Wednesday, August 6, 2008

He Makes Me Lie Down in Green Pastures

Psalm 23

God, my shepherd! I don't need a thing.
You have bedded me down in lush meadows,
you find me quiet pools to drink from.
True to your word, you let me catch my breath
and send me in the right direction.

Even when the way goes through Death Valley,
I'm not afraid when you walk at my side.
Your trusty shepherd's crook makes me feel secure.
You serve me a six-course dinner right in front of my enemies.
You revive my drooping head; my cup brims with blessing.
Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life.
I'm back home in the house of God
for the rest of my life.
The Message

The LORD, the Psalmist's Shepherd.
A Psalm of David.

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For His name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I 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 have anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
New American Standard

What wonderful words. The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures and leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul. True to His word, He lets me catch my breath and sends me in the right direction.

I praise you God, most holy and merciful, faithful and trustworthy, my provider, my shield, my protector, my all. You have prepared a table before me in the presence of my enemies and you revive my drooping head. My cup overflows with blessing. Your beauty and love, your goodness and lovingkindness follow me, chase after me every day of my life. You are my home and will be forever.

Last week when I posted the verses from Psalms about how God is our help, I was seeking strength from God's word for a situation I was facing at work. It seemed the only option was to resign from a job I've been at for almost 8 years. I felt it was the only way to preserve my dignity. As I've shared before, I've been seriously searching for a teaching job for a while now. I'm sure alot of us feel this way at times, but I had felt like a caged bird for a long time, believing that God's purpose for me was far away from where I was spending the majority of my time.

So, being the brave soul that I am, I called work, after I knew everyone had gone home, and left messages for my bosses telling them I was quitting. I had prayed and felt God's peace about my decision. I knew He would provide, believing He had led me to this decision. However. . . after tossing and turning for a few hours, remembering things like insurance, what does the employee handbook say about not giving notice, what would my family's reaction be? Was I being irresponsible?

So, I dragged my tail in after me the next morning, asked if they would accept a two weeks notice from me instead. Yesterday, I was told that they would give me an extra two weeks pay to give me more time to devote to finding a new job and that I could make yesterday my last day. Now, shouldn't I be happy about this turn of events? I feel like the bird who has been dreaming and singing of freedom, staring at the open door in the cage, realizing I really am free. Free to follow my dreams and let God lead me in the right direction. He has given me this time to catch my breath.

Last week, my post was going to be about pride, how sometimes in attempting self preservation we become the one who is proud. Attempting to protect ourselves from those around us who seem haughty and rude, we ourselves become prideful. In setting down my pride, I realized it had become a wall behind which I had been hiding for a long time. Now, it seems, God has provided the only protection I ever needed all along.

This morning instead of chasing after planes, pilots and coffee pots, I'm at home making scrambled eggs and pancakes for my kids, looking out at my green pastures.

Dear Precious Lord,

I lay my days at your feet. I lay the work of my hands and my ambitions and dreams at your feet. May each thought and effort be for you and from you. I know all that I am and have is from you. Your beauty and love, your goodness and lovingkindess, follow me all the days of my life. My home is with you.


Sally said...

I wish you the best, and have a great feeling that you'll find the most perfect job!! God is so good, and your faith sustains you. It's so clear in your writings. :)

Donna said...

I commend your faith and bravery. I love this particular psalm. My last 1-1/2 years of employment were torture because of a very poor boss who enjoyed playing mind games. I read the psalm in the morning of each day so that I could find the strength to get through it. I was able to hold out until I got my retirement.

Best wishes to you in the days ahead on your path!

Karen said...

Thank you Sally and Donna for your encouragement. It's so awesome knowing that God will provide the encouragement I need through all of my wonderful blog friends. Donna, it sounds like we've had the same job. I'm thankful God gave you the strength to endure as well.

Anonymous said...

God is with you Karen. He will never leave you, He will never forsake you.

Let God be honored by your works.

God bless you more.

God's directions are revelation...listen to His voice and follow Him. Trust His heart and nail-pirced hand ok.

You are in my prayers.

Karen said...

Thank you Leigh. I was just praying before I read your post and I was imagining myself kneeling before Jesus, so your words really touched my heart.

joan said...

I love this psalm and I know the Lord will lead in the right direction. I love that you had peace with this.

Joni said...

what is there to fear when God is beside us...I applaude your strength in decision making and I KNOW that God will lead you where He thinks you need to be...


Morning By Morning said...

I have complete faith that God will work something great out for you! I will being praying that the Lord will lead you to a great job where you will have peace & be happy:)

These are some encouraging verses:

"I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye"
Psalm 32:8

"And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.."
Isaiah 30:21

"In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."
Proverbs 3:6

Karen said...

Joan, Joni and Morning by Morning,

Your words mean so much. They are just what I need. Your faith increases my own.

pfranklin said...

Love you Karen. I know everything will be okay. Your head and heart are in the right place. :)

Karen said...

thank you Phylis,
It's so fun to see your beautiful smiling face on my blog again. Your words are such encouragement to me this morning.