Psalm 23:1, "The LORD is my Shepherd, I shall not want."
In the spring of 2006 after a rough fall and winter in our family, we were living an hour from where my Superman was serving on staff as the youth pastor of a small inner city church, just a few miles from the heart of Indianapolis. Superman was feeling disconnected from the kids in the youth group and spending only one day (albeit ALL day) with them was just not making the impact that he wanted. My darling husband voiced his desire to move our family into the community of the church.
Ready for it?
"Nope - I'm not gonna do it."
Yeah, you saw that coming, didn't you?
I dug my heels in, in the most unsubmissive and stubborn way. No way was I going to be ok with moving my family (we had a 5 month old and 2 year old) and live on the east side of Indianapolis in the ghetto. You have got to be kidding me.
This conversation went on for a few weeks if I recall correctly. One day I broke our rule about not leaving the room while in the middle of a fight, er, uh, discussion, and went into our room and closed the door. (That'll keep him out for sure!)..... (shaking head at myself)
Anyway, I knew I was wrong, but I just didn't understand!
I wanted my family to be safe! Is that so much for a mother to ask?
I wanted security! Read the books! All women want security!
I wanted to be comfortable! Again, is that so much to ask?
I wanted my comfort zone bubble!
I can't logically explain to you except to say the Holy Spirit made me do it, but in that moment in my room with the door closed I opened the Bible laying on the nightstand and literally opened it up to a random place to read. Psalm 23. Cool - one of my favorites - I memorized all 6 verses when I was 6 in Awana after all!
"The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want."
I immediately began crying. Tears dripping on the pages of God's love letter to His children.
Remember that list I made a minute ago? Go ahead and scroll back up to read it - I'll wait.
No really, go back and read what I wrote.
Where in all those WANTS am I depending on God to be my Shepherd?
The Bible refers to people as sheep. Have you ever spent any time with sheep? Sheep are STUPID. They will literally follow one another off a cliff if the first one takes that final step. They have to be SHOWN and LED to their needs. This is why sheep need a SHEPHERD. God is so smart to draw that simple parallel for us stupid idiots isn't He? (Ok - maybe I'm the only stupid idiot around here).
"The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want." IS He your Shepherd? Are you trusting Him to lead you to all of your NEEDS? We shall not WANT because He supplies our NEEDS as our Shepherd.
"He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters."
This verse had special meaning to me as I was just coming off a pregnancy that included 4 months of complete bedrest. Yet realizing as I reflected on that verse that He provided that bedrest while briefly locating my family (hubby and kiddo and myself) in the same town as my parents and siblings who fully stepped up to the plate to help take care of me and our toddler while Superman worked. (Special shoutout here to my sister Karyn who 'babysat' me and our toddler every day - 40 hours a week for months - I love you dear!)
Then - He leads me beside still waters. Moving into the inner city was chaos and turmoil to me - but I felt in that moment that God was showing me that He would be the calm I needed.
"He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake."
Restoring my soul - sign me up! I needed that so desperately. For His name's sake? Oh you mean it's NOT about me... I need to write that one down....
"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me."
I cannot begin to explain to you how much I feared moving into that neighborhood and as far as I was concerned, it was the shadow of death. Again, fresh tears as I read this verse. Not fear evil? But... but... those are my babies and me vulnerable with no protection! Oh... right... My Shepherd's Rod and Staff comfort me. Remember the sheep illustration? Shepherds use their rod and staff to fight off the lions and tigers and bears (OH MY!) and wolves that wanted the sheep to be their dinner! My Shepherd is the CREATOR - He will protect me. (Allow me to clarify - I was 99% the most afraid concerning all day while I was at home with the kids while Superman was at work and he was working 60 hour weeks at the time at his full time job - I wasn't afraid ... for the most part... for when he would be there).
"You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows."
I was beginning to realize and understand by this point in my brokenness how much I needed to trust God. Realizing that we would lack nothing - but I had to trust Him.
"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever."
Wow. All that. Why am I doubting again?
I finished my tears and returned to my hubby in the living room, red eyed and blubbery. I apologized to him and told him that if he wanted to lead our family to move into that neighborhood that he had my permission. Oh no wait. Er uh... that I would follow his leadership.
Move we did. I'll never forget telling the excited church members that we had signed a lease and then seeing their faces fall when we told them the address. You see, no one told us that the church sat on sort of a barrier line - one street west was still ok - but the street just west of that was far worse on a danger level than the street previously. (Don't ask me... I don't make the rules...) Yep - we rented a house on the 'bad' street. The summer of 2006 there were a record number of murders in the city of Indianapolis and the closest one geographically to us was on our street, just one block down.
My prayer life grew by leaps and bounds in that house :) But we did connect much more strongly to our youth group and the relationship between hubby and I made a turn as well - it was the first point in our marriage where I truly surrendered to his leadership at a time that was tested.
You see, it's not submission when you agree with your hubby, but rather when you disagree but are willing to surrender to his God given role as the head of your family. But well... that's for a different post...