Monday, April 2

Beside Still (not really) Waters

Read Psalm 23

It was one of those days that seemed to attract calamity. By 10am I had one child sitting on her bed, one on the couch, and one confined to his crib. And me? I was pouring over Psalms 23-26, my daily reading, trying to find some calm amid the storm.

You don't want to hear my long list of "what went wrong," but let me just say that it started with the baby getting smacked in the face with a fly swatter and ended with my wonderful partner in this family getting home well after everyone was in bed. In between all that, my list also included 2 different chilled diet sodas spilled before I took a sip. Calamity, I tell you.

At one point I hypothetically asked, "Are you guys just naughtier today or am I more impatient?"

My 6 year old daughter replied, "You are more impatient.... and grumpy." Leave it to a first born female to point out what is wrong in a situation.

It was time for another mommy time-out. In my Bible reading I read through the "Lord is my Shepherd" passage of Psalm 23.

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.


Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD

December 2008

That bit of Scripture couldn't help but encourage me... "He restores my soul." How I longed for that tranquility! The entire description speaks of an extravagance far from reality. It reminded me of my 5-diamond resort experience when my husband and I attended a destination wedding last year. I came up with my own paraphrase regarding the all-inclusive resort:

The LORD is my very own concierge, 

I shall not be in want for anything from Diet Coke to a pillow menu.

He turns down my feather bed and turns on the AC.

He brings me food service beside the endless pool in my private cabana.

He restores my soul.

(My very own paraphrase).

The problem arose when I tried to bring that extravagance home. Real life doesn't feel like a resort. Not even a little. Real life is toddler-fly-swatting-the-baby-bossy-big-sister-teething-baby-no-one-napping-toilet-plugged-where’s-dinner?-I’m-hungry-she-hit-me- craziness.

It was as I read on through the familiar passage to the next chapters that I began to make a correlation between the peaceful bliss of “still waters” and the barely controlled chaos that I was dealing with at that moment. Psalm 24 speaks of God's almighty power. Psalm 25 is asking for God's guidance... "Show me your ways, O LORD." And then there was chapter 26 verse 2-3: "Test me, O LORD, and try me, examine my heart and my mind; for your love is ever before me, and I walk continually in your truth."

I read from the Word and I could feel the Almighty looking down on all the enforced time-outs in my home and I felt near to Him. Not "cabana at a resort" near to Him, but "water stop along a marathon route" near to Him. Encouraged and refreshed I kept going.

I realized there will be moments of bliss (this wasn't one of them) when I lie beside still waters. And there will also be testing. The testing is a good thing, according to these verses. "Test me and try me, examine my heart and my mind." God's loves me and wants my best (it isn't always sitting by the pool with my feet up). God provides the strength as I walk in His truths. He will restore my soul as needed.

Written by Alysun P.


Crystal Mazzuca said...

Don't we all have days like that? Actually, I think more often than not, they're like that. Praise Him that He's strong enough for every bit of calamity (stains, smacks, shouts, or other things) that come our way!

Linds and Manda said...

It is good to be reminded about the chapters following Psalm 23. I also long for what it offers...peace, tranquility, rest, stillness... I've spent most of my life fearing the valley of the shadow of death but I'm learning that in those times God is more than able to pick me up. In the downs of this past year I've learned that God does his best work when I have nothing left. I'm trying to learn to use his abundant strength when things are good so I've practiced and am ready for the low days. I love the mental picture of "water stop along the marathon route". I think God is all about meeting us right were we are. I'm so thankful. Now I just need to learn to always accept the water and keep running.