A Walk in Discord 

After a doctor’s appointment, some tests and a scary diagnosis entered my life in the last month, I find myself going back through Psalms verse by verse.

The Psalms speak to me quietly with words of comfort that remind me I am not alone in my emotions, feelings or life struggles.

The Psalms remind me that it is good to voice questions, deep thoughts and painful sighs in my daily prayers to God.

The Psalms encourage me to speak freely with my Creator and find strength in the surety of His promises.

The Psalms challenge me to walk faithfully in His ways regardless of what is happening in the world around me.

The Psalms guide my decisions, bring clarity, give room for grief and lift sorrow to joy.

My life, like yours, is full of discord, a discord that is mirrored in the Psalms.

Health issues, upcoming transitions, realities on the field, goodbyes, and all the technicalities of our lives overseas compile in a discord that will send me back to Psalms again and again.

Marriage overseas, parenting TCKs, packing another box, and learning a new city. Feeling alone in seas of people, wondering about family situations back home or praying for patience as the neighbor’s goat gets louder and louder.

Big and small, walking through discord is a part of our days.

In those moments of discord, I fall to my knees where the Psalms sweep in to soften the fall against the floor.

I find peace in the words, comfort in the knowing that someone has walked discord before me.

Then, another situation comes up and the discord grows and the need to dig back through the Psalms rises once more.

This is real life. A walk in discord. An adventure in forgiveness because of the discord. A lesson in learning to sleep in peace through the discord. A journey of trust, hope and remembrance from one walk in discord to the next.

My current walk in discord brought me to Psalm 23. It is a well-known, easily skipped over, much overused Psalm but it clearly spoke to me about the realities of discord throughout life.

Psalm 23 is a walk through discord.

Psalm 23

A psalm of David.

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,[a]
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
forever.

Six verses of beautiful, peaceful, wonderful, promise-filled discord.

Read it through. Write it. Circle words of discord. What do you notice?

As I was reading and writing this Psalm, I noticed afresh the green pastures and the darkest valley. I noticed the quiet waters but the need to fear no evil and know God is with me.  I noticed a table has been prepared for me but the enemies are still there. I noticed peace existing in chaos.

The discord of hope in the midst, refreshing in an ongoing trial, lacking nothing but needing everything to make it through and knowing goodness is following me but wondering if it is also ahead of me.

Psalm 23 is a walk through discord that draws pictures of beauty with the reality of darkness.

Psalm 23 is valleys of death, the presence of enemies and the fear of evil but it is also the deep, abiding, amazing promises of God.

I am learning that this walk of discord is remembering those deep, abiding, amazing promises even though the realities of darkness are still there.

We can walk through the valley of discord knowing that the promises of God will carry us and comfort us all the days of our lives.

I am also learning a few tips for walking in discord.

  1. Take it one day at a time. Go slow and do the next thing.
  2. Stay in the Word. Only God’s Word can speak to the deepest parts of your heart in a season of discord.
  3. Minimize distractions. Seasons of discord are seasons to focus in on what really matters.
  4. Listen and watch. What is God saying and what is He showing you right now through the discord?
  5. Trust the faithfulness of God. His promises are true and we can walk through discord because of our mighty, faithful God. He will not leave you. He will help you.

Now, because I’m walking through discord, I’d love your help. What are your tips for walking through discord? What is your go-to verse when life is hard? What is your process of remembering God’s promises when valleys of darkness come your way?

What is God saying to you right now in your walk through discord?

10 Comments

  1. Laura February 4, 2018

    Thank you for the beautiful reminders from Psalm 23; I needed them today! I turn to journaling my prayers and pouring out my heart to God during times of discord. Praying for you!

  2. Suzanne February 4, 2018

    I love your tips – especially taking one day at a time. A passage from a book which spoke powerfully to me while waiting in a doctor’s surgery during a challenging chapter of life was this:

    “One of the disciplines to which the Lord calls us is the willingness, from time to time, not to be used in significant ministry…. Imagine, now, a devoted and gifted Christian woman, whose ministry has been precious to her, finding that for quite a long period the Lord sidelines her so that her potential is not being used. …. It is … a lesson in Christ’s school of holiness. The Lord is reminding her that her life does not depend on her finding that people need her. The prime source of her joy must always be the knowledge of God’s love for her…. Regarding her ministry, what matters is that she should be available to Him. Then He will decide when and how to put her to service again and she should leave that with Him.”

    J.I. Packer, Rediscovering Holiness, pp.199-200 Servant Publications, 1994

    1. Jenilee February 5, 2018

      I love the quote! Thank you for sharing that with everyone!

  3. Grace L February 5, 2018

    Hi Jenilee. I too loved your post and your searching for help through the Psalms. That really resonates with me. For years my go-to verse has been Proverbs 3:5-6. I am reminded to “Trust in the Lord with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding…” I have to remind myself that I must not lean on my own understanding of the situation and, instead, turn to God and trust Him with all my heart. When I pray and journal using this verse, it really helps me to get my focus back on God and not on whatever is my “own” understanding of the situation I am facing. And I often follow that up with Romans 8:28 where I remind myself and God that I can trust that He is working all things for good for me who loves Him and is called according to His purpose. It is such a big help to get our minds and hearts lined up with God’s Word and to let go of my own ruminations.

    1. Jenilee February 6, 2018

      what a beautiful thought process for walking through discord with God’s help! thank you for sharing!

  4. Kirstin Durfey February 7, 2018

    Thank you so much for sharing. Your post brought tears to my eyes and was a gentle reminder from the Lord that He is present, I am not alone, and that He leads me through right paths for His Name’s sake. It’s all for His glory, whether it be joyful or filled with discord. I’m really learning the lesson of taking it one day at a time, though I’m finding I’m not very good at it! Sometimes I also find that I just need to sit in silence for awhile when things are so heavy. Just to sit and be quiet and let all my thoughts settle before I write. But I’m also learning that in times of discord, I need the Psalms and that’s sometimes all my heart can digest, and that’s okay. They are in scripture for a reason!

    1. Jenilee February 8, 2018

      I completely agree… sitting in the silence when things get heavy, giving myself permissions to just sit and read the Psalms, allowing myself to soak in His peace. So thankful God gave us the Psalms!

      1. Kirstin Durfey February 8, 2018

        Amen!

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