Step-by-Step: Walking in Line

Cadence

Step by step rhythm

Flowed around me

I was floundering

Flipping

Feet-tripping

Marching Band season

Called me joining

I was engaging

Entrancing

Heart-lifting

The years tick-tocked

Music and rhythm

I finally was moving

Marching

Mind-dancing

And the Spirit breathed

Wind of God

I was stepping

Soaring

Soul-syncing

Holy Spirit carry me

Step by step

Marching in line

Tick-tocking

Daily in You.

–bg

This past autumn I had the privilege of watching not one, but five, of my nieces and nephews and dear friends’ children, excel with their high school’s marching band. It seems that in many places marching bands have fallen out of favor, eclipsed by the showier sports. (Was it always this way?) But I took great joy in following these young students as they committed themselves to a sport/music/program/activity that defies being placed in a single category.

I know because I was part of that nameless category over 40 years ago. And while my family asked questions about my memories, and photos buried too deep to uncover, it wasn’t until this Scripture popped up in my Devotions that I heard God calling me to explore those memories further:

“Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep step with the Spirit.”

Galatians 5:25

The Greek meaning for that phrase, “keep step” is what set my mind to remembering. Follow this link to the Biblehub website to find this meaning:

4748 stoixéō (from stoixos, “a row, line, or rank“) – properly, walk in line, in strict accordance to a particular pace (“stride”); walk in cadence, “keep in step.”

Helps Word-Studies

~~~~~~

The young, chubby clarinet player fell behind at every practice. The Squad Leaders called out in frustration, “What is your problem? Why can’t you stay in step?” The clarinet player did not have an answer. Playing the notes while standing and moving around the field was hard enough. Even the hours of practice on the Band Camp field didn’t seem to make a dent in her progress.

She went home determined to learn. In the same way that her old clarinet was a puzzle to others, her inability to grasp the rhythm was a puzzle also. So she marched around her yard and her friend’s yard (the same one who climbed the willow tree with her in their younger days.) Left, right, left, right, … over and over again until she began to feel the words within the notes she played.

There came a day, and she couldn’t even remember when it happened, that the rhythm had etched itself onto her legs and into her mind. The music and the movements joined together, and she was flowing with the group. The years passed, and unbelievably, she became a Squad Leader. When a new recruit who could not stay in step joined the ranks, she remembered. And she waited. It would come, the rhythm would wrap itself around the new one’s heart also.

~~~~~~

As the story flowed through my memory, I heard the Spirit blow His breath across my weary limbs. Where I felt so clumsy and out of step, He whispered gently,

Let me set the rhythm. Left, right, left, right … I will set the pace for your movement. I will carry you with the melody being sung over you here.

But I doubted the Spirit’s whisper when I sat in the Rheumatologist’s office last week. My Doctor suggested another re-trial with a medication. It had been the only medication that had ever affected this disease. He felt that because it had been over two years since I had to stop using it, perhaps my body was ready to receive help from it again. So, I was not too reluctant to try it again, until he mentioned the words, “an infusion this time.”

I knew that I had let fear take root in my heart. It wasn’t just the many medication failures, (24 of them in fact,) but new fears had been added in this last year. I had even voiced the fear to my husband earlier in the day:

Hallucinations, raging violent thoughts, crushing body pains, and side effects too numerous to count are not what I want to face. I don’t want to face any of that ever again.

But I could not ignore the prompting of my dear Savior. He had called me to move in step with Him, to trust Him with my fears. He wanted to set the pace for me, He wanted to lead, but I wanted to withdraw from the dance.

How could I receive His comfort and His sweet leading if I refused to join in with Him?

The significance of my #Oneword “WITH” was being made fresh again, here in my own place of fear and weakness.

So I will pick up my feet that seem so clumsy to me.

Here’s my heart again, Jesus. Lead the way, and I will follow in the rhythm that You have ordained for me. I will lean in close, hearing Your voice,

Left, right, left, right …

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:10 NIV

Have you heard a whispered breath flowing over a fear in the path set before you?

I would love to pray with you, as together we place our fears before Him:

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your eyes that see us. We are amazed that You would plan to carry us, to uphold us, and to lead us on Your own pathway. We confess that our fears about our weaknesses hold us back from joining in with You. Will You call us more closely to Your heart? Will You take our fears as we lay them at Your feet? We want to hold onto You as You lead us along this step-by-step journey. We want to join You, following in step with YOU.

In Your name we pray,

Amen.

(Photo by Margarida Sanchez on Unsplash)

I am linking with: #TellHisStory

27 thoughts on “Step-by-Step: Walking in Line

    1. Dear Mandy,
      It’s just one more way our pasts connect with each other! God is so good to bring such sweet connections. I am continuing to pray for you this month, Dear Friend! xoxo

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  1. Oh Bettie, you have no idea how much this blessed me, especially your poem and prayer and the song. Tears pool in my eyes. Ever since I read this post this morning, my heart has been reflecting on that verse about walking in step with the Spirit. Oh, how I long to do that. And these words:
    “Holy Spirit carry me
    Step by step
    Marching in line
    Tick-tocking
    Daily in You.”
    Amen!
    Thank you for sharing this, also the outcome of your appointment. I cannot imagine the fear that gripped you when the doctor mentioned “infusion.” My heart aches for you, my friend. May God give you strength and lead you step by step, carrying you through whatever lies ahead. And may He bless the means to give you relief rather than suffer from side effects. May He fill you with His perfect love that has the power to cast out all fear!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Dear Trudy,
      Oh, you have brought tears to my eyes tonight, knowing that the Lord met you here also, just as He met me. It is such a miracle that He would allow us to move in rhythm with Him. It is still such a mystery to me, and yet, that is exactly what He is asking of me here. He sees the fear that seems to run rampant in me, and yet He still calls me to trust Him. What a precious Savior we have! You are in my prayers also, Dear Friend. May He bless you as you move to step with Him also. I appreciate your prayers, and I’m clinging to this tonight: “May He fill you with His perfect love that has the power to cast out all fear!” Love and Hugs and Blessings to you! xoxo

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Beautiful post. I have to wonder, though, does God want you to step with him while taking the medication or maybe while exploring other options? It’s really hard to know. I know I’ve walked away from medications suggested to me, turned toward natural efforts and have found some relief from the effect of hypothyroidism, but now I am left with such a high weight gain and a struggle to get it off. It’s so hard to know what way God is directing us. I pray you know what’s right to do and I’ll be praying the medication works if that is the path you take! thank you for the beautiful prayer! I loved your memories of marching band because I was very tired out as a kid (later found out I had a heart condition) and the band director refused to let me be in concert band if I couldn’t be in marching band. He apologized to me, but not until six years later during my last week of high school before I graduated. It stunk, but I guess God didn’t mean for me to be in marching band 🙂

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    1. Dear Lisa,
      Oh I am so sorry about your experience with band. But what an amazing thing to have that teacher apologize to you! I always feel like apologies are a rare gift. And yes, God’s ways are higher than ours, aren’t they? So many things we don’t understand. And thank you so much for your prayers and thoughts. I have tried many natural efforts also, and still use many of them now. But they haven’t seemed to bring the help necessary either. So I just keep taking it one step at a time, resting and saying no to things when God says to do that, and to be willing to try medications when He says that also. I appreciate your honesty and prayers so much, Dear Friend! I’m continuing to pray for you too. Blessings and love to you!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Julie,
      Thank you so much for your precious thoughts and prayers, dear sister. I’m so glad that God keeps us moving with Him, step by step through these journeys. And I’m so glad we can keep praying for each other. I will let you know when anything gets scheduled. Love to you too!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Melissa,
      Oh, what a precious gift when God lets us share in His comforts with each other! Thank you for sharing encouragement with me. It means so much to me! Love and Blessings to you this night!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Lynn,
      Thank you so much for your continued prayers! I’m praying for your healing also, dear friend. Our Lord is so present in the nudging and the inspiration to follow His rhythm. Oh, that I would remember to keep listening for His good urging!

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  3. Oh, dear friend, this is so moving. Tears spring to my eyes and my heart aches for the pain and the fear you carry, which I can strongly relate to. Your faith is constantly being tried and tested but the gold it is producing is clearly evident here. Your heartwarming story, beautiful poem and prayer are an inspiration and joy to read, despite (or maybe because of?) the harshness of the hard you’ve had to endure and the sweetness of your love for God and heart’s desire to follow wherever He leads.
    Your thoughts about marching and keeping the rhythm going put me in mind of part of Matthew 11: 28-30 in The Message version: “I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
    Our walk of faith takes us over hostile territory sometimes, but whether we’re marching boldly or walking timidly, God reassures us of His constant presence, and His ability to take us to and bring us through these testing terrains. Keep on keeping on, beloved Bettie, because Jesus is with you and so are we, cheering you on every step of the way! You’ve got this! Blessings, love and hugs. xoxo ❤

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    1. Dear Joy,
      Oh I love that image you have painted here, of the hostile territory in which we find ourselves sometimes. What a blessing to remember that He is taking us right through these testing terrains. Thank you for the encouragement of understanding and inspiration that you share with me. I love that passage from Matthew in The Message translation. I had not thought of it in connection with these passages that I shared today, though. What a gift! It’s a prayer that I have often asked God to reveal to me: “How do I find that balance? I don’t have it within me to know what that means to find Your unforced rhythms of grace.” But, oh, He knows, doesn’t He? And He uses the very thing we think we should avoid in order to teach us His own ways. Thank you so much dear friend, for your sharing your heart with me. You have brought tears to my eyes also. Love, hugs and blessings to you too. xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Dear Bettie, it’s often hard to remember that whatever God brings us to He also takes us through. Because being in the messy middle of something can feel very much like the end. And I get stuck as well on how to live in a balanced way within those rhythms of grace. The “unforced” nature of them suggests we are supposed to surrender and rest, on the inside at least, confident that God has got this and got us as well. It frequently turns out that God “uses the very thing we think we should avoid in order to teach us His ways.” Thank you for enlarging on my pondering and adding insights of your own. What a gift it is to be able to support each other on our journey of faith and living with chronic illness! xoxo 💜❤

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  4. Dear, sweet friend! How I hate to think of you going through those awful side effects, but I know you are in the palm of our Savior’s hand, and He is going to see you through. That verse surely has come to mean so much to both of us, hasn’t it? It is funny that you shared it here on your blog, then you and I both saw it again on the Bible study. God is surely wanting to reinforce to both of us to NOT fear. God, help us. Praying for you and trusting alongside you in this difficult season.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Cheryl,
      What a blessing God brings to us through His Word! And what a blessing to join in that online study with you, my dear friend. I am so grateful that we can pray for each other in these places where fear seems to loom so large over us. But God is “surely wanting to reinforce to both of us to NOT fear. God, help us.” Amen. Love and hugs and blessings to you!

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    1. Dear Lisa,
      I’m so grateful that the Lord feeds us, and keeps us dancing even when the despair does threaten us! He knows just the right ways to come alongside and hold us up, doesn’t He? This week has continued to be hard, but Jesus has stayed so close. I know that all of the prayers are such a big help! May you be blessed with a beautiful weekend!

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    1. Amen!! I love those verses from Isaiah, seems like I say that a lot, though! But His Word is such a true guide for us. He truly will give us the rhythm. Thank you dear sister for your sweet thoughts today. xo

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  5. My oldest son was in the marching band and I loved being a “band parent” watching him perform. I also know the hours involved in practicing to get it “just right.” The best dance I have ever been part of is the one where I allow God to lead me in the ways I should go. You have the gift of this same dance as the Father draws near to you in your journey of illness and healing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Mary,
      Oh, I am glad you understand all of the behind the scenes hours of practice that Marching Band requires! Thank you for being such a great Band-Parent! I am so grateful for all of your encouragement in this dance that we are in with our Father. He truly is so gracious to keep calling us close and leading the way for us. Blessings to you this weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Beautiful Bettie, may the rhythm of God’s comfort, love & peace wrap around you as you march to the beat of His drum…
    “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans of welfare not catastrophe, plans to give you a future full of hope…” Jer 29:11
    Bless you,
    Jennifer

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Jennifer,
      Amen, thank you for sharing that precious Scripture. He truly does have such a beautiful purpose and future ahead for us, doesn’t He? Even as the days grow harder, He is right here to bring us HIS own dear hope. I pray for blessed hope and comfort for you through this season also dear friend!

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