“The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places…” Psalm 16:6
I was living a beautiful life. Married to the man I love–my best friend–for over 30 years, two wonderful children, a sweet extended family, a loving church family, and precious friends. We were enjoying a comfortable home with a comfortable income from work we love. And we were blessed to travel and minister together.
It was an enjoyable life. It was a “pleasant place.”
And then…suddenly, it wasn’t.
A Pleasant Place?
In my mind and heart this wasn’t a part of the plan. My husband wasn’t supposed to be lying unconscious in an ICU barely clinging to life. And yet, he was.
Psalm 16:6 somehow didn’t seem to fit my experience anymore. Lord, how is this a pleasant place? My husband may not wake up. And if he does, will he ever be the same? Will he be able to work? Will he know who I am?
Those difficult days three years ago were the beginning of a very different way of life for us.
Yes, David did wake up, and he did remember me. But he didn’t remember much else…at least for a few weeks. They said it would take some time for his brain to heal. They gave us hope but were cautious about promising a full recovery.
Fast forward one year–the point we realized some things just weren’t coming back. Clear speech, keen memory, and quick thinking were not returning. Neither was David’s stamina. He had difficulty using his hands. His reactions were slow. And we were told this would likely be the new norm.
Funny…these were the very things a professor needed.
It’s been almost two years since my sweet husband realized he could no longer do the work he so loved.
But there is something about facing the fearful things that allow us to see things in a new way. Our focus changes. We view life from a different perspective.
For us, we became desperate for God. And the more we reached out for Him, the more He picked us up and wrapped us in His loving arms.
His loving arms. Ah, yes! This is a pleasant place.
A New Focus–Our PORTION
My seminary wives group is studying Psalm 16 this year. And I have come to love this Scripture:
“LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” – Psalm 16:5-8
“My portion” is also mentioned in Lamentations 3:24:
“I say to myself, ‘The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.’ The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him.”
God is my portion. Indeed.
So David and I have chosen this as our focus word for 2016–PORTION.
It may sound like a strange word to choose. But God has already been revealing to us the impact this word has on our daily lives. Just look at these truths:
God is our portion. (He is our everything…and He is enough.)
“I cry to you, O LORD; I say, ‘You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.’” – Psalm 142:5
God portions out our life, our years, our days. (He has created time for us.)
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.” – Ecclesiastes 3:1
God helps us portion what He has given us (time, abilities, possessions, relationships) so it all fits perfectly into His plan.
“The LORD directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?” – Proverbs 20:24 (NLT)
God provides our portion just as we need it (like manna in the wilderness).
“And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:19
Seeing with New Eyes
David and I live a different life now. Our home is smaller and our money is tighter. Travel is rare. David can no longer work. And some days are just a struggle for him in everyday tasks. To be sure, we’ve lost a lot of what we knew as “pleasant places.”
In the world’s eyes, our circumstances may seem unfortunate. But in God’s eyes–and in ours–our circumstances are a blessing.
God “woke us up” from our comfortable little life. It has changed how we view everything. It has had a powerful impact on how we relate to each other and to God. And it has made us treasure our relationships with family and friends even more.
Life is different. But life is sweeter. God has made it so.
Without these changes, we would have gone on in our comfortable little existence. We would have continued with our inward focus, seeking what the world calls a pleasurable life. We would have never experienced the overwhelming love and support of our family and friends as we went through those dark days–a gift we’ll never forget. And we never would have started this blog and been blessed to share the wonders of God with you.
With the struggle, we are learning to be thankful for everything. To treasure each moment, each relationship, each blessing. And this gratitude fills our lives with joy.
Every day is a new adventure. It is God’s precious gift–His daily portion of a life lived for Him and with Him. And whatever He gives us this day falls in pleasant places. For HE–our Portion–is here.
Embrace all the Lord has for you, sweet friends, and live in the pleasant places of His love.
David and I are excited about what God will show us this year as we focus on this one word. Have you and your spouse chosen one focus word this year? We would love to hear about it. Please leave a comment below. It’s always interesting to hear what y’all are doing and pray for you by name.
Sabra Penley is a simple wife, mom, and soon-to-be grandma who loves the Lord. Her delight is encouraging other women and sharing the beautiful truths of God. She and her husband, David, write about marriage and living the godly life at simplyoneinmarriage.com.
This article was originally posted at simplyoneinmarriage.com.