2017. For me, it has come in like a hushed whisper and continued like a gentle breeze. Life has been quiet and peaceful the past few weeks. I've found myself with time to be still...time to take inventory...time to evaluate and think about what really matters. I've prayed a lot. I've spent quality time with my family. I've had time to sit and read without feeling hurried. It has been absolutely wonderful and so very refreshing, but at the same time...
Doesn't that sound ridiculous?! How can such a refreshing time be so unsettling?
It can be unsettling when you haven't known true rest for a very, very long time. It can be unsettling when you start to feel that life with an absence of busyness means God has side-lined you and said, "Thanks for the effort, darlin', but you're done now." Honestly, that's how I was starting to feel until one day I decided to sit with the Lord and ask Him about this season.
"Lord, what are You up to here? My life is so very quiet and uneventful. Have I done something wrong?"
His answer was a passage of scripture I have read hundreds and hundreds of times. The words danced lovingly off the pages of my Bible and settled into my heart like a fresh-fallen snow. I read a love letter from the only One who understands just what turmoil I have faced the last few years. This battered heart has needed some rest and so these words were a soothing, healing balm...
"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
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 goodness and love with follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."
What words of love! Wow...a season of restoration after a long, weary battle. A Shepherd who takes care of me, providing all of my needs. Even more, a Shepherd who sees beyond the physical into the spiritual, knowing that green pastures and quiet waters are what's needed most. It is HE who restores my soul! He makes me lie down. He takes me into quiet places. He gently leads me this way, calming every fear and quieting my heart. Even if I be taken through the "valley of the shadow of death," it's ok, for there I will still know that it is He who walks with me...guiding me, disciplining me, comforting me. Though there be critics and naysayers and those who wound and hurt, He still lovingly prepares a table of good in front of me. He knows my heart. The other "voices" don't matter to Him. He anoints my head. Knowing how undeserving I am, I am humbly aware that my cup overflows. I am overwhelmed that my Shepherd would take notice of me and love me to such depths. My heart rejoices, knowing that this kind of goodness and this amazing love will be with me...pursuing me....all the days of my life. To dwell with Him, in His house forever, will one day be my souls deepest delight!!
Reading Psalm 23 changed everything. I'll never read it the same again. It means more having walked through some of the most difficult days of my life.
I'm finally on the other side and here in this season, my Father says rest...heal...be still...trust.
Instead of questioning, I'll gladly obey.