Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Briars, Poison Ivy and Vines Oh My!

What it looked like before
I want to take some time to brag on my hard working husband.  He has been spending the last 3 1/2 months clearing the underbrush small bushes and trees from the frontage of our 9 acres on the road leading up to the 6 acres on which our house resides.  It has been such a monumental tasks that he is going to finish the last 200 feet next winter reason being the ticks, snakes and chiggers are beginning to come out. 

Tom removing honeysuckle vines

Overgrown is an understatement.  Pulling up briars, poison ivy, Muscadine vines, and honeysuckle vines by hand is back breaking work.  He has had some help from Henry, Daniel and their friend Bruno, but for the most part, my husband has accomplished this on his own.  Our neighbors have spoken encouraging words to him by stopping as they drive by and expressing to him how great it looks. 

Sunlight Shining Through

I am very proud of my husband and he definitely has not only improved the looks of the property that God has given us to take care of as His stewards, but also he has increased the value of the property and probably the entire neighborhood. 

It is amazing that as I observed my husband over the last months working steadily clearing out all the tangling vines, sticky briars and irritating poison ivy I was reminded that God desires to do the same in our lives.  He has patiently and lovingly been doing this in my life for more years than I care to admit, and continues that process today.  I find these verses particularlly applicable:

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great

Cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything
That so easily entangles us, and let us run with
Perseverance the race marked out for us.”
Hebrews 12:1
Honeysuckle vines wrapping
around tree trunk
WOW!!!  Our precious Lord has a unique race specificall marked out for each of us.  I personally think it is unique based on the talents He gave us at our first firth and the gifts He gave us at our second birth.  God redeems and uses our family history, life experiences, and everything else that makes us unique.  Unfortunately all of this is mixed together with our sinful nature and sinful people living in a fallen world.  No wonder we can get tangled up and hindered on our journey.  God has called us to throw off all that hinders us from running our race.  This takes time.  It takes patience with ourselves for we can only work on areas that the Holy Spirity reveals.  What is our part?  Fix our eyes on Jesus and resist growing weary and losing heart.  We need to respond appropriately to the Lord's discipline (Hebrews 12:5-7).  Some areas of my life are just like those deep rooted briars that my husband had to take a pick ax after in order to get them out.  Hard work!  Some are just like those vines that cover the ground so thick you can't walk on or see the path on which you are supposed to run.  I've also seen vines that have twisted up the trunks of trees, and the trees have grown over the vines and have become a distored picture of a tree, not at all what the Creator intended.  Hello!  I can relate.  Fellow traveler, please don't grow weary or lose heart.  Consider Jesus during your journey.  He focused on the completion of the debt being paid freeing us from the penalty and power of sin because of His great love for us.  This was joy for Him.  What brings you true joy?  I remember the movie Chariots of fire about the life of Olympic runner Eric Liddell.  Eric was made to run.  Eric found great joy when he ran because he felt God's pleasure.  The light of the Son of God shined brightly through his life.  When we clear out the underbrush, the Son of God can also shine through us.  When all is said and done and we look back at the path on which we have been running, I can't help but believe that we will see God shining His glory along the path.  We will see how He redeemed and used it all for His glory.  Only God can do that.  Isn't that our purpose?  My friend, run your race.  Experience joy and feel God's pleasure.

Tom and his favorite JD tractor
Henry, Bruno and Daniel

Thank you my favorite men

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

My first post...

Last year a young college student told me that I should start a blog.  What…was basically my response, not that I didn’t know what a blog was, but I thought, “You’re crazy!  Why would anyone want to read my silly ramblings?”  I used to send out a Christmas Letter every year to all my family, friends and others with whom I just wanted to keep in contact.  I would get positive feedback from many of those people each year.  Some would say, “Debbie, you need to be a writer”.  I would think, “Wouldn’t that take discipline?”  When I was in full time ministry I used to write Bible Studies, camp materials, devotional material and journals.  Again, many would tell me that I should write.  I’ve thought about it for years, and have jotted down some things, but I never could come up with a single message that I could base my first book on.  You see, I’ve had lots of experiences, good and not so.  I never could find a good starting point.  Well today I woke up thinking about one of my favorite “people” and felt the need to write.
I have a precious companion of over 16 years.  You will never find a more loyal friend, more loving, more faithful, or more excited to see me when I have been away.  Well my friend is almost deaf and blind.  This just breaks my heart.  The doctors say that she is pretty healthy otherwise of which I am very thankful because I am very attached to my friend.  As I was waking up this morning I was thinking about my friend Mattie and the sweet memories started flowing through my mind.  Memories of the day I first saw her sweet bedraggled face popping up out of the box when my husband brought her home in October of the first year we were married.  Oh, she was a mess, wiry haired, covered with fleas!  We washed her over and over with flea shampoo and hundreds of fleas were dropping on the white towel.  She was malnourished.  Pitiful!  My husband was correct in his assessment of the first time he saw her hours earlier, when he said, “Who could resist a face like that?”  So our adventure with Mattie began.  We learned fairly quickly that Mattie had a phobia for thunderstorms.  I wondered if she had learned that earlier that year because of a terrible tornado going through the area where my husband found her.  The vet told us that she was probably 6-8 months old.   I imagined that she was born around February, so we gave her the birthday of February 14, our Valentine Dog!  She must have belonged to a good family who loved her for who could resist her sweet face.  But then tragedy struck!  A tornado went through and destroyed her family’s home and she wandered away, and her terror of storms was born.  She was forced into reality that bad, terrifying things happen, and she became a stray.  For months she lived as a scavenger for food and for safety until that blessed day that she looked up at my husband’s compassionate face.  I say all this, to report to you that I have noticed lately that Mattie does not seem to be afraid of storms anymore.  When the first crack of thunder is heard she no longer comes running to me seeking to hide next to me in our favorite chair with her head tucked under my arm.  In her deafness lies a blessing.  Isn’t this a Truth in life?  We can usually find blessings attached to the losses we experience.  As for her near blindness, I have found that she seems to follow me, her master, much closer, than she did when she was younger.  Oh to be like Mattie…be deaf to the fears around me and run to My Master staying so close to Him that my “nose touches His leg” continually. 
Well, that was my morning contemplation when I woke up at 5:45 a.m. I have written it all down and that urgency to write inside has left me for now.  That in itself may be the answer to the questions that have plagued me for years wondering why I couldn’t get started on that first book that everyone seemed to be urging me to write.  You see, I have looked at writing a book as a big project!  I have organized and executed many big projects in my life.  I could never get started on that silly book because I couldn’t get a handle on how to organize it, and if you know me or not, I need to have big projects organized.  My need for organization was stifling my creative juices and keeping me from starting The Book.  Thank you, my dear college friend, for planting the seed in my heart by suggesting that I start a blog.  Isn’t this like our Lord also?  Giving me encouragement and a desire to do something, yet making me wait for His timing.  Never in my mind could I have ever imagined a media such as blogging over 30 years ago when the first seed of desire to write was planted.  I just needed to wait until it was invented.  All my frustration and self criticism was not needed.  God knew the gift he had given me to lead and to organize, and He uses them at times, but with this blog thing, I don’t have to fulfill my need to organize before I start.  I can just write about the “moments” of the day that jump out at me as special or not so special, if you know what I mean.  I want to be real here!  But I think I know that in those moments, there will flood in my mind some “memories” from past experiences, and I will be reminded of “My Master” and His precious Words to me.  Hence, the Moments, Memories and My Master Blog is born today, February 7, 2012.  I look forward to our journey together.