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My Cup Overflows

Updated: Jul 28, 2023

Read:

Psalm 23

The Lord is my Shepherd;

I shall not want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures.

He leads be beside still waters.

He restores my soul.

He leads me in the paths of righteousness

for his name's sake.


Even though I walk through the valley

of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil,

for you are with me;

your rod and your staff,

they comfort me.


You prepare a table before me

in the presence of my enemies;

you anoint my head with oil;

my cup overflows.

Surely goodness and mercy

shall follow me

all the days of my life,

and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.


Romans 8:28

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose.


Remember:

There are times when we are living our best life. We can feel like we're on cloud nine with the circumstances surrounding us and everything seems to be going our way. I must admit, those times are few and far between for most of us and they don't last long for any of us. Circumstances change in an instant, and usually due to things beyond our control.


Many times, the opposite is true in the circumstances of our lives and the pain we suffer, physically or emotionally, can seem too much to bear. How can we hang onto the hope that God is good when He allows so many tragic and painful things to happen to His children? How could my sister (Dianna) lay dying of brain cancer at just 6 years old and repeat the words written by King David in Psalm 23:4-5:


"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil, for your rod and your staff they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;

You anoint my head with oil;

My cup overflows."


She could speak these words, just like David, in the hardest times because she had full confidence that the truth of God is not determined by our circumstances.


God opened my eyes to Psalm 23 in a completely new way last week, as I was writing about my sister. I haven't felt very "overflowing" lately. My migraines have been so debilitating this summer that I've felt like a drag and a burden to everyone around me. I haven't been able to do much of anything with anyone, especially my husband and kids. I push through the pain to get through the basics of caring for my family, our ministry, and preparing for teaching this fall. But any free time I have, or don't have, I've been in my room crying or over the toilet throwing up.

The headache feels sometimes like my brain is on fire inside my skull, other times like it's a ballon being blown up with nowhere to go and threatens to pop any second, and other times, it's like knives are being stabbed into my temples and even to touch the back of my scalp or brush my hair brings on tears. I try my best to stay away from the Texas heat, noise, bright lights, powerful smells, and people which trigger overstimulation and mental exhaustion. On top of all of these challenges, I have to avoid a majority of foods to eat a very specific anti-inflammatory diet, and can't take a lot of pain killers or the usual migraine medicine because of breathing risks with having an 'infant sized trachea' from tracheal reconstruction. It's impossible to know how my body is going to react to them. So, nothing seems to stop the inflammation in my brain while it directs migraines that also manifest themselves as muscle spasms throughout my body.


Reflect:

  • Describe a time of extreme pain in your life.


It's been 24 years and the pain seems to get worse as time goes by, especially when I try to get involved serving God and people in any way. Jesus Christ is my everything and I trust Him in all things. But I have been crying out to Him asking; begging Him to take me home. I'm so worn. The moments get the worst when my flesh completely takes over in all consuming pain. In an instant, my mind can revert back to the time I hated myself the most. It was a place not long after the severe TBI when I lost the ability to control what I said. It stripped me of my emotional intelligence and cognizance of how I acted in front of others. It's in these moments that I really hate everything about my flesh.


Of course I want to live. I want to be with my love and with my kids as they grow. I want to love others for God, I want to share His hope with them, and I want to teach. I love teaching and I love my students. The pain is just so much and lasts for so long. But in the middle of the pain last week He reminded me of the truth, through reflecting on all my sister was in the circumstances of all she went through.


I never thought it was coincidental that Dianna died from a brain tumor that caused inflammation, and I suffered a severe TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) 12 years later that causes inflammation in my brain as well. I know God doesn't allow things by accident. As I read through Psalm 23, I looked deeper. And that's a good thing, as long as I realize God's truth is the truth and I can't change that. God wants us to ask Him questions about who He is and His purposes. Matthew 7:7 says:


"Ask and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you."


Reflect:

  • Looking back can you see a purpose for your pain?


This week, God revealed to me how much the blessing from anointing is deeply, intricately, and intimately intertwined with the pain and suffering from trials we endure. How could Dianna say her cup overflows while she was in the presence of her enemies, at a table God had prepared? And being anointed with oil is supposed to represent a blessing from God, isn't it?


As I researched the act of annoiting with oil, I learned that it was used to symbolically mark someone holy; set apart for a special purpose and blessing by God. As I dwelled on this, I felt the pain in my head suddenly began to feel like oil being poured over me as my anointing the way Dianna's headaches showed God's anointing on her life. The pain I feel does not make me anointed. I am anointed because God chooses the least among us and makes us more; more than conquerers through Jesus Christ, who loves us and suffered all things for us.


Dianna was not annointed because she had brain cancer, God showed me that Diana was anointed because she was chosen by him and surrendered her life to be used for His glory! Her cup overflows still to this day because her life in Christ is still pouring out onto others.

How can brain cancer be a blessing? How could my TBI be a blessing? In the pain, it sure feels like I'm at a table in the presence of my enemies, and they are all laughing:


"Ha, ha, ha... look at her. We've got her down and out for the count now! How pathetic, thinking she could ever be used by God! She is nothing!....."

Those are lies from the pit of Hell. Our enemies haunt us in the midst of our circumstances. But then the soft, gentle, and loving whisper of my Shepherd calls to me with His truth.


"The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me besides still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake."


the truth. The truth is who God is....

It's Jesus Christ making a way and carrying my yoke, my sin, my flesh, my pain so I can rest in Him. God is unchanging, and His ways and purposes will not be stilled. They will all come to pass.


He will make a place for me to lie down and lead me as I get up and walk.

He will lead me in the paths of Jesus' righteousness and cover my flesh with His redeeming love.

He will create in me a clean heart and make me the image bearer of His Son.


John 11:4

"But when Jesus heard it he said, "This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.""


Just like Lazarus and just like my sister, God will use my sickness, for this time, to bring me to life everlasting with Him and He will be glorified through it. I am His and He is everything.


And in all things, in all circumstances; even if it be through the valley of the shadow of death, or through the road of pain unending, and especially in front of the very enemies that try to take me out, He is actually preparing a table before me. It is a table where I will fellowship with Him in all things, as He anoints my head with oil, as His chosen. I will know His love fully as He is my Shepherd and He works all things together for my good and His glory.


The truth overflows from my life.

My pain is not sure, but His truth is secure. My circumstances are changing but His purposes are fixed. My feelings are fleeting but His love is everlasting. Dianna lived this, which is why she could say, " My cup overflows." And I got to know my sister better, even though she has been in the house of Lord for the last 36 years.


God is still using her life as a testimony to His goodness and mercy to this day.


Reflect:

  • Does your cup of life overflow no matter what your circumstances may be?


My prayer now is that through all the pain and the anointing, I will rest in Him and the truth.

My cup doesn't overflow because of the circumstances in my life. My cup overflows because Jesus is pouring truth into my life, no matter what circumstances I face.

He will have the last say, and yes; it will be in the presence of my enemies, who are also His enemies.


...if God is for us, who can be against us?

Romans 8:31


"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."



Pain in this life is short, even if it continues for a lifetime. Eternity however is a long, long time. Do you know where you will spend eternity? Pain separated from God will never end. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life and no one comes to the Father except through Him.
In Him, my cup overflows.




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