Psalm 23: Divorce Translation

It seems even those who don’t know the Bible have heard at least parts of this passage of scripture. It is one of the most popular and encouraging group of verses quoted and paraphrased every hour of every day somewhere in the world.

I would like to share this version with you. I will quote a verse and then translate it for those needing the hope and encouragement you need now during the divorce healing process.

Psalm 23:1 ESV

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.

Translation:

Jesus is watching over you. He is looking out for danger and possible attacks against you. If you have Him, you have everything you need to get through this. Don’t think another relationship will give you true peace. It won’t fill that God-shaped hole inside of you.

Psalm 23:2 ESV

He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.

Translation:

Jesus will make you rest. He will cause you to take time to be refreshed. He will make sure it is a place still full of life and nourishment (grass and water). As a lamb, you need a safe place to pause and regain your strength. Jesus will allow you to see the lush, green grass between your toes and the mirror-like surface of the freshest water you have ever seen.

Psalm 23:3 ESV

Translation:

He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Jesus brings back your soul from the place of brokeness. He fixes the shattered pieces and puts them together again. He will be your ever present help as you make decisions that will affect you and your family from this day forward. It will be a path that glorifies Him as it brings forth transformation in you.

Psalm 23:4 ESV

Translation:

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and staff, they comfort me.

Jesus will calm your fears of what is to come as you choose to walk with him through this valley in your life. Though it may feel like you are near death and being haunted by an evil shadow, He is right there with you. Hold on to Him, because He wants to hold onto you. His rod is an instrument of protection from harm as it displays His strength towards the enemy. His staff is the way He guides you, lovingly rescuing you from those places you seem to find yourself in that are not good for you. Those give you a peace, knowing how much He loves you in those ways.

Psalm 23:5 ESV

Translation:

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies, you anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows.

Jesus is creating a place where you will feast upon God’s blessings while others will be able to see His goodness towards you. He will flood your heart and mind with an abundance of peace and joy as you commune with Him at His table. There will come a day that you will be able to help others from the overflow of His goodness in your life. Your healing will flow out to those around you because of what God has done in you.

Psalm 23:6 ESV

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Translation:

Get ready for the rest of your life!! You will experience a life where people will see God’s goodness and mercy flow out of you wherever you go. You can experience the life God has for you, as a son or daughter of the King in His house full of love and peace. As you stay in His home, you will.

Don’t let your emotions and self-image cause you to stray. Wolves are waiting for you to be isolated and wounded. God will come to your rescue. Just call on Jesus and rest in Him. He is your shepherd.

Be blessed.

YouVersion Bible App Reading Plans:
31 Days: http://bit.ly/2DNy6E6
7 Days: http://bit.ly/2DTHQwD

Book: http://amzn.to/2ctwjHp

The Next Chapter

(Please read all the way to the end)

God is always writing a new chapter in our lives. Our life story is being written by an author and creator that already knows how the story will end.

Do we know how it will go?

Of course not. We are living that story and you can’t see into the future. While we can do everything we can to invest, change, grow, and learn to become what we believe is our better self, many things go into the next chapter.

I used to think I wanted to know my future. The older I get, the more I realize that I would not have chosen that future. I wanted to be a rock star. I wanted to see the world. I wanted to have things and be someone that is nothing close to what I have or who I am now.

Saying all of that, I would not change one thing in my past because of what God has done in and through my life to bring me to where I am now.

Do I have regrets? More than I can ever count? Do I wish things would have been different? Only if I would have what I have now, know what I know now, be as blessed as I am now, and know that through everything, God has been faithful to bring forth wholeness to me through it all, in spite of me and my failings.

So, why are we both taking a moment right now to acknowledge the turning of a page in our lives?

Our story is not made up of only a couple dozen chapters. It is a complete rendering of our life on earth. It has many characters, plot twists, and shocking events. It includes love, pain, joy, loss, life, and death.

It is a record for all of eternity that you exist. You matter. You are a part of human history and God’s story.

While most lives will never make the history books in our schools or the shelves of our libraries and Kindles, it still is being written. It is still there. It will always be there, even if nobody ever sees it or reads it.

God has a place for our story. He is recording our daily lives, knowing how it will end. Yet, He is letting us co-write it.

We know that God gave us a free will. There are consequences and results from every decision and action for our whole life. This is our part of the story writing.

Think of it as a REAL (not psuedo-real) reality show. As you go through voting people off, back-stabbing, helping your teammates, lifting others up, and striving to be your best, God is putting pen to paper on your story.

How do you think God goes about recording your prayers to Him? Is it like you talking to Him for advice on how to handle a situation or relationship? Do you ignore His subtle and sometimes abrupt requests for just a few minutes to spend time with Him?

Since He knows the whole story, I wonder if we see how advantageous it would be to ask Him about His plans on how our story should go. God has a best plan for us. It is up to us to come into alignment with that plan in order for Him to give us our best life.

How would our life story change if we asked the One who knows how the story ends? How would being obedient to His calling and direction affect our selfish and simplistic look at our lives? Could we see our life actually is a vital part of human history?

What is your next chapter?

Will it be full of disappointment, pain, and selfishness to the point of destruction at the hand of substance abuse, suicide, or just giving up on life and letting things happen?

Will it be full or a restoration of your self-image, a renewing of your mental well-being, and a testimony to God’s redeeming work in your life?

Take a moment right now to decide how you want the next chapter to read. Set a few minutes aside to quiet yourself and honestly talk to God.

Tell Him what you are feeling. Be honest. If you can’t be honest with yourself and others, at least be honest with Him. He loves you and is on your side. Let it out.

Ask Him what this next chapter looks like. It may amaze you that He wants to write about the healing and wholeness He has for you. He is wants to marvel that this will not be a chapter in your life that will look back to the other chapters already written but looks look forward to the life story to come.

Picture yourself at a Panera (where I am right now enjoying a hot Orange Mint Herbal Tea) sitting across from God himself. He has a pad and paper in front of Him and has a nice pen in His right hand touching the paper. On the top of the page reads “The Next Chapter”.

He looks at you with excitement in His heart, wondering what you want written down. His eyes are filled with a love you are just now starting to understand. His voice asks you softly, “My child, what is next? How do you want this to start?”

What is your response?

 

YouVersion Bible App Reading Plans:
31 Days: http://bit.ly/2DNy6E6
7 Days: http://bit.ly/2DTHQwD

Book: http://amzn.to/2ctwjHp

 

The Space Between

The word liminal comes from the Latin word ‘limen’, meaning threshold – any point or place of entering or beginning. A liminal space is the time between the ‘what was’ and the ‘next.’ It is a place of transition, a season of waiting, and not knowing.

Author and Franciscan friar Richard Rohr describes this space as:

where we are betwixt and between the familiar and the completely unknown. There alone is our old world left behind, while we are not yet sure of the new existence. That’s a good space where genuine newness can begin. Get there often and stay as long as you can by whatever means possible…This is the sacred space where the old world is able to fall apart, and a bigger world is revealed. If we don’t encounter liminal space in our lives, we start idealizing normalcy.

These thresholds of wondering and not knowing our ‘next’ are inevitable and most are incredibly disruptive. Yet, these spaces are required and necessary for growth that precedes your healing.

From the point where you take that leap of faith until you land on solid ground, it can be scary. It can be lonely. It can be confusing and exhausting.

It is ALWAYS a testimony.

This is the place that scares us. This is the place where our comfort zone has been left for the unknown zone. This is where fear and faith collide to do battle for the future of our life.

Look at the person in the picture above again. Notice a few things about them:

 

They are looking forward —

Unless you are a diver or playing around near a pool, you look ahead when you leap. You are  seeking a place that is in front of you.

Have you ever wondered why God put our eyes on the front of our head? Yes, to look forward. We have to strain to see behind us without a mirror. It should be a struggle to focus on what is already behind us.

God wants us to look at what lies ahead instead of what lies in ruins behind us. You can’t change the past. You can only learn from it and move forward.

13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,

They are heading somewhere —

There is movement away from the past towards a new present. A decision was made to embrace change. They trust where they are heading will be better than where they have been, a place of pain.

There is a hope, a desire for more than what has happened to them. A sense of a new beginning that can only happen when they step out in faith.

But, as it is written,

“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
    nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him”—

 

They are not where they used to be —

The space between is not the place of your past. You are not there any more. Rejoice in that!!

You are now residing in a new space. Liminal space is temporary, just like where you may be living right now.

A nice big house may have become a small 2 bedroom apartment either with your children or all by yourself. The house may be the same, but your family may not be there with you.

A negative change in your physical home can become a welcome change in your non-physical home. Your soul can be at rest with His Holy Spirit no matter where you live,  in a mansion or in a rescue shelter.

He lives in you. Seeking Him and welcoming Him into your new ‘home’ will mean a closer, more life-giving relationship with the God who will never leave you nor forsake you.

10 And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may dwell in their own place and be disturbed no more. And violent men shall afflict them no more, as formerly,

 

They are above where they will land —

It seems a little odd, but do you notice in the picture the person is higher than where they will end up on the other side? Why is that?

First, it takes strength to jump out in faith. You need to know that God will be your strength and will give you the power to propel away from your past to land in your future. Go for it!!

Second, you can’t just crawl off the faith cliff. You will fall straight down. The person above put physical, mental, and emotional energy into moving out from their past. You can too.

Third, where you are headed will be a foundation for your future. It will be the solid ground where you can stabilize yourself for the journey ahead. Count on it.

13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

 

Will everything be perfect from this point forward? Of course, not. Will everything work out? I hope so. Will it be difficult? Probably. Will it be worth it? DEFINITELY!!

When you thrust your whole being upwards towards the God who created you and loves you, the picture above is where you will be. You will be closer to Him, away from your past, above your problems, and heading towards a solid rock where your new life will begin.

Be blessed!!

 

YouVersion Bible App Reading Plans:
31 Days: http://bit.ly/2DNy6E6
7 Days: http://bit.ly/2DTHQwD

Book: http://amzn.to/2ctwjHp

 

 

 

 

 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Divorce

How in the world can you handle all of the craziness of a global pandemic, with all of the demands on your family from homeschooling and mask-making to locating toilet paper and working from home (or being laid off)? Now add the stress and logistics of a divorce to the mix? How on earth can anyone even ATTEMPT to handle all of this?

If anyone has the answers, they are lying!!!

SO, why should I even attempt to write down my thoughts on this subject?

I am no disease specialist. I do not have a degree in epidemiology. I am no way an economist, front line healthcare worker, governmental representative, or even a counselor.

What I am is a person who has been where you are; having to deal with too much stuff while trying to navigate my life and attempting to heal from a divorce.

It would be a monumental feat for me to share practical and redundant information on COVID-19. That is why your local, state, and national governmental bodies were created. From the CDC to your local doctors and healthcare professionals, they can give you the best information on anything and everything you need to know on the virus.

What they cannot do is speak to you about what really matters; the health of your soul.

With all that is going on, the health of your soul is the most important thing, in my opinion.

In my own hometown, calls to the police for domestic violence are up 20% over last year for last month (March 2020). While many families are coming closer together during this difficult time, many others are fighting and hurting each other at an alarming rate.

Our souls (mind, will, and emotions) are hurting, confused, and just plain tired. They are being torn down by so many different factors, not the least being our financial situations, the media, elderly parents that won’t stay at home, or our own family getting on our nerves.

For the most part, what is attacking our souls is not something physical. It is our own thoughts and fears about what is currently going on and what is to come. It is being attacked by our thoughts towards one another and not knowing where the next paycheck is coming from.

These are all valid and need to be acknowledged, but they need to be retaliated against. Just not in a physical way.

You never attack the wind with a sword. The wind comes and goes as it pleases. It changes direction and intensity at will. We can try to predict how strong it will be and from what direction, but even that is futile at times.

So how do you handle the “wind” coming against you?

You put up a wind turbine and allow the wind to create energy for you!!

Just like fire, wind can do good and do bad. It can destroy a building itself by crushing it with a large tree. It can cause waves that crash upon a dike that may break and flood whole communities. Wind can carry debris during a hurricane or tornado that could cause death and destruction beyond our wildest imaginations.

It can also provide electricity when driving the blades of a huge wind turbine. It can propel a sailboat through a beautiful channel of islands in the Caribbean. It can bring refreshing on a hot day as you lay by a pool, reading a book.

The wind of circumstance for both the pandemic and divorce have 2 things in common; it can bring forth death & destruction or it can bring peace and energy to move forward.

So how can you protect your soul during this time of corona virus and divorce?

(1) Find a hiding place

We have all heard of the social distancing and stay at home orders. It works for the spread of the virus.

When you are needing a hiding place for your soul during divorce, find it in the person of Jesus and His word (the bible).

Psalm 32:7  You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah (Pause. Take a moment and let the passage above speak to you)

A hiding place allows you protection as well as giving you a place to gain strength for what is to come next. It is in our hiding place where we can either grow or fall apart. It is all a decision on how you address the time and how you use that time while you are there.

(2) Be cautious

Wear a mask. Stay 6 feet away from other people. Do not be in a group of more 10 people.

When divorce becomes a part of our lives, we need to be careful who we hand around. Family can be as much of a hindrance as a help, if they are not speaking life to you. Doing things and going places with those who just want to make you “feel good’ only cause more damage and destruction for your soul.

Spend time with Godly people, those willing to speak life and not death to you and your situation. Pastors, counselors (Christian or Christian-friendly), friends, and family that encourage you to seek God are the ones that will feed our soul instead of tearing it down.

Deuteronomy 12:28  Be careful to obey all these words that I command you, that it may go well with you and with your children after you forever, when you do what is good and right in the sight of the Lord your God.

God will protect you and provide the wisdom you need during this time in ways you may never ever know. Only days, month and years down the road may you see how following God’s ways have kept you from harm and helped your soul heal.

3) Plan to come out

With wisdom from the healthcare and business professionals, we will emerge from the isolation from this pandemic. It needs to be a plan with much consideration for the health of all people and our country as a whole.

There will come that day when your soul will be able to move forward with God’s help and wisdom. It will be a time of uncertainty and apprehension, but He will be with you every step of the way, if you let Him.

Jeremiah 29:11  For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lordplans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

I know that this verse is one of the most quoted verses in the Bible, but I felt it fit better than all of the others. God does have a plan for you. Your challenge is to bring your soul in alignment with that plan. From there, God will guide you out in wisdom and with peace.

4) Walk in faith

The day is coming soon (if it hasn’t already) when we will be asked to leave our isolation and return to work, return to school, and return to living lives outside of our homes. It may look different for quite a while, yet we need to move on with what needs to be done to move forward.

Our soul will grow stronger as we exercise it; moving out from our hiding place into the next chapter in our life. God will give you the strength and encouragement to move on. You may not think you are ready (usually nobody thinks that), but God is calling you out into His marvelous light.

2 Corinthians 5:7  for we walk by faith, not by sight.

Another popular verse, yet it so relevant to our situation. When we step out after divorce, we can’t see what will happen. We have no idea how things may turn out, but I know how does.

Jesus.

He is the One who is, who was, and who is to come. He knows the beginning from the end, not just for all of humanity, but for you!!

He knows you intimately and can see what you cannot see. Walk with Him in faith as He shows you all that He is doing for you now.

Step out, holding His hand as you are encouraged with the support of Godly friends and family. He will be there for you, no matter what.

My prayer for you is that you find Jesus through all of this in a new and healthy way. May His healing power heal our bodies and our souls during this difficult time.

Be blessed!!


If you are interested in any free resources (book for sale, if desired) to help you as you proceed through the healing process of divorce, here are a couple of Reading Plans I wrote for the YouVersion Bible App.

The links to those plans and my book are below:

YouVersion Bible App Reading Plans:
31 Days: http://bit.ly/2DNy6E6
7 Days: http://bit.ly/2DTHQwD

Book: http://amzn.to/2ctwjHp

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