So many times I’ve recited this verse and wondered about a God who would make us lie down. Often, I’ve thought of a small child being forced to take a nap.
I never liked to nap as a child. Because when I’d awake, my grandmother --Baba I called her--would be gone. She’d lie down with me on her big bed covered in pink roses and tell me silly stories till I fell asleep. Then she would go to work at my mom’s store. I was always so angry when I got up. Baba had done it again! She’d made me lie down for a nap and then she’d left me there.
When I became a mom, getting my kids to take a nap was the most arduous task of the day. Some days, I’d strap my son into his car seat and drive around the neighborhood until he fell asleep. Then I’d sneak into the house and let him sleep in the car. But most days, it was a constant battle: carry him to his bed, read him a book, cover him up, put quiet music on, tiptoe out of the room and into my office to write only to hear giggles behind me a few minutes later. Then we’d repeat the process until both of us were crying. With my daughter, it was even harder. Instead of sneaking out of her room, she’d do naughty things like cut her hair or draw on her antique bed with permanent markers. She’d refuse to lie down and then fall asleep at the dinner table.
I couldn’t make them lie down no matter how I tried! So this verse continued to escape me. Was God a great big nanny who wanted me to lie there and take my nap whether I wanted to or not? Was He really going to make me lie down?
Then February 17, 2014 came. God didn’t make me lie down. No, I think as a weary homeschool mom who can’t say “no” to anything or anyone, I would have liked to lie down. Instead, He made me sit down. As I ran down the icy steps to our garage, I slipped. Craaaack-Pop! In a heartbeat, I’d dislocated my foot, popped the synovial sac, broke my tibia in two places and also broke my fibula. Funny thing is, I’d just told my husband, “Boy, I’d sure like to just sit here all day.”
I’m not going to tell you that I’ve enjoyed being made to sit still. The days have been long and many of them have been excruciatingly boring. The pain has been horrible. The inability to walk or to drive made me helpless and I felt useless. For a woman on the go-go-go, I have not enjoyed being stop-stop-stopped.
“He restores my soul…”
Four months have passed and my injury is completely healed. Yet I still cry. I cry tears of grateful joy because He restored my soul. I was so desperately in need of rest, of restoration, that I couldn’t even walk through the valley until I lied down in the green pasture. My soul was so thirsty that He couldn’t fill my cup until I’d experienced still water. I was so burdened that I could not be comforted by anything except His rod and staff. And now I sit at this table, feasting on His love and grace as He pours His merciful peace over my head, its oily goodness running down my face, coating me, covering me. And as I look out into my future as an artist looks at a blank canvas or a farmer looks at an empty field, I see goodness. I see a life reborn because the Shepherd made me lie down when I needed it most.