The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
The DAB reading from Psalms this morning is my favourite, Psalm 23. I chose to share the KJV version because that is the first version of this Psalm that I learned not long after getting saved as a 17-year-old in South Carolina.
I was staying with a Christian family during my high-school exchange year. They invited me to come to church with them and jokingly warned me that they went three times a week. I was intrigued by people who had real faith because I had never come across it before. So naturally, I decided to go with them to check it out.
If I remember correctly, it was about three weeks into my stay with Wayne and Liz Lewis that I decided to accept Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. A week or so later I was baptised. This was in February 2017.
A wonky start
Right after I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Saviour, Wayne and Liz gave me a blue, leatherbound KJV Bible. I remember that I dove straight into the Book of Revelation which probably wasn’t the best start to my Bible studies but I was left to my own devices. Not only didn’t the Book of Revelation not make much sense without knowing the rest of the New Testament but I struggled with the archaic language.
I should have been taught the basics of the faith and what it means to be a young lady walking with God. Instead, I was made into a poster girl for the church, taught a script and thrust into door-to-door evangelisation.
My traumatised soul (CPTSD after childhood abandonment and abuse) needed to learn what it actually meant to feel whole first. However, I never got a chance to lie down on those green pastures and learn to trust that the Lord is my shepherd. I was doing and working straight away. There was no poetry in my walk with God though I tried to sneak some in later myself.
And, as I have shared before, the church where I was saved taught cessationism. The gifts of the Holy Spirit were not operational. There was no anointing but a whole lot of efforting. No wonder my faith burned itself out.
There goes one abandoned by God
After my high-school exchange year, I moved back to Sweden. For ten years, I faithfully attended church and tried my best to be a good Christian. Though, without the power of the Holy Spirit, what does that even mean?
Eventually, I picked up some of the occult interests I had been dabbling in before I became a Christian. I knew the spirit world was real. As a young child, I had seen spirits and I had experienced things that could not be explained away by science. I gradually began to feel more at home with my occult and esoteric practices than I did at church. Little did I know that my soul was at peril.
Many years later, after I moved to the UK and was working as a Tarot reader, my husband and I pulled up in the parking lot outside Tesco. As we walk up to the entrance, I spot a young, untidy-looking man and his carer. The young man raises his arm, points right at me and says in a loud voice, ‘There goes one abandoned by God!’ He was possessed, of course, and the demon had absolutely nailed my greatest fear.
Finding my way back to the Good Shepherd
In spite of all the fear and trauma I experienced as a child, I do believe the demonic encounter is the most traumatic experience of my life. But it had the opposite effect of what had been intended by the evil spirit. Because it confirmed the reality of good vs evil, something the world of New Age tries very hard to deny.
Still, it took many years for me to extricate myself from the false doctrines and demonic practices I was engaged in. It wasn’t until I received deliverance from the spirits that were keeping me in bondage that I was able to finally surrender my life to God. What a journey it has been so far. This morning, I’m grateful for the reminder to rest for a while by the still waters.
I was a lost lamb but the Good Shepherd never abandoned me. Instead, He left the 99 to go find me.
Do you trust God? Do you know Him as the Good Shepherd?