Deputation is an incredible journey. In some ways, I wish every believer could experience it–the way the Lord meets you when you step out in faith and provides in faith-building ways; the incredible relationships you build with others in the family of God; the precious way our loving Lord ministers to your heart when you are overwhelmed–it’s such a wonderful growing season.
But growth always comes with growing pains. Those growing pains look different for everyone. We started deputation with a three-month-old baby. Just four months later, we found out God had blessed us with another child!
Even in the midst of blessing, it is easy to focus on the negative. For me, it was difficult listening to my babies cry as we strapped them in their car seats for yet another long drive. My girls were in several new nurseries a week, and so they caught minor colds often. I was a new mother, with all the insecurities and (let’s be honest!) hormones that comes with it.
The Lord did not leave me during this time, even though my thoughts as we buckled in our babies may have reflected ungratefulness or worries. He is always so merciful and gracious to us! He gave me a psalm I could hold on to during this time, and it helped me have victory as we finished our deputation journey. I understand this is not the primary interpretation of this passage; these are simply practical ways I applied these verses. My prayer is that this psalm might help other mothers who may be struggling with the same challenges.
How amiable are thy tabernacles, O LORD of hosts! Truly God’s house is the most pleasant place to be! When we focus on this, it allows us to enjoy visiting these “tabernacles.”
My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God. Our heart and our flesh are desperately wicked. They will be weary on deputation. How do we combat this? We need the living God!
Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O LORD of hosts, my King, and my God. Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee. Selah. These verses helped me the most. The psalmist is reflecting on the mother birds that have chosen to build their nests and hatch their young in the temple and wishes he too could live in the house of God to raise his family. This convicted and refreshed me as we had moved out of our home to begin deputation. What a joy to realize that even though my babies did not have their own little nursery, I had the blessing of raising my children in the house of God surrounded by God’s people! They could grow up at the altar of the Lord.
Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them. Our happiness only comes when our strength is in the Lord. If we try to do our pre-field ministry in our own strength, we as mothers will be weary in well doing.
Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools. They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God. Have you faced difficulty on the deputation trail? Don’t quit; dig a well! Draw from the victory you already have in the Lord to overcome those obstacles! You will enjoy the waters you find there for years to come. Three months in to deputation, we lost my father unexpectedly to cancer. We were told we miscarried our baby in a hospital in Florida only to discover a few weeks later that she was still with us. The Lord brought us through those times and added to our faith for the challenges ahead. He will do the same for you, dear mother!
O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer: give ear, O God of Jacob. Selah. Behold, O God our shield, and look upon the face of thine anointed. How sweet of the Lord to emphasize how much we need to pray on deputation. Are you anxious all those hours driving on the road? Pray. God Himself is your shield! Are you nervous before you speak or serve publicly with song or offertory? Pray. Is it difficult to train your children on the road under such watchful eyes? Pray.
For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness. For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. O LORD of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee. We do not give up anything to serve the Lord. We have traded dwelling in the tents of the wicked to dwell in the courts of Almighty God when we follow the Lord in obedience. He will not be beholding to us. He sees those things we may be tempted to think we have left behind and He says He will not withhold any good thing from us. We cannot be more faithful to God than He is to us. He rewards. We can trust Him.
If we as mothers can keep this perspective on deputation, we can look back at it as some of the happiest days of our ministry. Godspeed, my friends, as you travel and serve the Lord!5