At 2:30 this morning I sat in the shower for as long as the hot water lasted because it was the only place I could be distracted from the pain.
I've had a lingering headache all week and last night it decided to turn into a migraine. So when I woke up at 2:00 in ridiculous pain, the only way to momentarily escape was to sit under the shower's steady stream of water. The pain did not wash down the drain, but at least some sense of relief came for a moment.
When I curled back up in bed, the pain kept me from doing the only thing I longed to be able to do, fall asleep. And in those dark, painful, lonely moments my mind and heart played Psalm 23 on repeat.
It's something I started doing back when I had my surgeries for a pilonidal cyst in 2008. When excruciating pain starts to hang out with you, you have to find some way to mentally fight back. Psalm 23 became my fight song. My song of strength and of perseverance and of hope was Psalm 23. I cling hard to those words when I don't know how to press on.
So in this morning's early hours, I reminded myself that even in the midst of great pain, the Lord is my shepherd and in Him there is nothing I want for. He is my shepherd, I lack nothing, and He is with me. Always.
And because He is always with me (leading me, restoring me, walking with me, comforting me, protecting me, disciplining me, preparing a place for me, anointing me, granting me goodness and mercy), grace surrounds me.
Grace never leaves. Even in the pain and in the darkness and in the valley, He makes His grace known. His presence is grace. His presence makes me lack nothing. And His presence provides hope.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.