Protecting Lines in Pleasant Places
by Sherry Kendrick, Guest Writer
I bless the LORD who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
I have a tendency toward depression. I have experienced three significant times in my life when I needed to take medication to help me as I worked through times of grief. So knowing that Mike’s illness was progressing I went to see the doctor before his death and resumed the medication. It has been a good decision because I’ve been able to focus on the grieving and not focus on just surviving the depression. Grieving takes so much energy. It brings about an exhaustion that is hard to describe unless you have experienced it. I was recently at a conference where Nancy Guthrie spoke about grieving. She compared the energy drain of grieving to a cell phone. The app that is open is the app you see, but behind it there are other open apps that are also draining your battery; this is a perfect description of how I’ve felt. The app of my life that people are seeing is indeed functioning from day to day. Most people say to me “You are doing so well”. What they don’t see behind that app is the one that is always open for me. It is labeled, “Mike’s not here and I miss him.” By the end of every day, I’m drained and exhausted. Between the daily functions of life and the drain of grief, I find I’m vulnerable to bad thinking. So when the Lord gave me this Psalm, one of the applications for me was the understanding that His boundary lines are also a protection. Outside the safety of His pasture, there are wolves that would devour my soul. I have several wolves that show up in the darkness of the night. First, there is Doubt that creeps in to make me question God’s presence with me. Then there is the Root of Bitterness that might grow because I miss Mike so very much. Next, Self-Centeredness barks that I should just take care of myself because no one else will. Let’s add the noise of anxiety and depression; they are close cousins that would create such darkness in my soul, with the sole intent of pushing away any comfort of the Shepherd’s care. Oh, and then there is the whine of Jealousy, “I don’t have a spouse like others. There will be no more holiday or vacation photos to share together.” These wolves are real as I grieve. Yet, His boundary lines protect me as I stay in His pasture. The truth of His word - like Psalm 16 - provides the counsel for my soul in the deep of the night when the wolves begin to circle. He protects me as I pray and cry aloud “by staying at my right hand so that by His presence I am comforted.”
I am also thankful for some special friends who speak these truths into my grieving. Finding those other sheep in the pasture that will stay beside you in the dark of the night is important. Because I knew I had a tendency to the depression, I set up some accountability relationships after Mike’s death. I gave them permission to talk about me to each other. I gave them permission to speak truth to me if I was wandering away from it. If I didn’t get out of bed in the morning, they would know and come be with me. If the crowd at church overwhelmed me, they would intervene and move me to a safe place. They made sure I had plans on all the holidays and “first” days of celebrating without Mike. They were available to cry with me on the phone or over a meal. These relationships of both family and friends have helped hold me accountable to the truth of God’s word rather than the deception Satan would speak into the grieving process.
LIFE GIVING ENCOURAGEMENT
Do you have wolves that would devour your soul or make you doubt? Grow a root of bitterness? Create self-centeredness? Do you lean toward anxiety and depression? Harbor jealousy? Remember: by His word He is preserving us and we are kept safe. Remember: He is our portion and our cup and we can choose to run to Him. Remember: He sets the boundary lines in pleasant places to provide and also to protect us. We need not fear the wolves! It is indeed a beautiful inheritance.
Sherry Kendrick has a degree in elementary education from East Tennessee State University and over 30 years experience in Christian education, children’s ministry and public school elementary education. She loves children’s curriculums and tends to collect them. Sherry has lived in Naples, Florida for 32 years and currently serves as the Children’s Director of Covenant Church of Naples. Sherry was married to Mike Kendrick, a PCA pastor for 36 years. She has been a widow since February 2018. She is blessed with 3 grown children and one grandchild.
Subscribe to Daily Treasure and have devotionals like this one delivered to your inbox.