Psalm 31

Listen, I love you readers and you don’t deserve this but I’m going to complain for a second. Thursday is street cleaning day on my street. That means I can’t park in front of the house, which is usually okay. After all, for our first year in San Francisco, I always parked three to four blocks away from the house. But, today, at 39 weeks pregnant, when I didn’t find a spot anywhere closer than 3 blocks away, at the base of a hill, and somehow—despite my yelling his name and reaching into the backseat to tickle him, and rolling the window down—my son still fell asleep in the car while I searched for a spot, I carried his 36 pound body home, his butt perfectly positioned on my humongo baby bump. It hurt.

All that to say, I wish I were sitting on my couch on Thursday night at 9:45 with a full and pleasant heart, longing to whisper my most joyful insights of the week, but the truth is, I’m kind of unpleasant right now. I’m achey and crampy and rude to my husband who just brought me tea and dark chocolate.

That’s why I need to remind myself of Thursday’s Psalm. If you’re reading a Psalm a day with me (I’ve decided to keep it going into March), then Thursday, in the midst of my grumbly full term prego body, you and I read Psalm 31.

“Be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me!” (v 2)

“I will rejoice and be glad in your steadfast love, because you have seen my affliction; you have known the distress of my soul, and you have not delivered me into the hand of the enemy; you have set my feet in a broad place” (v 7-8).

“Oh, how abundant is your goodness…” (v. 19)

“Blessed be the Lord, for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me” (v. 21).

“Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!” (v. 24).

The Benedictines make the Psalms a living part of their prayer lives because it draws them into reality. I need to be reminded that my reality is not the ache of my back or the discomfort of carrying a seven-pound baby inside. My reality is not the fear of what labor and delivery will be like or what life with two little ones will become. My reality cannot and should not be wrapped up in what I presently feel but in what is presently true about my Creator and Rescuer:

I am loved and can find gladness in that love.

The Lord is rock of refuge, a secure place to plant my feet.

Because my fortress is strong, I can take courage. (I love that the wording is “take” courage, not to passively receive it. But reach out and demand it. I can stretch out my hand and get a tight grip, letting myself hold brave like a jewel in my palm.)

God has set my feet in a broad place. Such an image! I’m from the Texas Panhandle. This girl knows something about broad places, land that stretches out so far the land seeps out of sight. To be set down in a broad place. To be given space to dwell and rest. To be released from the burden of being enclosed.

Okay okay. I get it, Psalms. I’ll stop complaining.




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