Tuesday: Psalm 68; Isaiah 37.1-20; Matthew 10.1-23

From: Sarah Tooley

David’s militant phrases like “crush the heads of his enemies” or “take many captives” are hard for me to identify with and sometimes difficult for me to reconcile, but David does have a consistent way of reminding himself about the kindness of God toward his people in this chapter that has made it an important one for me over the past few years, particularly verse 6: “God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land."

Loneliness, especially long term loneliness, can burn a person to the ground. Loneliness is more than aloneness—in my experience, it’s the feeling of being isolated from meaningful connection to others by some internal or external barrier that feels indefinite. For as long as I can remember, I’ve carried some amount of loneliness with me. A few years ago I realized that my loneliness was starting to take on an identity of its own, serving to create distance between me and others instead of being a product of it. Accompanying loneliness were many other afflictions like anxiety, unhealthy relationship patterns, and fear.

At that time I revisited a practice that has been a cornerstone of my relationship with God at various points in my life—contemplative/listening prayer. I was telling God about how my life wasn’t working and I didn’t know what to do. I gave my loneliness and anxieties to him and listened for his response. In whatever way we hear things from God that isn’t audible, he said to me, “I’ll get you there, but you’ve got to go there.”

Somehow, with that vague direction, I knew exactly what sorts of steps I needed to make with God to get "there," both internal and external. The internal work centered around receiving grace from Jesus and experiencing his friendship. Two of the external changes were to 1. move out of my living situation and 2. commit to a church. Within a month of this prayer, a family in Dorchester asked if I wanted to live with them and CotC became my church. I sincerely believe that God put me into these two families to support my wellness and healing during a long spiritual and personal growth process. Through friendship with Christ and by acceptance into family, I have experienced many forms of freedom. This hasn’t been a one-time experience. My mind has really well-worn ways of thinking and despairing, but Jesus remains the same—offering me freedom over and over and over again, in perpetuity. Praise be to the Lord. "Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign Lord comes escape from death.” (Psalm 68.20)

I've lived in Boston for over 4 years for work and school, but I hail from Austin and you can't take the Texas out of the girl. I just finished reading East of Eden and I can't stop thinking about it. I enjoy dinner parties and deep conversations and live music. Holler at me if you hear about a good show!