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We Have a Good Shepherd

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If this pandemic had happened when I was able-bodied, seven years ago, I would be in big trouble. I was fiercely independent and always lived by myself. Before returning to my church in 2013, I didn’t keep company with a lot of friends. As an introvert, I was more comfortable being alone in my home with my laptop and my cats.

Getting back to being in big trouble, as a recovering alcoholic who had lapsed going to meetings, the idea of social distancing would have certainly driven me to drink. Well, I would have driven myself to GET a drink. The fact that liquor stores are still open shows how much Americans need that liquid confidence; that elixir that brings about a false sense of peace.

Psalm 23: The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

WE HAVE A GOOD SHEPHERD. Just reading this makes me exhale some stress out of my body. It makes clear that God is the true source of serenity and brings quietness to our soul. Not only does he comfort us, he guides us in dark times, like the one we are experiencing right now. We do not need to fear, but we do need to reach out to Him in prayer to see our feelings of panic subside.

I have to admit that it’s not as easy as it seems some days to “get” peaceful. I have days when I watch too much news and feel a lot of unease. It’s tempting to want to take oxycodone so I don’t fall to pieces – old habits die hard – but so far I’ve been responsible and only taken it when I really needed it. Please continue to pray for me in this area. Thankfully I am restricted on how much I can take during a day.

Nursing facilities are a hotbed for the coronavirus, and I live in one. Fortunately, we’ve had no cases of the illness here and our administration is going over the top to protect us. My respiratory system is very weak and I’m not sure I would survive this illness, but I still have hope and I can feel protected by my shepherd.

John 10: Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

WE HAVE A GOOD SHEPHERD. If Jesus is truly our focus and our strength, then we can have life to the full. What does that really mean? Does that mean life will always be easy and full of happiness? Absolutely not – but our lives will be infinitely more peaceful when the dark days arise.

I’ve been in the hospital, and especially in the ICU, so many times in the last seven years that I can’t keep up. But as each year has passed, I’ve noticed my visits to the hospital have stopped creating so much anxiety in me, and instead I’ve gained a keen understanding that it is meant to be. I learned so much from the hard times and I wouldn’t change them for anything.

As for the challenges each of us have been facing through this pandemic, I’ve personally been praying for God to direct my steps as I’ve been stuck in my room in this facility. What should I study? Who should I pray for? What can I do to pass the time wisely? Now I have to admit, I have binge-watched several British detective shows, but that’s okay too. We can live wise and enjoy ourselves during this time.

Isaiah 40: 10See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power, and he rules with a mighty arm. See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him. 11 He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.

WE HAVE A GOOD SHEPHERD. Verse 11, to me, is one of the most poignant descriptions in the bible of how tender our shepherd is towards us. He gathers his lambs (all of us!) in his arms, and carries us close to his heart. These are harsh times we are experiencing, but God is carrying us close to his heart; he is leading us gently if we will just reach out to him.

We can use so many different vices to get through this time: alcohol, pornography, sleeping too much, shopping, overeating… But, WE HAVE A GOOD SHEPHERD, and with him, we are fulfilled.

Psalm 23: The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.

About Terri Nida

In August 2013, I fainted in my kitchen and woke up paralyzed from the shoulders down. I am still trying to make sense of all this, but one thing I know is that God is with me and he loves me.

31 responses »

  1. Terri – I love reading your thoughts. You are so transparent in what you are thinking and feeling and your words are so beautiful! Thank you for sharing your heart with us. I wish I had your gift to put your innermost thoughts in words to share with others. They truly touch my heart! You are my inspiration and I continue to keep you in my prayers. Much love, Susan

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  2. Helen Bradford

    So glad to hear you are safe and well, and finding comfort in psalm 23, my favourite. Continuing to pray for you. Please keep us posted.

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  3. Melissa Alford

    Thank you for that, Terri! My husband is really struggling with his OCD and anxiety, fighting with thoughts that question God’s goodness. I read him your blog as an example of seeing God as good in ALL circumstances. Thank you for being that example.

    I love and miss you.

    Melissa Alford
    Sent from my iPhone

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  4. We do have a wonderful Father. I’ve been praying for you and wondering about your facility. So glad to hear everyone is safe right now.
    I can’t even imagine being isolated in your room not being able to get out.
    Have you listened to Podcasts (BEMA, Dr. Phil, etc) or TEDx. There’s some interesting stuff there;).
    Love you 💝
    Nancy

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  5. Terri, I am so grateful to read your post again. What a good reminder of the security we experience in the presence of our Shepherd. I will be praying for you in this … and for the things you mentioned here. I ALWAYS love hearing what you have to say … your words have been tested by fire and are a blessing … vices and idols seem to be pressed right out us (me) during this.

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  6. Terri thank you for your honesty and openness. You are great at keeping it real. In the year 2020, God is giving us a reality check, and vision about how fragile we really are. We all have a tendency to be independent and in our “stay home” mode, we realize how much we need and miss each other. When Jesus was alone, he planned it. Otherwise he was all about taking care of the sheep, feeding the masses, teaching, telling parables, touching the untouchables, elevating those who were poor, who mourned, who were peace makers, etc. He is to be worshipped! Thank you for all that you shared!

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  7. Antoinette Tranquille

    My sister Terri, just Sunday I was drinking wine. I normally drink a glass and sometimes a glass and a half. I was thinking what am I doing drink almost a half bottle of wine. It has become hard to quiet the sadness in my heart and head. I prayed for strength and courage, to remember what God did sending Jesus to me. I couldn’t seem to not look at the tv. I open my Bible today to hear God’s Word of love Philippians 1:9-11. To have more insight and knowledge and be able to discern what is best…until Jesus comes back to get me. I am Grateful for every new day, I use to expect to die in my sleep every night, I don’t any more but it does take time to praise God in the morning. I am Grateful and ready to sing to the One Who Loved me First.

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  8. Dear Terri, I have been looking forward to your post and how the Lord would lead you during this time to witness of His goodness. The truths we learn in our childhood seem to be trite until they speak to circumstances such as we are experiencing. Now, the Holy Spirit brings the words of our Shepherd to reality and lights the darkness. We have a greater testimony than we ever had before. Praying the Lord’s continued blessings and protection for you, the residents, and the staff there with you. May He keep you filled with HIs grace and wrapped in His glory. Amen to the goodness and mercy of our Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ.

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  9. Thank you for the reminder, Terri. I hope all is well there. As a farmer, we are considered an essential business. That was kind of a no-brainer… food is pretty essential! The workday schedule hasn’t changed and we’re kind of home bodies anyway. We are constantly in awe of how God orders our lives, but even knowing that, we still find ourselves anxious at times. Thank you for letting us know we’re not alone and that God still has our back – no matter what’s going on around us.

    Take care, stay well.

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  10. Love your perspective on this time in our lives. God is good, all the time.

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  11. Karen Pottebaum

    My dear Terri,
    I just read your blog to Russ, and we both were inspired and deeply touched. I’ve been praying for you specifically, and all the patients and staff in health care facilities. I’m relieved to hear that you are safe and your residence is virus free. We were fortunate that Russ was far enough along with his physical rehab to be released during the first week of lockdown. Caregiving has been physically tiring for me, but I’m thankful to God that He renews my strength each morning and that I don’t have to feel guilty for working from home. Please pray that we continue to be healthy as that is my daily prayer for you. I thank Jesus for our faith which will see us through this valley. 😘

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  12. Thank you Terri. Your life, your love for our Lord Jesus, and willingness to share from your heart, is always inspiring and a blessing.
    Thank you. God’s Continuing Blessing Terri, keeping you free from the virus.

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  13. Thank you Terri. I needed that today! God bless and keep you

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  14. Terri, I have been praying for you. so glad the facility is taking major measures to keep the virus out of there. I will be glad when this is over so I can come and see you again. Miss you!

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  15. Silvia Lia Leigh, MD

    Dear Sister Terri, Thank you for your courage to bring your inmost thoughts outside, for us to read them. These are your treasures. You are very generous to share them with us, strangers from far away… but one in Christ! Not one in a virus, but one in Christ. Fear not! It is the people who think that they are strong by themselves; they are in a greater danger of sickness and trouble. You are Jesus’ little lamb. I personally have no fear at all for you. You are as safe as any child of God living on earth can be. You have located your place of peace and rest. Like the little anonymous sparrow who has found a little corner near the King’s throne to build a (messy) nest for her young (Ps 84:3), so you are and so I am. God bless you with the blessings of Christ!

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  16. Vicki Sandiford

    Hi, Terri,
    Thank you so much for this post. It was exactly what I needed to hear at this time and the reminder that I needed that Jesus came to give us life to the full! I have not been living that way or believing that way for awhile and I am so glad for the reminder that it is up to me to receive what is already being offered by our Lord! Also I am so glad and relieved to hear that your facility remains COVID 19 free! You are often in my thoughts and prayers and I am very grateful for your willingness to share your struggles and lessons learned with us all.
    Vicki

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  17. I needed to hear this today, thank you Terri. I was exposed to the virus and have had some lung-related problems for a few weeks now in addition to already being asthmatic. This has caused my anxiety to skyrocket but I thank God for His protecting and shepherding throughout and I needed this reminder that He is working everything out for our good. I pray God keeps you safe and helps all of us overcome during these difficult times.

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  18. So good to hear from you dear sister. My husband Bob and I pray for you often. Thank you for this encouraging post! But when you as,
    “What should I study? Who should I pray for?” I have to share the Maranatha Bible study on the Lord’s coming Kingdom. I am greatly blessed by this. May I share?
    * download Frontier Alliance International App
    * go to Maranatha tab
    * Global Bible Study
    * End of Age
    Sorry to take so much space but gearing my heart scripturally to the Lord’s coming is truly uplifting!
    Praying for you Terri, press on! 🌷

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  19. Thank you for your words of courage and strength. Your writing always lifts me up.
    God bless you Terri.

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  20. Doreen mcmanus

    “Use whatever gifts you have…”
    This scripture makes me think of you Terri. Your openness, spiritual outlook and life that you share with all of us. When I heard of the clayton nursing hone and its cases if covid-19, I am reminded of Gods love and care for you. Remember to let me know if there’s anything you need. Miss talking to you…love doreen

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  21. Thank you Terri for sharing your faith! I am so happy God has protected you so you can continually share His wisdom!
    I am still working at my job, so my life is not staying at home all day. I am praying to use this time for personal growth with God. Praying for you also. Love and miss you.

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  22. Nothing to add to the truth in your words and in the closing Psalm, Terri, except that it’s 10% understanding and 90% experience that makes it real. Thank you for reminding us off that reality. Prayers in progress for your well-being, peace, and joy.

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