Flashbacks of memories assailed my thoughts as I sat down to write this post.
- My dad shuffling his feet with his walker slowly scooting before him and his physical therapist walking behind him.
- My mom “holding court” one Christmas in the T.V. room as family members were invited in one by one.
- The birth of each of my sons and the sacredness of each moment.
- Flashes of holy matrimony and devastating breakups.
- Holding baby Jack in my arms for the first time.
Each memory marked a specific time and place and preceded life-changing events. Each flashback was a touchstone to leading me deeper into living a Psalm 23 life. My pocketful of memories has a way of either growing me into a better version of myself or pulling me farther away from who God created me to be. I am one of the lucky ones. God has pulled me in closer to Him time and time again.
Today I am extending an invitation for you to walk through the verses of Psalm 23 with me. Perhaps you will also be pulled in closer by a God who will never give up on you and calls you His “favorite.”
The Six Verses of Psalm 23
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will 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 anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (Psalm 23)
These six verses have impacted my life greatly. When I need to recall verses to get me through a difficult time, these are the ones that I remember and repeat over and over. Psalm 23 has been a part of my life since I was a young girl.
Emily P. Freeman recently shared these words from an episode of The Next Right Thing:
The six verses in Psalm 23 do more than comfort us in death, they guide us in life. And if we’re paying attention, these six lines can teach us how to walk into every room every day of our lives.
It is powerful and affirming to know that God’s word is alive today just as much as when it was originally written.
How do we live the Word of God?
Throughout Emily’s podcast she asks some pointed questions that lead us back to Psalm 23. It was these questions that allowed me to pause and reflect how I am living a Psalm 23 life.
Think about this:
God is our provider, soul-filler, protector, and safe place. He is always with us and showers us with love and goodness. There is nothing our God won’t do for us.
Four years ago I watched my dad work harder than he ever had. He endured more pain at the promise of healing and walking with more ease after a broken hip. My dad rarely complained but when it was time to slow down for good, I wondered who would be my safe place and protector when he was gone. The promises in Psalm 23 provides the answers that I struggled to accept initially. Thank goodness God doesn’t give up on us.
Fourteen years ago, my marriage fell apart and my hope in the power of love went through a major overhaul. God has shown me in multiple ways that love is everywhere. A little over a year ago, God took the idea of love to a whole new level when I became a “Mimi.” It was one more way that God took my face between His hands, pulled me in close, and whispered, “This is love. The love I give and the love that is yours to share.”
Finally, my mom took one last day before slipping home to Jesus to pull her children and grandchildren close. It was a sacred time of leaning in to hear what was important and to let them know in her own way how much she loved each of them. I have never experienced anything quite like this before. My heart shattered when my mom passed away. She understood me and I knew she loved me. I needed the comfort of my Shepherd and the knowledge that He would restore my soul more than ever.
Living a Psalm 23 life is accepting God’s invitation to walk with Him in faith through the hard and the beautiful parts of life.
God invites us to know Him better and to hold onto Psalm 23 promises in the moments that cause our hearts to seize up in fear or overflow with all of the Lord’s goodness. I feel the call now more than ever to turn to my Shepherd not only for the comfort but for the faith that He is walking with me.
Living a Psalm 23 life is possible in our present circumstances, and our ordinary, day-to-day routines. It is also part of the big life events that change who you are down to the core of your being. I tend to rely on Psalm 23 when life leans toward the difficult. But I don’t just need God in those heart-shattering moments. I need God every day.
God’s invitation for each of us is one of peace, hope, goodness, and protection all the days of our lives. This invitation is hard to refuse.I feel the call now more than ever to turn to my Shepherd not only for the comfort but for the faith that He is walking with me. This is how we live a Psalm 23 life. #newpost #TellHisStory #linkup Click To Tweet
What would your life look like if Psalm 23 was the foundation not just for comfort in death, but as a guide for your life? Which part of Psalm 23 speaks most clearly to your current life situation?
Blessings on your week!
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Hi Mary, Thank you for this article 🙂 for me Psalm 23 is so powerful because it tells us that God will protect us if we believe and trust in Him. Its a verse that I was forced to memorize in Bible school but as an adult, has guided me even all these years…
Thank you for sharing this wonderful passage from the psalm. This verse is very meaningful to me because when I go through difficult times I know that God is there and that he comforts me.
Thank you for sharing this beautiful passage. Psalm 23 speaks so much to me, especially when I’m going through tough times that seem to have no end in sight. God is my comfort and my strength.
This was so helpful – and thought-provoking. If I’m honest, I tend to categorize Psalm 23 as one for times of grief or despair. And often I “leave” it until needed. But reading through the verses with the view of living it is comforting – and exciting! I want to savor these verses over the next few days during my devotions. Thank you, Mary!
I hope you will share what you learn as you view the verses from Psalm 23 as a guide for your life. I also viewed this Psalm as a comfort in times of loss but love the new perspective.
Our church just finished a sermon series on this Psalm and your post is the perfect compliment to what I’ve learned. Thank you.
I bet the sermon series was wonderful. Thank you for being part of the community.
Great post Mary! ‘He leads me beside quiet waters,
he restores my soul,’ is very apt for what He is doing in this season of my life.
A precious psalm & prayer, one I return to often.
The words are perfect for this season. It provides such comfort. Blessings!
Psalm 23 is the one Psalm I go back to over and over again. I will chant or sing it to myself when I am scared (like during airplane turbulence) and when I need comfort. It really does cover our life.
Psalm 23 seems to be the only one I remember when I am in scary situations. It has helped me through a lot. May you continue to find the words of Psalm 23 as a guide for your life.
Goodness gracious, Mary … I was already veering very close to needing a good long cry, and your words have pushed me even closer (in a good way). 🙂 “He restores my strength” seems to be the snippet of Psalm 23 that is encouraging my heart most right now. I seem to remember this chapter being described as the “song for all seasons” somewhere, and that certainly fits our lives, doesn’t it?
I’m glad the words pushed you in a positive way. It’s very difficult for me to write about my parents, but also very healing. I’m sure you understand. I’m glad you are holding onto the promise of God restoring your strength. There is so much going on now that wears me down. Blessings to you!
I learned a whole new level of love when I became a “Mimi” 9 years ago too. I think the part of Psalm 23 that speaks most to me right now is “He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.” I don’t always understand where God is leading me, especially right now, but I always trust that He is leading me on the right path.
I’m learning there is nothing like Mimi love. I find reassurance in how God guides us along the right paths. It’s a promise I need for the time we are in, too. Thank you for sharing.
Good morning, Mary!
Psalm 23 covers us from birth to death, joy and sorrow, all that encompasses life here on this earth. Thank you for sharing its beautiful truths today.
You’re welcome. It’s all thanks to Emily Freeman and her podcast for getting me to dig deeper into Psalm 23.
Mary, I love your post today because truly Psalm 23 has been impacting my life for over a year now.
Back at the beginning of 2019, I felt the Lord asked me the question, “What if you believed, really believed, that goodness and mercy was going to chase your down in 2019?” And I DID find goodness and mercy in 2019.
In 2020, I find I need Psalm 23 even more. I’m still focusing on v. 6, but also; my attention has been drawn to v. 2 – He maketh me lie down in green pastures. A sheep can’t lie down in a green rich pasture if he is hungry – he will want to stand up and eat. But because I have everything I need – see v. 1 – I CAN lie down and rest. I’m loving that idea right now!
Thank you for your beautiful thoughts. God is teaching you through not only what he knows you need but also in how you are responding to where he is leading you. There is so much to glean from Psalm 23.
I love all of Psalm 23, but the part that speaks to me right now is. “I will fear no evil for you are with me…” In these turbulent times in which we are living, evil is prevalent in our world and this just reminds me that God is always with me, therefore, I don’t need to fear the evil days. All of the Psalm is a balm to my soul.
Psalm 23 is a favorite of many. I love that you chose “fearing no evil.” I sense such a darkness in our world currently and the words in Psalm 23 speak against that. Thank you for sharing.
Thank you Mary for sharing something of your story – our testimony of God’s faithfulness is always powerful. At the moment, for me, it is a season of depending on God’s leading and guiding along the right paths – it is so easy to get distracted, and it’s the clarity of keeping my focus on Him!
Sometimes I need to dig a little deeper and I do this by sharing parts of my story. Healing happens when we name it and let it go. May you find that God’s guidance is exactly what you need in this season.
I love every part of Psalm 23, but the part that speaks to me most right now is being led to quiet waters and refreshing my soul. Even with all the turmoil in the world, there is peace and respite with Him.
The visual of the water and the chance for a soul-refreshing is perfect. I love that you are finding peace even in our current time.
I love that he restores my soul. There’s so much life promise in that– and a path away from bitterness.
I spent most of one winter quarter teaching Psalm 23 to my 4 and 5 year olds. We painted green pastures and still waters, and played following games to make the truth live for them. It has seemed more real to me since then, too.
Visuals are so good in providing a way for learning to make sense and to get it to stick. I’m sure those children loved your lessons. I love the promise that our Shepherd restores our soul, too. Just what I need as a reminder today.