Friday, June 26, 2009

Surely Mercy and Goodness Shall Follow Me...

I love the wisdom that God has given my Pastor. Many times he has preached the Word that "Surely mercy and goodness shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever." (Ps. 23:6 NKJV)

I have found myself reflecting lately on Psalm 65. I can't seem to leave it alone. It's just one of those Words from God that you know you have to sit and meditate on until it goes deep in your spirit, until it's etched on your heart, until you know that you will never forget it, because it is so deeply seated inside of you.

Verse 4 of Psalm 65 reads, "Blessed is the man You choose, And cause to approach You, That he may dwell in Your courts. We shall be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, Of Your holy temple."

So what is that goodness which the Lord speaks of? According to Strong's Concordance, goodness in Psalm 23:6 is "towb" in the Hebrew. It is defined as good in the widest sense. It is a good thing, a good man or woman, or as an adjective, it is well (which makes me think of "It is well with my soul"). It is described as being beautiful, cheerful, at ease. It means fair word, being in favour, fine, glad, good, graciously, joyful, kindly, kindness, liketh best, loving, merry, most pleasant, pleasure, precious, prosperity, ready, sweet, wealth, welfare, to be well, to be favoured.

It does my heart well to know that I am being followed about in my life on this earth by God and His goodness, His favour, His prosperity, His kindness, His love, His joy, His grace, His beauty, and His love for me.

Some people wonder why Christians are so crazy in love with Jesus? Let me give you an answer for the hope that is within me.

Psalm 65 speaks of the goodness of God's house. The definition for this goodness comes from the Hebrew word "tuwb", which is defined as good in the widest sense (again). It especially means goodness, as in the best. It means beauty, gladness, welfare, fair, goodness, joy, and to go well with.

Both of these words are rooted in the Hebrew word "towb", which means to do or make good (or well) in the widest sense. It means to do or be better. To cheer, to please.

Life is never easy. God didn't promise us that by picking up our crosses and following Jesus would make life easy or painless. He did promise that it would make life better in knowing Him.

I can testify now that all of my problems have not gone away since I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior and made Him the King of my life. I still face trials and tribulations, just like the rest of the world. I am certainly far from perfect, and I certainly still make my mistakes. But, in all that I face on a daily basis, I have hope. Whether I am facing an illness, a death, a lay-off, having to give up something or someone I love, marital issues, parenting woes, or any other thing, I can rest assured that God is there with me, in His goodness. It will be well with my soul, and I can overcome any obstacle with Him by my side.

God has blessed me with a Christian man for a husband. Although neither of us is perfect, and we have had our battles, I couldn't ask for better. Remember how God's goodness is defined as liketh best? God certainly knew that my husband would like me the best and that I would return that love for him.

I come from a background of horrible relationships, some abusive, some just wrong. He came into our relationship from a divorce. Trust is a difficult thing to gain, when you have been hurt by so many others in your lifetime, especially in the area of close relationships.

In God's goodness, both my husband and I know that we are the only one for each other. As tough as love can be sometimes, we know that in God's goodness and with His mercies renewed every day, we can overcome the statistic and have a marriage that is reflective of God's beauty, His kindness, His pleasantness, His pleasure, His joy. Again, I am not saying that it is always easy, but with God in the midst of our relationship, it is well, and we will overcome the obstacles of our past, our present, and our future. We will stick to our vow, our covenant between each other and God, and we will be Mr. and Mrs. Morales until death do us part.

God has also blessed me with a step-son, Zachary. A lot of families in today's world are blended families. When we first got married, I had envisioned the perfect blended family. I loved that little guy (he was four when we met, eight when we married)! He had won my heart with his cuteness and his compassionate heart! I received a really great card on our wedding day, from Zachary, that read: "I just want you to know that it means a lot to me to have a friend like you...I'm so glad you're a part of my world!" I remember crying when I read that sweet sentiment from him.

It wasn't too far into our marriage that I realized that it wasn't going to be the "perfect blended family" all the time. We certainly were going to face some challenges.

We were blessed by God's goodness in the midst of it all, however. My husband and his ex-wife (we joyfully call each other "wife-in-law") had the kindness of God between them. They were not rude to each other. They were not mad at each other. They were not spiteful toward one another. Their focus was on Zachary and his well-being. They wanted what they felt was best for their son. They put him first. I always appreciated that. God's goodness and His mercy were certainly following them all the days of Zach's life.

As a step-mom, I can tell you that it wasn't always easy. Things were not always smooth. Just as a parent would face issues with their own child, step-parents will have to face issues with their step-children. What makes it even more difficult being a step-parent is the fine line between what you are able to do with the child and what should be left to the parents of the child to deal with. I found that being the one to have the child under my supervision the majority of some years, it was a tough balance between "step-parent" and "friend".

Eventually, when dad was out of town and Zachary was older, it even blew up. It was like a tea pot getting ready to boil. The pressure had been building for awhile, as it heated up from deep inside. And when the temperature was just right, it exploded.

BUT, God's goodness and mercy follow us every day of our lives. What looked like a horrible event turned into a good and perfect gift, with no sorrow added to it. Today, I am certainly most proud of Zachary. He is getting ready to graduate from high school this week, and he is attending college in the fall. We have mended our relationship over the past couple of years, and all is well.

God has certainly filled my husband's quiver with arrows for Him to use. We have been blessed with four of our own children. Three are strikingly handsome boys. One is my beautiful girl.

I know that God is real, and that Jesus loves me best (remember the definitions...), because He told me before I was even married to Victor, that I would have a girl. I was to name her Hannah, just like Samuel's mother in the Bible. When my husband and I were married and discussing names for our first child, he told me (I had never said a word to him about my prior conversation with God) that he wanted to name his daughter Hannah.

Let me say this: there are too many coincidences in my life for them to all be "just a coincidence". They can only be explained as God's Holy Spirit moving in my life. They can only be God's goodness and mercy following me every day of my life.

Another time we were receiving prayer after church. The guest Pastor who was praying over us started praying over me that my children would be fine. And, I should enjoy the time I had with my infant son (my first), because two more would be added to him.

Now, I had two miscarriages after that. When you miscarry twice in a row, you start to wonder if you will ever have children again, and you may begin to wonder if God was telling you the truth when He promised you two more children. BUT, my hope was in the Lord, and I was expecting His goodness and mercy to follow me every day of my life.

So, I was next blessed with my second son. I was secretly hoping for twins, as two at the same time would seem to be convenient, one boy, one girl, done and over with. Nope. God blessed us with our second son.

And only thirteen months later, our baby girl was born. Can I just tell you this? Having two children that close together is like having twins!

And let me add this. Remember how the Pastor prayed that "two more would be added to him"? We gave our daughter my husband's mother's first name as one of her two middle names. It is Josephine. I did not look up the meaning of Josephine until we were close to having the baby. Josephine's definition is "God augments, or adds unto." Just coincidence? Are names just given out randomly? I don't think so. God knows us even as we are formed in our mothers' wombs... (Stay tuned for Part 2)

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