Psalm 23 is one of those passages so well known that we do it a disservice. You read “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures” with the same amount of zeal devoted to reciting the national anthem. We no longer hear the words let alone process their impact.
So bear with me… this morning I pictured Jesus as my physical shepherd, me as a sheep. A big dumb one. I pictured him with a crooked staff that catches me around the neck when I’m staring at the ground while walking, oblivious to the cliff I’m about to walk off of. This same staff guides me to green pastures and quiet waters. Next, I pictured those. My shepherd-Jesus taking me past quiet, calm waters- still enough to drink from- and bending my sheep knees in cool grasses. I re-read where the passage says “He makes me lie down in green pastures” and I couldn’t avoid the implication. A sheep grazes on those green pastures to eat and receive nourishment; their fill. It’s only when a sheep is completely sated that they’d lay in the grass abundant… to rest.
I can’t help but feel like right now, in my hurt, instability, and struggle that I’ve clenched my sheep teeth and forgotten (or refused) to eat and drink.
For some this might be taken as a message on gratitude- how we need to see the grass He lays so abundantly before us and express thankfulness. But where I am right now, it’s the abundance alone that gives me pause. I guess it’s because the big dumb sheep I am right now can’t seem to stop toeing the edge of the cliff instead of exploring the cool waters and green pastures He keeps redirecting me toward. My focus is all-wrong.
I feel lost; a bit like a stranger in my own skin. It doesn’t feel like depression, it’s not sadness until I think of that freaking cat. It’s just that I’m not processing the way I normally do. I’m not able to communicate my feelings like usual- and sometimes when that gets frustrating enough, yes, I cry then too. But these are all my cliff’s-edge thoughts. My focus is on what I was able to do previously that I’m no longer able to.
But what if the green pastures and cool waters intended to nourish will bring with them a new way for me to process? A new season in my marriage. A new approach for who I am as a mother.
My Enneagram 7 husband kicked me out the other day because I wasn’t being joyful. (j/k he thought I needed space when I couldn’t find the words to say, “I don’t want to talk right now and I need to be cold… but I also need you to put your hand on my shoulder and say “I don’t know how you’re feeling but I’m here and I love you”- but that’s a post for another day. God bless you Kyle Talbot.) After I left, I drove around on the verge of sloppy, defeated tears playing “Rescue Me” by Lauren Daigle and “Save Me” by Steffany Gretzinger on repeat. Both songs profess a position of weakness- one from first person and one from God’s view of our weakness. As I continued listening, the verse “my power is made perfect in weakness” crossed my mind and in that moment it was enough to help me pull my gaze from the cliff to the green pastures behind me.
My knees have been taken out a bit in this whole ordeal. The foundation I’ve built myself upon is in dire need of resurfacing all of a sudden but…. that’s just it; the resurfacing is needed. In this weakness, the head-strong, independent, emotionally stable, ‘figure it out’ version of Mollie is being humbled and resurfaced. This new version needs Kyle more, needs people to carry the burden with me more and rather reluctantly, needs to leave the house more.
So, in the face of weakness- when we’re clinging to the things that have always gotten us through… how do we make ourselves malleable before the Lord?
I don’t know.
I can say that I couldn’t have written those words two months ago. I would’ve searched and wouldn’t have published this until I found an answer… so I think it’s the lack of answer and ability to write those three words that is my version of surrender. Of laying, sated and restful in a pasture of God’s provision.
I am in a season of rebuilding, redefining, and rebounding. Maybe this time Jesus and I will find a pasture far away from the cliffs.