Tuesday, January 23, 2007

A Path Made Straight


When I read these verses a few weeks ago, they fairly leapt off the page at me.

“So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees.”

Oh, this is what my heart longs to hear every evening, as I lie in bed, usually hashing over the days’ events, my body weak, my will crumbling in the light of a disappointing day. It is a gentle whisper from a Father who never grows weary of my daily failings, but instead sends encouragement through His word to start anew with the morning, to receive a second chance.

“Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong.”

I'm coming to an understanding that to truly lead my children, I must daily mark out a path for them to follow. And this must mean that I walk in an upright fashion, carving out an example for them in obedience, honor, faith, patience, and love. No longer can I throw my hands into the air in astonishment at a disrespectful tone or a disobedient action. Though the astonishment has gone, the regret lingers, as I trace back through the day and see my own actions in a new light.

Beloved, keep your tongue…

It slices, it dices, it hurts. The first curve in my path.

Beloved, slow your anger...

It burns, it melts, it hurts. The second curve.

Beloved, lead in love...

I'm impatient, yet immovable, I hurt. The dizziness brought on by the winding path begins to make us sway, and we topple in a heap. Now no one is moving along the path, and I have not "led them with cords of kindness, with the bands of love," nor have I become to them as "one who eases the yokes on their jaws, bending down to them and feeding them." Hosea 11:4

My grip is weak. On my own, it cannot be done. I acknowledge that I am my children's earthly example of walking in a straight path, and then I buckle under the weight of that statement.
But listen:

"Trust the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will direct your paths."
Psalm 3:5-6

Walk. And walk in the knowledge that He directs my paths. He will not reach out and pull it straight, but He is on the other end, His grip tight when mine fails, His voice patient when I am impatient, His eyes loving when mine are not. A grace, yes, and it comes unbidden; humbling me to receive it when I am grudging in giving it myself.

So I flesh it out, taking the first step onto a path I have made impassable. Kicking aside the stones I have allowed to fall in my hardness, leveling the ground I have too long abandoned to despair.

It is a leap into a refining; the first step the biggest, the following steps the hardest. Regardless, it is the commitment to the path that begins the journey, and there is where you find me now.

And so, though I still pray for “joy in the morning”, and find my greatest joy in training up my children in the Lord with my husband, I change the name of my little place here to “A Path Made Straight”. For so I long to be.

Won’t you join me in marking out a straight path? Whether it is little chicks gathered in your wake or fellow wanderers you seek to lead, come mark a path with me, as we pray together for the grace to make it straight.




My heartfelt thanks to Debi from Just As I Am for the beautiful, simple banner she created for me. She is a sweet, humble spirit, and though thanks are not what she is seeking, I do give them, from a grateful heart.

16 fellow travelers shared:

Lydia said...

What a wonderful post--I can very much relate.

. . . and I love your new banner--Debi put it together so nicely.

Andrea said...

Elise

I love the way you explained "paths". I have never really looked at it that way.
One of my prayers always is Prov 3:5-6.
It is frightening, this role we have, isn't it? I couldn't do it without Him. *smile*

I also love your "new look".

Christine said...

Oooh, I love it! Now your blog will bless me even more when I visit. You are wonderful!

Kendra said...

Thank you so much for the sweet way that you share your heart.
"I must daily mark out a path for them to follow. And this must mean that I walk in an upright fashion, carving out an example for them in obedience, honor, faith, patience, and love."
It is such a huge and overwhelming task when we take it seriously, but what glorious fruit it will bear because He is faithful to "straighten" us.

Stacey said...

Yes, I love, love, love the new name & guiding verse. As we grow and journey through seasons in our lives, it makes sense that your "bloggity-ville's home" would take on a new name as well.

Well, thank you for your comment over at my place today about what it going on with us. I really, really want to come for tea. Can I, huh? And I need that sisterly hug...or five!

Your new name & especially the verse pretty much made me cry. So, thanks for that. :) Seriously. What a blessing you are to me!

Katherine@Raising Five said...

That has always been one of my favorite verses (actually all of Hebrews). I love the assumption that we are tired and weak, but by marking a straight path, we can help someone else be strong. Beautiful. I'll join you on that path!

PS-Love your new banner!

bluemountainmama said...

very lovely and inspiring......you speak such great wisdom with a humble heart. i struggle a lot with the "tired hands" and "weak knees", being the only one in our household really trying to seek and follow God.... i feel a great burden sometimes and hope i'm setting a good example for my son and spouse. but i fall WAY short in so many areas.....

Mrs. S said...

Amen ... my heart hears your words. I would love to join you "in marking out a straight path." I love the new look of your blog, and your new name. Wonderful!

Munchkin Land said...

Wow, wow, wow!! I love the new name and I love your most recent post. Every so often God words speak volumes to us, so much so that they change our hearts and life missions completely. This is amazing; thank you for such a great explanation!!

tonia said...

Debi is a wonder - and your new blog and theme are perfect.

~Thank you Elise. I find such encouragement here - a kindred heart. How glad I am our paths have met on this journey.

Ann V.@HolyExperience said...

It is perfect. "A Path made Straight." God does that, doesn't He?
Miraculous... for us with weak knees and need a new grip. Walking right behind you here, Elise...

All is grace,
Ann

QueenHeroical said...

ummm ... I am sure I posted my comment but somehow it is not showing up ... so much for an elegant reply ...

anyway, I just wanted to add my voice to all these others,

to say ... it is strengthing to have such good company in the fire ...

-Krina (fellow sockless wonder)

Me said...

This is sort of a PS - yes you may certainly make wreaths and bracelets like the ones I made - I would be pleased if you did!!

Audrey said...

You somehow must have been hearing my prayers every morning to our Wonderful Father, as they have been just as you have written.

I can see that so many times He has covered my children when I have fallen short.

I dont want to fall short. I yearn for that straight path with all my heart...yet it still seems out of reach.

Wendy WaterBirde said...

Hello Elise, I read this a couple days ago and its still in my head. Such a moving image! It just doesnt let go.

I come back especially to this part: "I'm impatient, yet immovable, I hurt. The dizziness brought on by the winding path begins to make us sway, and we topple in a heap. Now no one is moving along the path, and I have not "led them with cords of kindness, with the bands of love,"..."

I would so love to join in your moving invitation. I too am realizing just how much a woman holds the keys in her home (your previous post), the impact we have, and I too so long for the grace "to make the path straight". Thank you so much for these wonderful thoughts and images and focuses!

Blessed Sabbath : ) Wendy

PS I just love Debi's banners too. She did an amazing job on yours! As well as a lovely job on Ann's as well. It sets such a lovely tone : )

TaunaLen said...

Elise,

You touch my heart with your posts. The truths I find here pierce me gently, and remind me of my utter desperation for God's intervention, as well as His complete and consuming love. I stopped by to thank you for commenting on my recent post, and tell you that I found a recipe for persimmon pudding. (I don't think I'll be trying that one.) But in reading and re-reading your site, I have been both pricked and encouraged. Thank you doesn't quite seem enough to say.

~TaunaLen (who is still seriously considering dog tags for my teenagers that say 'My name is Beloved' and 'If found, please return to God.")

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