains of Tennessee.  Road construction is a constant even along the country roads lined with pasture sprinkled with horses, cows, and goats... and as Kellie called them as a child - all those "cow houses".  My google maps companion always gave me warning a mile ahead of any turn that would be necessary as I wound through several downtown squares... including a couple of "round-a-bouts".  

My trip down on Friday was uneventful - although following a new route brought to me by my electronic companion - route #3 I chose.

Headed back on the gorgeous Sunday afternoon, I could not convince my friend to produce the same route again.  Determined it gave the best option, my resolve was sure... I could remember those turns and twists and round-a-bouts...  Living in Kentucky for 25 years now, I had made this familiar journey numerous times, so my confidence was high.  Distracted by a radio gameshow, I was headed down a well-known road at the time.... when I saw that glaring arrowed sign above.  Quickly referring to my guide, there was no mention of a detour.  Remembering this point in my journey just two days earlier, this didn't make sense - there was no detour just hours ago.

My guide.. the trusted google map friend said nothing about this turn.  This guide has been correct and honestly, not led me astray if I simply followed the words.  Distraction of the clear sign, my uncertainty, and then the ultimate decision-maker... the car in front of me followed the orange arrow.  So, I followed.. realizing I was following that car into definite uncharted, the proverbial "road less traveled" place.  From my directionally challenged vantage, the clarity of whether I was even headed toward my northern destination became my concern.  

I continued to trust the guy in the white car ahead of me.  About a mile into our twisted road parade, his left blinker began to flash as he turned into, apparently, his own driveway.  Now I had no leader.  I continued on determined to persevere and surely... eventually... meet the intended path.  At some point, the realization came that I was seeing the highway I needed -- surely the intersection would occur soon.  I could see it... I had made it... So impressed that I followed my instinct... and the guy in the white car... just over this next hill...  

Just over this next hill... was an even bigger sign..
Not only was the road closed... there was no road.  I could see the highway, but I could not get to it.  My only choice... retrace... back by the house where the guy in the white car lived - he was out in the yard, but I totally avoided embarrassing eye contact.  Surely he was laughing at the woman in the green van.

At any moment, I expected to hear the words... "you should have listened to me" uttered from my electronic companion.  He just waited for me to get back on track, then began offering me which way to turn... no condemnation...  :)

And the reminder - simple as it is.... my guide, my leader, my God is trustworthy.  How often do I veer just a little... often my plan makes more sense, the obstacles seem insurmountable, the alternate "leader" offers a reasonable path.  

You see, the original road wasn't closed at all - that detour sign was intended for an insignificant (at least for my purpose) side road... just for those neighbors of the guy in the white car.

I made it home... a little later than expected, but in the process, I was again reminded that our God is simply ... trustworthy ... and patient...

Joshua 6 offer a shining example of God's direction for the Israelite army on how to contend with the thick walls of Jericho.  Let's plan to chat about that next week - the story is a perfect reminder of the story of God's redemption and His ultimate purpose...

Shout!  For the Lord has given you the city!  Joshua 6:16
 and then
When the trumpets sounded, the army shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the men gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed.  Joshua 6:20