Hi! My name is Ashley and here’s what Psalms 23 means to me. When I was younger I used to like to read books about courageous and brave people. Some people really did take God and living for him seriously.
Take Joan of Arc for instance. Here she was just a poor girl, but she felt that God wanted her to lead her country to victory over the English who had been so cruel to them for many, many years. She was just a teenager when she led her armies to battle after convincing them and the government that God did want her to be the commander.
Joan of Arc was true under gossip and suspicion even to death and cruelty at the hands of her enemies when she was captured. She requested that there be a symbol of the Cross of Jesus placed in front of her when she was tied to the stake and the fire set. A cross was brought and held up for her to see. She just kept believing and looking at the cross as she was burned to death!
I also think of Mary the mother of Jesus. She was given the call to be the mother of Jesus when she was just a teen! She said ‘yes’ to God and went through with all the gossip and shunning of a girl who was pregnant before marriage. She just kept believing in what the angel had told her and trusted God to help her be the mother to His Son! I used to wonder if I could be as brave and keep believing no matter how tough things get!
I knew I was not very brave, but I did want to do something big for God! He could help me just like anyone else. I had a lot to learn about God helping me. I had to sweat the little stuff first. Like even though I began believing music has power to influence my mind for good or bad when my friends played loud rock music with bad lyrics, I just went along.
Another time my friends wanted to tease another student at school and I laughed along with them. I felt terrible and knew that if I couldn’t choose to live for Jesus how would I ever do something big for Him? How would I ever do anything worth anything if I couldn’t just keep believing and being brave doing the little things?
Eventually, I wanted to fit in at school more, and I gave up on my deep ideas of doing great things for God. Months went by, and I was further and further from God. My mother was getting more and more concerned about me, but I tried to ignore her.
My mother and I had been really close, but I had been backing away from her. Then came a night I will never forget. She picked me up from a school party, and I said I wanted to drive. “OK, Hon,” she slid over and let me hop in and drive.
I Can’t Take it Back or Do It Over
It was late, and I was in a bad mood. I had forgotten to wash off the extra make-up I had put on in the gym restroom before the party. She looked over at me and said, “Why did you put all of that makeup on? You looked great when you left the house.”
“I like my face this way better. It was a party!”
“Is this how all your friends wear theirs? So much?”
“Sure!” I knew that wasn’t true. Some liked the deep purple eye shadow, green fingernail polish, and black lipstick like rock stars, but not all my friends were in to that. I just had on some very dark purple and green eye shadow and dark purple lipstick.
My mother was quiet, and I was bothered. I tried to turn on the radio while I was going around a curve, and I lost control of the car. I screamed as we slammed into a steep bank in the ditch on my mother’s side. I must have been going way too fast, but not paying attention.
I felt glass spitting at me as it shattered. I felt like my neck had about broke in two, and my head pounded where it had hit the side window. “Mom! Are you alright?” I was afraid I had killed my mother!
She groaned so at least she was alive. Thank God! “Honey, we’ll be OK,” she murmured, and then she was silent.
What could I do? I couldn’t see in the dark. I remembered there was a little flashlight in the glove box, but that entire side of the car was a mangled mess.
I was afraid to see what my mother looked like, anyway. Some daughter I was! I was so upset with myself I started crying. How could I wreck mom’s car? How could I hurt my mom and bad, too? But what could I do? I did find my purse and my cell phone, so I called 911.
I also thought about my mother, my mom! If she died she would want me to just live for Jesus. She would meet me in Heaven. I knew she would be there! She would want me to be there with her. Still if she died, I would be alone and wouldn’t have my mom there anymore! Did she know I loved her? I was so scared. I was injured, too, but I knew she was in much worse shape. I would rather die instead of her. This accident was all my fault!
I was My Biggest Enemy
“Oh, God! Please don’t let her die!” I sobbed. “I’m so sorry I haven’t been the brave Christian and haven’t been the kind of girl you want me to be. I’m so sorry I wrecked the car and hurt my mom! Please forgive me and help us!” Right after my prayer, I felt this calm come over me and I just knew that Jesus still loved me very much and I was forgiven. He was right there with us and His angels were there, too!
God was right beside me. I was going through the most terrifying time of my life. Still, I believed God, and I wasn’t afraid anymore. The way I felt in my mother’s wrecked car was like He was pouring out His love on me. I sobbed quietly, but felt almost calm.
After a long time, the rescue people arrived. Mom was also in ICU a very long time. I was treated for loss of blood from cuts and also for a whiplash and a concussion. I had some stitches in my arm and forehead. Then, I was released and my Aunt Jenny, my mother’s sister, was there. More importantly was the feeling that God was there.
When I got in to visit Mom in the hospital, she was still in ICU. She was not usually conscious. As it turned out, she had a concussion, a broken arm, and a broken leg from the accident. We also learned something amazing. The doctor found that she had a brain tumor that ended up being malignant.
Doctors would not have found the tumor if she had not come in and had an MRI of her head. She would not have had the MRI had she not come in because of the accident. Mom didn’t like to go to the doctor unless absolutely necessary, but she had been having some bad headaches recently. Maybe she would have gone to the doctor eventually, but how long would it have been before the doctor decided to take an MRI for her headaches?
So after she got out of ICU, there were surgeries and recovery times. However, they could not remove all of the cancer from my mother. All those long months, I was with her every minute that I could be. I prayed like I had never prayed before.
My mother told me she loved me and that the accident was just an accident. She told me she was glad that the doctors found out what was causing those terrible headaches. I told her I loved her over and over again. I wanted her to know how much she meant to me and how much I needed her.
On that last day, she was drowsy, but she was aware. She saw me crying beside her bed, and she looked me right in the eyes. Slowly, and with many pauses to catch her breath she said, “My sweet daughter, don’t worry. Remember always that I love you very much. You have been such a wonderful daughter! I am so proud you are mine. Jesus loves you, too, and He is always with you to guide and make you strong! Remember Psalms 23.”
“I will. I will. I love you, Mom!” I said through my tears.
I can tell you that the months after my mother died I was in a low, dark place. I didn’t want to live. My aunt, my mother’s sister, who is a good Christian, helped me a lot. She gave me love, and let me talk or not talk if I didn’t feel like it. She went with me to a Christian counselor who helped me deal with my pain and loss.
I had enemies. I was my biggest one, and then the fear, the loss and the regrets. I can’t really describe what it was like at first. Now, I have forgiven myself for the accident. Accidents happen. I was just being an immature driver and an immature teen with an attitude.
After the wreck and my mother’s death, all I wanted was to have my mom back, to be able to live that night over and make better choices. I wanted to be a better daughter. Now when I think about that night, I just turn it over to Jesus knowing that He has His loving arms around me. I am so glad we had those close months together before she passed away.
Jesus knew what would happen and already had a plan to love, feed and take care of me like a little lost lamb. I read Psalms 23 almost every day to keep my promise to Mom. Just thinking over each verse changes me. I had to face my bad choices of attitude and the wreck that night, but God is still good. He helps me put all of those bad memories behind me and to treasure all the good things my mom and I shared.
Every day He prepares a feast for me in the presence of my enemies by helping me to face myself, face missing my mother and still know that God loves me and gives me a chance every single day to do better. He helps me as I try to be sure my mom will have plenty to be proud of me about. God also helps me believe that my mother and I will see each other again soon when Jesus comes to take us Home!