Finding Contentment in the Coming Year. UNITE Linky

Her name was Mrs. Oss. Tall, thin, soft spoken. Walking with grace, as if floating by love.

I was in Sunday School. Same age my nine-year-old daughter is now.

DSC_6624Mrs. Oss holds up, The Big Black Book, and announces, “We are going to learn, Psalms 23 together; and if at the end you can recite it to me, then you’ll get a very special, very meaningful surprise.”

And, I am not sure if the prize, or scripture, or wanting to please Mrs. Oss that compelled me most, but the next few weeks I did my best to study, learn, retain line after line, until I knew by heart, The Lord’s Psalm.

“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.” Line one. A line written by a man, David, who had known true wanderings.

“Bathsheba! Mom, I didn’t know!” My young daughter shockingly shouts from the back seat of the car. Us not able to get the Action Bible free from her hands.

“Why didn’t you tell me?” She asks as she looks up from the comic-book-like text.

And to be honest, in the past, I had danced around the reality that David didn’t just take giants, and lions, and bears. He took a woman that He shouldn’t have, and destroyed her husband to protect himself.

David was sinful and lust driven, like you and me before His full work of redemption saved us.

And recall, Romans wasn’t in existence yet…The book that says when we walk by the Spirit, it smothers the flesh.

David hadn’t heard the soft footsteps of Jesus, or the stories of healings, deliverances, and miracles, like those after the testament had…

And yet, in his seasoned age of contentment, and wisdom….After years of mistakes and temptations…David learned, “He shall not want.” 

Could it be because David learned He was not just a seasoned warrior, but a humble servant?

Had He found the key to all of Christainity, surrendering and admitting our defeat, coming to the Lord helplessly, stating, “I can’t do this, but You can“, “The Lord, YOU, are MY Shepherd?”

Yet, before these humble admittings in Psalms, David had learned scripture, known the works ofGod in Abraham and Moses…Still David needed to learn for Himself that Jehovah was faithful, loving, forgiving?

Relationship, about giving mercy when it’s undeserving, grace poured out like rain when we least expect it.

Did He take the wide road just so he could find the beauty of righteousness found in the narrow, the grace found in the Savior, the will to keep His heart and mind, committed not to a dictator…but a Loving Shepherd?

And isn’t it easier too when we let grace be the bridge that leads us to Him, instead of living by legalistic works, or the lie that we have fallen too far into sin that even He can’t save us?

It’s 2:00 a.m. My husband and I rise, wide awake, both at that exact same moment. He grabs my hand, quietly prays. I join him.

Back and forth, we whisper to heaven. PlacingDSC_6808 before the Lord what’s on our hearts…

For flesh often convinces us we need to defend ourselves; we need answers, solutions, to take things into our own hands…

But God says, “Wait. I’ve got this”. His Spirit leading us to soul peace.  While flesh always wants control….

And Romans tells us we will ALL become a slave of something in this world, either flesh or righteousness. (Romans 8:5)

What will we choose?

Yet, too often we use liberty to sin, or take righteousness and make a whip out of it, using it to harm others.

Flesh leads to death. Righteousness leads to life and (soul) peace. Yet, if we walk in the Spirit, the flesh will simply have no air to breathe in.

And clearly when Psalms was written, David had found His way. He stopped wrestling and fighting, controlling, and dictating.

He learned to give up His life and truly surrender to The One who could be trusted completely, His Good Shepherd.

Ezekial 34 also surfaces. It talks about the sheep all scattering because they have no Shepherd. (v.5-6) They wander aimlessly through the mountains, no one searching or caring for them.

There had been sin in the camp, which always divides and separates, creating isolation and  disparity among the people, making them vulnerable and prey to the enemy.

Yet, after sin ravishes it’s leaders, verse 11 comes in and takes over like The Sweeping Lion of Redemption that He is…

“Behold, I myself will search for My sheep and will seek them out.” (Ezekial 34:11)

Scripture goes on to talk about how God will bring His sheep out from the people and gather them from all countries to Himself. He promises to bring them to their own land and feed them, by the waters and inhabitants of places in the country. (v.13)

And I am reminded of the “still waters” in Psalms 23. The places He will lead us, once we “get” He is the Good Shepherd; trustworthy, patient, long-suffering…Us saved by grace and mercy, to live in the freedom He died that we might experience.

I clean out my cupboard in preparation for the New Year. And I find it. A brand new journal. I must have received it long ago and yet never used it.

I rejoice at how God provides for me.

I stare at the covering. Look, ponder, remembering Mrs. Oss, and her wisdom in sharing with a little girl who was only nine at the time.

The cover’s saying? “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.”

And in a world full of want,  I look up this same passage in the Amplified, and it reads, “The Lord is my Shepherd [to feed, guide, and shield me], I shall not lack”….

Today, maybe you are like the sheep of Ezekiel, feeling lost or abandoned, separated by sin, wandering or helpless…

But rejoice, because Scripture tells us today, “He is our Good Shepherd”. We can trust Him. We will not lack or want if we submit to His Lordship…

Like a loving Dad who finds His children in dark valley’s, He doesn’t beat or punish them, but walks loving with us by still waters, restoring our very souls…

And I wonder if my teacher, Mrs. Oss, knew as a seasoned soul, like David, that one day I would need the words of Psalms 23 etched in my core, as an adult…

“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.”

Today we can feed on these words, make them our own. Learn from the lessons of David, that as we destroy the flesh by walking in His Spirit and presence…Our soDSC_6786uls can be made content.

We can know peace and truth, real love, and what it means to find rest for our souls in a world begging us to “want” anything other than God.

A world that hasn’t learned that we aren’t the author of our lives, but just a blank pages, thin, empty, giving the pen to the author, Rod and the Staff, to write His Story within us.

Won’t you trust Him today? Won’t you let go control to lead and dictate…

Won’t you let the loving Shepherd feed, and guide, and shield you? Unlike man, He will never fail you! 

(The Lord is leading me to walk through the Lord’s Psalm 23 through the coming year. Will you join me by subscribing or following, not missing a post?)

Thanks!  And may your heart be stirred in the coming year, to make God more than a symbol or practice, but a living, breathing Savior who brings light to darkness, love in place of hate, hope instead of fear…and power to change for the better, whether you go through the valley of the shadow of death, or not.

UNITE Link Party

It’s UNITE Linky time! Wondering how UNITE works? Check HERE to find out how and why UNITE exits. Then, it’s easy…

  1. Just link up any family friendly post. (This is not a close nit club. You are welcome. I promise.)
  2. Will you kindly then, link back. It’s a courtesy we would appreciate. And if you haven’t, you can follow on Facebook or Twitter.
  3. Then,if you can and have a second (And I know it’s a busy season) will you comment on the post directly before yours?

Thanks for joining us!  And rejoicing that His mercies are new every morning! The New Year is coming!  What is your New Year’s resolution? Ready, set, gp! UNITE below… 


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Jen Avellaneda

Jen is an adoptive, foster, & bio mom to trans-racial family. She speaks, writes, & passionately advocates for the orphan domestically & internationally with her husband of twenty-five years.
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  1. There is so much that is beautiful and nurturing in your post – this particular line caught at me – “Still David needed to learn for Himself” – it’s when we learn for ourselves through real, intentional relationship with our creator that His is the path we need to travel – that narrow path that somehow liberates. It’s hard, sometimes, waiting for people we love to “learn for themselves” – but he’s got this – the pen, the story, the shepherd qualities you discuss. Your post is healing, encouraging balm! Blessings, Jenn!


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