As someone who's grown up in a Christian home, I'm very familiar with the 23rd Psalm. I've said it over and over again in children's church and even in my school. I'm sure that if you heard me recite it as a child, you would laugh at how robotic it sounded. No part of Psalm 23 meant anything to me whatsoever.
It's sad, but that's the truth. I think it may be common with memorization. Unless you make it mean something to you, it will end up being a long group of words said in the same sequence each time.
Well, after many years, I've finally found meaning in at least a part of this popular Psalm.
I recently reconnected with someone who I haven't spoken to in about 14 years. That's a long time, right?
After talking with him for about 15 minutes, he said "You have not changed a bit in 14 years." I quickly responded, "Many things are the same, but many things are different." Of course, there had been "change" in the 14 years between conversations. What he didn't know, though, was how much change had taken place.
In the 14-some years that went by, I changed from "Christian high school student" to the girl who was raped, the girl who was in an abusive relationship, the girl who attempted suicide, the girl who had no hope and found no love, the girl who loved to get drunk and high, the girl who met someone she wanted to spend the rest of her life with, the girl who cared for her fiance' as he fought cancer, the girl who was married, the girl who went back to church, and finally, the girl who became a mom of 2 beautiful children. My friend had missed a lot of what I went through.
Can you imagine how all of those events would change who I am? For a while there, my personality was a pure facade and I had no idea of who I was.
What's wonderful is that God knew me as "me" the whole time. What's amazing is that He brought me through the dark things and somehow put the pieces together to make me into the mom and wife I am. What's astounding is that someone who missed all of the "dirt" would say that I have not changed in 14 years.
The miracle is in God's grace. "He refreshes and restores my life (my self)". He made me new but He put me back on track to where I am the person I'm supposed to be. He "refreshed the page", put on his "throwback jersey", and polished off the grime. He restored me and someone who had no idea of what I had been through confirmed that for me.
Yes, I've changed in the 14 years between conversations. What hasn't changed is how God sees me. To Him, I was never "the girl who..."; I was and always will be His.