It’s the beginning of one of those weeks. You know the kind. A week that makes you feel a chill of panic up your spin as you see it creep closer and closer on the calendar.
My mom is having hip replacement surgery this week followed by six weeks of recovery. And while I’m happy for her and the relief from pain she will soon feel I keep having this pit of the stomach feeling that reminds me of how I felt growing up before piano recitals and summer camp.
The dread. The knots in my stomach. The intense desire to run away.
With my mom out of commission and me on the frontlines of her recovery I’m afraid of what the next six weeks may look like. The care she’ll need. The meals for six people three times a day, the laundry, the groceries, the household chores all on top of my regular scheduled programming: my kids, my baby, my husband.
I mean, this is my mom. My mom! The one who has always cared for me and kept the house running smoothly. She’s taken care of me, my sister, my dad and her siblings through surgeries, illnesses, and accidents. She’s been with all of my grandparents and one of my uncles when they slipped from this world into Heaven. She’s the one who is always the caregiver. How do you care for the woman who cares for everyone else?
I’m tempted (okay, I’m more than tempted, I’ve given in) to worry, doubt, fear, and dread. I’ve let myself get anxious and upset.
So what made me write that line in my journal? What gave me the nerve to be thankful for this? Clear-eyed, heart-open thankful, even in this?
I know it’s a little cliché. The most popular psalm we hear at funerals and see on Hallmark cards. The psalm we’ve read so many times it seems to have lost its power.
Not today. Today I read it, and it was fresh. Equipped with the truth I need to hear and the wisdom I need to practice.
Equipped with what I need to make it through the next six weeks. To get through life, quite actually.
The NLT translation says it like this:
“The Lord is my shepherd;
I have all that I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows;
He leads me beside peaceful streams.
He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.
Even when I walk
Through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid,
For you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
Protect and comfort me.
You prepare a feast for me
In the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.
Surely your goodness and unfailing love
Will pursue me
All the days of my life,
And I will live in the house of the Lord forever.”
As I look back on the last three months I know God has prepared my heart for this. Through Belle’s arrival and an already upturned schedule, through myriad Jesus Calling entries that remind me over and over the importance of walking with Him, through the very sense of His presence, God is teaching me to live and walk through each day of my life moment by moment with Him. I don’t have to get through the next six weeks, I just have to get through this moment, this now, with Him. And with Him makes all the difference.
It’s the Psalm 23 way.
The rest and the love. The protection, the provision. The goodness and the blessing. It’s not just for funerals and Hallmark cards, and it hasn’t lost its power.
It’s for every moment of every day.
It’s for the good weeks and the bad.
It’s for those moments we know we can’t make it alone and all the moments we foolishly try to. Because whether we feel it or not every moment, every day, every week is a time when we need God.
For life, for breath, for the beating of a heart. He is our Psalm 23 Savior and every day is a Psalm 23 day.
The next few weeks will be hard. I’m not a nurse. I’m not my mom. I’m just one person in a house full of needs.
But I’m also not alone.
I’m learning in these weeks I can’t get through…especially in these weeks I can’t get through…that no valley is too dark, no enemy is too great, no weariness too overwhelming for my Savior’s unfailing love.
The Lord is my shepherd I have all that I need…
All that I need in the crook of His arm. In the unwavering sureness of His path.