Last spring I spoke at a women's event at our church. It was a struggle for my heart to expose so much of the intimacies of my life there, but it was through that sharing that I could show God's grace, mercy, and care on my life. Not to mention love.
I have just finished up a few days of studying the next two chapters of "A Shepherd's Look at Psalm 23". Our book club is meeting this evening and my heart is heavy with these thoughts and words. I was wondering if I should open my laptop or get the table set for dinner with the ladies. Here I am, so you know what won out.
Chapter Five goes into great details of the "casting off" of a sheep. It is basically a predicament the sheep get into. Stuck on their back, unable to get up, limbs going numb, gases filling a belly, and the entire science of a cast off sheep is deadly. The Shepherd has to do a head count every single day. The Shepherd will look to the sky for circling buzzards, and that is typically a sign of a casted sheep. Putting the shepherd into a full sprint to find that one sheep. The chapter speaks about God finding us and putting us back on our feet. Sometimes over and over, but He does step in to help always.
The weeks and months that follow the times when I have shared my story are met with the tears of many broken and casted women. I hear over and over that the understanding of God is that once I have fallen over I am not worthy of being rescued and put back on my feet.
I will never forget the face of a young woman. Makeup running down her cheeks, and her quivering voice said this..."I knew I was not suppose to be here tonight because of the things I have done. Why would God ever want me, and then you share your story and I now know that God truly does still want me." My heart is heavy for those who know Jesus, have fallen over, can't get back up and stay in that place. Where does this idea come from that our Lord Jesus is done with us and we are to be stuck in that place that leads to death?
He truly is the Good Shepherd. He truly does come after you, looking for you in all the areas of the land, high and low. And it is there he takes your limbs, massages your heart and says now go let Me "restore your soul" and "lead you to the paths of righteousness".
Do we get that? There is restoration waiting to happen in that part of us that has fallen over. What is your falling over moment? I can name a few, and the book outlines a few. In that falling over moment, are you bleating out for help, or just so comfortable in that uncomfortable state you are just best left there. Does it give you peace to know that He is just right there ready to put you back on your feet? The world, oh this world, would like for us to think that we are stuck and can't get up. Get use to it and know that He can never save you. But the world is well just that the world. Our Lord Jesus took my miserable life, those moments of falling over, when Elizabeth was stuck. You know the kind of stuck I am talking about. Stuck, and guess what several times in my life I have needed Him to put me back on my feet. And the joy of being restored and the even greater joy of looking at the path of righteousness and walking along following my Keeper, my Shepherd.
Dear Father, Shepherd, Keeper,
I am sure with my life alone you have had to replace your staff for overuse. Thank you that you looked for me, pursued me, and saw that I was down. That you did not need to stand over me and ask yourself if you should help me to my feet, but without any questions asked you put me back on my feet and restored my soul. You are the Good Shepherd.