The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters.
I listened to a sermon recently that was on Psalm 23 and it was the first 2 verses that intrigued me.
The speaker shared how over in the middle east you don’t find pastures of green grass like we see over here. Shepherds in that area would spend all day sometimes looking for patches of grass to feed their sheep for that day. This was not always an easy job for them and finding water for their sheep could be just as challenging.
The Lord is my shepherd so he will find the grass I need for today. I shall not be in want. God will never leave me without shelter or food to eat. So I say and meditated on that………I may not have the latest gadgets or trendy wardrobe but my children and I will be taken care of for the day. I don’t have to know where our food will come from next week because next week isn’t here and God could lead me to another pasture that I cannot yet see.
I’ve learned to be pretty savvy with my money and manage it wisely. I have zero credit card debt and own 3 cars which are all paid for.
However I just signed a lease to rent a house because I am being forced to move. I have to admit I have worried some about this since my income is so little. My motto the last few years leading up to this moment has been that God will provide the perfect house, at the perfect time, at the perfect place, for the perfect price.
Boy did God do that!
God brought me to this little blue house out in the country and it is more than I could’ve ever dreamed of asking for. But it is exactly what God knew that I needed. It is so perfect to the tiniest detail that I know it is Gods provision for us. The challenge for me has been believing that God could bless me with something so wonderful. I have struggled for so long and when I put the figures down on paper it doesn’t look possible. I have prayed about it a lot because I really don’t want to make the wrong decision and end up in a bad spot, not to mention I didn’t have the money they were asking for up front…………..God provided though through someone anonymously giving me exactly what I needed to come up with. That is not something I asked for or even saw coming but it was God providing for me because I am his daughter and he wants to meet my needs if only I have the courage and faith to let him. I know going into this my expenses will exceed the income that I can bring in and amazingly……. I am not laying in bed at night worrying about what I’m going to do. Instead I wake up each morning and thank the Lord for blessing me with the opportunity to make this house my home. I know that there is no need of mine that is too big for God’s wallet. I may not always like the way that he provides for me but I have learned to be thankful and humble which has given me the privilege of witnessing some miracles that I can now share with others.
I know that there are a lot of Christians out there who would disagree with my decision. Even Dave Ramsey would have a problem with my decision and would probably say that I need to get another job. I am not sharing this to justify why I have made this decision but rather to be an example to others of how God has worked in my life through my financial struggles.
My options if I were to find a place with in my budget responsibly speaking would consist of……… living with someone else, government housing, or finding a small 2 bedroom apt in a bad area of town for me to cram all 4 of us into. I don’t know about you but I don’t think that if I am God’s princess any of those options are acceptable.
I have spent a good portion of my life working 40+ hours a week just trying to make ends meet. I did whatever I could to make money in order to provide for my family. All of the stress of working and keeping up with 4 kids as a single mom wore me out to the point that I couldn’t function. It seemed that no matter how hard I tried we were barely scraping by. I sacrificed so much emotionally and spiritually in my life to do what I thought I needed to do.
Now let me clarify here so you don’t get the wrong idea here because I was not working this hard to have 2 fairly new cars and a 4 bedroom house with a nice yard. I was working this hard to keep 2 old vehicles running and a small 2 bedroom house that was falling apart. I have spent most of my life time living beneath the poverty level and a lot of time trying to rise above it.
I have seen God’s hand personally in the first part of the scripture in the sense that even though I have been in some tough financial positions I have seen God provide with just enough to cover our needs time and time again.
It is the second part of the scripture here that I am experiencing for probably the first time in my life.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
That is to rest, to let go, to do nothing??????? Really?
Not just rest but God MAKES me lies down in abundance? Am I getting this right?
I always believed that in order for God to provide I had to do something like work, or ask the right people for help or even maintain the right relationships………..come on now be honest……. we all have those friends with the pool in the backyard and if you don’t, you are probably that friend with the pool in their backyard.
Ps 23:2 implies that I have to do nothing……
In fact it implies that God insists that I rest and do nothing. So what if I surrender all my efforts to God and lay down to watch what he does in my life?
As I look back over the last 9 months I can see how God has been forcing me to lie down in green pastures.
Last January I ended up in the Hospital for the second time in 2 years. It was there that I was told I should apply for SSD. I told the woman that it was ridiculous and that I could work and had been working. She looked at me and said
” But you are here because it is not working for you. If you want to get better you need to take a break from working before it kills you.”
I left the hospital and the thought bounced around inside my head for a few weeks before I decided to go ahead and apply. I was told by my Doctor “Good Luck! It will take you like 2 years to get it” I figure in 2 years I wouldn’t need it so if it was what God wanted he would take care of it.
Long story short here….I did get SSD within 6 months and I saw doors fly open for me on the journey that people said I would have a hard time opening.
SSD is not enough to live on but it helps make ends meet so I can be the mom my children need me to be. I have been learning through all of this that it is not me who earns the money but rather God who provides it.
Just like the green grass just for today I have what I need for each day and I may not know about tomorrow but I have total confidence in my shepherds ability to lead me to the green pastures that I need.
I’ve learned that when something crosses my path whether it is an opportunity to work or way to get assistance I listen to the promptings of my spirit. Some times God even places people in my path with whom I can share my story with. I’ve found that sharing my struggles allows others to reach out and meet a need that I have. This type of experience can be quite humbling and I am learning to not be ashamed of my situations but to be open to allowing God to use them so that He can be Glorified through my unpleasant situations. All of this takes a willingness on my part to be vulnerable before others and is something that can be risky but for me that risk has paid off on more than one occasion.
I just want to encourage you today to ask yourself if your overworked or if the numbers on the paper are in red……..
Take the time to rest before God forces you to and listen to the directions he gives you not the words of the world.
All the “shouda, coulda’s and what if’s” aren’t going to help you but God can lead you out of your situation if you listen and follow.
Disclaimer…..I am not saying to go buy a boat when you don’t have the money and expect God to pay for it or lead you to someone who will give you the money for it. But if you want a boat pray about it and talk to people. God just might surprise you and send someone across your path that is willing to give you a boat.
I am saying that if you don’t see how your going to meet the basic needs of your family you can trust God. He is faithful and he wants to provide for you if you just let go and give him the control.