Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Forgetting the smaller picture

I have posted quite a bit about remembering to not focus too much on the smaller 'picture', but to instead focus on the big picture (as in, not focusing on your hardships, but instead focusing on what God is going to do with those hardships, etc).

However, last Sunday while attending church at a friend's house, I was convicted of also looking at the smaller picture. Just in a different way....

We had been talking about how often we tend to stray from God's side.  One couple was sharing how their two dogs, Georgie and Gracie, were very different in personalities.   Whenever the Mr. was going to go out and check the water tanks, Georgie would stay right next to him, walking so close he would practically trip over her.  Gracie, however, tended to run here and there, chasing a bird there, running after a rabbit here.  Mr. would have to call her back to his side.  She'd stay for a while, then something shiny would catch her eye and off she'd go.

Well, one day, miss Gracie was running all over, her head up in the clouds, and she wasn't paying very much attention.  Unfortunately, she was headed right for a water tank that was 4 feet deep.  Being a little Corgi dog, she was only about 2 feet or so....  Well, sure enough, she jumped up to grab something and landed right into stock tank.  She sank down, then came bobbing back up, doing her best to stay afloat.  Mr. laughed, went over, and pulled her out.  She stood there, dripping wet, with some green scum draped all over her nose.

It puts quite a funny picture into your head, but then you apply it to your own life and it ain't so pretty any more. I am afraid that I am a Gracie... flying about here and there, anxious to do whatever God tells me, but not staying near Him long enough to really know WHAT I am supposed to be doing.

Mr. was explaining that he tends to fly about and just wants to do the task, but doesn't focus on sticking next to His Saviour to learn more and more about Him daily.  He just focuses on 'the big picture', in a sense.

So, in a way, we do need to focus on the smaller picture.  We have to be looking towards Him daily for guidance and strength.

I found this hit very close to home, if not straight on, for me right now.  God has already told me what I need to be doing after I graduate.  I am very thankful for this direction, as I want to have something to do to keep me busy after I graduate instead of 'drifting about', in a sense. However, when we were talking on Sunday, it really struck me that I had not been focusing on each day in the way I should have been.  I was forgetting to 'step and smell the roses' and enjoy the world God created!  I was forgetting to stop and soak in His love for me, and pour my love for Him back into the relationship. I was focusing *too much* on the bigger picture.

I know that, just like everything else that we have to work on, it will take time to get into the habit of focusing on my daily life as well.  However, I know I can do it with Jesus beside me, helping me along the way.  Isn't it wonderful to think that He will just pull us out of that pond, chuckling and helping us to learn to laugh at it, too, and then clean off that scum and help us start afresh?

May He guide you daily in the things you need to do!

In Christ's Service,

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

"Though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death..."

"I asked God to give me a sign that He loved me.  I gazed into the heavens and saw the stars, but was disappointed that I saw no shooting ones.
"I asked God to give me a sign that He was mighty and powerful. I looked down and saw an intricate flower that even the most talented artists could not draw, yet I was disappointed that it was not my favorite color.
"I asked God to give me a sign that He would be near me always.  I looked and saw my Bible sitting on the shelf.  I took it down and began reading.  Guilt washed over me as I remembered what I had asked, and how He had answered. 
"I asked God to once again show me that He loved me, and I felt His arms surround me.
"I asked God to show me that He was mighty and Powerful, and He showed me where He had defeated armies.
"I asked God to show me that He would be near me always, and He simply whispered in my ear, "You are My child.  Why would I ever leave you?"

There are times when we walk on mountain tops, and times when we walk through valleys.  I have often questioned, when going through trials, what it is that He is trying to show me.  Sometimes it is obvious, sometimes not.  Most of the time, He simply guides me one step at a time, only letting me see one foot at a time.

"I dissolve my couch with my tears..." (from the book of Psalms)
Trials are painful.  God has said that He will only give us what we can bear... but once our strength has given out, He gives us the strength to stand.

I still don't always know why I go through trials. He gives us trials to draw us near to Him, or to perhaps show us an area in our lives that needs to be polished.  Whatever it might be, it is still hard to remember that He is there, giving us strength to stand, instead of turning His back on us.

However, every so often, when the valley seems the deepest and darkest, He gives us a light in the distance; a Lily to give us hope that He is still there, and no matter what we may be going through, He will always hold us in His hand.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Home Alone.....

No, not the movie.. for real!  Mom and Daddy took a flight this afternoon to the D.C. area.  Why?  Well, my Grandmother had saved up some rewards for the ticket thing, and ended up having enough for 2 tickets.  She gave them to my parents, and my parents are using them for a little giveaway/visit to our Aunt.  We don't get to see my Aunt (my dad's youngest sister) very often, so this will be really nice for them to get in a good visit.

This, of course, leaves us traumatized.... HOME ALONE!!!! AHHHHH!!!  *Evil chuckle* oh, if only they knew what we were planning... perhaps they would think twice about going away.  Just kidding.  We plan on being very well behaved.  However, I will say that this is our first time to be on our own, for this long, without staying with a grandparent.  Usually we head up the hill to stay with my Nana, but not this time.  It is a bit of an adventure, really. Very fun, actually, and we are kind of looking forward to it.

Although we don't have a huge list of things to accomplish while they are gone, we do have a few things that need to be done.  Keep the house in order, keep everyone in order, etc, etc.

Becca and I are actually painting our room.  Yeah.  This poor room has seen several different occupants in it's time.  When we first moved in, it was the 'girl's' room.. Then it was the 'boy's' room, and then Mom and Dad's room.  Now it is our room again. :-)  We had painted it a light purple our first time.. Then the boys painted it 'army sand dune' (I'll post pictures..).  When we girls were moving back in, we decided that we didn't much care for feeling like we were on an army front all the time, so yeah. :-)

Any how, I would like to ask for prayers that my mom and dad will get there safely (actually, their plane should be arriving soon), that they will be safe while there, and that they will have a safe trip home.  Thanks!

OH! One more thing... we got a whole inch and a half of rain last night!! It was BEAUTIFUL!!!  Oh, the smell of rain, the sound of it, the looks of it, and what comes up after it are all just wonderful.  The grass surely needed this.

Now, I get to tell a little story on my self that was rather funny.  Behind our house a little ways is a 'dirt tank' (a natural 'bowl' in the ground that stores up water from rain fall. The cows can get water to drink from these 'tanks').  We named it Tadpole Pond because as soon as it rains, the frogs come out and lay eggs. In a little while you will see a gazillion little tadpoles swimming around.  We also have Banana Lake (the 'lake' that forms on the curving road), and Arena Lake (the lake formed in the arena.. lol!)  All of these were filled full yesterday with the rain.  So, this morning, Josh, Caleb, and I headed out to wade in Tadpole Pond.  Just Caleb and I went in while Josh sat on the banks and watched.  At one point, my boots got stuck in the mud... unfortunately, I lost my balance, and well- you get the picture. :-)  The boys were laughing so hard that they could hardly help me up.  I am sure I did look, and sound, like a sight! Too bad we didn't have it on video! lol!
  Any how, thank you to those who have been praying for rain over here! They have been much appreciated! :-)

I hope everyone is having a great week so far!!

In Christ's Service,

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Newest Additions to the Farmyard

Meet the new additions to the ranch/home/family. 

Our dear, sweet dog, Lady, was due any day and we were all very excited....and anxious! The poor dog was HUGE and just miserable. As some of you may recall, she had one puppy last year.  The puppy died, sadly, when it was bit on the face by a rattlesnake. 
  Any how, we were rather excited about this new arrival!  The day finally came.  We knew she was going into labor and got all prepared.

Her trusty cat was there to comfort her in any way he could (these two are ridiculous!).

Then, whilst watching a movie, we heard the little 'squeals' from a puppy and ran out to the school room to check.  1 puppy!  We kept checking and soon there were 4 puppies!  When we went to bed, she had had 5, and we thought she was done.....  Not so.
(The first 4. Don't remember which order, but black came first, then a black and white... I think the black in the middle, then the B&W in the middle...)
When we woke up this morning, we were very surprised, and shocked, to see ELEVEN puppies.  Our dog is not very big, so where she hid all of them, I don't know.  She was utterly exhausted, poor thing!

(Lady with her puppies.. exhausted and taking a nap while two of them snooze around her face)

Now our problem is trying to make sure everyone gets enough milk!  Thank goodness for that milk cow, because rotating them is no fun....
(Everyone scrambling for food! and Momma too tired to worry right now)

Prayers please that we will find good homes for all of them!  We already have a few people who want a puppy, but we weren't counting on this many.  Guess God knows what He is doing!  Just gotta trust Him. They are adorable, though!!!

In Christ's Service,

Sunday, August 7, 2011

AWESOME Post! Check it out!

My sister just posted something REALLY neat on her blog. Go check it out HERE, and let her know what you think. :-)

Also, I will hopefully have something really cool coming up at the end of this week, so keep your eyes open!

In Christ's Service,

Monday, August 1, 2011

Improving ourselves for Christ......? No thanks.

While chatting on the phone with a friend, our conversation brought up how difficult it sometimes is to 'improve ourselves' in Christ.
What does that mean, exactly?  Well, if you decide to open up a seamstress shop (or, for any guys out there, a blacksmith shop or gun shop... =D), you are going to make sure that you can do each job to the best of your ability.  You do this by practicing and practicing at whatever it is that you are doing.  For a seamstress, you would practice making things, working with different fabrics, learning to do to customized patterns, etc.  You wouldn't just open the shop and expect that everything would come to you when it needed to.  You would improve yourself in those skills.

The same thing, then, with improving ourselves in Christ.  Once we have become Christians, we have accepted a responsibility to act differently from the ways of the world.  We have committed to give up our sins, addictions, etc to serve Christ. Obviously, it isn't like these things disappear.  We must strive and work on them.

However, I know that often times I fail to do this.  I think, "Well, I don't need to really work on submitting joyfully to my parents.  I mean, I do it fairly well.  I do average."  It seems to me that we live in an 'average' world.  We always want the average for things... and we also seem to strive for being just 'average' in many areas.

If we are serving Christ, though, we must be striving for better than average.  More than 100%. Giving it our best shot with every breath we take. It isn't just about just barely making the grade so you can move onto the next level, it is about going above and beyond what anyone else would do.

In this world, doing this is our witness. When others see us serving joyfully, making sacrifices, helping to carry one another's burdens, they see something different.  They see a special sort of different. Because it isn't just our striving to become like Christ that they see... anyone can strive to be a better person without the love of Christ in them, but when we are doing it and giving all the glory to Christ in the process, then they see the difference and it makes them wonder.  What kind of God must they serve that they can JOYFULLY give Him praise in everything that they think, say, or do? What is so special about Him that makes them want to do it more and more?

We will get into slumps where it seems we can't go any further. But we can. With God's help, we can.  Christ gives us the strength to go on, to make that extra step, to go that extra mile.  He will give us the strength if we are willing to perform the tasks that He has given us.

"I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it.  Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win." 1 Corinthians 9:23-24.

"Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance they race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12: 1-2

Run the race!

In Christ's Service,