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All the way!

He leads me... even when I walk thru the dark valley of death... -Psalm 23:2b,4a

I just left the city pool where I watched my youngest take his swimming lesson. Two bleacher sets down, my estranged husband sat with my oldest.

We've been separated for over a year after 16 years of marriage and 5 years of reconciliation.

As I sat there in the blistering heat, tears flowed mixing with the sweat on my face. I looked up in the cloudy, hot sky and said in my heart, "Do you see me my Lord? Do you see how much I'm hurting?!!"

Five years ago my heart was full of enthusiasm to forgive and love... to let Christ be seen in me by my husband as I set out to just get behind him, "wash his feet", and be a blessing. It was my joy to just be home, and simply be a wife and mom! I felt it was my crown not just my duty. Jesus had loved me that way and I wanted to love my husband and kids that way!

But when this honor that I treasured and enjoyed so much was ripped from me I felt like Job:

He has stripped me of my glory, and taken the crown from my head! -Job 19:9 NLT

God gave me a crown, just like He gave Job. He gave us the everyday blessings of family and home, which we enjoyed and dedicated to God. We were content to bless God and others. We loved the Lord's love and set out to follow Him. But the very thing we were honored to do was taken from us. And we were left grieving.

But like Job, God has lifted my head and challenged me in my depression. He has reminded me that He is trying me and when I come forth I shall be as gold! He has reproved me and showed me that He knows what He's doing. He's leading me... EVEN thru the valley of the shadow of death. Yes He led me thru green pastures. Yes He led me beside still waters. But now He leads me thru the valley of the shadow of death and to a banquet table of His mercy and grace even while my enemies look on and point fingers!

As I was coming home from that painful swimming lesson the sweet Spirit of Comfort put a song in my heart. An old hymn.
All The Way My Savior Leads Me
by Frances J. Crosby 1875

All the way my Savior leads me,
What have I to ask beside?
Can I doubt His tender mercy,
Who through life has been my Guide?

Heav’nly peace, divinest comfort,
Here by faith in Him to dwell!
For I know, whate’er befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well;
For I know, whate’er befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well.

All the way my Savior leads me,
Cheers each winding path I tread,
Gives me grace for every trial,
Feeds me with the living Bread.

Though my weary steps may falter
And my soul athirst may be,
Gushing from the Rock before me,
Lo! A spring of joy I see;
Gushing from the Rock before me,
Lo! A spring of joy I see.

All the way my Savior leads me,
Oh, the fullness of His love!
Perfect rest to me is promised
In my Father’s house above.

When my spirit, clothed immortal,
Wings its flight to realms of day
This my song through endless ages:
Jesus led me all the way;
This my song through endless ages:
Jesus led me all the way

I began singing and something sweet, something more wonderful than my "crown" filled my soul! A joy in willingly trusting ALL to Jesus. An indescribable joy. As I sang I felt the tender love which binds me with my Saviour. Who I know I will one day see, Who makes all this worth it!

Just in case you feel stripped of some God-given joy, you may want to stop and sing right now too:

Isaiah 51:3


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