TOBI BENTON

Resolve to Praise

Resolve to Praise

Resolve to Praise

Resolve to Praise.

I have found myself, after moving four times in seven years, in a season of true loneliness. In this particular assignment of two years, I have no church family, no close circle of friends, and very few who check in on me from the States. Weeks and months pass between occasional texts or requests for a Skype session.

I’m not complaining. I know people are busy. I know in-real-life friendships are nurtured and when the thought of me occupies my friends’ minds I occupy their hearts as well. I try not to spend too much creative time in my imagination, wondering just exactly how my sons feel, those same moves disrupting childhood, and no life-experience to combat thoughts that maybe they never really will experience life with lasting friendships. I speak into that as only a mom can, assuring them they are marvelous, delightful, and so wise in the ways of caring for another’s heart. They will be amazing friends.

But this hidden away place in the middle of Belgium, where every single woman I would choose to walk with is married to someone the Air Force has chosen to work for my husband, it is barren of one vital thing all people need. The voice of truth tellers in your ear. The solidarity of a circle of friends who helps you discern the whisper of Truth from the crush of condemnation.

I don’t regret these years.

And I’m happy to be moving on from them soon.

I don’t regret experiencing extreme loneliness.

But the wildness of my thoughts at times, the need for iron-resolve to combat the thoughts that other than my husband there is not one single person who really knows or invests in me…when these occasionally pass through, words swirling on the high winds, I realize how tired and dry and wistful I am. For a relationship girl, a BIG feeler, with a need to serve, and touch, and comfort, and praise, and worship, and have someone tell me who they really see before them, I am praying for a church home to land softly in. For a girlfriend who is passionate about the same things I am. For a scheduled coffee date and C.S. Lewis, Eugene Peterson, Colossians, Isaiah, Psalms, and the Lord, and scones and walks and happy-tired hands from serving the poor and broken.

So, I sit at my kitchen table each morning. With coffee and cut flowers and candles and the sun sending rays of light through the fog. And I open my Bible, because I need the Son to stream rays of light through the fog. And I meditate on Psalm 63. If you are lonely. If you want to enter the loneliness of so many others. If you simply want to remember praise as the great tethering line to the heart of truth and healing. Please join me in my resolve to praise.

O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.

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The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon; they will see the glory of the LORD, the splendor of our God. ~ Is 35:1,2

I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and glory.

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And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose…who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?…No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. ~ Rom 8:28,35,37

Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you.”  

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I hear His question, “AM {I AM} ENOUGH FOR YOU?”

Once again, I do not regret this season. Alicia Britt Chole writes, “Abundance may make us feel more productive, but perhaps emptiness has greater power to strengthen our souls.” I count the empty spaces I’ve encountered have been used for just that purpose. I count this time as gain because God promises the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. God is spending my life well, with care and purpose.

Jesus said, “I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.” ~ Jn 10:10

And so we resolve to praise, and it that we find our resolve to be fully alive wherever we are.

 

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