Have you had some glimpses of “normal” this summer? I’m talking about those moments when you forget we are living in a pandemic because you are doing something that’s part of your summer routine, something that anchors you. Maybe it’s eating an ice cream cone or a beautiful fresh peach, or swimming in your pool, or walking along a sandy beach. One of my favorite glimpses of normal this summer has been stepping onto hiking trails in the mountains.
Gosh, those moments are wonderful, aren’t they? They give me just enough staying power to face walking into a grocery store wearing a mask or looking for the physical distancing “x” marks that seem to be everywhere someone might stand in a line. I’m grateful for anything that feels non-pandemic normal.
I learned in previous seasons of life that when my world is consumed with change, when my routine isn’t routine anymore, I need to find those anchors and focus my attention on them. And the greatest and most dependable of those anchors, the one I can tap into any day or any night, is God. He’s as unchanging as they come and he stands at the ready to always be our anchor.
So as we begin what’s sure to be an unusual school year, can I invite you to purposely focus your eyes on God? I know we have pandemic-related changes to wade through in the land of college admissions, and we will cover those in detail in our college planning parent nights, but for now let’s just focus on our anchor. We will need his steady presence to ride the sometimes bumpy road of an unsteady pandemic.
We have been given a beautiful book of prayers in the Psalms. They are designed to give voice and language to all the reasons we call out to God, to provide words when we don’t know what to say. I invite you to find a quiet moment and ponder the words of the Psalms listed below. Let them wash over you and fill your soul with peace and hope. Speak them aloud to God in your own prayer. Perhaps add verses to this list that are particular favorites for you. Ask God to be your anchor as we try to find our way through unusual times. Ask him to position you not just to survive, but to thrive. May we all come out the other side of this pandemic with a glow on our faces that comes from depending on God.
But I am trusting you, O Lord, saying, “You are my God! My future is in your hands.”
The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.
God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea.
I look up to the mountains - does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth!
Show me the right path, O Lord; point out the road for me to follow. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you.
Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy.
He takes no pleasure in the strength of a horse or in human might. No, the Lord’s delight is in those who fear him, those who put their hope in his unfailing love.
He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.
Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting you. Show me where to walk, for I give myself to you.
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
And there is so much more to discover in the Psalms; this just barely scratches the surface! As you have time, work your way through the Psalms to discover additional prayers that connect you with God.
And as you spend time with the Psalms, undoubtedly a few will stand out as particularly compelling prayers. As that happens, I invite you to create a routine of praying those words on a regular basis. Keep those words in front of you, allowing them to become so familiar that you can easily grab onto them in moments of need. In leaning on these words of prayer, you lean on God.
We need our moments of normal, when life feels steady and sure, if we are to thrive in days that are sometimes anything but steady and sure. May these Psalms provide you with the connection to God that makes all the difference.
Director of College Counseling