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Devotion: Psalm 139

Like many young moms, I have been flooded this week with special experiences that fill me up and help me feel loved. My own mom and I have made plans for a Mother’s Day celebration, my kids are bringing home sweet trinkets and cards to celebrate me and I have booked myself a massage…glory, Hallelujah! This morning, I attended the Mother’s Day Tea at Trinity Christian Academy and got emotional thinking that our youngest is now old enough to “sing” on the stage. With the help of her amazing teachers, I was given a porcelain plate with her little pink handprint on it in the shape of a flower and I will treasure it always. I am so thankful for the way that our culture takes this week to elevate and honor moms as we should.  But if you are a mom, or you carry the role of a mom, you know what a mix of emotions this week can bring for us.

I am all for celebrating the work of mothers because we are often underappreciated and always underpaid, but sometimes we let it just be about the holiday and not about the holiness that is being birthed within us.

Without getting into too many details, I loved being pregnant. I loved the feeling of our babies growing steadily in my body and the power and privilege that it is to create, sustain and nourish something so precious and delicate. I love that I have had the ability to do this and never want to take that good gift for granted. I have always been drawn to creation language in the Scriptures and so it might not surprise you to hear that our devotional text is Psalm 139. I invite you to hear these words with new meaning from The Message version.

139 1-6 God, investigate my life;
get all the facts firsthand.
I’m an open book to you;
even from a distance, you know what I’m thinking.
You know when I leave and when I get back;
I’m never out of your sight.
You know everything I’m going to say
before I start the first sentence.
I look behind me and you’re there,
then up ahead and you’re there, too—
your reassuring presence, coming and going.
This is too much, too wonderful—
I can’t take it all in!

7-12 Is there anyplace I can go to avoid your Spirit?
to be out of your sight?
If I climb to the sky, you’re there!
If I go underground, you’re there!
If I flew on morning’s wings
to the far western horizon,
You’d find me in a minute—
you’re already there waiting!
Then I said to myself, “Oh, he even sees me in the dark!
At night I’m immersed in the light!”
It’s a fact: darkness isn’t dark to you;
night and day, darkness and light, they’re all the same to you.

13-16 Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside and out,
you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared
before I’d even lived one day.

17-22 Your thoughts—how rare, how beautiful!
God, I’ll never comprehend them!
I couldn’t even begin to count them—
any more than I could count the sand of the sea.
Oh, let me rise in the morning and live always with you!
And please, God, do away with wickedness for good!
And you murderers—out of here!—
all the men and women who belittle you, God,
infatuated with cheap god-imitations.
See how I hate those who hate you, God,
see how I loathe all this godless arrogance;
I hate it with pure, unadulterated hatred.
Your enemies are my enemies!

23-24 Investigate my life, O God,
find out everything about me;
Cross-examine and test me,
get a clear picture of what I’m about;
See for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong—
then guide me on the road to eternal life.

Without getting too much into “sermon” mode, I will tell you that there are two distinct parts of this Psalm. Verses 1-18 are about Praise and the second part, verses 19-24 consists of concern over the wickedness and dangers of the world. But isn’t that so much like a Mom? Full of joy and concern; always engaged in thankfulness for the life she leads but worries about those in her life that she loves most. But both parts are held together with the statement, “Lord, you have search me and known me. Search me oh God, you know my heart.”

I am convinced the only other person that knows our hearts quite like God is our mother at least, that has been the case for me. We are thankful therefore for the mothers or those that mother in our lives. And so as you mediate on this Scripture today, may you be filled with the reality of Joy and Concern. Joy over all the good that the Kingdom of God is bringing to fruition and yet the concern over the ‘not yet’ and how things are still very broken indeed. As you let the Holy Spirit sing this over you, may you hold both in tension, the worries of life and the thankfulness for it. And know that the same God that knit you together in your mother’s womb knows you deeply and loves you intimately. What a gift it is that we are an Open Book to God, but the book is still being written; our story is still being told. May we continue to pursue the God that loves us even more than we will ever know and show others to do the same.