Diet Devotional 29
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me.” Psalm 23
SO much has happened over the last two weeks, I can’t wait to catch you up. I think there are about 10 stories to tell and I’m going to have to spread them out. In the meantime, here’s an amazing story that happened to me last week.
As some of you know, we are in the midst of moving to a new house (which has to be remodeled over the next three months before we can move in). Temporarily, we have moved in with my in-laws. On the way to move in with them that first day, I became very anxious and upset, though I didn’t realize it. The backstory is that they keep a clean house and I’ve been trying for almost a year to learn how to be a good housekeeper. Sadly, I haven’t changed many of my habits, and I was terrified of the challenge ahead. I’m not only scared to fail, but I also want desperately to maintain the great relationship we have with my in-laws.
So, my first thought as the kids and I drove to their house was that of a Dairy Queen blizzard (a kind of a shake with candy mixed in for those of you not from the south). As I kept driving, a song came on the radio and the lyrics said, “I will walk through the valley if you want me to.” It occurred to me that I was trying to avoid the valley. Like the lines from the famous children’s book that I read to my daughter almost nightly (“We’re going on a Bear Hunt”), we can’t go over it, we can’t go under it, we’ve got to go through it. But I wasn’t yet convinced to skip the sugar boost. I needed it to get me through the emotional stress that might occur when I arrived. Song number 2 came on the radio, and the lyrics said, “The voice of truth says, ‘Do not be afraid’…the voice of truth says, ‘This is for My glory.’” Hmmm…indeed, any challenge that might lie before me would ultimately shape my character and result in God’s glory. But I still wasn’t convinced to obey the tugging at my heart to skip the sweets. Worse, I had decided that maybe Starbucks might be a better fit since it was sugar AND caffeine.
I pulled into the huge parking lot where the Starbucks was located. Just as I did, my three year old daughter piped up, “Mommy, God will make you feel better.” What? We hadn’t talked at all. I was just driving silently as she played with the baby. Then she said, “I wish, I wish God will make me feel better.” Aha! That explained it. She was playing her game - the one where she pretends to be sick and prays or asks for medicine or chicken noodle soup. Okay, so it wasn’t God working through her. But then her voice changed to this serious, almost military-like tone that I’d never heard before. She demanded, “Say it, Mommy!” This time, I asked. "What did you say?” She replied, “Say it. Out loud.” I asked again, just for clarity, “You want me to say that out loud?” “Yes, mommy. Say it!” she demanded. So, I said aloud, "I wish, I wish, God will make me feel better" as chills crept across my entire body. After I said it, something happened. I actually began to relax and my head began to clear. Then from the back, she exhaled loudly and said, “A-men.” I looked in my rearview mirror just to make sure I wasn’t losing my mind. Did she just make me say a prayer against my will? She simply smiled at me sweetly as if her work was done.
I was understandably shocked. Nevertheless, I had heard God’s voice. He spoke to me very clearly through that little girl who knew nothing of my internal struggle. He used her to help me walk through the valley, forcing me to pray when I might otherwise have stuffed my feelings. I drove away from the Starbucks and faced the situation with a clear mind. As it turned out, that night went fine. What I learned was that we DO have to walk through the valleys (Psalm 23) at different times in our lives. But, we DON’T have to fear. God is with us, even if we have ignored him in the past or if we can’t sense his presence at every turn. He will walk with us and guide us through the travails if we will simply listen and obey when we do hear him speak. He will help us face our fears and meet our challenges…without the food.