When Psalm 23 Became… My Story!

Psalm 23

A psalm of David.

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 
    He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters, 
    he refreshes my soul. 
He guides me along the right paths 
    for his name’s sake. 
Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley, 
I will fear no evil, 
    for you are with me; 
your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; 
    my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
    forever.

New International Version (NIV)

This Psalm keeps coming up and I can’t put it down.  If you were to read between the lines, it is beginning to tell my story…the journey of my life in the last 2 years.  As I read it now, it goes something like this…

Psalm 23

A psalm of David.

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 

(God gave this specific word to me through a friend the other night–reminding me that through this season of moving and transition,  HE is my Shepherd–guiding me, protecting me,  holding me in His arms, showing me which way to turn,  directing my steps, providing so that I really don’t lack one single thing.)
    He makes me lie down in green pastures,

(Uh…this would be the word He gave to me right after I found that cantaloupe-sized ovarian cyst growing in my abdomen and had to literally “lie” down for a few months in rest after that was surgically removed so that …
he leads me beside quiet waters, 
    he refreshes my soul. 
He guides me along the right paths 
    for his name’s sake. 

He could quiet my chaos–refresh my soul in His presence –give me His peace — guide me in a new path He had for me — redefine my “ministry” — and put His  identity on my life instead of the one I had labeled myself with.)
Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley, 
I will fear no evil, 
    for you are with me; 
your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.

(Now don’t go all funeral on me here!  This isn’t just for the dying — this is for the living and breathing soul as well — I found that I could have  a “dark valley” many, many times in life !  It may have felt like a shadow of death thing but it kept coming over and over and I’m still alive as best I can tell !  God has shown me that even in those darkest hours when it seems someone has turned the light off and there are no windows in the room, I don’t have to fear any evil–God is with me and I can trust His rod and staff to grab hold of me and pull me out to the light.)

You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies.

(While sitting on my deck with a dear friend enjoying good food and drink, He spoke these very words to me.  Even when all trouble seemed to hover around me, He lovingly prepared a table of good food and sweet friendship right there in the middle of all the mess of life around me.)

You anoint my head with oil; 
    my cup overflows. 

(Oh…this is how I felt over this last weekend — as friends  gathered to bless me and my family and share their love and prayer over us before  our big move–I was anointed with the oil of gladness and my cup was overflowing with grace — real grace — lots of grace…undeserved but overly appreciated !

Surely your goodness and love will follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
    forever.

(Wherever I go, He goes with me– that’s for certain.  I don’t have to leave God behind or worry that He won’t know how to get to my new house.  I may be following Him but He’s following me as well…Shepherding me all the way …not missing a step…His presence goes before me, behind me and all around me…hemming me in!  )

And I just have to wonder — do you see yourself  between the lines of this Psalm as well?   If you were to re-read this Psalm, would something seem to jump off the page of this story and merge right into the story of your life?  Could it be that something written over 2,000 years ago might just have my name on it… and your’s as well?  Have you  felt that need to snuggle up under the arm of the Shepherd and let Him carry you for awhile? … or have you wondered why He made you lie down with that illness or surgery or circumstance that  brought the normal activity of your life to a screeching halt –completely out of your control?… or are you feeling the quiet waters wash over you and your soul being restored and refreshed? …or are you in that valley and the  shadow of death seems to lurk over you and you feel you’re going to suffocate ?  …or were you scared of His rod and staff until you realized that’s what keeps you from drowning in your own mess or sorrow? …or have you already seen the feast prepared before you –even in the middle of the mess? … and you feel someone just poured a bucket of joy right over your head and your cup wasn’t big enough to hold it all!

Read it again. See if you don’t see something new right there in the white spaces.  Write your own psalm — a parenthesis in Psalm 23–and as that “cup overflows”,  would you possibly let it overflow right over to us as well?

The Lord is my Good Shepherd

The Lord is my Good Shepherd (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


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11 thoughts on “When Psalm 23 Became… My Story!

  1. Pingback: Table Near My Enemies: Psalm 23:4-6 | Psalmslife.com

  2. hello to our sweet Joy– this took me back to the little sweet girl i met in the late (60″) at fait baptist chruch & school.I was a 29 yr old mother of 3 children then & now i am a 73 yr old grandmother of 4 grown grandchildren.we ( my husband /bohdan kramm & I will be praying for u & your family as u adjust to your new home in al.i wanted u to know how much this has touched my mind,body & spirit at a time when i sure needed it.

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  3. ps! wanted to let u know i married when god gave me a second chance 24 yrs ago to the sweetest husband ever.we have both been sick & moved to bailey manoe clinton sc 6 yrs ago to have help taking care of our selves.i have had lupus for over 2o yrs.
    bohdan & phyllis kramm

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    • Wow !!! It was so good to hear from you — Miss Phyllis, as we say in the south 🙂 . Thank you so much for your sweet and encouraging words to me. It’s amazing how God weaves our lives back together again. Sounds like you’ve had some huge blessings in your life and also some challenges too ! Praying for you during this season of your life. Please pray with me for God to reach out to many through this… Love you ~ Joy

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  4. i will pray w/u joy & ask god to lead us, but i said to my husband yesterday that i needed a fresh word from the lord & started reading my bible ( as he uses that most of the time) but he used your words to give me strengh to feel i can keep going.we r facing my husband looseing

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  5. could not finish) all mobility soon.that had me needing encouragement (of the kind) i got from your blog & more.i now have Peace that flooded my soul through u.love u

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    • I’m humbled at God’s grace in all of this . So glad He used this to encourage you Phyllis ! Just talking to my Mom yesterday and reminded that as long as we’re breathing, God still has work for us to do here on this earth ! Your words to me are God’s grace through you ! Thank you ! May God bring that inner healing and refreshing to you and your husband and a sense of His purpose for you — we still need you guys you know !!!

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      • thank u joy & i sure wish i could visit your mother but my immune system is very weak now & i can”t eat in our dining rm.say hello to her & i love her next time u talk w/her.i thought i read something about u having surgery for a tumor but could not get back to it, can u tell me how to? & would it be ok if i share one of the blogs w/terri & lynn b/c they love u so much
        love & blessings to u

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  6. Phyllis — absolutely …share anything that you think will help ! I had a benign ovarian cyst the size of a cantaloupe !!! Thank God it was not cancerous but the surgery was quite an ordeal for me and my body !! All is well —

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    • thank u joy, i know it will be a blessing b/c terri was in a coma for 6 days in 2008 & has had a lot of health problems since.am very happy u did not have cancer & feel this is a ministry w/the way u blog.love u

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  7. Pingback: When You Need to Hear the Good News Before the Bad News | a life-giving moment

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