He heard my cry…

So the other day I cried this.  Then today…this…

As I sat in the early morning hours sipping coffee, opening my Bible, and studying in this, I became very aware of what was going on…

Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them. Proverbs 13:24

Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish them with the rod, they will not die. Proverbs 23:13

Punish them with the rod and save them from death. Proverbs 23:14

rod and a reprimand impart wisdom… Proverbs 29:15

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:4 NIV

It is never easy to receive discipline, and as a Christian sometimes we don’t recognize it for what it is at first.  We always want to be the last to take the blame.  Yet, after weeks and weeks of being under His Mighty Hand, after hearing sermon after sermon, and after crying tear and prayer after tear and prayer I could not deny my reality.  I was feeling the sting of the rod.  Today, though it all came to its conclusion.

Long ago, when we just had one, Nathan and I decided how we would go about discipline.  We believed in the necessity of the rod and knew if we stayed our hand now we would forever be grasping for their hearts and minds later.  We also knew we wanted them to experience restoration, grace, forgiveness, and love…as these would be key in their walks with God.  So, we made a plan.  If “given child” disobeys, we act quickly with an appropriate action.  We make sure they know the wrong which they have done, how we feel about it, and how God feels about it.  When the punishment/consequences are carried out we bring them back to the parent who handed out the discipline.  The parent embraces the child, accepts said apologies, SAYS “I forgive you”, and reassures the child of their love for him or her.  Some consequences may last longer but the restoration always happens.  How was I to know that God loves just like that?

The challenge at the end of today’s lesson was to “ask God to reveal His love for you in very obvious way”.  I stopped all and laid it all before Him. I climbed up in His lap, showed Him my dirty and shaky hands, told Him I knew what I had done wasn’t His plan or His way, asked forgiveness, and held my breath.  Then, the release…exhale…again…YH…WH…Yes…Father.

He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake. Psalm 23:3

I got up.  I turned on the music.  And I knew these words in the very flesh…

14 Sing, O daughter of Zion!
Shout, O Israel!
Be glad and rejoice with all your heart,
O daughter of Jerusalem!
15 The LORD has taken away your judgments,
He has cast out your enemy.
The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst;
You shall see disaster no more.
16 In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem:

“ Do not fear;
Zion, let not your hands be weak.
17 The LORD your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.”

Zephaniah 3

And the songs He was singing…

My Beloved by Kari Jobe

You’re My Beloved
You’re My Bride
To sing over you is My delight
Come away with Me My love

You’re Beautiful to Me
So beautiful to Me

Under My mercy
Come and wait
Till we are standing face to face
I see no stain on you
My child

You’re Beautiful to Me 
So Beautiful to Me

I sing over you My song of peace
Cast all your care down at My feet
Come and find your rest in Me

I’ll breathe My life inside of you
I’ll bear you up on eagle’s wings
And hide you in the shadow of My strength
I’ll take you to My quiet waters
I’ll restore your soul
Come rest in Me and be made whole

You’re My beloved
You’re My Bride
To sing over you is my delight
Come away with me my love

and then…

Be Still and Know by Christy Nockels

Be still and know that he is god
Be still and know that he is holy
Be still oh restless soul of mine
Bow before the prince of peace
Let the noise and clamor cease

Be still and know that he is god
Be still and know that he is faithful
Consider all that he has done
Stand in awe and be amazed
And know that he will never change
Be still

Be still and know that he is god
Be still and know that he is god
Be still and know that he is god
Be still
Be speechless

Be still and know that he is god
Be still and know he is our father
Come rest your head upon his breast
Listen to the rhythm of
His unfailing heart of love
Beating for his little ones
Calling each of us to come
Be still
Be still

and still this…

“For My Love” by Bethany Dillon

Walk towards me
I want to hear 
The heavens singing over you
When you breathe
And look at me
I want to be captured by you

Gaze into my eyes
And let me know you’d fight
Thousands, for my love
Slip your hand in mine
Ask me to dance with you tonight
Just ask me for my love

I want to hide
What’s deep in my eyes
I’m scared to be known by you
But when I turn my head
And see you there
I want to be pursued

Gaze into my eyes
And let me know you’d fight
Thousands, for my love
Slip your hand in mine
Ask me to dance with you tonight
Just ask me for my love

A dream I won’t wake from
A story that will never end
The ground your feet walk on
Let me be there, let me be there

Gaze into my eyes
Let me know you’d fight
Thousands, for my love
Slip your hand in mine
Ask me to dance with you tonight
Just ask me for my love

Tears came once again to my eyes, but this time they were refreshing not grieving.  It was a beautiful and precious display of my Father’s love for me.  He does not stay angry.  He remembers we are but dust.  His lovingkindness endures forever!

I love the LORD, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Psalm 116:1