Through the Darkest Valley

The Lord is my shepherd;
     I have all that I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows;
    he leads me beside peaceful streams.
    He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
    bringing honor to his name.
Even when I walk
    through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid,
    for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
    protect and comfort me.
You prepare a feast for me
    in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
    My cup overflows with blessings.
Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
    all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord

~ Psalm 23

These words were a balm to my soul last night. My doctor increased one of my medicines two weeks ago to help me with my anxiety, and unfortunately it seems to be having the opposite effect. I have been more anxious and depressed than normal–and even somewhat paranoid. Noises were bothering me and making me scared, and I was worrying about everything.

I decided to take a hot shower and fill my senses with my body wash of lavender and chamomile in an attempt to calm down and prepare for bed. Sometimes I find that heading to bed is the only way to escape the thoughts and the worries…that is, if they don’t keep me from sleep, anyhow.

But before I turned out the light and snuggled into bed, I “snuggled into” Psalm 23. It is a chapter in the Bible that always seems to calm and encourage, no matter what your circumstances.

I meditated on and prayed through each phrase, attempting to let them calm my tortured soul. Thank God for His Word. I don’t know what I would do without it, and without the Living Word, Jesus Christ.

Father, thank you for Your Word, and thank you for Jesus Christ, the Living Word of God. Thank you that your Word is practical–that it meets me where I am and comforts and encourages me when no one and nothing else can. Please help me to continually return to You for renewed peace and strength. Help me to trust that “even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.” I love You, and I rest in Your unfailing love for me. Amen.

Photo Credit: Crystal Knauss

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