Solitude. For as long as I can remember, I have tried to rise early, to be the first one up so I can have a few minutes of quiet before the house fills with morning activity. My intention is always to start my day in God's Word and write a page in my journal, but often I settle in with my phone, scrolling through my social media pages. It bothers me that this has become my default.
My summer's resolve is to change the default - to create a new morning routine that feeds my spirit before doing anything else. As I was searching for a new Bible study, two of my favorite podcasters were doing a Summer in Psalms series. Perfect! The psalms have been such a comfort to me this past year. When life is full of questions, fear of the unknown future, and endless waiting, closing the day with a psalm has turned all that uncertainty into the certainty of God's sovereignty and has brought restful sleep.
As I find myself still in need of some soul restoration this summer, I'll defer to others who have eloquently ministered to me and share them with you. I hope you will spend some time with these gifted women, too. Let me begin with a summary of what the psalms are:
"From songs of praise to cries of lament and everything in-between, the book of psalms captures the wide range of emotions in life. The psalmists paint a picture of a relationship with God that is filled with delays, disappointments, surprises, and triumphs. Through it all, their words model an incredible resolve to keep their eyes on God. Instead of being swallowed up by the darkness of their emotions and circumstances, they persevered in grabbing hold of God's unfailing love and faithfulness."
Those words arise from a new Bible study by Adrienne Camp called 'As for me'. I just ordered my copy of this 7-week study. If you are interested, you can check it out here.
Emily P Freeman is reading a psalm each week on her podcast. I have often drifted off to sleep listening to her calming voice read the psalms. You can read or listen to them here. She's even put them together in a collection on Spotify so you can easily find them.
Finally, I've been listening to Christy Knockel's The Glorious in the Mundane podcast. I've always been a fan of her music, and I find her honesty and deep trust in God reflected in her podcasts as well. Her writing style is beautiful and poetic. It's her weekly dive into the psalms that I look forward to most. Even if you don't have a podcast app on your phone, you can listen to them here. She recently interviewed Adrienne Camp on her podcast which is how I discovered the 'As for Me' Bible Study. You can listen to it here.
I'll close with a few words from Christy's most recent message that really spoke to me:
"The River of Life is in you. And it is meant for your flourishing, and your flourishing through the power of the Holy Spirit is meant for those who are around you who are hurting and broken in this world. Maybe surrender your life anew - that your flourishing is for the flourishing of others - through the Holy Spirit."
I feel far from flourishing, friends. But little by little, as I daily stay 'planted by streams of water' (Ps.1:3), restoration is happening. And this summer, God is using these three women who are flourishing to share His message of hope and peace with me. I hope you'll spend some time in the Psalms with what's left of our summer. Maybe consider creating your own routine of beginning and/or ending your day in solitude with God. He is the River of Life and His Gospel message is life-giving. May we all stay within the River's reach because 'everywhere the River goes, everything lives'. - Christy Knockels
Hi, I'm Tracy - horticulturist, beauty-seeker, Word-lover, and blessed to be the owner of Bella Botanica. I also love to write about plants, gardening, and about my faith journey. Thanks for reading!