Monday, July 27, 2009

Cousin Visit

We had the privilege of hosting Victoria for a few days as she was on her way home from summer camp. It seemed like we were so busy that I didn't remember to take pictures of all the great things the kids got to do with her. But, just before she left I caught some flicks of her "in her element". I love that God has given us this farm for the time being. It is so fun to share it with other people.

Victoria is a natural farm girl and took to training Stormy and helping round up chickens right away.
As you can see Stormy had the chance to practice getting comfortable in his saddle while she was here, something that hasn't happened probably since Victoria was here last.

She also grew fond of one of the duck's, named Darkie. (Don't you just love the red headband and denim?!! Total farm girl!)

I do have to say that besides being a farm girl she is also a Lord of the Rings expert. She gave me a scene by scene description of the movie which took just over an hour! We joked that we should have just watched the movie. But, at least now I do have a general understanding of it and would probably enjoy watching it if the chance ever came along.

Her parents came yesterday to take her back home. However short the visit was, it was still a good bonding time (for Stormy and for us!!).

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Help! Lord, get me out of this mess.

I'm very tired after two evenings of 4th of July celebrations. 4th of July is my favorite holiday!! But I feel like I need to blog about this thought I've had right away. So, perhaps I'll have to come back and edit my writing, but for now I'll just get it down!!

I've been reading the book Crazy Love by Frances Chan (of Simi Valley California no less!). So far I've been encouraged to step back and appreciate my Creator who is also the creator of the entire universe around me and to remember that this earth is only my temporary home and to let that knowledge change my life. I've been led to read Revelation from the position of one receiving a description from someone who had just seen a glimpse into heaven. Wow! Revelation came alive to me. I have never enjoyed reading it before because I felt like I had to figure it all out. This time I realized how hard it would be for someone to describe, in human terms, spiritual things like heaven, God, and angels. I gave the author the same margin that I would an excited friend and I felt like my heart was able to better receive the information. I also considered that he was using the best descriptions he could find in comparing the unknown things to things we would be familiar with. I read and enjoyed every minute of it.

In this last chapter the author challenged us to evaluate our spiritual temperature remembering that God spits out the lukewarm. He suggested reading through the gospels, which are the account of Jesus' life directly from the disciples. Instead of analyzing it we took the perspective of a young person reading it for the first time. For some reason John was the book I chose to read. So, with wide eyes and ears hearing from a first person account, I found this book also just came alive. Here are some of the things from my first reading that I wanted to share:

John 3:30 He must become greater; I must become less.

John the Baptist said that. Isn't that a central truth of the Christian walk?! More of you Lord, less of me!

John 4:15 The woman (an adulteress Samaritan woman, married 5 different times
and living with her boyfriend) said to him, "Sir, give me this water so that I
won't get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water."

What hit me this time was a heavy heart saying, here I am again, I hate my position, my struggle, my pain. Take it away! I don't want to keep coming here to this place of pain. Haven't we all felt that way?! Get me out of this!! Of course she would still have to get water everyday, they all did back then, but I believe she's tired of doing it the hard way, in the middle of the day to avoid the stigma of her failures.

John 4:25 The woman (same woman) said, "I know that Messiah" (called
Christ) "is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to

I love her huge amount of faith! Huge!! Jesus had just tried to describe to her a fairly abstract thought of what he could offer: living water. She doesn't understand what he's saying for sure but she is faithfully waiting for Messiah who will explain everything. Oh, I want that same faith and expectancy! What a great thrill for her to discover that this man, Jesus, was the Messiah she was waiting for.
John 4:39 Many of the Samaritans from town believed in him because of the
woman's (yep, same woman!) testimony, "He told me everything I ever did."

I'm guessing the towns folk had gossiped enough that they pretty much already knew everything she ever did. But, instead of continuing to try to hide these things, she uses her secrets directly as a tool of communicating the truth. I can just see her going into town, oh the stares... at least she has their attention, then her boldness in saying, "Listen guys... he told me EVERYTHING I EVER DID." Finally, it's out there, the reality and truth of it all. The irony is that she no longer needs to try to sneak away for water in the middle of the day, she has freed herself through her faith, she has nothing to hide, it's out there. She has given up her heavy yoke and has been given a light one. Then because of her honesty, many believed in Jesus. How many years were wasted with crazy efforts to try to keep up or redeem her image, trying to avoid the fact that she had failed.
John 4:42 They said to the woman, "We no longer believe just because of what you
said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the
Savior of the world."

So, what happened in those couple of days the townspeople spent with Jesus? Did he tell them everything they had ever done, too? The reality is we all have failed and fall way short of God's glory. Instead of looking for ways to cover it up, let God redeem you and use it for his glory and to draw other people to himself. Step out in faith and honesty. What you will find is that you are not alone.
Lord, lift me above my own narrow horizons, that I might fulfill your true vision for me. - B.J. Hoff