Revisiting Psalm 139 for Hard Days

We are all God's beloved.
A white crocheted teddy bear, a gray crocheted dog, and white sewn bunny tucked into a white, fluffy blanket. Image courtesy of Myléne via Pixabay.

Psalm 139 is beautiful and encouraging in the original, and inspires poetic updating.


In 2019 I wrote a version of Psalm 139 for the United Church of Christ Mental Health Network. During the summer of 2020, I shared that version with Living Table as a prayer for that summer.

It was this 2020 printed version that was found in Barb H.’s things in her home, and included in her Celebration of Life. A few people have asked for copies of it this past week, so I’ve decided to share it here.

(Don’t be surprised if this is the text for Pride Sunday.)

O Lord, you have been with me all along; you know me.

You know when I want to give up and when I am full of hope; you know my thoughts and my feelings even if I deny them.

You are with me when I greet the day with enthusiasm and when I don’t have the energy to get out of bed. I am not a mystery to you.

Before I can express myself, or know how I feel, you accept me as I am in every moment.

You are ready to catch me if I fall, lift me up when I am low, and hold onto me when I am anxious or afraid.

It’s hard to imagine that you love me all the time; sometimes I forget how amazingly strong your love for me is.

Where can I go where you are not already there? Where can I go where your love is not already waiting for me?

If I am filled with joy and energy overflowing, you are with me. If I lose my way in the depths of sorrow, you are with me.

If I push myself to the limits of endurance in body, mind, or spirit, even in those moments, you love me. You wrap me in your steadfast love and don’t ever let me go.

If I give in to the despair and cannot see your love and everything fades away, even in my worst moments, your love still shines; the bleakest of my moods and the depths of my pain do not extinguish your love for me.

It is true that you made me in your image.

I praise you, for I am fiercely and beautifully made. I am part of your creation and all that is yours is priceless.

My life – my brokenness and my wholeness – are not hidden from you and have never been.

You have known me all along. Your desire for me is a life filled with love and a future filled with hope. You do not withhold these things from me.

It is hard to think like you do! When I try to understand your love, I am overwhelmed.

I try to count the ways you love me and there is no end. Your love has more facets than I can imagine.

I wish you could take this illness from me! I wish you could take away my despairing moments, the thoughts of worthlessness, and the pain of it all.

Some say that these are a punishment for my sins. I do not believe it! You see me whole while others see only my brokenness.

Allow me to see myself as you see me. May I also see others as you see them.

May my life reflect your love. May I forgive those who judge me and know so little of your compassion.

When you search me – my thoughts and my heart – may you see the fullness of who I am, all the strengths you have given me, the intricate person you created me to be…

I know there is illness in me, but that is not all of who I am. Lead me into the wholeness you create in me and teach me to love with your love, starting with myself then encompassing all my neighbors.

About Rachael Keefe

Rev. Dr. Rachael Keefe is the pastor of Living Table United Church of Christ. She was called to Living Table in 2015 after serving in many varied ministry settings since her ordination in 1992. She holds graduate degrees from Princeton Theological Seminary and Andover Newton Seminary at Yale (formerly Andover Newton Theological School). Her ministry and leadership often center around advocacy and accessibility. Her writing has been published by Chalice Press, The Christian Century, Red Letter Christians, Working Preacher, RevGalBlogPals, and others. She is grateful to be in ministry with Living Table today.

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5 thoughts on “Revisiting Psalm 139 for Hard Days”

  1. Lovely; it brings to mind comforting words I’ve received in the past, among them “Jesus was there”; all is known and understood beyond my understanding


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