Psalm 23 tends to be one of those passages of Scripture we pull out to comfort those who have recently lost someone they love. A balm for the heart grieving in the midst of death.
But what if we remember it is good for all of life? What if we purposefully choose to use it for the other end of the spectrum, as well – encouraging moms and dads in the oftentimes wild and exhausting days of babies and small children? We can let it become a declaration for the birth parents, the adoptive parents, the foster parents, and even the grandparents who are tired and in need of hope.
Isaiah 40:11 says, “He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.”
That last line tells me Psalm 23, a psalm all about the Lord being our Shepherd, is perfect not just for comfort during a season of death, but also hope in those seasons brimming with life. Tiny, squirmy, “won’t you PLEASE just take a nap” life.
So this is my small offering to you, my sweet, tired friend. Whether your people are tiny or even teens. A prayer you can pray…
Jesus, I’m so thankful You are my Shepherd. The One who laid down His life for me and longs to lovingly lead me. The One who is more than able to meet my every need in this beautiful but demanding season. When I feel like there isn’t enough of me, You tell me there is no lack in You. You have all that I need. All of the wisdom, all of the strength, all of the peace and hope and so much more. Oh, Jesus … will You pour all of these things out on me today?
Because I didn’t realize how wrung out and tired I would feel.
That’s why I’m so grateful that You say You will lead me to moments of deep and needed rest. Lush pasture moments. Refreshing, quiet water moments. Times when I not only get to feed my body, but also nourish my soul. To these offerings my heart cries “yes” and “please.” Restore, refresh and renew me, Lord. By Your presence. Through Your Word. In powerful and tender ways.
And I wasn’t prepared for how heavy this weight of responsibility for leading my children well would feel.
Help me to remember that best thing I can do for them is to faithfully follow You myself, knowing that Your ways are always the best ways. You will always lead me toward what is right and holy and good – for my sake, for the sake of my children, for the glory of Your name.
I was clueless about how worried I would be. How scared I would sometimes stay.
But You say that even when I walk through valleys that feel deep and dark, even though I may not know what awaits around the next corner, I do not have to live in fear… for You are with me. You protect and guide me as I guide my children. Your presence that makes my enemies tremble leaves me feeling loved and secure.
And I didn’t know how long and lonely some of these days would feel. Or how much I would get wrong and end up feeling ashamed.
But You invite me to Your table. Telling me I’m always welcome. Anointing my head with fresh oil. Feeding me from Your abundance, even when the Enemy stands nearby declaring I don’t deserve a thing. You fill my cup to overflowing. Oh, Lord, how can I ever thank You? Teach me what it means to feast on Your goodness. To receive Your forgiveness. To live my days focused on the fullness of Your love.
Because I just didn’t expect to feel quite so overwhelmed by it all.
But You remind me that Your goodness and Your unfailing love are chasing after me, even while I’m chasing after my kids. Oh, Lord … let these things catch up with me. Interrupt me. Flow over me. Overwhelm me with Your kindness and Your great love. And keep reminding me that with the promise of dwelling with You forever in Heaven comes the gift of You dwelling within me right now.
I am not alone. I am not abandoned. My children and I are well-shepherded… all because we’re Yours.
I love you, friends. And I’m praying for you. Maybe sit down with Psalm 23 for yourself this week? Take the Lord at His Word. Let it be personal. Let Him be Your Shepherd.