Monday, August 3, 2009

He Restores My Soul

Psalm 23
The Lord is my shepherd.
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul.

It's been a hard week, I won't lie. By six o'clock this evening, I was nearly depleted.

I hesitate to share a lot of what's going on. Some of it is still fresh and painful for our family. There will be a proper time to tell you, but it's just not now.

And some of it is heartbreaking news of illness (my dear friend and neighbor's 8 year old son was diagnosed a few days ago with leukemia).

And some of it's just been going on for a little too long and I'm ready to see the evidence of victory in battles that I know God has already won for some friends.

But none of these stories are mine to share. As in, they are not personally happening within the walls of my home.

And I find that when I try to share, I am at a profound loss for words. I begin to type, but I end up staring at something utterly insufficient. The delete button is becoming a good friend.

All I'm left with lately is some verse of Scripture. That explains my previous post. And the beginning of this one, too.

So, back to 6 o'clock this evening. Dinner time. Family time. I managed to pull together a few ingredients and pass it off as a proper meal. My sister-in-law and brother-in-law, who have been staying with us, made small talk, entertained my son, and helped set out and clean up.

I heard my husband thank me for the delicious food. I heard him thank me a second time. I was pretty sure I had responded with the appropriate "You're welcome!", but I said it again. My words sounded foggy in my own head, so perhaps he'd missed my acknowledgement.

A third gesture of appreciation sent me over the edge. "You're welcome... you're welcome... you're welcome!!!!" I said, with great emphasis! I took my plate to the sink and began to clean up the dishes, trying to act normal, although I knew quite well that my outburst was anything but socially acceptable.

I felt an odd lump rising in my throat. I couldn't tame it.

So, I made my way to the bathroom, hoping that I could walk away from the intensity of the emotions that were caving in on me. As I shut the door, I just sat down in the bathroom to gather my thoughts. My husband came in quickly and asked all the right questions.

I could only answer with a few soft words about being overwhelmed. As I reached up to rub my burning eyes, I was surprised by the pool of hot tears just waiting to spill onto my fingers and down my cheeks.

"I need to get out of here for a little while." I managed. To his credit, my husband asked nothing further. He promised to take care of the bedtime routine and handed me the car keys.

I grabbed my Bible and journal and walked out the door. I had no idea where I was supposed to go - the sun was setting and darkness was imminent.

It should come as no surprise to anyone that I found myself moments later in the parking lot of the nearest mall. Well-lit and teaming with security vehicles, I figured it was a safe place to have myself a good cry.

Which is what I did for the next five minutes or so. I cried tears of grief, anxiety, and some self-pity, if I'm going to be honest. And when a sufficient amount of tears had been shed, I opened my Bible and began to read through the Psalms.

As I read, my devotional-style Bible revealed a page titled, "Being Still Before God." It challenged the reader to meditate on the 23rd Psalm. To picture God leading us into green pastures and beside still waters.

My heart settled. I had memorized this familiar passage of Scripture early in my childhood. I didn't even have to turn back to the correct chapter. The psalmist's words were fresh in my mind.

The Lord is my shepherd.
I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul.

Somehow, as the mall parking lot emptied and I continued to meditate on that picture, God proved Himself once again faithful by restoring my soul.

I was no longer depleted.

Of course, none of the circumstances that brought me to a place of momentary despair had magically changed over the course of those few hours.

But I found comfort in the words of writers who, thousands of years ago, knew and recounted the faithfulness of a loving Father. One who tends to his sheep and leads them to peaceful places. The one who saves, delivers and heals.

The one who restored my soul tonight and will do it all over again tomorrow if I need Him to.


Anonymous said...

Stay strong. My prayers are with you and your family. Your postings have put a smile on my face when I otherwise would have been frowning. I thank you for that.

Anonymous said...

I can so relate that I have no words. Hard to believe :-) Thanks for the reminder how he will restore us again, and again, and again. Praise God for that!

Susan Vilbert

Anonymous said...

what a beautiful, heartfelt post. i love that Scripture and the strong presence of God I feel when reading it. thanks for your transperancy in this post. we all have had those days. taking the time to be alone but with God is a wonderful way to rejuvinate the soul. good for you for listening to your heart and taking the time you needed!

Anonymous said...

I too, have a friend going through an extremely tough time (single parent). I tell her time and time again she is serving some sort of purpose navigating these difficult waters. God has a plan for her and her struggles are part of it. At times, I feel I have learned from her struggle.

Christy Odom said...

Hang in there! I will keep y'all in my prayers. You are a kind soul and I pray for peace for you and in all of the situations weighing on your heart.

Janet Long said...

I hear you, and feel I am walking that same journey on a road not too far from yours! Thank you for sharing these verses. I love your heart.