I have been attending a women's only bible study for more years than I can count on one hand. Although the group of women changes over time, and sometimes the entire group changes as I've changed churches, I wouldn't trade this female fellowship for anything. If you are a woman reading this, and haven't ever studied God's word and shared your life with other women on a regular basis, I would encourage you to do so. You will be encouraged, lifted up and reminded that you're not the only one experiencing your struggles, doubts or hardships.
Which leads me to the topic of this post - in the Beth Moore study Stepping Up, a Journey through the Psalms of Ascent I learned something that struck a chord in my heart for this journey of motherhood that I recently embarked on. Before this study I was completely unaware that there was even a grouping of Psalms identified as the Psalms of Ascent; during my study of these 15 Psalms, chapters 120 through 134, I learned that they were a group of songs sung by Jews on their pilgrimage to the Three Great Feasts. As modern day Christians we too are on a pilgrimage, maybe not to the earthly Jeruselum, but a pilgrimage nonetheless. Since we are headed to the heavenly Jeruselum our hearts and minds need to be of the mindset that we are NOT stuck in park. We are not living static lives. We are on the way to somewhere. Figuratively AND literally. And God cares about how we live as we travel from here to there.
I don't know about you, but have you ever felt stuck in a situation or relationship? Have you ever felt suffocated by your circumstances, feeling like things are never going to change or improve? I'm not saying that is how I feel about motherhood but I will say I feel stuck sometimes. I get in the mindset where I focus on single moments that tend to be really challenging or difficult and I feel like I am making no progress or as if things are never going to change. Maybe it's a day where I feel unappreciated or buried in dishes and diaper changes. Whatever it is though, I can't seem to focus on the fact that I am still on a journey to the heavenly Jeruselum and God cares about the life I live, moment to moment. And that is why I was so encouraged by this study - my journey matters to God. He cares how I live my life and I need to remember that I am not stuck. I am on a journey and God is not looking for perfection out of me; He created me and knows that I am a broken vessel that makes many mistakes. He is looking for a sincere heart and someone who loves Him and seeks to live my life more like Him everyday. And like any trip, the hard times will pass. There will be better days ahead. I don't know about you but that encourages me to remember to look forward to those days.
 What joy for those whose strength comes from the Lord, who have set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jeruselum.  When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs. The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings.  The will continue to grow stronger, and each of them will appear before God in Jeruselum.