A couple weeks ago, I found myself huddled in the basement, beside the dehumidifier (it’s cool and makes soothing, not-whining and not-yelling noises; don’t judge) with a snack-sized bag of Doritos.
Because I was hiding from my children.
I was hiding from my children.
It was 4:15 (T-45 until Daddy dawned the porch steps) and Mommy needed a time-out. Mommy needed a breath of quiet air and a space of rest. No whining. No requests. No drama. No needs. No messes. No nothing. Mama was toast.
With a bag of cheese-dusted triangles and the humming of a dehumidifier, mama took a moment.
Because let’s be honest…parenting can be physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually grueling work.
There are those
days weeks seasons when our backs are tired; our nerves are fried; our hearts are overwhelmed; and our souls are weary.
Teaching, admonishing, encouraging, and shepherding is hard, repetitive, sanctifiying work!
Yes, our children are a blessing and yes, our children are a gift. And…our children are also TIRING!!!
So when I read the words of Psalm 84:5 a few days ago, my mama heart resonated in a new and fresh way.
“Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.” v.5
Did you catch that?
Not only are we to draw our strength from Him, but our hearts are to be set on a journey!
Mamas, friends, and everyone in between (because mamas don’t hold the corner on tough and hard and certainly aren’t elevated above the rest)…we are on a journey, a pilgrimage.
“As they pass through the Valley of Baka…” v. 6
What was the Valley of Baka? Simply put, it was a place without water. A place of dryness, a time of difficulty, a journey of hard, and a road that involved suffering.
I was so struck by the use of the word pilgrimage and the command to set our hearts toward pilgrimage (even in the valleys of dryness) that I started researching some information about “pilgrimage.”
Here is some of what I found, summarized in my own words.
- Pilgrimage in Psalm 84:5 is translated into the Hebrew word for “highways.” “Highways” were a thoroughfare, a viaduct, a staircase–a causeway, course, highway, path, or terrace.
- A person who makes a journey is called a pilgrim.
- In the OT times, travel was a major part of life.
- In the NT, travel narratives make up a large portion of the Gospels.
- A pilgrimage in Bible times could be dangerous–bandits, bears, and beastly lions.
- To make pilgrimage from Nazareth to Jerusalem via Jericho, it would take 97 miles of travel.
- It is estimated that Jesus walked over 15,000 miles in His earthly lifetime.
- A pilgrimage is a meaningful journey to a sacred place.
So what does all this mean for you? For me?
- There are many pilgrimages (highways, paths, courses) we will take and that God will use in our lives. What “highway” is God using in your life?
- We are pilgrims. What kind of pilgrim are you? Persevering? Faint-Hearted? Weary?
- Journeys are a part of our lives. What journey are you trying to avoid?
- It took a journey to spread the GOOD NEWS. How are you using your journey to share the GOOD NEWS?
- Pilgrimages are not guaranteed to be easy and/or safe. What are the obstacles in your journey–the places in your path that God is using to refine you?
- Journeys aren’t meant to be short and quick. What shortcuts are you trying to take on your pilgrimage?
- You are going to “walk” a lot of miles over the course of your lifetime. How are you walking yours?
- And lastly, journeys have an end destination. What’s yours? Who and what are you walking toward?
And as I’ve reflected on these questions and pondered over the beautiful and surprising Truth of Psalm 84:5-6, I’m reminded again of the importance of journeying with the ONE who provides the Strength.
Because as you read on in Psalm 85, you also read the following words:
“They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.” v. 7
Did you catch THAT? From strength to strength. Implying that God will not just supply strength for one part of the journey, but rather He will continuously provide strength after strength after strength for each and every part of our pilgrimage.
“Till each appears before God in Zion.”
Zion–the place of worship, the temple, the place where God dwells, and the world to come.
Friends, I don’t know what pilgrimage or “highway” God is using to draw you to Himself; I don’t know what obstacles you’re facing, how many miles lay before you, how dry or barren your path may be, but I pray you will rest in knowing that His strength will accompany you every step of the journey…until you meet Him on His holy hill for the rest of eternity.
So whether you’re a tired pilgrim-mom hiding in your basement with a bag of Doritos by the hum-drum of your basement dehumidifier, or a fellow sojourner walking toward Zion on a different path, I pray you will rest in His strength and set your hearts toward pilgrimage.