Friday, July 20, 2012

#1291-#1309


1291. Freshly cut hair

1292. Cows lounging in the shade on hot days.

1293. A Savior who is able to do battle with only His Word. (Rev. 2:10)


1294. Debbie's excitement over the Fourth of July Parade.




1295. Sleepover with "Aunt" Debbie.

1296. The Geneva Parade: A celebration of political freedom to remind me of my spiritual freedom.  Both came at great cost, and both deserve my attention and effort to preserve.























1297.  Camille safely arrived for the month.
















1298. Hard physical work unloading hay--a great break from the computer!

1299. Barn full of hay, all paid for in July and ready for the winter.


1300. Chickens lying as low to the ground as they can in the July heat.

1301.  Afternoon clouds to provide relief.


1302. Songbird's new blog to share her insights with others.


1303. Seeing my girl take very day happenings and find the spiritual lessons in them.

1304. Moving cows at dusk.





1305. Mickey-D--tiny, blind, nearly crippled, but still ready to take down a momma cow.

1306. Much needed swim with LOR buddies and chat time after.

1307. Megan W. who always makes me laugh.

1308. Camille's non-sensical English phrases: "Whey-are eez za seestair ov Briian?"  "She eez in za bafroooom."  "Eet wrains today.  I will need my homebrella."

1309. Studying the wrath of God in Revelation and finding His mercy woven throughout it.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Walking in Trust

 Then Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.”  John 20:29



It's a beautiful thing to see my daughter work with her horse Charlie. Looking through the pictures her shutterbug sister snapped this week, I was intrigued by photos of her with the horse blindfolded.


"What's with the blind fold?"

Her response was interesting.

"I need him to learn to respond to direction from me without having to see what I'm doing."

Mistreated as a colt, Charlie has always been very skittish, set to fleeing by the slightest rustle. Even though nearly a decade has passed, he doesn't trust many people to keep him safe, because it was people who hurt him.

Katie has worked patiently and gently to earn his trust.  Like a puppy, Charlie loves her and is fairly willing to obey her.  However, she realized over a few sessions that he is not "feeling" her commands, such as a slight leaning in one direction before a turn.  Instead, he will not move until he can see the actual movement of the reins in her hands executing the "turn" command.

When she is not riding on him, he sticks like glue to her side rather than heeding her directions to stay put.  It's as if his trust depends upon his ability to lay eyes on her.



Hence the blindfold.  Her thinking is that if he cannot see, the horse will be forced to use his other senses to connect with her--to extend his trust in her to uncertain situations.

I'm no horse whisperer;  I have no idea if what she's doing will work.

I do, however, see quite a bit of myself in that skittish horse.

I love Jesus and I trust Him completely.

In theory.

But not always in practice.

Instead of obeying His subtle prompts, I hesitate and wait until I can see clear movement.  I want to see what He is doing before I follow.

Katie's teaching tactic with Charlie stirs me because it feels so very familiar.



Lately I have been feeling a bit like a flighty horse out on an unfamiliar trail on a windy day.  Unknown things are flying at me and I'm not sure which is the direction to safety.  To make matters worse,  instead of showing me the way to go, it seems that God is BLINDFOLDING me!

But looking at pictures of my girl with that scared, blindfolded horse, I had the most beautiful A-HA moment.   It suddenly dawned on me that perhaps the Lord has put on me a blindfold so that He can remove a veil.  

My ability to see is hindering my ability to KNOW.

What I SEE when I am not blindfolded are my circumstances, and they are rather unsettling.

I have a hunch that God's intent in blindfolding me is not to make me less secure, but to keep me from bolting.  He can't lead me very effectively if my head is whipping around frantically looking for all the real and imagined threats about me.

The blindfold stills me and forces me to rely on senses other than sight.  Blindfolded, I can't guide myself-- so I must listen and feel for the guidance that is there, but which I cannot see.  I have to learn to rely on what I KNOW of Him.

Like Katie with the horse, He may have removed my ability to see Him for a time, but He has not removed His presence from my life. I must learn to trust Him on a deeper level and learn a new, closer, more dependent, but ultimately much safer way of following Him.

This glimpse He gave me today is a beginning.  I feel now not terrified by my inability to see, but calmed. I cannot see the way to go, but I can trust the One who leads.

As I learn to follow and know without seeing, I find sweet rest.



#1271-#1290





1271. Boy birthday parties: full of laughter, noise and so much sweat!


1272. Rugs on the fence getting washed by the rain and dried by the sun.

1273. The first dip into a freshly opened jar of peanut butter.

1274. Fifty-eight students.  The Lord provides and I pray will use me!













1275. Chatty car ride with Matty W.--love that boy!

1276. Sir William, the neighbor's orphaned calf.



1277. Songbird nursing the failing calf with gentle determination.



1278. Hard eucharisteo: Orphans sometimes die.


1279. Tickets to Montana: The promise of a week of restoration from the beauty of the mountains and my parents' hearts.



1280.  Tiny frog perched on a bush by the wash shed.

1281. Much needed rain followed by cooler, dryer air.

1282. Laughter over a great example of irony:  my entire garden died, but potatoes are sprouting in the refrigerator!

1283. Movie night with a group young women who are fun in all the right ways.

1284. The Odell brothers keeping us in stitches with hysterical tales of their mischievous childhood.


1285. Deepening friendships with acquaintances.

1286. Lilli on the horse: "I'm queen!"


1287. Four-year-old cutie in light-up pink cowboy boots.

1288. Three brothers fishing and the youngest catching the most!

1289. Beth Moore's teaching on Revelation: showing the awe and glory of Christ and removing the dread.

1290. Laughing with my kids.




Saturday, July 7, 2012

My Story




The Five-minute Friday word this week is STORY

GO:

I remember as a new believer sitting at camp and listening to the dramatic story of a girl rescued by Christ from drug addiction.

My own story seemed so dull in comparison.

What I didn't realize was that my salvation was just as miraculous as hers, because on my own I am just as prone to wandering and addiction. (We all are.)

During my twenties, because I didn't fill my soul with nourishment from His word, I searched for satisfaction in ways that led me away from Him.  In the process, I added plenty of color to my story: 

the color of mud.

Sometimes I slipped into muddy pits as the result of carelessness, and other times I dove right in.

In the process, I found that there is nothing more dull and unsatisfying than a life apart from the Creator. That “dull” story I had at age 15 proved to be the exciting one!

Fortunately, Mother Teresa was right when she said: There is no pit so deep that the love of God cannot go there.

One day after years of empty searching and pit dwelling, I found myself driving along a highway near the Canadian border with my new baby. Out of the blue, I began sobbing for the closeness I had lost with my Savior. I had wandered so far from Him that I had to confess to Him:

I don't even know if You are real anymore.”

All He wanted was for me to recognize it, to admit it.

He slowly crafted my storyline in a new direction—one that was headed back to Him.

Today, the baby who was with me that day is now a beautiful 18-year-old woman, and I delight in the story that Jesus has woven out of even my mess. He truly pulled me out of a pit, washed me clean and restored me. Mine is a story that is an absolute miracle of grace.

My prayer, however, is that my children would grasp the truth that one need not go into a pit to be rescued from it.

I pray that they will realize what I missed: that a life that trusts the Creator ends up avoiding pits.
And that is the most exciting rescue story of all.

STOP

Friday, July 6, 2012

#1252-1270


1253. Reconnecting with cousins--a "plus" from Facebook.

1254. Two great definitions by Platt:  Repentance - turning from sin and SELF toward God; and sanctification - growing into the image of Christ.

1255. Sandhill cranes in the pasture watching me walk.

1256. Holy discontent.

1257. Beautiful corporate worship.

1258. Quiet mornings.

1259. Final debt paid off.

1260. Oh, such a beautiful book: Cry the Beloved Country

1261.  Calling cows in the pouring rain.

1262. Wonderful visual example of the process of sanctification and living in the grace of the Holy Spirit day by day.

1263. VBS

1264. Catch-up coffee with a good friend.

1265. Memory exercises: One whole chapter of Matthew!

1266. Honors Institute invite for Katie. 

1267. Lunch with Gidget and others.

1268. Camille's funny requests in preparation for his arrival: Chocolate milk, strawberries and sweet tea.

1269. Yearlings in the garden!



1270. First calf of the season: Pumpkin Pie. 




Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Dance

Here's a fun exercise I stumbled across.  Five-minute Friday (see the link on the side).  Each week there is a prompt and the challenge is to just write for five minutes.


go.

Dance--what a great word with which to begin this exercise!

The college I attended, Montana State University, had an unwritten rule that no student could graduate without knowing how to dance.  Not just any dance, mind you, only the cowboy jitterbug would do.

Friend after friend tried to teach me the fast-paced and complicated (but FUN) dance.  No luck.

Until Eric.  He was my brother-in-law's best friend, a handsome cowboy who towered over me.  The four of us went a-shuffling one night and lo and behold, I could dance!

Because of his expertise and the considerable difference in size, all I had to do to look expert was give my hands to Eric and relax.

Back and forth, around and around, he flipped me up and over and through some very impressive maneuvers.  Yee haw!

I looked like a pro because I was letting him lead.

Other times I danced with different partners only to find I had two left feet, which trampled them to pieces.  (Who knew such a small woman could stomp that hard?)

Turns out, I could only dance with Eric.

With him, I was a regular cowgirl Ginger Rogers.  Without him, I was a clumsy clod.  Making a dancer out of me required someone who knew the dance and was strong enough to carry me.

I think of that dance often as I stumble through this life, struggling to live in a way that honors God.  I can get so caught up in pleasing and performing that I miss every step and stomp on people's hearts.

Then Jesus reminds me, "Without me, you can't dance, remember?  Give me your hands, trust me, and let me lead."

When I do, oh, how I enjoy the dance!

stop

#1235-#1251



1235. Brie and artichoke panini.

1236. Father/daughter spruce up for Reed's room while he's at camp.

1237. Bovine clean-up crew delighting in our failed melon crop.



1238. Very thin crust pizza.

1239. Squawking guinea hens running so awkwardly across the field.




1240. New-to-me classic books.

1241. Used curriculum sale: spend $15, make $100.

1242. Quiet days to process and write.

1243. Ice cream sandwiches.

1244. Finally working through "Lost Tools of Writing."

1245. The feeble meow of Nakita, the ancient farm cat, looking so pathetic when it's time to go back out after eating.


1246. Loud, happy voice of my boy on his way home after a week away.


1247. Surprisingly gorgeous June weather.



1248. Boat ride down the St. John's river soaking in the marshy beauty I've grown to love.




1249. Songbird learning to drive the boat.

1250. Friendly manatee following along, slowing us down.

1251. Startling a sleeping gator and witnessing his flying leap into the river.  Impressive!

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