Tuesday, June 21, 2016

a fellowship of bearing up



I'm sitting her in my PJ's in a quiet house, waiting for my oatmeal to finish cooking. I pull up my Bible app on my phone and read the verse of the day:

 Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears us up; God is our salvation.- Psalm 68:19

I chuckle and sigh.  Daily bears us up.  I had just been bemoaning the daily bearing up tasks of being a mom and wife secretly in my heart.  Opening the fridge, taking mental note that there's nothing to make for dinner and I'll need to go to the store.  And we're out of eggs.  And the kids will be up soon and so will begin the grumbling and moaning I'll get to hear as soon as the call for morning chores is given.  And I need to get pellets for the animals.  And plan for someone to do the morning chores and milking while I'm gone next week.  And I need to make more soap and advertise it and post lotion for sale in the online store.  And I need to contact local retailers about carrying our soaps in their stores.  And I'll be going to part-time soon and that'll leave one more day a week for... for... for daily bearing up the needs of the household.

I sigh for a minute.  It's a blessing that I'm treating like a burden.  But no doubt, it is a burden.  It's a burden that has to be born up.  Carried.  But it's a burden with blessing built in because it's a burden that in it's very nature shares the likeness of God in it.  It's a fellowship of bearing up that I get to share with the Living God everyday!

I am no savior.  I do not save my family.  I save no one.  But I get to let the beauty of what God does shine through my life in walking with him under the load of bearing up.  And all the while I point to him as salvation.  He is my salvation.  He's why I can bear the burden of the needs of this family with delight in the gift it is to get to do it.

It only begins to feel like a tax on me for one reason: sin.  The sins of my husband and children make it painful and draining sometimes to bear the needs of this family.  And my own sinful grumbling and lack of faith cause me to feel the unbearable weight of this calling.  But when I see through eyes of faith, that I join God in the way of bearing up the needs of others, I feel empowered.

God is using my life to show his way among the nations.  Even the Dougals.  I tremble.  What a high and wonderful call.  I don't need to break the glass ceiling or prove my equality in power with anyone.  I know who I am.  And Whose I am.  And where I'm going.  I can bend down and bear today's burden.  Because I'm His daughter.  And that's what He's doing.


 Quieted,
Sheila

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Mixed feelings on 42.


As of today I'm 42.  

Today is a mixed bag of emotions. The day started at 5:30 AM, which is an hour and a half sleep-in compared to the 4 AM wake up call on workdays.  The baby goats are being separated from their mom's at night to begin the weaning process, so when I walk the acre from our back door, under the stars, to the corral where they're at, I'm greeted by 7 goat kids screaming, "MAAAAA!!"

I tiredly fed the baby girl (The 6 boys we have left I stopped bottle feeding in the morning.  They seem to be getting what they need from their mom's and will be weaned completely from milk by 2 months of age.) and then thought I'd sneak back into the house and sleep more until 7:30 and then come back and milk the momma goats, but I decided to just get the milking chores done and then nap after.  The nap finally came at 12:30 after morning chores and a guy responding to our Craigslist ad for free mulch came to pick up a load... and I did some reading.

James put the boys to work yesterday and today for their first 2 days of summer break.  Yesterday he had them purge every closet, cabinet and drawer in the entire house.  Today he had them cleaning the back patio, garage and barn.   They did good.  I think they're happier when they do hard work.  

I, on the other hand, refrained from all chores and soap making today.  I spent some time reading and thinking and praying about dear friends, broken relationships and people I care about with major things going on in their lives.  I also decided to pull out the Jamberry gel nail kit I bought like 6 months ago and actually paint my nails.  It put the nail in the coffin for me.  I am not a nail person!  I just don't want to spend an hour of my life painting my fingernails.  They do feel nice, but I feel a little like a cat feels when you put scotch tape on his paws.

The day started getting heavy when I got news that my grandpa Don passed away this morning.  Grandpa Don has been married to my grandma Oleta since I was about 13.  I was not close to him but I know he had a servant's heart... always helping and serving my grandma and her kids and grandkids.  For the last few years he's had to live in a memory care facility due to his worsening Alzheimer's disease.  It's been hard for my grandma Oleta not having him at home as she's been struggling with a lung cancer diagnosis and her own health issues.  I know my grandma is grieving the loss of her brother this week too.  My heart is heavy for her.  I wish I lived closer!

Grief is a hard thing.  You don't have to experience a physical death to experience grief.   Divorce and betrayal can create the worst kind of grief...  for more than just the couple and their immediate family.   I tried to face that grief with vulnerability and love today in a very small way.  Someone asked me why not just ignore it.  I can't.  Love can't.  Forgiveness can't.  Ignoring it is just letting it fester deep inside.

Tomorrow I'll start at 4 am and end at 9 pm with breakfast, a 12 hour shift at the hospital and a quick bite to eat in between.  Repeat twice.  Then I'll be home for three days to plan the summer events with the boys, make soap and lotion orders, ship soap, hopefully sell some more bucklings, attend a Linear Appraisal from the ADGA and hopefully do a trip to the library.

I can easily fall into the trap of living under the tyranny of the urgent.  I don't want to though.  Taking a day like today to rest from the normal business is a good way for me to look the Urgency Tyrant in the face and say, "God's in charge.  Not you."  I think that's in the Bible somewhere.  :)

Every year that passes I am becoming more and more in agreement with the heart cry in the prayer, "So teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom!"




Quieted, 
Sheila

Monday, May 23, 2016

Solving the world's problem's on the treadmill


I always think out these theological arguments when I jog.  It usually starts with seeing buff men and women out there on the gym floor pumping iron while I run like an uncoordinated giraffe on the treadmill.

When I look out on a crowd of people, especially people working hard to achieve some level of physical fitness or strength, I think about the fact that we are made in the image of God.   I think about what C.S. Lewis said, "It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare."   And what the Psalmist wrote, "I said, 'You are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you; nevertheless, like men you shall die, and fall like any prince.'" (Psalm 82:6-7).

It's part of what I believe that shapes how I view and interact with people.  I tremble sometimes when I look around and think about the souls all around me.  And when I walk a bent over 90 plus year old woman to the bathroom at work I think about the fact that she was once 16 and 21 and 42 and has a whole story.  She's a creature of God!  She's an immortal soul created in the image of God for the purpose of resonating his wonder through her life.  Even as she hobbles to the bathroom.  

 I look at all those bodies trying really hard to get bigger and be stronger and look sexier and I think,  "We're all gods!".  We've been given so much power and dominion and bear the image of God.  We are not God, yet we act like gods all the time.  Deciding what's right and wrong.  Making rules and enforcing them.  Declaring what's just and unjust.  Creating amazing works of art, science, structure and food. We champion causes and teach our children what we believe they should and shouldn't do.  And yet we deny that there is a God and declare that we are merely random results of time and matter.  We are gods declaring there is no God.  We are broken, confused, evil gods that, at times (by the common grace of God), do good.

We don't want there to be a God because the want to be the gods we deny that we are.

I heard a story on the radio of a woman who was angrily calling into a debate where she declared that the whole agenda of the debate was to deny her the right, as a woman, to do with what she willed the life of the baby growing inside her.  She carried on in her rant against the debaters questioning what kind of a God would take away the innocent lives of people in an earthquake or natural disaster.  And one debater asked the lady if she would answer him this one thing:  How can you declare any notion of a God who would take a life in a natural disaster an evil God while at the same time declaring your right to take the life of the child growing inside you as right and just?

We are insane gods.  We declare what's wrong is right and what's right is wrong.  We claim for ourselves the right to the power we declare would be wrong for a perfect, loving, holy, pure God to have.

I don't understand a lot of things about God.  I don't see why.  But I know this: I am not able to see or understand and therefore I have no right to claim I know better.  I would much rather come under the judgement and mercy of a perfect God than to align myself with the twisted reasoning and declarations of an imperfect human being.


Thinking,
Sheila

Thursday, April 28, 2016

another day in the books


We had farm visitors today!  A soap customer and a nurse I used to work with came with their sweet kiddos to check out the baby goats and pick some soap.  Of course, the baby kitties were a hit too.  Even the chickens drew their attention.

I enjoy sharing the pleasure of having a little farm with others.  I never would have thought I'd get to do that!

Today was day 1 of 4 off work.  I worked three days in a row and that's enough to tucker a girl out!

Today was a rest and visit day.  Tomorrow is a Goats Make Soap Co. business day and another disbudding day.  We have a set of twin bucklings that need to be disbudded.  I'm not looking forward to it at all, but it has to be done.

Goats Make Soap Co. may soon have soap on the shelf of a store in Madrid, Spain!  We received a request from a merchant in Madrid who would like to stock our soaps in their little store.  So exciting!

Ryland had band practice this evening and Connor baseball.  Saturday and Sunday will be a tournament weekend for Connor in Gilbert.  And then another 12 hour shift at the hospital for me.  Mother's Day is coming, then Nurse's week, then another doe is due to kid, and then school is out for summer!

The days fill up and go by so fast.  When I get a chance to stop and survey, a week or two has passed and before I know it it's a new season and I have two sons fast becoming men entering their 7th and 8th grade years.

Sigh.

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. Return, O Lord! How long? Have pity on your servants! Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, and for as many years as we have seen evil. Let your work be shown to your servants, and your glorious power to their children. Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!  - Psalm 90:12-17



Quieted,
Sheila