Responsibilities and decisions were overwhelming me last week. I was simultaneously mourning summer and celebrating the new season upon us. Friends were quarantined. Other friends had trusted me to pray for the hard things they are experiencing.
Even in the midst of overwhelm, I decided that my kids and I needed a fun day. So we headed to Paducah, about an hour away, to do some shopping, eating, and jumping.
I didn’t expect to get teary while browsing home decor in Hobby Lobby. I saw Isaiah 43:2 on a sign and needed that encouragement.
“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. …”— Isaiah 43:2 (NLT)
Then I wanted to read the context of the verse and remembered I already loved Isaiah 43, which talks about God being our rescuer and redeemer. Verses are 18-19 are especially among my favorites:
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”— Isaiah 43:18-19
I had a moment with God — the One who goes with us into deep waters and does new things all in our wastelands — as I stood in Hobby Lobby, hoping my kids didn’t run too quickly down the nearby aisle of mirrors. I read multiple translations of these verses. I prayed for my friends. I reflected on school board decisions I was part of making as we try to begin another weird school year. I thanked God for being present, even where I wasn’t expecting to be encouraged.
After Hobby Lobby, we went to Vertical Jump, so the kids could burn some energy on the inside trampolines on a very hot day that included a heat advisory. I revisited our school board group text and then sent some clarifications, confessions, and compliments. I texted two best friends my unfiltered thoughts because I’m an outward processor and they’re good to me.
Yes, I got teary again while the kids jumped. I wanted to start reading a new fiction book as an escape, but I kept thinking about Isaiah 43.
Do not fear.
I have redeemed you.
You are mine.
I will be with you in deep waters.
The fires won’t burn.
I am the Lord your God.
You are precious.
The Holy One.
Do not dwell on the past.
I’m doing a new thing.
Way in the wilderness.
Rivers in the wasteland.
The overwhelm subsided because I filled my head with true, good news. I remembered promises. My perspective shifted. I thanked God for leading me on a fun day with my kids and being present with me in my own mental deep waters.
Oh, and yes, I bought the Isaiah 43:2 sign that was 50 percent off.