“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.” Psalm 28:7
I have recently been reading from the Psalms. I wanted to read another book of the Bible, but during this time of my life, I found people continuously directing me back to the Psalms. To be honest, Psalms was the last book of the Bible that I would turn to or study. I wanted stories and something “deeper,” but I discovered I was missing out on the power they hold.
Though some days at The Dale can be a little wild, each day also never fails to bring its moments of joy. The longer I’m here the more and more I am feeling a part of this family, and as a result, doing life together feels less like a job and more like a blessing.
Throughout the past few months, I honestly have been struggling with anxiety. It’s frustrating, but there is a lot that God teaches me every time I go through these seasons, and nevertheless, He was doing it again. One Monday this month at The Dale, I ended up having a long chat with a friend from the community. We ended up talking about healing, which is something that I often think about as I read about it in the Bible yet do not encounter it in the same way in my life. I ended up telling her about my struggle with anxiety and right then and there she prayed for healing. I felt so encouraged, my eyes got watery. I had never experienced anyone do that to me, and it brought so much joy in my heart.
After this prayer, I felt ready for anything. I knew times of anxiety would continue to come but I also felt a new confidence that God would take care of me. Since then, each day I try to focus on the many joys around me, rather than the things making life feel heavy.
Here are just two of the many joys that I’ve been experiencing since then.
Last week we had one of our biggest events of the year- and that is the February Feast! The February Feast is a big turkey dinner, similar to one you would see happening around Thanksgiving or Christmas. The Dale originally decided to do their big dinner this month because of the abundance of dinners already taking place during those holiday months, and since February can be a slow and difficult month, it brings something to look forward to!
This was the first one I’ve ever experienced and it was something special. We had an open mic, which gave us the privilege to hear a variety of music, poems, and stories. There was also a community art piece being painted at one of the tables. It felt like such a joyous time, with people hanging out all around the room, and staying late to hear all of the performances. I felt thankful to get to sit and enjoy the night without rushing to clean up. I loved chatting with friends and seeing them perform their songs I’ve heard them tell me a lot about.
This week, as you may already know, is the beginning of lent. For Shrove Tuesday (or as some call it- Pancake Day), some of The Dale church gathered together to go to another church in a nearby neighbourhood to celebrate. I felt so much joy in getting the chance to sit at a long table together, be served some delicious pancakes, and spend time with friends. It was a different experience to not be involved in preparing the meal, but it was freeing to enjoy fellowship as a group.
“When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.” Psalm 94:19