Nana’s Nook: Simplifying Summer with the Psalms

My dear friends, I hope you will take the time to read this very personal letter in its entirety, even though it is longer than usual. I have tried over the years to keep these devotionals as real as possible.  I have shared with you my joys and my sorrows, my victories and my struggles.  Today I come to you from a place of brokenness that I am not sure I can even describe.

It started last Thursday while we were at the beach.  We have a journal in the condo, where people can write notes to us about their stay in the unit.  It is full of devotional thoughts that I had hoped would be an encouragement to any of our visitors who would take the time to read them.  I picked the book up on Thursday morning and began thumbing through the pages, reading the notes left by our guests.

My heart stopped when I saw a note that started with these words, “Dear Mama”.  It was a note from Jeremy, written on May 20, 2015, at the end of a much-needed vacation he and Stephanie had taken with the kids.  The message gripped my heart and the tears of loss flowed once again.  I went out on the deck, feeling completely broken and undone.  But as I sat there, a couple came by, walking their dog on the beach.  Not an unusual thing in and of itself.  But this was indeed unusual because the dog only had 3 legs.  But that didn’t seem to stop him (or her) at all!  He was running and seemed completely happy as they walked along.  I couldn’t help but think of what a beautiful picture that was of victory even in brokenness.

I went down to the beach shortly after that, still weepy. But God, again, gave a perfect visual for beautiful brokenness with the lovely shell my grandson, Jett, found on the beach.  I posted that one on my Facebook page, but I have pictured it below as well, just in case you didn’t see it there.  Broken, yet still beautiful.

This morning, I opened the journal once again to read Jeremy’s note one more time.  But this time, I noticed something I had not noticed before.  The devotional page next to the note (pictured below) had some really wonderful insights.  But what captured my thoughts and sent me into another fresh round of tears was the fact that Jeremy had underlined two of them that must have struck a chord with him that morning. It spoke volumes to me about where my son’s heart was on that day 4 years ago.

Those of you who knew Jeremy know that he was a complicated man.  He struggled often with the “stuff” of life.  But don’t we all?  I have told you many times that I love the Psalms and have camped out in them during times of trial in my own life.  David’s honesty as he wrote is so inspiring and encouraging to me.  He was a complicated man.  He struggled with the “stuff” of life.  In the course of one Psalm, he could be down on the ground in utter defeat, overwhelmed by something going on in his personal life, and then shouting praises to his God, in utter joy and delight!  And yet, God Himself described David as a man after His own heart.

As I looked this morning at the two things Jeremy underlined, I was so encouraged to know that my son was obviously longing to be a person “who was content to live close to the Lord.”   As I pictured him sitting that day with this book in his hand, reading these devotional thoughts and underlining the two that had pierced his heart that day, I wept with both sorrow and joy, missing my son, and yet also being encouraged to see his heart and being assured once again that he is with his Lord and Savior at this very moment, enjoying a closeness that we can only imagine. It also brought to mind the song Confidence, by Sanctus Real, especially the lyrics that say ,

“Give me a heart like David… ’cause broken people are exactly who you use.”

I will close this devotional with this message to you, my friends.  I cannot thank you enough for all of the love and support you have given me since I began writing Nana’s Nook in 2014.  You have blessed my heart with your notes of encouragement over the years. But I am in a season of my life where I feel the need to take the advice from the passage Jeremy underlined, to heed God’s call to “simply be people who are content to live close to Him and to renew the kind of life in which the closeness is felt and experienced.

I am taking the summer off from writing and getting back to the Psalms once again, as I seek the Lord in His Word.  Instead of writing about rest and trust and hope, I am asking God to fill me with those things.  As Jeremy also “spoke” to me by what he underlined that morning:

“If the continuing life is a life of joy, we will go on discovering, learning.”

So, I am on a journey of discovery and learning for myself this summer.  Will you join me?

Read the Psalms.  One a day.  That will take the whole summer!

Grab a new devotional book and discover new things about the Lord.  I would highly recommend the following:  Jesus Always, by Sarah Young; Blessings For Women, by Susie Larson; Joy for the Journey Devotional, published by Thomas Nelson.

I would also recommend the book Present Over Perfect, by Shauna Niequist, which I just finished last week.  The subtitle is “Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living.”  It is another reason I am taking the summer off.  Trying to find my way to a simpler, more soulful way of living!  I hope you will find that as well.  I love you all.