“Pick me up,” my grandson says.
He reaches little arms high, and his mommy leans down, puts her hands against his solid tiny body. Her brown hair swings forward and covers the smile I know is there. With a heave, she swings him into her arms.
He not much more than a baby, but he knows the comfort of one who loves. He lays his blonde head against her chest, snuggles and squeezes his arms against his mommy.
As happens with a new stage of life around the corner, some of our packing up of boxes has much more to do with putting away pieces of our lives into neat little categories of memories and experiences.
We remember. We grieve losses. We replay joys. We marvel at God’s faithfulness. We discard and throw. We hold and we cherish, but memories sometimes bring sadness too.
I find myself in this process of transition mucking through past painful experiences alongside the good, things long under the bridge, virtually forgotten. But I find as I dust off and and fold away, there is still some nasty run-off, know what I mean?
He carried me on His shoulders through so many experiences. When the river ran too high and the silt sucked me under, He lifted me as a Shepherd does with a lamb not quite making it on its own. At times I felt so very carried, at others drowning in the refuse of trial.
Now, some of the memories I pack away remind me of things that happened, and my thoughts swirl to what should have been but wasn’t, hurts from others and painful residue. Memories scrape at scabs I thought had healed. I’m surprised to find wounds still tender, forgivenesses less forgiven. In a way it’s like putting on rubber boots and sloughing through stuff all over again, turning back through the ugly gully of muck another time. Or wallowing in a putrid pig pen of bitter regret.
He carries me in His arms. He reminds me of the green pasture beyond shadowed valleys
But here too I find the Lord is my Shepherd. When I pivot back and retrace, He is gracious to carry me again, to redeem griefs of my soul and pour oil on thorn pricked wounds. I find He reaches down another time and lifts me again. He carries me in His arms. He reminds me of the green pasture beyond shadowed valleys.
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” Psalm 23:1-3 (ESV)
- He provides
- He leads
- He restores
- He shepherds
And in the wake of memories of the past and the wave of future unknowns, He raises this lamb and walks where I am too weak to re-tread. He scoops me high where I can lean against Him and listen to His heartbeat.
“I will fear no evil, for you are with me…” Ps. 23:4 (ESV)
David, the shepherd wrote this Psalm. He knew shepherding. He did leading. He faced enemies and understood ruined dreams. He knew well God’s silence as well as God’s miraculous answers. Yet, He found the Shepherd of his soul always present. In unforeseen valleys, or in the memory of past valleys, the Shepherd comforts. He encourages the head that searches to lean on His chest and arms which must hold tight.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord. Forever. Psalm 23:6 (ESV)
And with the grace He imparts, I don’t live in the muck-yuck as long as I once did. I recognize the state of my muddy feet sooner. I am learning as I travel to wait in silence until He picks me up again, and together we journey to the other side.