The Lord is My Shepherd

"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. 

He restores my soul.

He guides me in paths of righteousness, for his name's sake.

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. 

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.

You anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows.

Surely goodness and love (or mercy) will follow me all the days of my life.

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord FOREVER."

Psalm 23 <3

I visited a new church with a couple friends today from school, and at the end of the service we recited this wonderful, refreshing chapter in the Bible. And once again, I continue to be comforted and amazed with this chapter in the Psalms. I first memorized it when I was 6 years old in my Kindergarten class. Shoutout to Mrs. Freyling for being the best Kindergarten teacher out there. No other year in school thus far, in all my schooling years I've been through, has beat this favorite of mine. Keep in mind, I'm 20 years old now in my second year in college at SLU. Kindergarten has still been my favorite. I mean... what can I say... I guess I'm a sucker for coloring books, Dr. Seuss, nap time, snack time, performing nursery rhymes to the class for mother's day, my teacher's Winnie the Pooh clothes (every.single.day.), and being graded on reciting tongue twisters. Can I just go back to Kindergarten forever? 

I will say though, even reminiscing on all of those fun Kindergarten memories above, I do not believe there is a better life-long takeaway than Psalm 23 being engraved in my head and heart. At just 6 years old. No offense to my Kindergarten classmates or anything, but I have a feeling that most of them probably forgot that verse right after we got graded on it for memory. Maaaybe not though -- should I give my fellow 6-year-old friends the benefit of the doubt? Why not. But I sure did forget most of the verses that I had memorize each week during my elementary years -- and even through high school (sorry teachers...there's only so much room in the noggin'). However, 15 years later, after first learning Psalm 23 in Kindergarten, I am still to this day reciting it to myself. I have it hanging on my wall in my bedroom in my apartment, and I will say this to myself all the time -- when I wake up in the mornings, when I lay my head down on my pillow at night, when I am feeling lonely, when I am feeling scared, when I am feeling broken, when I am feeling weak, and even when I am feeling at ease and joyful. We can come to the Word of God and should come to the Word of God with any and every emotion -- both in sadness and in joy and contentment. God is always at the door awaiting for us to come to him and knock on the door to his presence. Isn't that pretty cool?? 

I think so. What a Guy :) He is such a good good Father who strongly desires for his children to come to him in whatever state they're in. 

When I am lost for words in my prayers or thoughts or emotions, I will recite this verse. This has really been part of the glue to my faith over the years. Even though I didn't starting owning my Christian faith until mid-high school, this was one of the few verses that I kept coming back to through the darkest of times in high school, overcoming an eating disorder. When I had nothing, the words in these verses were everything I needed to hear.

When I had nothing, Jesus was everything. 

I encourage you guys -- whoever may read my blog posts at least (I don't even know who does, if anyone, besides my mother lol) -- to take a moment to just read Psalm 23 a few times and let it sink in. If you are a Christian, or if you feel like you're falling away from God because you feel distant, or you just want to learn more about who God is, I encourage you to open your Bible to Psalm 23 and ask yourself, "What do I learn about who God is from these words in front of me?" Let the comforting, reassuring words of this passage restore your heart and soul right at this moment.

And after you read it, maybe tomorrow you can read another Psalm or open up your Bible (or Bible app) to one of the gospels -- Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John -- to start learning about who this Jesus guy is that people talk about and what he came to do in this world. Once you open your Bible up, ASK QUESTIONS. I'm not kidding. The Bible is confusing and hard to read. I get so confused all the time and have no idea what the heck an author is trying to say sometimes, but that's normal. Read it and get together with someone to talk about it and learn together about who Jesus is and how to apply what you read in the Bible in our everyday lives. Christianity is not an easy road by any means and the Bible is not an easy read. I will say from my own experience with reading the Bible... it is convicting beyond belief and never stops exposing myself to clearly and truly see my awful sin that I struggle to let go of, my brokenness, and my need of Someone greater to help me daily and save me from ALL of it. Reading the Bible is hard, but my oh my is it worth it!! 

Guys, I know not all of you are Christians, and I don't want to force something like this down anyone, but for those of you who claim to be Christians or have a curiosity about Christianity, DIG INTO YOUR BIBLE and see for yourself the wonders of Jesus and his saving grace to the broken, like me. 

As Nike would advertise.... 

JUST DO IT!

& Here's an awesome song I just found and I wanted to share:

"There's a Light" by Todd Smith.