Green Pastures and Still Waters

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Rest

Psalm 23:1-3a – “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul…”

As I write, I am sitting beside a vast ocean, and the only sound I hear is the calming waves as they crash and lap against the sandy shore. It’s so peaceful here, and as I enjoy this time away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, I am reminded of the value of rest. It’s not something that I engage in nearly enough, but the Word alludes to its importance several times. God rested on the seventh day in the Creation story (Genesis 2). David speaks of how God lovingly leads him beside still waters…makes him lie down in green pastures to rest and restore (Psalm 23), and even Jesus regularly sought to separate Himself from the crowd to rest, recharge, and reconnect with God (Matthew 13, Mark 1, Mark 3, Luke 5, Luke 6). It’s easy to get so caught up and overwhelmed by the daily demands and responsibilities of our lives that we forget to take a moment to breathe, to regroup, to turn off our brains and recharge our batteries. It’s a vital component of self-love and self-care that enables us to store up the vital spiritual nutrients we need (joy, peace, love, etc.) to go about the business of our lives.

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Life can get a little crazy sometimes, but it’s the moments “by the still waters,” those “walks along green pastures,” that give us the lift we need to face the crazy head on and bring peace and serenity to the soul.

I’m feeling just that right now as I listen to the waves crash and set my eyes upon the vastness of the sea. I feel God’s presence and am in awe of the beauty of this little piece of heaven he has created on earth.

Beach

Please Donate Today!

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CCP Grad Pic

Spring has sprung, and my nonprofit, College and Career Pathways, Inc., has just launched its Spring Campaign for Scholarships and School Supplies to raise funds for our students who hope to begin their first year of college in the fall. CCP serves students from at-risk and low-income populations, and with the rising costs of college (and state and federal budget cuts to education), they may not make it without your help! Please take a moment to visit our Facebook campaign page, or you can make your donation via PAYPAL.

Thanks so much for showing your support for these amazing students! See below for a profile on one of our graduating seniors who will benefit from your help. Please follow us on Twitter @ccpathways!

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Digna joined College and Career Pathways, Inc. during her 9th grade year. While she was eager to join the program, she did not really believe that college was an option for her, and she failed to put in the necessary effort during her 9th and 10th grade years. At the end of her sophomore her, we sat down with her to discuss her future and the possibilities that lay before her. With the right encouragement, she began to believe in those possibilities, and during her 11th grade year, she brought up her grades, got involved in extracurricular activities, and became one of the most active members of the CCP program. Digna didn’t really believe that she could go to college, but in the picture below, you will see that she is holding acceptance letters to FIVE COLLEGES, and she will be #BowieBound in the fall!
Digna Reyes

Here are a few more of our seniors who have received their letters of acceptance! They will be attending the University of Virginia, Morgan State University, the Towson University, and Stanford University in the fall!
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Stop and Do a Spirit Check

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Habakkuk 2:2-3 – “Write the vision and make it plain on tablets; that he may run who reads it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.”

Sometimes, I feel like a failure…inadequate for the calling that God has placed upon my life. It’s rare, but it still happens. I’m a planner, and when the plan doesn’t come to fruition, or takes significantly longer to implement than I’d expected, I can be pretty hard on myself. The journey towards the fulfillment of the vision God has given me, despite all of my planning, has truly been a years-long struggle; and sometimes, I just want to throw in the towel and take the easy road…the road of least resistance…abandon the call and do something that’s just not so…HARD.

It’s in those moments that I do a spirit check. Meditating on the Word and praying about whether I truly believe that God has called me to accomplish the task at hand. Did He really choose flawed, unprepared me to fulfill this seemingly huge undertaking?? The answer is always the same—a soul encompassing, resounding YES. I can’t avoid it! Every time, I come to the same conclusion. With this certainty in mind, I pull up my bootstraps and get back to work! Walking away is no longer an option, and I move forward confident in my purpose and knowing that in time, the vision WILL be fulfilled.

Life purpose

Delays, difficulties, and setbacks can easily deter us, and occasionally discourage us, from fulfilling our purpose and the calling on our lives. I think that we often assume that if it’s something God called us to do, it will all come easily and quickly (I’ve definitely heard that opinion several times). And sometimes it does! But other times, the long journey to the fulfillment of the vision helps to prepare us for the role we must ultimately play. Just look at Joseph, who had a vision of his future as a boy, but had to endure betrayal, enslavement, and incarceration before he saw it come to fruition. What about David? He was anointed to be king as a youth, but went from being a renowned hero to a fugitive running for his life before he ascended to the throne. The important thing to remember is that even in the midst of, and despite, these trials, both men maintained their faith in God and in His promises; and in time, they moved into their God-ordained positions.

Has God called you to a certain role, ministry, or form of service? The road to fulfilling that calling may not always be easy; but in those moments of difficulty and doubt, just do a spirit check. If you know the work is something God has called you to do, know also that, in time, the vision He has given you will come to fruition. Learn the lessons along the way; be open to grow and develop; and above all else, trust that God is with you, moving and working in ways we cannot see to ensure the ultimate fulfillment of the vision He has placed upon your heart.