Monday, May 27, 2013

Psalm 43:5~The Health of my Countenance

Pepper Jasmine and the twin baby that lived

Dear readers,

The Psalmist writes:

"Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God."

Are you cast down today?

For many Memorial Day is difficult, and we go about the time with thoughts and reflections of our loved ones who have gone to the Great Beyond.

I love this part of the above verse, "hope in God: for I shall yet praise him,"

There is absolutely nothing wrong with lamenting for our loved ones who have died. It is our need to lament that brings us to a healthier healing place. If we don't grieve, we become sick. Think of this part of the verse: "for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God."

God needs us to shed tears, so let them flow and a sense of relief shall follow. Keeping God in the equation of our grief brings hope like no other. Afterward, we can praise Him, and let the cycle of tears and praise repeat itself to bring about our growth in a stronger faith in Lord God.That equals a better relationship with Him.

Even the animal kingdom needs to time to say goodbye, although their time for grief is much shorter.

On December 29, 2012, our first goat birth on our farm brought a set of twins. The younger twin did not thrive and within twenty-four hours I knew he would not make it. He lay in a box next to our wood stove to keep him warm and so I could feed him. When I checked on him at 3:30 a.m., he was struggling to breath.

I wrapped him in his towel and lay him in the barn before his mother Pepper Jasmine. At 7:15 a.m., I came back to find Pepper and the other twin standing over him, heads bent close to him. He had stopped breathing. What surprised me? The mother goat had decided to finish her job of licking him clean. I had taken a matted, dull-coated baby to Pepper and his coat had a beautiful sheen.

Pepper gazed up at me. I picked up the baby and took him from her and his brother. Pepper didn't cry, as I left the barn. She never cried at all. I thought nothing of that, until a few days later. An experienced goat farmer told me that had I not taken the baby back to be with his mother before he died, she would have cried for days. This way, she saw him out of this world and said her goodbyes. Pepper knew he no longer breathed. 

I will never forget that experience with my goats, and as a mood of disquiet comes upon me as it so often does for I miss my son, Joshua, I will rush to Jesus Christ and rest. That's a kind of soft joy set apart from any other.

Father, thank You for encouraging us in our sorrowful times. You created us, and You want us to share all with You. Not just the happy moments, but also the sad. In Jesus' holy name, I pray. Amen.

Until next time . . . rest in God and His Son.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Psalm 42:7~Deep Calleth Unto Deep

Two month old Mr. Buckling

Dear Readers,

The Psalmist writes:
"Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me."

I'm uncertain what this verse means, but it expresses what I felt for three months this winter.

I caught one nasty virus and then it went into coughing for two months. I'm not sure, but it acted like whooping cough. Or it could have been bronchitis, but that doesn't matter now. What matters is from February second through end of April, I was physically exhausted from the illness.

I went through the ninth anniversary of Joshua's death too sick with a cough to lie down when sleeping. I mourned for my son and I mourned the temporary loss of health.

My deep innermost parts called unto God's deep innermost parts, as the noise of my coughing continued day after day, week after week, and into two months. The waves and billows of fits my body underwent made it hard to breath.

All this, and I still had my responsibilities. I prayed to Lord God to get me through each day of animal chores on my small goat farm. When it got really tough, I prayed to the Father to get me through a morning, when after the chores, I could fall back into bed and sleep until noon.

My goats didn't get the pats and hugs they would have normally gotten from me, but they never suffered for their needs. I fed and watered them regularly, and I milked Pepper Jasmine once a day. The rest of the milk needed to go to her kid, Mr. Buckling.

Because I couldn't do anything extra, like play with my goats, Mr. Buckling suffered and I'm just now realizing this.

Now at almost five months old, he grew these last few months without my gentle handling to help rid his exceptionally wild nature. Even though we weathered him and he's no longer a buck, he remained hard to handle, skittish and a runner. A wonderful thing happened, though: he got more attention from his people. In less than a week, he's a warm, loving little fella. I can almost see him smile, as he rubs his head against arm.

He still doesn't understand what a brush is for, and he'll crane his neck to see the object that rubs his coat. Then, he'll jump straight up in the air after a few brush strokes. Mr. B is learning to trust me more, though, just as I am still learning about God's abundant love and kindness.

The Lord got me through one of the most difficult illnesses as an adult. To name a few, my rest breaks came when I needed them most, there were no major upsets within my goat herd, and my wonderful husband helped me by cleaning out dirty straw from the goat barn.

As I trusted in God, deep unto deep, He never failed my needs. That's the God I worship.

Father, thank You for helping me through a most difficult period of time. In the past, when I was injured or ill, I sensed my Christianity slipping for my misery overwhelmed me. This time, I did not allow such thoughts to rule day or night. I understand now. Being ill does not mean I'm less of a Christian. It means I can grow into a stronger follower of You. In Jesus' name, I'm grateful. Amen. 

Until next time . . . allow deep unto deep

Monday, May 6, 2013

Psalm 42:1~So Pants My Soul For You

Anise with her kids, Moon and Glow, born April 26th.

Good morning, dear readers,

The Psalmist writes: "As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God." ESV

There are still many days when my battered heart grows faint from loss and grief. Or even the spring time work load that forces me to run from dawn to night can wear me thin. I feel thirsty for God. It may take a little time for me to recognize this need comes from my spirit, where worldly things cannot fill and satisfy. So, I take the long way home where God's peace awaits.

Then, there are the routine daily pants for God that need filled with Bible reading, praying, singing, praising, and listening to His Holy Spirit. Those keep my soul refreshed. I know, because when I slack on any of these acts of worship toward God, the darts from Satan surprise me because I did not begin the day prepared.

Do you do this, also, dear reader? Can you identify with what I'm sharing today?

"As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God."

Sometimes, I pause in my barn chores and watch my goats, who are of the deer family, suck from the water pail on hot days. Their intense drinks say they need water, and lots of it now. Even the littlest goats slurp their water with eager intensity, making me laugh out loud. They remind me of human children who slurp their soup or chomp their food with mouths open.

Presently, I've been physically taxed over the last ten days, and it all started on April 26th, Friday morning at six A.M., after the last full moon.

I peered through an open shutter window of the birthing barn to check on my due-to-give-birth Anise the goat. Her eyes stared at me, huge on her face, as she peered through the screened window opening. I realized later as I replayed in my mind those first few moments, she was trying to tell me something, but I thought, Oh, I forgot to let down the shutters for the night.

I took two steps away from the barn to begin the feeding chores, when I heard a soft kitten-like, "Maaaa."

What? I thought, that sounds like a baby goat. I opened the door and underneath where Anise had stood were her two babies, one brown and one white. I said two things, "Oh, no!" because I had left the window open and it was cold, and "Oh, yes!" because they were alive and clean and Anise did a good job. All by herself.

Anise is a first time mother and a bit flighty, and she sure didn't know what to do with them after she did a perfect job of delivery and clean up. That morning began a long week of trying to teach the babies to suck and for Anise to stand still and allow them to eat. Around the clock, I did my job of making sure the babies got milk in their bellies. My soul felt parched often, from lack of sleep, but I stayed with it. I even prayed in the barn while I gave the weak baby doeling mother's milk from a syringe.

I still kept up with the other chores and my soul panted for my Lord. I needed Him as always, but also my attention had to stay upon these babies or I feared the doeling would die. I balanced it all, but I grew concerned I was losing the doeling for she grew thin.

The buckling began to eat good, though, and past his sister by three pounds on day four. Finally, my stubborn nature paid off and the doeling, which I named Glow, because she was born on a full moon, is now gaining weight and growing strong.

Place yourself in my situation with one of your own. Are you caring for a sick family member, or tending to several small children? Are you driving long distances that keep you away from home too often, so that you lose sleep? Some days we get empty in our soul for all we do, but we must snatch moments of time to think on the Lord and let Him talk to us by reading His Word, the Bible.

 I'm glad that God made us so that we need Him. Aren't you? Otherwise, we might forget about Him altogether and where would we be then, with no Father to take care of us?

Father, You are patient with me. Thank You for loving me this much. Please bless those who read this and I pray it will show them they are not alone in their walk toward You and with You. In Jesus' holy name. Amen.

Until next time . . . take care of your spiritual soul.