65 Do good to your servant 
   according to your word, LORD. 
66 Teach me knowledge and good judgment, 
   for I trust your commands. 
67 Before I was afflicted I went astray, 
   but now I obey your word. 
68 You are good, and what you do is good; 
   teach me your decrees…

71 It was good for me to be afflicted 
   so that I might learn your decrees. 
72 The law from your mouth is more precious to me 
   than thousands of pieces of silver and gold.

Psalm 119 NIV

As I begin to wrap up this year in the midst of wrapping a few presents, I am reflective of what has transpired…

January thru March gave us a small time of relief, hope, and freedom as we paid off a substantial part of our debt.  We were on a plan to get it all but one paid off by the end of this year.  The sun shined a bit brighter and my shoulders relaxed a bit more.  Then April…ahhh, April.  One day we decided to go look at houses, and many times this year I wish we never had!  We started to plan to sell and to buy.  Our lives became centered on this one issue – an earthly house.  Our prayer life increased; though, I wonder if we missed so much going on the heavenlies during that time while we were praying for “our will be done right here on this earth.”  The summer sent me into a downward spiral of mental-spiritual attack. Words like “it’s so hot inside my soul, there must be blisters on my heart” poured from my mouth as the tears flooded the carpet.  My breath was literally taken from me…morning,day, midnight.  Relief was slow but sure.  One struggle on the mend, another began.  Two unexpected trips and a flooded basement took our plan right from our grasp.  Then car issues, unexpected this and unforeseen that, and here I am today trying to cling to this time of Advent – His coming – while wrestling with feeling overwhelmed by all the earth I clung to throughout this year.  How do I let go of all and hold only to Him when all of my self-made or life-given chains are tripping me up?  For days I have been fine as I have looked to “my Help”, and then last night I lay in bed thinking of the reality of our earthly state. I found myself locked in the bathroom again this morning (bigger than my closet…gives me a bit more room to do my praising or fist banging) crying out to Him, telling Him our reality again (maybe He’s forgotten…no!), and asking for Him to fill me once again with strength to open that door and live here today.  Strength enough to go out for manna again today and not think of how or when we will take care of the molding, rotting bills that we have for trying to have more than what we needed for the day.  (Exodus 16)  I opened His Word – I needed to hear my Father’s Voice today – and this again…

14 When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father,15 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth.16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. 21 Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3 NLT

The Words are not knew to me this year.  I have heard them over and over, but let me tell you – I am still waiting to see the “more”.  I have no idea what is in store…except…that it is definitely more…and it is…good!

I return to the Words from Psalm 119, especially 71 and 72, and I know this:

~this affliction is part of that good that is more than I could ask or imagine!

~the time I spent in gathering more than daily manna has left me hating the bitter taste of more and making me content with the sweetness of what is provided today

~even if God uses silver and gold to relieve our debts – or if He doesn’t – it will not be in those two materials that I find my relief, peace, or delight.  Neither of those give security, stability, peace, or – get this – abundance!  They do give me more…more  stuff, more debt, more stress, more chains, and through that “more” they take away my “abundant life” found only in Him because my eyes are searching for more “silver and gold” in order to get out of the trap of “silver and gold” and…and…and the next thing I know I’m on the bathroom floor needing Him to hold my head in His hands so that all I can see is His face.

Silver and gold, silver and gold 
Ev’ryone wishes for silver and gold 
How do you measure its worth? 
Just by the pleasure it gives here on earth

performed by Burt Ives.

I would say, if I am measuring by the song’s standards, it doesn’t mean that much!

25 I lie in the dust;
      revive me by your word.
 26 I told you my plans, and you answered.
      Now teach me your decrees.
 27 Help me understand the meaning of your commandments,
      and I will meditate on your wonderful deeds.
 28 I weep with sorrow;
      encourage me by your word.
 29 Keep me from lying to myself;
      give me the privilege of knowing your instructions.
 30 I have chosen to be faithful;
      I have determined to live by your regulations.
 31 I cling to your laws.
      Lord, don’t let me be put to shame!
 32 I will pursue your commands,
      for you expand my understanding. Psalm 119 NLT

May your preparations for His Coming bring you to the realization that Immanuel (God with us) is all you really need…and dare I say…all you really want!  After having received some worldly wants, I find myself ready to throw them off for the simplicity of kneeling in a stable and beholding the greatest riches the eternal world will ever behold…Jesus Christ.

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.

Rejoice! Rejoice!

Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.