Several winters ago, we had a new puppy named Cisco.  He of course needed to be taken outside every couple of hours, regardless of the weather.  I remember taking that cute bundle of black fur out to our backyard at night.  It was so very cold!  I remember my feet crunching on the icy snow, Cisco gingerly exploring the ground, sniffing here and there.  I remember every night looking up at the myriad of stars above—for some reason, the stars always seem extra bright and clear on cold winter nights.  I remember feeling the frigid air fill my lungs and then seeing my breath vapor, white in the black night.  It was so still, so quiet.  Somehow the greatness and nearness of God seemed to be in the very air about me.

I remember thinking, This is good for the soul.

Since then, that phrase has stuck with me.  Often I will experience something or think of something, and then it comes to me: This is good for my soul.  I am sure the list of things that are good for our souls is endless, but just for these few moments, I would like to meditate on this list, these things that are good for my soul:

o       God’s Word…living and active, strengthens me in my inner being

o       Prayer on my knees…especially when I do not feel like it; I always get up off my knees blessed

o       Frustrations of all shapes and sizes…time to live out my Christianity

o       Taking time to really look at the cloudsThe heavens proclaim the work of His hands…

o       Body aches, pains, sickness…make me realize how very frail I truly am, and help me focus on my eternal home

o       Being overlooked, under-appreciated, not noticed…enough said

o       Being seen, appreciated, noticed with love…enough said

o       Living in a foreign land…reminds me that this world is not my home, and of where my true citizenship lies

o       Hugging a child, hearing a child laugh, just looking at a child…all beautiful

o       Being served and receiving, instead of giving…so humbling…so good…

o       Saying “I’m sorry”

o       Worship with songs of praise

o       Worship with dirty hands of service

o       Food and rest…refreshment from above

o       Short nights and long days…running to the Living Water

o       Late-night talks with my Dad

o       Old books

o       Fasting…the hunger makes me feel so weak, so needy…so empty…

o       Laughter

o       Tears and the tragedies of this world…we are not home…sin is real…this world is fallen

o       Unanswered prayers …(or at least the ones that seem unanswered) build my faith

o       Answered prayers…build my faith

o       Stillness

Of course, in light of Romans 8:28, everything is good for our souls, as the Lord brings it into our lives.  Yet somehow it is good to think on the some of the specific things and ways the Lord works on my soul.  He is the potter.

I praise you, Potter!  I love you, O Lord my Strength!

Be at rest, once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.

Psalm 116:7