Okay to Be Still

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! The LORD of hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our refuge.” – Psalm 46:10-11

I pulled into the post office parking space and pushed the engine button to off. I was frozen, staring as patrons scurried past and into the building. Sky gray. Mood gray.

I pulled the red and white flowered cotton mask over my face and marched my excuse-to-leave-the-house package to the self-service postage station. I bubbled wrapped a puzzle for a friend. It was the least I could do to keep from wallowing in stuck-at-home misery.

What I really wanted to slap a postage stamp on was my smile or a great big hug…in person. I’d even do a singing telegram at this point if only someone would take me up on it. Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

While I understand that staying at home is necessary, I am not experienced at being still. And there is a measure of stillness that has been served up lately. No matter how many family game nights, bake offs, or video exercise challenges I participate in, there is more quiet, alone time than I bargained for.

It’s uncomfortable! Not having control of what happens is uncomfortable, and I am afraid. You too?

When I was a child and my parents divorced, I kept my head above water by staying active, involved, and never at home. I tap danced, ice skated, played soccer, cheered, and starred on a traveling jump rope team. I threw myself into every activity I could possibly find to rise above the fear and outrun the pain.

The Corona Virus doesn’t give me a way out of stillness. I can’t run from the uncertainty or the illness by joining a club or meeting up with friends for happy hour. National, state, and county requirements say I am safer at home…with my family and my thoughts.  

It’s okay that we aren’t doing cartwheels. It’s okay that we don’t know how to work, learn, and dwell…at home…together…all hours of the day. It’s okay that we can’t seem to get it together.  

And it’s okay that we are battling with a gamut of emotions, some of which are not pleasant. I am angry. I feel lost. Not enough. Alone.

I sat in my car this week bolstering the courage to emerge and mail a package. What! For a moment or two…weeks, I forgot who was in control. I forgot that God is on the throne. I lost sight of Him in the midst of me.

 “Hi, it’s Robbie and um guess what I finished last night? My last jigsaw puzzle. Do I order one? Is anybody open? I don’t’ check mail very often, but I checked our mail today. This is a joy, a prayer answered,” she said.

Her gratitude for the puzzle package reminded me of His sovereign purpose at work. His word says that we can hide in Him and that He will be glorified. He is God!

Am I the only one who loses sight of this at times? At this time?

What can we learn from stillness?

I am learning that God has rich, beautiful time with my family that the rat-race pace of my typical professional world does not allow.

I am learning that God speaks to me when I am still. He comforts my fears and injects purpose into my daily routine.

I am learning that He can use me in the smallest of ways to remind others of the same.

It’s okay to be still.


Mighty Rock

“Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. Truly He is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; He is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge.” – Psalm 62:5-8

It’s takes me twelve-minutes to reach the base of the Rock in our town, a castle tower shaped butte and namesake, Castle Rock. Cotton clouds and distant snow caps frame it from the top, and I tackle the gradual, winding hike often to enjoy peaceful prayer time and God’s handiwork.

Castle Rock is known for its western charm, community spirit, and beautiful open spaces. I moved here 4 years ago when I got married, and I love it.

I’ve learned my way around the local Barn, a quaint collection of boutique shops, and I can savor a fried chicken comfort meal at the Corner Café. The people are active and friendly, everyone has a dog (heart emoji), and I work five minutes from home. It’s perfect. Shhh, don’t tell or other Californians like me will move here.

I call this watering hole my home, and yet, I’ve avoided one prominent feature that draws visitors from near and far – the Incline. Insert ominous organ music.

Two hundred grueling steps to the top of a giant hill.  

Until the latest stay-at-home orders and cooped-up craziness of COVID 19, I hadn’t even considered it. Conquering that hill was like asking five-year-old me to eat canned peas. Not interested. Won’t do it.

What I didn’t expect this week was the wall I would hit. Like a brick. Agony. Defeat.

Like many others, I have resigned to life at home with kiddos and school and work. I am considered essential personnel, and I end most days not feeling I contributed anything essential to anyone, including myself.

I am exhausted. I am emotional. I am exasperated.

The irony of it hit me too. I live in a town that quite literally means fortress or pillar of strength. God is so good. He placed me right in the middle of a town that points me to his nature – my Rock, my fortress.

It is God who is the pillar, the tower of strength that we need in our fear and fatigue.

It is God in whom we find hope and confidence when our energy and our pocketbooks are spent.

It is God who is mighty, in control, and able, in uncertain times, to be our refuge – the sanctuary we need.

In this reminder, I found a measure of my own strength to push past the pain and carry on.

I stood at the base of the Incline like David facing Goliath. I felt puny in the shadow of the giant. Deep breath. I gathered myself mentally, spiritually, and physically like three small stones. I bent down to tighten the laces of my tennies, grabbing a stone from my pouch, and I whispered His word over my circumstance, a flick of the wrist.

“With man this is impossible, but with You God, all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)

I taught middle school. I shared important virtual moments with friends. I baked apple pie bread. I held meetings. I climbed two hundred steps – twice.

With Him, I broke through a wall, and I slayed a giant.

You can too.

Almighty God, You are our hiding place. We can count on You when we don’t have all the answers. You are our salvation, our rescue, and our redemption. Thank you that we can pour out our hearts to You and that we can confidently hope in You, our Castle Rock. – Amen