Abide in Me: Reflection on Psalm 23:1

Psalm 23:1 The Lord is my Shepherd There is Nothing I shall want

Luke 17:21 “The Kingdom of God is in the midst of you.”

Acts 17:28 “In Him we live, move and have our being.”

While meditating on 23:1, I felt like the Lord spoke these comforting words in the deepest part of my soul. The Holy Spirit is nudging me to share:

Life seems complicated, but my kingdom is as simple as a field. You only need to listen to me. Follow me. 
The Kingdom is in you. 
The Kingdom is all around you. 


It’s so simple. 

Enjoy the grass. 
Enjoy baaing with the other sheep (he says playfully).
Express all your feelings.

If you startle and run away, 
I will find a way to get you. 

It’s All on Me.

Just eat. 
Just graze. 
I will keep you together. 

You are ALL valuable to me. 

Enjoy each other. 
Enjoy the feast. 

No one is rejected. 
All are valuable to me. 

You are valuable to me. (Looking me in the eyes and capturing the fullness of my attention, these words are deeply felt.)
You are precious. 

You TRULY have everything in me. Everything you need. 

This was a complete sentence and also deeply felt. It’s true. I have everything I need. Everything IN HIM. Why does he have to keep repeating himself? I think because these are truths that are hard for me to take into the depths of my being. There is a whole dialog going on with me handing over my own doubts, fears, trauma, etc. – my goal is to live in surrender to God’s plan for my life! I believe He has good plans for each of us, and the journey is all about surrender, but it’s not easy.

There is no need to share details of my own personal struggles – we all have them. The important thing is to realize that our effort to surrender allows Him to reveal His presence in our lives in ever more tangible ways. He goes on:

I want to be felt. 
I want to be known. 
I want to be loved. 
I want to be followed.

YOU have everything you need. (Again capturing my full attention with his piercing gaze and presence deeply felt.)

You have love. 
You have community. 
You have faith. 
You have hope. 
You have me. 

You have me.
You have me. 
You will never stop having me. 
You will never escape my life in you. 

You are mine. 
You are called. 
You are chosen. 
You are mine. 

I need you to tell others about my love, my provision, my strength, my presence, my power over sin and death.
I need you to bear witness.
I need you to testify of my great love and saving power. 

I will take care of the rest. 

I need you. 

I will you to do it. 
I will you to do it. 
It is my will that you do it. 

Noteworthy: I feel like I can. I know I can do whatever he asks me because he has made me know. Exactly what? I have no idea. But I believe deep in my bones that step by step, the Lord will make my calling known as he already has done over so many years. I also feel that he will look after all generations of my family and recompense all of the sacrifices we have made to get to this point. I deeply realize that though I have felt alone, I am not alone and never have been – not even for a moment. Truly, He has been with me, shepherding my heart and soul every moment of my life. As the psalm says:

The Lord is my shepherd. There is nothing I shall want. 

I bask in the Lord’s words and feel so deeply convicted of their truth. Yet the parallel truth is: my life is not a peaceful field. I am a full-time mom of a high schooler, a middle schooler, a grade-schooler and a preschooler – all active kids, and I have a full time job in ministry at a local university.

I live in a state of who will pick up which kid where? Did we sign up for lessons yet? Did you order the groceries? Don’t forget your water bottle. Did you take your vitamins? Sure mommy will be your bedtime helper. Great job! Hang in there kid. Be careful. Brush your teeth. Take your vitamins. Not to mention work responsibilities of planning service projects, spring break service trips and working to start resettling families of refugees on campus.

Yet amidst the chaos, there is something that happens. A calm that comes over me. Things get done. Peace gets restored. Divine order manifests in the chaos. Often, the Lord’s presence is deeply felt in my home and in my workplace. Always, it is there, just under the surface of my own stress and anxiety of whatever challenge we are going through.

The Kingdom of God truly is among us.

There is a field. A field of grace in which we live, move and have our being, wanting only to love us unconditionally and be recognized so it can sneak into the cracks of our being and fill us with even more love.

I have lived in that field of grace all of my life, but I learned to consciously recognize it and tap into it during my years as a stay at home mom.

When my first son was born, my love for him eclipsed everything else going on in my life. My desires for him to experience love, peace and all good things opened up a strong desire to connect more deeply with God. I needed an insurance policy. A source of support and comfort because I couldn’t live with the pressure of thinking anything bad could happen to him. I needed to believe in invisible hands guiding him, angels looking after him, Heavenly parents looking after us all, guiding us to safe pastures.

While rocking him to sleep, I learned to persevere in prayer. As the challenges of life tried to crash in and destroy our peace as a growing little family, I found a deep sense of the Lord’s presence in prayer and the still small voice of God in my heart through my days of mundane chores and looking after the kids.

I learned to bring my doubts, fears, pain, regret, trauma, insecurities to the Lord. In those quiet early mornings with the Lord soaking in scripture, reading testimony and filling my mind and heart with encouragement – I found how when we persist in seeking the Light, the darkness has to move out of the way. No matter how dense it is – eventually, it budges. It’s a fact of life. Jesus already won all the spiritual battles we will ever face. If we genuinely persist in seeking Him and truly in our deepest hearts let everything else go, the clouds turn into sunshine. Sorrows turn into to joy. The peace that surpasses understanding makes camp in our hearts and minds and homes.

Energy shifts. Emotions change. We can feel this physically. It’s like mothership of light moving into my heart – the shadows flee, and I have no idea where they go.

During those years as a stay at home mom, I dug my heart into the Lord, devoted myself to cleaning everything else out inside, and I experienced the Grace of God, which is promised to us and even experienced the miracle that changed the trajectory of my life. Instead of believing with my mind, my whole body learned to believe. I experienced the power of prayer for myself, and it changed me.

This has become the template of my life. I bring darkness to the Lord (there is a never ending supply here on earth no matter how hard we try to avoid it), He replaces it with light. My life is more complicated as the kids get older and I have taken on more responsibilities outside of our home, but the template still works. I am able to expand and cast out deeper shadows with this magnificent eternal light, which dwells in me and all around me.

The darker the trial we are facing, the more we need God. There are no solutions out there, only in here – in the quiet place, where the still small voice soothes our souls and quietly goes about the business of moving the mountains that really need to be moved – not necessarily the ones, which we think ought to be.

Of course, there are solutions out there too including all kinds of medical professionals and support services which I fully encourage you to utilize if needed, but I find that when we’re not clear with the Lord interiorly, the exterior road can feel bumpy even when it’s smooth. We need to find our interior peace and restore our connection to God – then we can be empowered to find our way through any storm.

The reality is: the sheep don’t know what they’re doing or where to go. They rely entirely on the Shepherd, and we should too. Remember Psalm 23:1 –

The Lord is my Shepherd, there is nothing I shall want.

Those years as a stay at home mom working for free out of love and desire for my children to be blessed, while feeling a strong call to serve in the outer world too without knowing how to proceed – forged me into a woman of God. Letting go of worldly approval which would come from worldly success and making my own money / accomplishments, I was stripped down to the core of my being. Deep down, I knew I was called to be home caring for my kids, so I stuck to it while hoping to someday make a difference outside of my home as well. It was beautiful, rewarding and sacred, and at the same time it was incredibly difficult, lonely, and stressful.

The Spirit of the Living God of course accepted my every invitation to be in my life. As I prayed through my days, He flowed into all the cracks of my beings and began a great work in me and my family, which I still don’t understand but continue to remain open to.

My soul was forged into the trenches of life as a stay at home mom, and now it is strong enough to remain anchored to the Lord through all these other opportunities I’m being given. I still cling to the same God. I am still on the same journey of surrender into an ever deeper state of union with Him. Life is still beautiful, sacred and meaningful – and challenging.

The Lord’s words to me are preposterous – life is NOT a peaceful field. Sometimes it feels more like a mine-field! For example: 5 minutes after receiving this beautiful message from him, I had to start racing around to get my kids off to school. Yet at the same time, the Lord’s words to me are so deeply true I can feel them singing in my soul as I reflect on them. I can rest my deepest cares in them. I can trust in them and the Lord who is shepherding me into green pastures, always.

Life is a field. A gorgeous field. An infinite field of possibilities. And I pray you can realize it more deeply in your bones as the Lord works through these simple words I am called to share.

Lord, help us to know you as our Shepherd. Help us to realize that in You – truly, there is nothing we shall want.

How have you experienced the Lord as a Shepherd in your life? How do these words speak to you personally? Comment below, and I will be delighted to keep you in my prayers.

–by Nicky Gant. Written for Unite in Prayer 2/28/2023

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