I stood there, the sea of grass rippling against my ankles, chest heaving like I was trying to suck in the entire chilled sky all at once.

I’d sprinted. I’m not a sprinter. But sometimes that’s the only way to get to a place where you can yell.

“Why is this so hard sometimes?”

“Why don’t I feel You?”

The questions flew out over the pasture without anything to bounce off of except the rabbit bouncing into the bushes, the wind waiting to carry my words away.

I gasped for air.

The wind tousled my ponytail.

He makes me lie down in green pastures. He restores my soul.

Of course.

Of course that’s the truth that would drift through my brain as I stood there in a horse pasture, restless legs stamping down the tall blades in the spot where I’d stopped.

“God, don’t you know all I’d like to do is rest? And be restored?”

For weeks I’d been living in the desert — literally and figuratively. When I moved there, I’d packed a mixed bag of excitement and nerves.

In return, the desert packed a punch.

The desert is a hard place to live. This I knew.

But my feet were barely sandy when His promise to just walk forward, I’ll lead you got shaken out of my pockets like lunch money by a playground bully.

The adventure was gone. Fast.

I felt like I’d been beaten up on the dry, dusty road, so like a bloody-nosed kid with cut-up knees, I ran back to the last place I remembered seeing my Father’s face.

Where things were green.

And like the walking wounded, I paced His pasture, asking Him to explain Himself. I let it all out. Questions. Indignation. Tears. Hurt. Exhaustion.

He makes me lie down.

I didn’t feel like I needed Him to “make” me.

But at the same time … I did.

I needed Him to tell me to rest, to remind me again that He wouldn’t leave. In the Valley of the Shadow of Death, though He was there, I’d lost sight of Him somehow.

The dark closed in.

For You are with me.

He was.

Even when I felt desperately alone in the dark, when the weight was crushing, He was with me.

Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

It wasn’t always what I wanted. But in the moments I needed Him most, He was there, providing the exact thing I needed to get me through the night.

Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life.

No matter where I run. Valley. Sand. Pasture.

If I make my bed in the depths, You are there.

My feet came to rest.

And as I sat down, not in the bed I’d made for myself but the one He’d made for me, He reminded me who I was.

A daughter.

His sheep.

And like a sheep, I’ll need to remember — and need reminding — again tomorrow.

27 Responses

  1. Grace, thank you for your honest words. I recently came out of a desert season that lasted longer than I had wanted it to, but knew so clearly that it had been ordained by God. In my efforts to press in when I felt like I couldn’t hear anything, I became discouraged and weary until I read My Utmost for His Highest on the exact day that I needed it. I hope it gives you the same strength to keep going forward into the unknown.

    “Has God trusted you with His silence— a silence that has great meaning? God’s silences are actually His answers…. When you cannot hear God, you will find that He has trusted you in the most intimate way possible— with absolute silence, not a silence of despair, but one of pleasure, because He saw that you could withstand an even bigger revelation.”

  2. Great read, great thoughts gleamed from the Psalms. I am so thankful He does pull us aside for the rest. A time of remembering, a time to get our perspective in order, a time to thank Him for who He is and He has order the road before us. Will be back for more.

  3. Thank you, Grace. I’m sorry for these rough things you have been experiencing, things that beat you up like a bully. It seems Father has a thing for deserts and valleys, doesn’t it? Feast at his table he has prepared for you. For it is when we are in the deepest valley that we gain strength by the power of the blood of Jesus through the Holy Spirit. It was after Jesus’ 40 days in the desert that he faced one of his fiercest battles, and he soundly defeated. I am praying for you tonight, for your rest and restoration. Your words have reminded me to look for Father, for it is I who have lost my vision, not him. He has not left me to wander alone.

  4. Thank you for this!! This past summer, I was in Greece for a missions trip for basically 5 weeks and it was a wonderful time but it was one of the most difficult and lonely times of my life. I’ve had one of the hardest faith rocking experiences since becoming a Christian. Psalm 23 was one of the only verses and truth that I could hold on to. Both literally and figuratively it rang true in my life. I’m thankful that God has been using this truth and encouragement in other peoples lives as well. Know your writing is a blessing!!

  5. It is so good to hear from you again! Been missing reading your thoughts and encouragements! Hope you’ll come around more often.

  6. Wonderful! Thanks so much for opening up your heart and allowing us to peek in. It’s an honor!! Keep writing. Gods using you!

  7. Wow! How I needed these words today. I just got word that my sister has inoperable brain cancer and hospice will be called in. She is not expected to be here past Christmas. It is good to remember my Heavenly Father is with me.

    Sent from my iPad


  8. Ohhhh you have such a beautiful gift; not ‘just’ writing, but communicating with your readers the truth of God’s love for us. It’s 5.20am here, and I have been in a desert of my own, barely holding on; this morning was the first devotional time I’ve had in a long time . . . . and then I read your words. And I smiled. Everything is – will be – okay. Thank you , and bless you for sharing with us so beautifully. Blessings, Helen

  9. Thankyou for your heart that is able to verbalize what we all feel. God bless you, my sister! May the Lord remind you again tomorrow, and me, how much we are loved.

  10. Thank you so much for this. I’m in my first semester of college and honestly, I’m struggling. I started a 40 days and 40 nights journey of reading Psalm 23 yesterday – I had just finished writing it in my journal today when I got the notification of a new post by you. Truly a Jesus thing. Thanks for letting Jesus use you in powerful ways.

  11. This is beautiful. I feel like I’m in a similar pasture, a place God has lead me that looks totally different from where I thought I was going. And I love what you said about sitting in the bed He’s made and Him reminding you of who you are. I think it’s time for me to have a seat.

    Thank you so much for continuing to share your life, the ups and downs. Each post is always such an encouragement.

  12. I haven’t read this yet, but it always makes me really happy when I see one of your emails in my inbox. Thanks for sharing.

    I realize this my email is coming out of nowhere. I’m not sure how I found your blog. I know my base director (here at YWAM Louisville) found your blog (or was sent your post) about not waiting anymore. So I’ve been following you since then. I love it. Thank you.

    1. Thanks, Brittany. I’ve been living a little bit off the map and out of a suitcase, but I’m hoping to be around more these days. Good to hear from you .. see you again soon. :)

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