Sunday, April 3, 2016

Being Brave

It seems about time for my once a year post, ha. I've run into a few people lately who have asked if we were still adopting. Some have mentioned our four, "maybe one day five" children, and others have asked if we were still adopting.  The answer is yes, we are still adopting. We are still here, still waiting, still postured to receive our baby girl any day. I actually so appreciate being asked, it blesses me that any one would think of Pearl and recognize our longing. After so many years, and so many changes in our adoption story, it can really feel lonely in the waiting, and every mention of her reminds me that we are seen and loved in our longing. So, I wanted to update the blog to bring whoever is still reading this up to date on where we are and thank you for being a part of our journey. There are countless people who have bought jewelry or art, or simply asked for updates, and I cannot begin to express how much I appreciate it. I have learned so much in this journey about myself and about what it looks like to let myself be loved. Each person's interest in, prayers for and support of her story has held us in hope and we are so grateful.

I could fill pages of this blog telling of the countless lessons of love I've learned from the Father in this waiting. I asked him 4 years ago to help me wait well.  I never knew the depth of the well He would dig in my heart as I waited. It has been the most incredible, vulnerable and growing experience I've ever had and I've grown to love myself in process. Permission to love yourself may be the greatest gift any of us could give ourselves and thankfully this journey has helped me step into more of that. I am amazed that a baby girl, whom I've never met, could set me on a journey to find her, and that what would happen after all is that in my search for her I would find myself. There are so many stories to tell, and I hope to have the time to share them all.

Today, I would love to update you on where we currently are in the waiting and to share a bit of what that looks like. We are waiting to be chosen by our birth mother. We've made the detailed profile book, with pages and pages of details and pictures about who our family is. When our agency has birth mothers placing for adoption they view our profile to decide if we are their family, the one they would give the highest honor to in placing their baby into our family. To say that this part of the process is emotional would be the greatest understatement.  We have had months of being shown, about a dozen "she chose another family" answers and what feels like an ocean of tears. But, we have learned what it looks like to love without walls up, and to go 'all in' each time. I've learned that even when I feel disappointed, that God can handle all my emotions, and that he designed me to come to him as I am and be loved by him. I've learned that in his love, being disappointed is very different that feeling disappointed. What I am is my identity, my feelings are not. So I can feel disappointed, but when that disappointment meets God's love, I remember I am his child and with grace I begin to see the truth...that I am hopeful and I am loved. I've learned that it is safe for me to be myself before Jesus, and trust him to be himself back to me.  When He is himself, I know Him as my Living Hope, and I can never be the same.  Its miraculous and its hard and its stretching in ways I cannot express. Each time we have prayed for and fallen in love with a birth mother I have gotten a glimpse into our birth mother's story, and have prayed and wept over her bravery. I've shared my heart on our birth mother here, and quite honestly that could be a whole book in itself.  I wrote that when we were still pursuing international adoption, and now that we are pursing domestic adoption my love for her has grown even more.

When we have received news of not being chosen, time and time again, I have most often been standing in front of my other 4 children. I found myself wanting to be brave for them, to protect them from my hurt and to hold it all together in front of them. I found myself doing the same thing with friends, not wanting them to feel sad for us, and wanting to show them God's goodness by being strong and holding it all together. Turns out that doesn't actually work. A few weeks ago, I was cooking my kids breakfast in the kitchen and I could feel my emotions welling up inside me. I just wanted to get breakfast made and go to my room to fall apart before the father. I prayed "Help me be brave, help me hold it all together"... I felt the gentle but strong voice of the Holy Spirit say "Who taught you that's what being brave looks like?...I did not teach you that..."..I asked what being brave looked like...He seemed to say "Being brave isn't holding it all together, its letting yourself be held by me when you feel like you're falling apart". Being brave is feeling the depths of your emotions so you can feel the depth of joy and hope when He restores it. Being brave is letting ourselves be held and loved in relationship, letting others encourage us and stand with us. Being brave is letting other people sing our Hallelujah until our song returns. Being brave for me has meant continuing to go all in with every birth mother, declaring His goodness over her story, praying for her and believing Gods best for her. Being brave for me has meant refusing to let my circumstance of longing tell me who God is. The gospel, the person of Jesus, his love, tells me the truth not my feelings or my circumstances. In my longing, He is the fulfillment of every promise and believing that when your circumstance tells you other wise is a beautiful thing.

Also, side note here, yes we are also still fundraising. I know right, how is that possible? Well mostly because the painting and jewelry has been extremely therapeutic for me to create and have a tangible way to help bring her home. But also, because adoption is expensive, with legal feels and including the possibility of travel many adoptions can be 30-40K. Not to mention the longer you wait, the more updates to paperwork, clearances, etc are necessary. We have had the privilege to donate art, proceeds and jewelry to other adopting families and I am believing we will continue to be able to do that. It makes my heart so happy. I've shared my heart of fundraising and giving here before. So, yes we will continue to fundraise until she is home.

Thanks for following along in our journey.  I hope to share more of what I have learned in letting Him teach me to wait well. Until then I'll work on being brave, and continuing to wait for our YES phone call, we believe its coming soon! So yes we are still waiting, but we are waiting in hope.

May you be brave today, in whatever you are facing, may you be held and be loved. If you hear anything, hear that you have freedom to feel how you feel, and in letting yourself feel loved I believe He can restore hope and joy in you, that there is no circumstance outside of his sight and width of love for you.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Ours to find

It has been a while. A year actually. So much has happened and I am more in awe of God's plan for our family than ever.  I wanted to update you all on where we are now, and specifically on where we are in bringing our Pearl home. You may want to grab some coffee, and prepare yourself for some run-on sentences :)

A year ago we had not moved spots on the Ethiopia waiting list. I felt like God began to stir in my heart and I had a strong sense that something was changing and shifting. Change is scary for me, but this time I pressed into it all and we prayed about what it all meant. What I felt like God was saying was that there were more children in our family. We began praying about telling our agency we were open to adopting siblings and an overwhelming peace came that told us there were babies, not just a baby coming. In a matter of 3 days, we celebrated what God was up to, shared with some close friends that we were going to talk to our agency about siblings, and another close friend told me that every time she prayed for me 'twins' popped into her mind...I laughed and delighted in thinking maybe Pearl was a twin...then the very next day I found out I was pregnant. That was it, I thought, our twins, one in Africa and one in my belly. Oh, God, you are a funny one. Days later, we received the surprise of our lives to find out we were expecting biological twins.

Our boys came straight from Heaven to us in October.

They have brought more joy and laughter into our home than I could have ever dreamt of. I am learning that a good Father gives you not just what you ask for, but what you did not know you needed. Love found me in a new way when these boys came.

These boys are a double portion of joy indeed. 

So much of my identity was shaped by having two older brothers.  Likewise much of who Rainer is was shaped by having two older sisters. We so thankful that Pearl will have the gift of both two older brothers and two older sisters. She already is one loved baby girl.

Soon after the boys were born God changed the course of our adoption.  I will not go into details in order to honor and protect other Ethiopian adoption families, but for us we felt that God closed that door. I was confused and disappointed to say the least. What I learned is that He is worthy of my trust and my worship even when I do not understand. I went back to when God first put Pearl in my heart, and what I originally felt was that she was our Pearl, our treasure, she was ours to find.  She is a daughter, she is loved and she is of great value, worth searching for.

After much prayer we made the decision to withdraw from the Ethiopia program and transfer to Domestic Adoption. God changed our course and our hearts and we are thrilled to say that once the boys turn one this October we will be eligible to have our family profile shown to prospective birthmothers.  We would love for you to continue to pray with us for our Pearl, for her birthmother and for peace for us as we wait to bring her home. We are looking forward to having all our babies home with us. Many well meaning people have told us to be relieved she isn't home yet because our hands are so full. Yes our hands our full, but our heart is longing for our baby girl to be home, and for our family to be complete. So let me lovingly say to please not tell me to be glad that she isn't home yet, we are ready for her, and my heart has longed for her since God told me of her in November of 2011.

I do not even know how to process and thank the Father that He could have orchestrated all of this, the waiting, the changing of countries, the arrival of Pearl's older brothers, and the continued anticipation of Pearl. I have never been more sure of His goodness, so All I know to do is wait with expectation of great joy. I certainly look forward to the day we hold her and it all makes sense. There is still of course so much unknown about when we will be chosen by our Birth Mother, who/where she is, and so on. We are on the ride of our lives and I am continuing to chose joy and allow myself to be cared for by the Father who is surely taking us to our Pearl, our awaited for treasure.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Trading Faith for Love

We have just heard from our agency that there is no movement again this month. Not that there are no babies that need homes, just no movement in matching these babies with the homes that long for them.

When we began this journey, and still now I hear different forms of the same, “Oh wow, that takes a lot of Faith!” Or, “You must have a lot of faith”…. And honestly I always thought I did. Not in a prideful way, but in an ‘I really trust my heavenly Father way”.  I’ve been ‘faith-ing’ my way through this journey, and ‘keeping the faith’ day after day. That was until recently, when it felt like quite honestly I ran out of faith.

 So I’m coming clean because the truth is I just don’t have enough faith to keep longing for this baby when it feels like she’ll never be home….When my fear feels like a swirling storm, when all it seems like I see are waves, when the wind is louder than His gentle voice. “Keeping the faith” works until it doesn't, until you run out.

Then something interesting happened...God gently reminded me that Fear is not a faith issue. Only Perfect love casts out fear…So, fear is a love issue. No wonder I was feeling so discouraged trying to beat Fear with Faith. I was missing love.

When we know him, when we are loved our faith is the extension of that. Faith is love in action. If/when I run out of faith, I can choose to return to love, His love that grows exponentially. So because His love is enough, I receive until I’m full, and all the faith I thought I needed to muster up, well it’s there wrapped up in love.

 I felt so guilty for running out of faith, and was so relieved to find that his endless supply of love would take care of all the faith I thought I had to prove I had. Which led me to realize I had really misunderstood what having faith looked like in a situation like this. I went back to my original perception of faith. What faith looked like to me was like Peter walking on the water. Basically what I thought happened is that Jesus called Peter out on the water so that Peter could prove his Faith to Jesus. A real ‘lets see what your made of’ kinda challenge. Then when Peter lost faith and started to sink Jesus just pointed out how little faith He had in the first place. I’ve said before that I try to filter my thoughts/Theology though “Does that sound like the truth of a Loving Father/Savior? A Father/Savior who literally paid it all for my healing, my freedom, my wholeness?” Hmmmm, in this case the whole ‘proving the faith that He knew you didn’t have enough of in the first place’ didn’t sound like my kind and loving Savior or Father, so I pulled out my bible and decided to read what really happened.

 From Matthew 14:24-32 as I read it, God really spoke to me.

 24 but the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it
They were against the odds, in a fearful place, a storm, in the midst of waves and against the wind.
 25 During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake
 He speaks to us even in the timing of when He came out to them, while the wind was against them, and in the “fourth watch” of the night, which I’ve been told was the darkest of the night before the light breaks forth. - In their fear he walked out to them. When they felt alone, when the storm was all they saw, the wind was all they felt/knew He came for them. 
 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost, “ they said, and cried out in fear.
They misunderstood His intention, and fear confused them 
 27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
Notice here he said, “Take courage”, if you tell someone to take something it is because it has been made available for them. A price has already been paid by someone else if you are to take it. You can’t earn or work for something someone tells you to freely take. Courage is ours to take, not something we need to muster up. 
28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water”
Jesus did not need Peter to walk out to prove anything to Him.  I had missed the whole point! He was calling him out to be with him. The boat couldn’t hold all that He had for Peter, the realms of possibility, of destiny, the weight of his love. On the water was a place to find Him while being found, a place to walk in relationship, with a hand to guide, as he needed him. He had Peter step out that He may know it was him. He called them out of their boat, their fear into relationship, out to know him. To step towards Him and walk on water with him in glory, in safety, in destiny. - Fear keeps us in the boat. Turns out, It was never about us showing him or proving to him our faith- it was about knowing Him, about a relationship with Him. 
 29 “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.
30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
 31 Immediately Jesus reached our his hand and caught him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt me?”
I love that it says Immediately, He didn’t hesitate to come to Peter’s rescue. -And I now hear him saying “do you not know how loved you are, why did you doubt that my hand would catch you”?
32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.
He joined them where they were, in the boat, in their circumstance, in their fear, and as He climbed in the wind died down. He is walking out towards us, he calls us out into relationship, into trusting Him that we may be loved and then that love produces faith, Trust is out of relationship, Love produces faith.  Then He goes beyond that and climbs in the boat with us. 

I love the patient way God teaches us...You see this wasn’t the first time He was in the boat with them, or the first time He calmed the waves….  A few chapters back, in Matthew 8 a great storm came upon the disciples and Jesus, as Jesus was resting in the boat, unaware of the storm, the disciples cried out for help. Jesus rebuked the storm and calmed the waves. That time He was in the boat with Him the whole time, sleeping, resting safe and secure oblivious of the storm. But because they cried He took action on their behalf to calm the storm. I believe Him sleeping was showing us what faith, what being loved, can look like in the midst of the storm. But in his grace, He’ll even rebuke the waves. The disciples boat was their circumstance, where they were. So later in Matthew 14 we see Jesus approach faith, loving them differently. First (Matthew 8) he was with them amidst the storm, next (Matthew 14) he came out to them, to their boat right to their circumstance. Either way the focus becomes on Jesus being with them, in relationship, loving them, and not on the storm, and the storm calms.

Faith is love in action. It’s knowing and being in relationship with God to the point of trusting Him. It is saying because you love me, I’ll believe you.  Keeping my eyes above the waves is only about keeping my eyes fixed on the author and finisher of my faith. Looking through fear to His eyes and His love.

 I am longing for my daughter, so I’m going to let myself off the hook of trying to get there by faith, and I am going to get there by His love. What are you waiting for, or trying to faith your to/through? Let’s look to love and let our selves off the hook here. In His grace He gives love in proportion to our need. For the faith I need, He gives Love in an excessive manner. And in me being loved, and being found in his presence my Faith grows.

My faith is found in being loved by Him. So I’m trading faith for love and choosing to trust God’s plans for me, and for our Pearl. I’m getting out of my boat of fear and walking towards all Jesus has for me.

After all, This journey to her, this whole journey of life,  isn’t a trial of how much faith we have; it’s a love story.

Now listen to this song, it blessed me so!

p.s. its only taken me 3 months to look into this, but the biblical meaning of the #16, (our waiting list number since November),  is LOVE.  He is a funny one, that God.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Being a Child

We found out this month that we again did not move on the list, still at #16. As we took the news in and I cried sweet Bitty rubbed my back and prayed for us. She said that he knew in the very center of her heart that Pearl was coming home, she also said that Jesus knew exactly what He was bringing us (I found it interesting that she didn't say when, as if the promise is all He sees and all He wants us to see, not the when/the wait). Then she told me that God was ready to take my sadness and put it in the trashcan when I was ready to give it to him, HA! Thank goodness for the ministry of a 5 year old.
I was so encouraged and so moved by her reaction to it all. I realized that waiting looks so different for a child than it does for a mother. There is a trust and a fierce love that Bitty has about the whole process. As a child, as she waits for this baby, she longs for her without the burden of feeling like she needs to know exactly when/how it is going to happen. She is postured as a child, trusting her parents, trusting God to supply all her needs.
Each day as I long for Pearl I am trying to posture myself in a way that is open to God molding me into who I need to be for her, for all my children. Bitty needs different aspects in a mother than Boo needs, and Pearl needs and will need different aspects as well. Lately I've been so overwhelmed by not knowing how to mother a child who lives across the world from me. All the not knowing is frankly at times too much to handle. Especially, when at times it feels like I may never get to her. How do I love her now and meet her needs and keep her safe? The only way I can do that is by trusting my Father to do all of those things for me. If I am going to give these things, this love, this safety this provision to my child, then I first have to receive it. Simply, you cannot give what you haven't recieved. I believe God forms us this way, so we will give only out of the overflow of what He has given us. (I wrote a whole post on that overflow here if you missed that) What I've felt like God is has been showing me and whispering to me over and over is There will come a time when what Pearl needs from you is for you to be a Mother, her mother. What she needs from you now, in the waiting, is for you to allow yourself to be a child. My child.
Adoption is so different, and loving adopted children is so different and so beautiful. I know I have a lot to learn in this area, but I'm learning some now in the waiting. One thing she will need from me, from all of us, is to see how to be loved as our child. She will be placed in our home, quite different from her native land, and we will tell her everyday how cherished she is, how loved she is, that we cannot believe she is ours. We will tell her that she is our daughter. We believe that God will knit us together in a way that only He can do, that she will trust us, allow us the honor of meeting her needs. But with my biological children I've never needed to tell them that they are my daughter, they just know. That is a new step this time. Thankfully, I know what it feels like to be told that I am a daughter. I am learning to receive that love on a spiritual level because I have been scooped up and loved by my Heavenly father and told that He loves me in ways I cannot understand or contain. I have been told that I am His and He is mine, and because I know He loves me, I believe Him.
I belong to Him, Forever I belong to Him. She belongs to Him, forever she belongs to Him.
You are His child first. Quite simply, you are the child of a loving father who delights in providing for you. So many people and occupations and talents have come to mind as I've pondered being a child first... For a surgeon, You are saved before you save lives. For a new mother, you are reborn before you give birth. For a leader, you are a sheep with a fiercely loving shepard before you lead the masses.
I really believe it becomes more simple when we are first loved. Maybe, just maybe what He meant by asking us to have him as our first love was him reminding us to be loved first. And wow, when you see how loved you are you'll fall right back in love with your first love, a King, a Savior, a Father who is mighty.
So for now, I am waiting, but I am letting myself be His child and reminding myself that before I am their mother I am His Child.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

On Being scared, and on giving

In various conversations with Bitty we've discussed things we are scared of. As a parent there are so many times I want to just let her hide under the covers with me, away from the scary world and protect her. But as I love her, I see her courageous spirit rising up and this belief in herself that she can face the very things she is afraid of. In my love for her, I want to help her face those things, because I know that one by one as she is strengthened and the very things that scare her and challenge her are forming her into her full potential. So I encourage her to walk right into those things. But not alone. Her daddy or I hold her hand and walk with her until she is ready to step out freely. And if she turns back and looks at me scared, then I'll grab her hand again and stand with her until she's ready.
I feel much like that in this adoption and in the fundraising to bring Pearl home. I am stepping into the unknown,but my Father is holding my hand.
If He says I am His, and He will take care of me then I'll take Him at His word. His unfailing word. And I'll trust Him to provide.
For those of you who have wondered our estimated cost to bring Pearl home from Ethiopia is about $40,000.00 (which includes taking Bitty with us.) Recently we have felt like God has called us to give proceeds from The Beloved Collection of Jewelry and Art away to other families pursuing adoption. To give to them that they may know how loved they are, that He will provide for them. So,joyfully we just today have given all the proceeds from the Open House to an amazing family bringing their own baby home. Because of this several people have said, "Oh great, so you're raised all your funds for your adoption?!" That is actually not the case. We still have a ways to go before our adoption is funded. We are giving proceeds away simply because He asked us to, I am scared, but He is holding my hand. I'm stepping out in faith because I am trusting Him to provide for us and fill our cup. Let me explain.....
It is never about what we have to give away, or who we need to be...But always about what He has put in us to share. I have to literally picture a glass full of water, and whatever spills over, the overflow can run into someone else's cup. But me loving others, loving my husband, my family, my friends is also about having my cup full. God created me, created you in a way to spill over to others. We each have gifts that bless those around us, but in His goodness I really believe He fills us up first. First we get to be loved by Him. He calls us His Beloved, and in that tells us to Be Loved. When we receive from Him, and are filled, only He doesn't stop there. He keeps pouring out His love on us, when that love spills out to others they are blessed in a way that is only from Him. It is never about what I can give them. These proceeds from jewelry or art have nothing to do with me. I am a vessel, when His goodness spills out, it is His goodness not mine. What an honor that I get to be that vessel in anyway, that I get to behold His goodness.
When I can remember to give, to mother or love out of the overflow it comes easy. It is Him and not me. I am a child first, my job is to be extravagantly loved by Him. When that happens, His goodness can spill over freely, I am not as weary in the tasks of each day, His grace trumps my imperfect love for others. He spills over and every time I'm amazed.
Today I am His daughter, because I am receiving, I am giving.
Moving forward we are asking God how He wants us to give to other adoptions, we plan to have more shows for jewlery and art, and we plan to keep giving back. We will continue fundraising to bring Pearl home, if you want to donate to our fund or purchase art or jewelry as a part of loving our Pearl home, we would be honored. You can click on the donate button on the right of our blog or you can shop our Facebook page here. Also, if you are or if you know someone fundraising for their adoption we would love to know about it and pray about how we might can help!

Thursday, December 5, 2013


Earlier this week we got our December update...There was no movement this month, we are still #16. My initial thoughts were simple No. Movement. Still. Here. After my pity party...I decided He must still have promises for me in Psalm 16. Well promises everywhere actually, but I keep it simple when I'm overwhelmed. Here are the promises I pulled out, and the truths I am clinging to. Psalm 16 The Lord—Our Safe Place in Life and Covering vs. 2 Keep me, O God, for I am safe in You. I said to the Lord, “You are my Lord. All the good things I have come from You.” As for those in the land who belong to You, they are the great ones in whom is all my joy. I am safe in Him. She is safe in Him. All good things I have, all good things I will have come from Him. vs. 5 The Lord is all that I am to receive, and my cup. My future is in Your hands. He is all that I am to receive, meaning my job in this waiting is to be His daughter, to praise my King and allow Him to fill my cup. He fills to overflow. I get to receive Him, to be extravagantly loved by Him. He's got this. vs. 6 The land given to me is good. Yes, my share is beautiful to me. The promise, the beauty is coming in our daughter yes, But its here now in Him. In who He is. vs. 7 I will give honor and thanks to the Lord, Who has told me what to do. Yes, even at night my mind teaches me. Ok this one just made me laugh. Any one who has ever taken a leap of faith based on what they felt lead by the Lord to do, has probably said "I think I made it up". God smiled at me here and reminded me He told us what to do. He told us to go get Pearl. And even better, He goes before us. vs. 11 You will show me the way of life. Being with You is to be full of joy. In Your right hand there is happiness forever. Being with Him is to be full of joy. Joy is who He is. He is mine. Joy is mine. Boom. The verse that stuck out the most... vs. 8 I have placed the Lord always in front of me. Because He is at my right hand, I will not be moved. And so my heart is glad. My soul is full of joy. My body also will rest without fear. I like to think that the Holy Spirit whispered ("no pun intended" after I read 'I will not be moved') That probably didn't happen, but don't ruin that for me, it made me smile. I'm learning that what appears to be happening here on this earth has very little to do with what God might actually be doing. Me not moving, me standing firm on His promises is in the midst of Him moving and aligning people and places to create His perfect will. He never sleeps, He is always moving on our behalf. Strength rises as we wait upon the Lord. Upon Him, Hoping IN Him. What I'm doing now is 'placing the Lord always in front of me'. I once heard a quote that said something like "You can't afford to have a thought in your head (about who you are/about your circumstances, etc) that God doesn't have about you". I'm keeping the Hope of Him always in front of me. When I looked away from my circumstances, from any disappointments, longings, and saw Him. I remembered. I cannot contain, or understand the vast way He loves me. I cannot contain, or understand the vast way he Loves Pearl! I had to remember that my circumstances, are no reflection of His love for me. If a season changes, if a season stays the same His provision, His love is constant. No matter how I feel, or respond to my circumstance, it doesn't change His love for me or who He is. I cannot mess up His love for me. Thank you Jesus! We are #16, which is a miracle, we have a baby in Africa, which is miracle. God is good, He's got this. I am choosing to let my heart be glad, my spirit full of joy. My dearest friend told me this week "God is more passionate about your adoption that you are". What a gift that truth is. So I'm staying there today. Keeping Him in front of me.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Waiting List Update- November

Once again God has exceeded our expectations. We've moved up to #16 and we are so grateful. 

 Psalm 16 Keep me safe, O God, for I have come to you for refuge. I said to the Lord, “You are my Master! Every good thing I have comes from you.” The godly people in the land are my true heroes! I take pleasure in them! Troubles multiply for those who chase after other gods. I will not take part in their sacrifices of blood or even speak the names of their gods. Lord, you alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing. You guard all that is mine. The land you have given me is a pleasant land. What a wonderful inheritance! I will bless the Lord who guides me; even at night my heart instructs me. I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me. No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice. My body rests in safety. For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your holy one[d] to rot in the grave. You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.