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He Restores My Soul

In a previous post, I wrote how Psalms 23:1 had been becoming real in my life, and I was experiencing a unique sense of contentment and being free of "want".  Yes, there are things I desire and hope for in the future, but currently there is a quiet heart within me and a trust that God has provided everything I need.

Which brings me to verse 3 "He restores my soul." I am becoming aware of this promise in my life and seeing how He is restoring my soul, a prayer that has been both silent and spoken, probably for a lot longer than I realize.  Bear with me as I attempt to write with clarity all the thoughts and revelations filling my head and heart.

I have a new friend, Guy, who has been praying with me about a business/ministry venture that is close to both of our hearts.  Part of the praying for God's timing and wisdom has included prayers for personal and corporate spiritual growth and healing.  A couple of weeks ago, I began to get a clear picture of a stronghold in my life that I have wrestled with (knowingly) for the past 13 years.  I mentioned it to Guy and he agreed to pray with me.  How I explained it was that I was holding onto something and my fingers were clinched tightly and I knew it had to do with this fear that somehow, someway, and/or sometime in the future, God would say I hadn't made the cut and abandon me. Crazy, right? After all, doesn't the word say, "I will never leave you or forsake you?"  I could say this and tell you I believed it. I would quote it frequently to others who were fearful or were needing encouragement, so, what was it with me? Why did I feel like I was the exception to the rule?  That was the groundhog that kept popping up and catching me unawares, and I didn't know where it came from.  And I'm not really a fearful person. Cautious? Maybe. Practical? Yes.  Afraid? Sometimes. Fearful? No.  Well then, what was this fist and what was this underlying root that kept tripping me up and immobilizing me?  I couldn't figure it out, but, one thing I did begin to realize was that the more I focused on it, the bigger it seemed to get, so, in large part due to the prayers of friends, I began to focus instead on God, and all the things HE had done to show Himself faithful in my life. Those of you who know me, know there's a LOT, so that kept my attention occupied.  And then God gave me an opportunity...

I was baking in preparation for the Sat. Farmers' Market, and had my Kindle set to Facebook to see what my friends and family were up to on a Friday night. A post pops up from another new friend, Chaz, mentioning that he and 6 other people were all set to go to a music festival in Illinois and the vehicle that he intended to drive was not going to be available so please pray for God's provision.  Hmmmm....road trip, music festival???? I'm in!! I punch out a message to him, "I have a suburban, but if it goes, I want to go too!"  Long story short, we packed up the truck last Tuesday night at 10 pm and hit the road. Packing is a conservative description as it was more like stuffing and figuring out where to put 7 people, 6 instruments, camping gear, a canopy, and enough food for the week! (The rule for packing was "instruments in the car, people on the roof.") I'm laughing as I type this remembering the trip.  (We did have one person sleep on the roof during the festival and as a fun parting shot, we all got on the roof to take a final picture before we left camp.)

We arrived in Illinois on Thursday and set up camp. A unique camp indeed since there weren't any trees close enough together to hang the hammocks properly, so the suburban acted as the second tree. Two hammocks hung from one tree and the front door of the truck.  The other two hung from another tree and connected to the hinges on the back doors!!  And here's where I began to notice the restoring of my soul and subsequently the Lord's hand dealing with the root of fear in my life.  It was my first road trip in which I had no part in the planning of the route, and therefore, didn't really know where I was, and oddly, didn't care! That was strange for me, since I usually want to know what time it is, where I am, and how to get out of there if I needed to make a quick exit.  I had none of that information, and I was fine with it. It was like a breath of fresh air, and I took a deep breath and relaxed both physically and spiritually.  Now, I'm realizing that it was all part of God's plan.  Growing up with a chiropractor dad, I was well familiar with the adjustment that came after the exhale. And that's exactly what happened.

The devotions that night were out of Romans 12:9 and after we came back to camp to eat and rest, I pulled out the passage and dug into it a little bit. "Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good."  Such simple sentences that had such profound meaning.  I knew what I was clinging to was not good, but how to let it go??  God already knew, and He was about to show me.  Friday morning, I sat in a session with Steve Hindelang, a singer/songwriter out of Nashville. While walking into the tent, there was a man and woman standing there. When the man walked away, I introduced myself to the woman. Her name is Mel, and she heads up a non-profit that reaches out to the chronic homeless who are in danger of dying on the streets. Wow! Of all the people to meet, I end up next to someone who is working in the same outreach that God is urging me to do.  She shared with me a little bit of her experience and of God's faithfulness and listening to her, and I could feel the fingers of my "clenched fist" loosening.

Saturday morning, I went to listen to Shaun Hayes, a speaker who uses chalk art to minister to his audience.  I'm fascinated with art, especially watching it take shape on a blank canvas. Shaun was talking about his struggles with mental illness and how he got into chalk drawing and I'm anticipating what GOD is going to show me. I'm expecting some new, profound revelation or word to set me free! He starts drawing with chalk, putting bold strokes and swirls and then smudges and pretty soon a sun and a moon and stars appear on the canvas, followed by cliffs, and water, a waterfall, a shoreline, trees, a lighthouse... all the elements of nature or scenery that are very appealing to me and God uses to assuage my soul.  I began remembering an experience I had 13 years ago when I was praying about taking a position as a high school drama teacher.

I love drama! I look at nature and see drama.  I've been involved with drama or theater in some capacity since elementary school.  I'm not sure why I was so nervous about taking this job.  Maybe it was because I hadn't studied drama and so wasn't sure about breaking it down to impart it to high school students. Well, as soon as I heard about the job, whenever I would open my bible to read, it would always be a dramatic part of scripture. "The heavens declared the glory of God." "The voice of the LORD thundered." OK, so God is dramatic, but that doesn't help me with lesson plans and assignments.  The next reading was Luke 8:22-25.  It's a familiar story, Jesus tells the disciples to get in the boat, he falls asleep, a storm comes up, the disciples get worried, wake him up, Jesus awakes, calms the storm and then essentially rebukes them.  I'm not sure why that didn't sit well with me that night, but it didn't, so I asked.

"Wait! God, why did you get mad at them?"

"Read it again."   I read it again.  Then I really got upset, like I was appointed defense for these disciples that lived long ago.

"You fell asleep in the boat. It was a storm. Why'd you rebuke them?"

"What did I say?"

"Um..." reading again.."Let's go over to the other side...but..."  and then another verse popped into my head "Let there be light; and there was light"  and then clarity came. "Oh, that's right, if You say something, it happens.  I get it, the disciples forgot what you said, when they saw the storm.  OK, cool. that's a good story to use to talk about motivation (or the reason somebody does something) in a character."  I did use it with the kids and it was a good lesson.

So back to the present and I'm remembering the dialogue and looking at the picture taking shape on the canvas and the adjustment came! "OH! that story wasn't just for an object lesson for the students was it??  You actually intended it to be a life lesson for me!!"  I could feel God nodding.  I could feel the fist relaxing and I started thinking about me being in the boat with GOD on the waves that Shaun was drawing.  But he wasn't done yet and neither was GOD.  Something about the words "other side" was ringing a bell in my head and I remembered a fiddle tune I had written about 4 years ago during a group activity led by another musician called the 54321 sessions.  The tune was beautiful and haunting and sounded like a lullaby so after humming and living with it for a year or two, I wrote words to it. It's called "Lullaby For a Dreamer" and in the second part of the song a portion of the lyrics are "We'll sail away across the tide, we'll sail away to the other side."  Well, I'm singing it in my head as Shaun is finishing up and awareness shines a bright light and I thought in my head. "Oh! So that's not a love song/lullaby for anybody else. That was for me too! That's you singing to me!"  More nodding followed by a few tears from me as I experienced a new revelation of the verse "I will never leave you or forsake you"  I took another breath and exhaled again and just said "Wow! God is good and faithful."

You see, for me, it was never an issue of getting me in the boat.  I was fine with that. I had no problems with getting in the boat, whether the boat was salvation, or a new project, or journey.  My hangup was wanting to know the when, where, and how of the ride and feeling like I was ultimately responsible for that information. I was not relying on GOD's word but my ability to accomplish that word.  I was trying to figure out in the natural world what GOD had already put in place in the spiritual world, and that, my friends will wear you out!

Well, I walked away from that session about 20 lbs lighter in my spiritual being and had a fabulous time the rest of the week-end.  We got to play an acoustic set a few times which was well received.  We took a side trip to Chicago.  We arrived back in Lafayette, LA at 1:30 AM on Tuesday.  And, I can say with all truthfulness that I enjoyed the journey and the time spent with brothers and sisters in Christ.  It was refreshing to be on the road and to be with other like minded Christians.  There's a lot of joy and laughter in my heart these days. He restores my soul.


Visit for more information or photos of his drawings or his facebook page..

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