I wanted to hurl hurts right back! The title of the book, Hurt People Hurt People, defined me. My hurt morphed to madness. I grabbed the leash of our Golden Retriever, Lexie (her tail communicating her excitement), my scripture cards, and stomped out the door.
I knew I would hear from God … and I kind of didn’t want to; mad felt right, vindicating even.
The words of our pastor, less than an hour old from the well-known Psalm 23 came back. During church my pen could hardly keep up with his wisdom. The story I was living was close to the surface–his points provided perspective and encouragement. Breathing came easier as we left church. Thank you Mark Bates.
The story I sat with in church came alive as I read my email when we arrived home. The words in the email dredged up the hurt emotions and ignited my anger.
Lexie and I started down the forest trails encircling our home with my mind remembering Mark’s points, Lexie happily unaware of my hurt. I desperately needed the Shepherd’s rod and staff, the prodding in the right direction and the pulling me back to truth. God was faithful.
Besides Mark’s teaching on the rod and staff, three additional thoughts calmed my heart.
“He leads me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” (verse 3) Even though my path was bumpy, God tells me it is the right path. It is the right path for Him to be glorified. My mind wandered to Psalm 16:11, “You make known to me the path of life;” It is the right path because God will redeem it. As my feet kept moving and my Fitbit kept counting, I confessed to not understanding but trusting that this somehow was a life-path.
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me;” (verse 4, underlines mine). The email was a kind of death for me, the death of a dream, a huge shadow on the beautiful sunny Sunday afternoon. God whispered, Sue, I’m in this valley with you. I get how important that dream was for you. I will keep my arms wrapped around you. Will you hear my love? Yes, Lord.
Mark ended with this thought, It is right for us to steward our emotions (my very raw emotions). But we also need to tell ourselves the truth. Steward my emotions AND tell myself the truth.
That made all the difference.
Lexie and I continued on. I pulled out the scripture cards I had stuffed in my pocket, reading the words, praying the truth, hearing God’s amen, and feeling His smile.
I walked in our back door humbled and ready for my Sunday afternoon nap.
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understand,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
If you would like to listen to Mark’s message (and I highly recommend it), you can hear it here.
I wonder, how have you experienced the truths of Psalm 23?