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(Photo: WIX)

"He set my feet on the rock, gave a me a firm place to stand, He put a new song in my mouth".

I sang these lines from Psalm 40 on my first album. Recorded in 2011 in the tiny front room-makeshift-studio of my dear friends' home in Katoomba, the melody had come to me in dribs and drabs during a women's retreat earlier that year.

I felt compelled to somehow record the song.

The lyrics were written in ancient times by the Psalmist David or Asaph, I don't remember who, and spoke to me of the reality of pain and suffering that I had already known in my life. I didn't realise that in the years to come, they'd be a great comfort and even more so, a reminder of the truth that Yahweh had gone before me. He had gone before me even in the pain. Even in the depths of despair. Even when I felt like I was in a deep, dark pit. And He would time and time again.

I love the start of Psalm 40. [I've written in bold and italics below to emphasise the truths I am reminded of when I read these words.]

I waited patiently for Yah (God) (HE IS NEAR)

He turned to me and heard my cry (HE LISTENS) He lifted me out of the depths (HE RESCUES ME)

He set my feet on a rock (HE ESTABLISHES ME)

He gave me a firm place to stand (HE MAKES A WAY)

He put a new song in my mouth (HE IS THE GOD OF NEW BEGINNINGS)

Many years after recording that song, I would hear the lyrics over and over in my head in the times I needed it most: while I was waiting in hospital rooms or doctor's surgery's or in the quiet wakeful hours after midnight.

Sometimes during the hardest and most stormy seasons of my life, I truly felt like I'd been dashed upon the rocks. I felt crushed. Due to circumstances beyond my control, I had seasons of overwhelm where NOTHING I could do would seem to affect change. Still, I prayed. I gave thanks. I cried out to God. I wept.

In these seasons, I felt many things.

I felt hopeful but also felt frustrated as doctors did tests and another child was diagnosed with yet another autoimmune disease. I felt ripped off as I missed out on more music festivals that I had dreamed about performing at (before I became too ill) whilst feeling happy for fellow musos who were plugging away at their craft. I felt grateful for our amazing support network of family and friends and still struggled as I walked a path that oft only I could actually walk.

Sometimes all I could feel was the sharp stings from having been smashed upon rocks. Other times I knew that the Cornerstone Rock was the only piece of the puzzle keeping me sane. I knew Jesus, Yeshua, THE Rock, gave me refuge. He covered me over and hid me in the cleft of Himself. These weren't just Biblical phrases: they were real life truths that I lived out and experienced. I had His peace in moments when it didn't make sense to feel at peace. I felt assured of His presence, even when I had good reason to feel abandoned. I knew who I was even when I felt overwhelmed by my circumstances.

In practical terms, I didn't hear an audible voice of God but there were many reminders each day: little things that I know people would probably dismiss as 'coincidences' or even superstitions but to me they weren't. I'd find little love-heart shaped reminders wherever I would go: leaves, pebbles, the froth on my coffee. I would see a sparrow and have the verse, "Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows" (Matthew 10:31) come straight into my mind. When I was feeling the most down, someone would call, text or send me a box of fruit and veg. It would remind me that we were cared about and provided for, our needs looked after before we even needed to ask.

One day I remember feeling very vulnerable and upset when one of our children was receiving a monoclonal chemotherapy treatment in a hospital hours away from the rest of our family. She had been coping well with everything and then out of the blue began to have an allergic reaction to the medication. She started developing hives that tracked across her face making what looked like little mounds on her cheeks stretching up and across her forehead. We called the nurse over who immediately paused her treatment and pushed a button that sent a loud alarm out. One nurse picked up a phone and called the treating haematologist quickly. Another wheeled across a trolley and all of a sudden I knew this was serious. I couldn't stand it. This was on the back of sleepless night, of me having to advocate for treatments for her, of catching her as she collapsed in a bathroom and after she'd had to have had a full-body blood transfusion. I was just at the end of myself. Brett (hubby) stayed in the room and I left to make myself a cup of tea in the little parent's room opposite. As I walked across the corridor and into the space of retreat for parents and carers, the sunlight streamed into my face from the tiny east-facing window and I knew that all would be ok. I can't explain to you HOW or WHY I knew that, but instantly I was reassured that God was with us even in the midst of the confusion and concern. I didn't think everything was going to be magically ok but I knew that even if our circumstances weren't ok, we were ok because He was with us. I sipped my tea in His presence and felt at ease. I was able to return to the room by our daughter's side and had been transformed from frazzled to free by just the gentle reminder of God's presence through a single silent, solitary moment. It was decided that she could continue with her treatment just at a slower rate of infusion and that certainly made the world of difference.

What I am trying to say is that sometimes when life is really ordinary, I feel like our circumstances keep shifting and changing but that The Rock I am standing on is strong and doesn't move. He doesn't change and I know what to expect with Him. His truths are firm and foundational too - He promises to always walk with me and that even though this life-journey I am on feels unstable, He is the opposite. He is ready to be my strength when I am weak and I am able to count on Him to be there for me and with me through the worst of the storms. He listens, comforts me and creates a way for me to get through.

I'll leave you again with the words of Psalm 40 which continue to inspire me:

I waited patiently for Yah (God) (HE IS NEAR)

He turned to me and heard my cry (HE LISTENS) He lifted me out of the depths (HE RESCUES ME)

He set my feet on a rock (HE ESTABLISHES ME)

He gave me a firm place to stand (HE MAKES A WAY)

He put a new song in my mouth (HE IS THE GOD OF NEW BEGINNINGS)

You can listen to this song by our old band Feet on a Rock HERE (credit to Heiko and Lori Altmann for recording, arranging and co-creating with me) x

Lusi x

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