He Restores My Soul

posted in: Energy, Healing, Spirituality | 1


In the aftermath of the most devastating trauma of my life, my days were buried under an oppressive, raw pain, with no end in sight.  I could not even imagine a future worth living.

Each morning when I woke up, my goal was to endure until bedtime.  I went to work, but work brought no joy.

During this season, my lifeline was the 23rd Psalm.  I began each day by praying the psalm–praying a line, then meditating on it.  For three months I live in verses 2 and 3:

He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul. [1]

I pictured myself as a sheep lying in a pasture beside a quiet pond, the shepherd beside me, protecting, caring for me.  I envisioned mountains surrounding the valley where I lay, protecting me from attack, creating a safe, secure place to rest and heal.  I breathed deeply, relaxing, letting the peace of the valley fill me.

But then I encountered a puzzle.  When I got to the words, “He leads me along right paths to bring honor to his name,” for some reason I couldn’t pray them. In the middle of verse 3 I hit a wall.  For three months I couldn’t go on.

One day, though, I got to that line and I was able to keep praying.  I prayed that verse, and the next, and on through the end of the psalm.

Within a few days, I understood. For those first few months I was so wounded that all I could do was lie beside the still water and let the shepherd tend my wounds.  But after three months, my soul had been restored enough that I could get to my feet and begin following him along the path.

Though the path was still dark, I was encouraged by David’s words, “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil for you are with me.” [2] The valley was still so dark that I couldn’t see light at the other end.  But I did have enough light to see the feet of the shepherd in front of me.  I kept following him, a day at a time, trusting that he would eventually lead me out of the darkness.

Six and a half months after my trauma, light peeked through the sky at the end of my valley.  No, the hurt wasn’t all gone.  For the next three years, I would endure heart-wrenching pain, but hope had returned.  He was restoring my soul.



  1. Have you ever experienced pain so deep that you could not see any light at the end of your dark valley?
  2. Will you accept the shepherd’s invitation to lie in green pastures beside quiet waters with him at your side for as long as it takes for him to restore your soul?

[1] ESV

[2] Verse 4, NIV

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Author. Pastor. Consultant. Coach.

My lifelong passion has been to help the church become healthier. I have lived this out through youth work, urban ministry, denominational staff work, and pastoring; through writing, editing, and publishing; through consulting with churches throughout the U.S. and Canada. During this season, I am living out my call to help churches become healthier by focusing on helping church leaders become healthier and more fruitful, through writing, coaching, and leading retreats and training events.

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