The secret counsel of the Lord
is for those who fear him,
and he reveals his covenant to them.
Psalm 25:14 (CSB)
I take a deep breath and lean the handle of the mop against the counter top. I feel the stiffness and soreness in my shoulders and back from the vigorous scrubbing I’ve given the floor. I look at the clock on the stove and can hardly believe it. It blinks a mere 8:23 a.m.
How long ago did I wake to my seven-year-old’s urgent whispering to me, “Mommy, Mommy! Paw-Paw peed all over the floor!”? I rolled over in the gray morning light, hurried down the stairs, and stopped on the final step. The first puddles were under the window. Then I noticed a trail that trickled around — all the way around — the loop that connects the living room, kitchen, and dining room of the open-concept downstairs.
My father-in-law, who is in the final stage of Alzheimer’s disease, had wandered downstairs sometime in the middle of the night and fallen. Unhurt but unable to lift himself from a sitting position, he scooted around the downstairs in his overly-saturated nighttime diaper.
I woke my husband. He lifted, changed, and cared for his dad while I mopped. I washed the feet of my three early-rising daughters who had accidentally stepped in some of the mess.
We’re almost two years into full-time care-taking for my father-in-law. We’ve witnessed many losses of personality and ability. Several times we thought surely we were in the valley of the shadow of death. Yet somehow my father-in-law would recover to a new “normal.” For a time. We never know what to expect. There are many levels of grieving and frustration to wade through.
It’s only 8:23 a.m.. Deep breath.
My husband and I share a sad smile as he passes me to go clean himself up. I begin making his coffee. Coffee beans in the grinder, I press down and the churning and chopping begins. The thoughts, the temptations, come quietly now, like a blanket offering sympathetic comfort. But I recognize this scheme. If I let that “sympathetic blanket” drop around my shoulders, I’ll be weighed down with self-focus, not free to run my race this day like the Lord wants me to. I need my eyes fixed on Jesus.
I pray: Lord, I appeal to You. My God, I trust in You. I pour water in the coffee pot and ask the Living Water to pour Himself into me, for “No one who waits for you will be disgraced” (Psalm 25:3).
The tempter continues to try to wrap his blanket around my heart by directing me to the logistics of the day: It’s 8:23 a.m. and you’re already exhausted, physically and emotionally. You didn’t get enough sleep. Again. Now you have to rush to finish breakfast, nurse the baby, get all five kids dressed and to Bible study. No time to do your hair or makeup. You’ll look exhausted and ragged. Again. But it’s okay. Everyone will understand and empathize with you if they know about your morning. You can legitimately “quit” for the day. Puddles of pee and the entire downstairs mopped before breakfast is enough to justify this. Quit. It’s okay. You can quit.
I refuse to quit. Again. To surrender another day, or even part of a day, again. My hope is in you Lord — all day long. I wait for the other Voice I know will come. I preach to myself: In Christ alone my hope is found.
Light seeps in through the slatted window blinds onto the clean floor. I wait. I want the promise. I work on memorizing the words that speak life: “The secret counsel of the Lord is for those who fear him, and he reveals his covenant to them” (Psalm 25:14).
The Lord has taught me that to fear Him, in a practical and tangible sense, looks like obedience. Ordinary faithfulness. So I ask to receive: Please counsel me, Lord. His light comes in this thought: Pray to confuse people. As I obey His secret counsel — my hope is found.
So I pray: Lord, help me confuse people. No matter what my circumstances are, no matter what my feelings are, fill me so full with joy and peace that people have to question the Source. My hope is in You. Not in productivity. Not in enough sleep. Not in my own limited energy and ability. In You alone I trust.
This is a beautiful truth. If we fear the Lord, He will secretly counsel us. He will show us the way we should choose. May you embrace the peace that passes understanding as you wait for more of Him. No one who waits for the Lord will be disgraced.
This excerpt is by Elise Hurd, published in the (in)courage Devotional Bible and the Summer (in) the Psalms Devotional Journal.
We’re journeying through the book of Psalms this summer, and we hope you are too! Every Thursday, several of our contributors are hosting a video conversation about what they’re learning from a selected psalm. These conversations are so good for our souls and just plain fun! Listen in below as Becky, Robin, and Anna discuss what they’re learning from Psalm 25 (and the accompanying devotion).
Isn’t it good to study and learn and laugh together? A few of our favorite things right there! Are you journeying through the Psalms with us this summer? If you haven’t started yet, it’s definitely not too late! There’s plenty of summer left, and so many wonderful truths waiting in the Psalms. We hope you’ll join us.
Get your copy of the Summer (in) the Psalms 40-Day Devotional Journal for just $7.99! This beautiful printed journal, only available on Amazon, includes forty days of reading selections from Psalms, twenty full devotions from the (in)courage Devotional Bible, and daily reflection questions with lined pages for journaling your answers. This journal is an all-inclusive, one stop shop for your Summer (in) the Psalms journey!
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May you embrace the peace that passes understanding as you wait for more of Him. #inPsalms2020 Click To Tweet Leave a Comment
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
I am truly enjoying reading the Psalms and tuning in for the videos. It’s been a ray of sunshine during bleak times. I know from personal experience that the Lord draws close and counsels those who fear (revere Him, stand in awe of Him, obey Him) Him. I don’t know of anyone who couldn’t use some secret counsel right now…tune in.
Thank you Elise for sharing some of your journey with us today! I will add your family to my prayers each week as you care for your loved ones. Thank you for your attitude of grace and willingness to serve unconditionally-even if you don’t feel like it that day. God bless you and give you His strength and Peace.
❤️ all of this. Thank you
Elise, my heart ❤ goes out to you! What a wonderful service you and your hubby are performing! Not many will follow this path of love. I’m going to add your name to my morning prayers, too. May you continue to “confuse” people through your display of God’s grace in your lives. A living testimony. (You know,it’s okay to show some chunks in your armor. Maybe some friends and family will step I to your world with helping hands. Don’t deprive them of the chance to “confuse” as well.
Kim VP says
IThis too! I woke up early after 12 hours on my laptop yesterday working from home and could have easily pulled the “Sympathetic blanket” down on my achy back. This so encouraged me and reminded me where my thoughts need to go – to Christ alone. I too want to confuse people! I have seen people mesmerized by God’s joy and peace in someone and almost confused. Only God can do that. I immediately feel less achy and energized today! Thank you God and thank you for this post to get me where I need to be today.
This was so lovely. So much to learn from you. Thank you very much for writing this. I needed to read it.
Nancy Ruegg says
Oh my. What a story, Elise. I greatly appreciate your intent each day to confuse people. You are no doubt confusing a lot of people, just by your commitment to care for your father-in-law. Another statement also caught my attention: “May you embrace the peace that passes understanding as you wait for more of Him. Most of us would have ended that sentence with “waiting for circumstances to change.” But waiting for more of HIM–His presence, His character, His strength, wisdom, and direction is what we really need to wait for. Thank you, Elise!
Kemi George says
Thank you everyone for giving me this golden opportunity to read, listen and share in yr experience. To my sis Elise, pls note that, “faithful is He that called us”, He will appear marvelously to you in that situation. He will turn things around for you. He is yr strength. Always say this first thing in the morning “Holy Spirit, this day, equip me with the widom, knowledge and strength that is required of me to be a wonderful mother, darling wife and a virtuous woman to the people outside my home. Be my light and direction” . You will realize how the day went by without struggling and getting tired. Jesus will walk it through with you. God bless you. Kemi George (Nigeria).
Beth Williams says
Oh I can so relate to caring for aging parents. Both my parents had dementia & various health issues. I never knew what t expect. Each day was a new adventure. it’s in times like these that we need more of Jesus. We need hope to see us through those long days of cleaning, doctor’s or hospital ER visits. More of Him is definitely what we need in trying times. The tempter is always there telling us to quit. Don’t bother going on with the day you’re tired. Our hope is in the living Lord & only He can give us the strength we need to carry on, endure & walk this valley. Prayer & patience are learned through these trials. For me my faith & trust muscles were strengthened. Praying for you & your family as you walk this path with your father in law.
Thank you for doing what you are doing — your reward will come — and you will not have regrets — how we need more loving family members like dear you.