Renewed

How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
Whose hope is in the Lord his God,
Who made heaven and earth,
The sea and all that is in them.
Psalm 146:5-6

In those early weeks after Kevin’s spinal cord injury, our family lived at the hospital and the Ronald McDonald House. Everything revolved around Kevin’s fight for life. We ate, slept, and cared for our own personal needs in whatever moments we could scavenge.

Our world took on the pallor of a zombie in the twenty-four-hour artificial light of the hospital. We looked like zombies too. Summer turned to fall and leaves on the trees began to change color—unnoticed from inside our gray walls.

One day I returned to the Ronald McDonald House to do some laundry. As I waited impatiently in the facility’s basement for the washer to finish a cycle, I glanced up at the basement window. Pressed against the glass outside was a sprig of an Oregon grape bush with its frosty blue berries. It reached a branch down to me, reminding me there was a world out there that was lost to us.

I was transfixed. I wanted to drop the laundry, run outside, and touch that plant—to hold something again that was normal and living and gentle. But I didn’t. I stood there, stared at it, and wept. The scene seemed to represent our lives, trapped behind the glass of our existence, spectators to a life just beyond our reach. It awakened a deep and haunting ache I couldn’t define. In that moment, I began to truly grieve.

Looking back years later, I realize that scene was telling me much more. God was reminding me that the world was still there, waiting for me, beckoning me out of my pain. God had not moved, either. He, too, was still there, reaching out to me and reminding me of His great power and love.

It wasn’t the first time God had used nature to stir my soul. Over the years, I’ve discovered it’s impossible to truly contemplate the world as God’s reflection without being filled with awe. Such intelligence, creativity, power, and sensitivity make me wonder if I have ever really known God. His greatness makes me feel small, but in a good way, like a beloved child holding her Daddy’s hand.

Since I’ve become a full-time caregiver, I try to take time each day to relish the way He reveals Himself to me in every breath I take. Those few moments of meditating on His creation can be restorative—they keep me sane and connected to God. In those times, I understand what the psalmist was trying to tell us.

We are blessed (literally, happy in Hebrew) if we have as our hope a God powerful enough to speak worlds into being, listen to a billion prayers, name the stars of heaven, and count the hairs on the head of every person who has ever lived. He takes note when a sparrow falls to earth while He keeps the planets in perfect orbit and orchestrates the events of our lives to our best benefit.

That’s a big God. That’s the King, the One who made us and placed us where we are today. Our lives are not a mistake. Recognizing His power is a big step toward trusting Him in every area of our lives—in believing He can and will care for us, if we let Him.

If we shift our gaze away from our problems and focus on the magnitude of God’s power, we spring up again:

Refreshed.

Restored.

Renewed.

***
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How has God renewed you in desperate times?


by Pam Thorson

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Pam was born at the Millington Naval Base outside of Memphis, Tennessee, the first child of a Wisconsin navy seaman and a Southern belle. Her early life was marked by many moves around the country as her father pursued a career in broadcasting. After traveling throughout the deep South and the Pacific Northwest, the family finally settled on the Nimiipuu (Nez Perce) reservation in Idaho. Pam met her wonderful husband during college, set her roots down deep along the banks of the Clearwater River, and happily began a home and family. Pam and Aaron educated all five of their children at home. They began homeschooling in 1982 and graduated their youngest daughter in 2006. Pam and Aaron have been married forty-one years. They have five grown children, two sets of precious in-laws, and two beautiful granddaughters. Pam has long loved to write. She began writing for the local college newspaper and homeschooling group. Later she authored many devotionals for her church and an article for Evangel. In 2008 she wrote Song in the Night, the true account of her son’s injury in Canada, their fight to keep the doctors from pulling the plug, and the subsequent journey back home. Her second book is due for release by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas in early 2014. In 2000, Pam became certified as a nurses’ aide to care for their injured son. She and her family have operated a certified family home licensed by the state of Idaho since 2000. In 2011, she completed the practical nurse program at Walla Walla Community College and earned her license as an LPN. Her conversion to the Lord Jesus Christ in 1975 set her on a journey with her Savior spanning nearly four decades. Her love for and devotion to life has come from this association with her Creator. Pam adores her husband, her family, and friends. She enjoys her beautiful little log home, good coffee, the sound of the river at night, and just about any kind of Christian music.

About Be the Light Editor

Martin Wiles is a minister, author, freelance editor, and English teacher who lives in Greenwood, SC. He is the founder of Love Lines from God and is the author of Grits & Grace and God and Grits, Gumbo and Going to Church. He serves as Managing Editor for Christian Devotions (www.christiandevotions.us) and Assistant Editor for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. He and his wife are parents of two and grandparents of three.