Learning from Psalm 71

God, you have taught me from my youth, and I still proclaim your wondrous works.

Psalm 71:17

I could not count the lessons He has taught me in the last 22 years. God was working on me for a long time prior to that, too! He had patience with me, bearing with my mistakes and weaknesses. He blessed me with a wonderful wife, beautiful children, and a joy-filled, harmonious family. Learning His ways were a key element in my growth.

He taught me how to be married. I loved being married. I loved being married to Jana. There was no “ball-and-chain” feeling in our relationship. She was my best friend, ever. I have never met anyone in my life who complimented me as well as Jana did. But, I still had to learn how to be her husband. These lessons started before the “I do’s” were ever uttered! We were taught, sometimes through trial and error, how to successfully blend our lives into a marriage that honored God. Were it not for Jana’s death, we would still be learning how to honor the Lord with our married lives.

He taught me how to be a father. I really had no idea how to go about “parenting” when we began. Jana’s heart and my logic were the prevailing themes for many of the decisions that we made. We built our rules and boundaries on God’s word and expected everyone in the house to adhere accordingly. We all, for the most part, happily complied. My lessons continue in fatherhood. I am thankful for my daughters and appreciate the lessons I have learned as God uses them to teach me.

You caused me to experience many troubles and misfortunes, but you will revive me again. You will bring me up again, even from the depths of the earth.

Psalm 71:20

I have learned through loss. In 2005, Jana and I experienced the loss of a son, Grayson, through his still-birth. Jana went through labor, the week of his due-date, and we held him for a short time after delivery. Some lessons following this event in our lives were learned, other lessons were pushed off for another day. We continued to discuss and sort out our feelings toward the loss of Grayson for years…including the week Jana died.

I am learning in grief. Now, I am working diligently to grow in the Lord and follow His lead as I step through my new life without Jana. Some days I actually take steps forward and realize new understandings of God’s goodness. Other days, I learn more about the depths of my sorrow, and what being utterly depressed feels like.

He will carry me. He will, and has, brought me up from the pit. I have been there. I have no other salvation, no other redemption, no other one to ask for peace… God, alone, deserves all the praise I can give. God, alone, is whom I am dependent on.

My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to you because you have redeemed me.

Psalm 71:23

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