Wednesday, May 21, 2014
I am sentimental. I admit it. I may just be one of the most sentimental female souls living in this old farmhouse. As we continue to work on packing, some parts of giving up the myriad of material possessions that we own have been easy, others, not so much so. I keep trying to weigh everything from an eternal scale perspective; "keep trying," those are the key words.
Letting go of the critters last summer was challenging, especially at first with a few of the favorites, but surprisingly, their absence in our lives is just alright. Sorting closets and junk drawers has been liberating, thoughts of divulging in a plate smashing party have been discussed and then quickly passed by, and the check from the recycling center has been a bonus to this whole moving thing.
But the chicken coop has become a dilemma.
From its history of being built out of the old log barn left overs, to the memories of hammering away with the kids to finish the construction of it, to the necessity of needing it for the dozen chickens who will be moving with us, the batten board artifact is something that I can't fathom leaving behind. Talk about souvenirs: it's a little larger than the trunks full of childhood memories and the totes full of home school projects.
At this moment there are many farmers, who, by their blood relation feel indebted to assist in the moving of the structure, are scratching their heads about how to lift and haul the beast. I am just hoping and praying that my craftsmanship isn't left splattered on some back road between here and the lake view property.
Oh, life just keeps getting more and more interestinger.
Tuesday, May 20, 2014
After waiting for house selling news for several months, now, in a matter of single digit days we might be signing our life away. With waning hope that there would even be an actual closing date after the recent lender changes which have made it increasingly difficult for any normal, hard working person to actually obtain a mortgage, the bank forgot to inform either us, the seller, not to mention the buyer, that we might be meeting on Friday to finalize the deal - which leaves me only two more days to pack up over half a decade of junque and get my brain ready to transition to a new life. The buyers have been very gracious and are allowing us an extra week, or longer if needed, to pack up, but unfortunatelty the sewer guy can't do anything about speeding up the permit process to install our septic system at the lake view place. Life may get interesting.
It is strange to think of leaving this sandy parcel of land that we have known so long as OurCrazyFarm. Along with the children who have enjoyed their childhood days here, this old farmstead has seen the arrival of a son from half way around the world, and has also watched us grieve a firstborn son. We have poured our heart, soul, sweat and finances into building up some kind of beauty amongst the ashes of the once-pitiful sheds, structures and major amenities, only to feel beaten back at every attempt by the never ending list of needs. Nonetheless, memories have been created on this forty acres that will be etched into our very DNA and have become treasures to be enjoyed for the rest of our days this side of Heaven.
In the rush of the latest news I am trying to process the reality of not waking up to overflowing pastures and growing fields; no more walks to the cabin site, no springs of calves and goat kids, the projects will change and the long gone horse rides will now only be enjoyed through the photo books. What scares me is not so much the fear of what lies ahead, but the realization that I would easily take it all back to continue building my Kingdom rather than being brave enough to follow God's leading into the adventure that He has planned for us which will only be revealed as we take this next step of our new beginning. As the "crazy people" remarks are only increasing, we turn our eyes to the future, especially the eternal future.
While I'm sitting here writing and drinking coffee, I ponder the irony of why I am panicking rather than packing. But my brain needs to be settled first, then the hands can do double time. Jesus said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in Heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Mark 10:21) Here we go, ready or not; either way, we're gonna follow where He leads.
Monday, May 19, 2014
A friend was curious, quite some time ago, about my interesting view of the state of my children's salvation. Because, you see, I don't profess that many of them are saved. The query has floated around my ever pondering train of thoughts for months until I attempted to put together a response on why I don't pretend that my children are saved.
First of all, it doesn't glorify God to fake our standing with Him. God doesn't mince words, and He's not kidding. This is His kingdom, and He'll run it any way He wants. He says He's jealous, holy, all powerful, wiser than any wisdom we can fathom, and more glorious than we can imagine.
The deeds of mankind, at our very sin-saturated cores, on the other hand, are likened to a woman's menstrual rag. We are called blasphemers, haters of God, wicked and only capable of more wickedness. A somber understanding of ourselves is necessary to realize that a Savior is needed. What transpired in the Fall, and the continuous suffering that resulted because of it, cannot be underestimated. We are sinners. You and I, our sweet dumpling little children as well if they came of our wombs. The church has sanitized our position to the point that we forget who we are.
Until you look down the barrel of your own wickedness, you can not appreciate a Savior who would stretch out His arms and bleed for you, even while you were the enemy, the one wielding the whip and spitting in His face. As sin was put upon the perfect Lamb of Jesus, Holiness turned away so that our sins could be forgiven and we could be welcomed into an eternal Kingdom. Looking at Scripture, acknowledgement of sin is a precursor to salvation. If an understanding of our position with God is not understood, repentance will never be needed.
God takes great delight in how and when He works salvation in His children. It is done on His time table, in His way. The robbing of that privilege is not our place, while at the same time Scripture tells us to seek the Lord and He will be found. God says that it is His glory to conceal a matter and the honor of kings to search them out (Proverbs 25:2). To point out truth to children is to point out their sin, alongside a glorious God who promises salvation, but not on our terms. It is His gift to grant.
Secondly, it doesn't benefit them. Salvation, at its core, from our mortal standpoint, is a very selfish thing. Who do you know that wants all glory to go to God, in all circumstances, even in choosing His elect, even if that glory is most clearly revealed through the unimaginably horrendous truth of the doctrine of Hell? One day every one of us is going to stand before this just God all on our own to give account. Even if the Bible underestimates its inferences to an eternal punishment, none of us wants to get close to the flaming fires that are described. We're all for sliding in to the pearly gates at the end of a self satisfying, lengthy existence here as long as there is an eternity of self satisfaction to look forward to.
But a life that is not clearly being transformed to treasuring Christ does not equal salvation, no matter how many times said person has signed a paper or raised their hands at the Bible camp campfires. Salvation does not depend on mans decision, but on God's. For my children to pretend to themselves that God has saved them, or worse yet, for me to pretend for them, does them no good now or, especially, eternally.
Lastly, pretending that they are saved when there is no evidence, has no benefit to others. If, as a Christian, I attempt to raise my children according to what Scripture says, and if I allow anything else but the Bible's description of salvation to be portrayed while I am toting the good life, and if I neglect to confront them on their own state of salvation, I have not only damned them but anyone else that they have one iota of a godly influence on in their young lives.
Take Trent's life for instance. People assumed that because he was young he went to Heaven. That isn't what Scripture says. Try as I might, I can find no verses that say all twelve year old boys go to Heaven. I do find verses that say that salvation is only offered through the atoning blood of Christ, it is granted by God, by His grace, and the result is a professing of our mouths and lives that reveal the work God has done. That work was revealed in my son's life through his confession of his sinful state and the realization that he wasn't right with God. The confession of that sin, and his desire for a Savior, was the work of the Holy Spirit so that this young boy could boast in nothing but the grace of God.
It's pretty simple: No transformation, no salvation. Our carefully scripted prayers have nothing to do with providing salvation other than to point to the grace of God. They are not the means, but the result, of God's preordained work. That is why it is so glorious, because it's all about God, not us.
Am I my children's judge? By no means. Am I their mother, who has been given the task of pointing these young people to their only hope for salvation as Scripture lays out? Absolutely. Do I strive as in labor pains for the transforming work of the Spirit in their lives, being brought to my knees in tears begging that God would grant them hearts for Him as their ultimate delight? Every day. Why? Because there is no greater joy that I long for them to have than to know their Holy Creator.
Saturday, May 17, 2014
Some things have been mulling around my thoughts the last few days. In the midst of living in the limbo of soon giving up our worldly kingdom for the sake of advancing God's kingdom, the female gender of the emotions of my mind -up, down; stay, move; erratic fear versus trusting God or keep comfy in my pajamas and drink coffee all day- is whirling as only a woman's can. Add to all this my long standing mantra of frustration over watching pitiful walks of proclaimed Christianity through self promoting, false doctrine blaring propaganda via the numerous offers of free site hosting on the world wide web...
But, I digress.....
What I meant to say, was that without the gospel, we have no business toting our Christian ideologies. Without the basis of a knowledge of the depth of our own sin, the blood of Jesus spilled as the atonement, or the claims of the sovereign God behind the whole plan, there is no power. There may be a lot of flash, some tears, and, in our day and age, a hundred and fifty-two thousand tweets, reposts and Facebook likes; but without the true gospel being proclaimed, there is no power for salvation, repentance, or glorification of a holy God. He works through His word, through suffering, through the good news being proclaimed in its entirety.
It is my opinion, and maybe yours, too, that professing believers today have swallowed, hook, line and sinker, nearly every sparkling facet of Christianity that is toted in our world of technology. Don't like the message being proclaimed? A click away will bring you to one that you do like and want to accept. We have become exactly what Paul predicted in 2 Timothy 3:5, we are a people who have "a form of godliness, but deny its power."
Get in your Bibles, people of God, and marinate yourself in the words that give life, not the time-wasting sites that dull your soul and lead you astray from the source of the power. When I open the Word I tremble. Often times, the tears can't be held back. My longing for this God of holiness is so intense, and the power revealed in the time spent with Him is so great, that I wonder, like the author Richard Baxter (The Saint's Everlasting Rest) did,
"...if a man did but once hear of such unspeakable glory to be obtained,
and believed what he heard to be true,
he should be transported with the vehemency of his desire after it,
and should almost forget to eat and drink, and should care for nothing else,
and speak of and inquire after nothing else, but how to get this treasure."
Does your life revolve around the gospel? Is the gospel the answer to all of your problems? God seemed to think that the gospel was answer enough, and I often wonder if His people shouldn't think the same way.
Friday, May 16, 2014
"I am the vine, you are the branches.
If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit;
apart from me you can do nothing."
Because I still have hopes that the potential farm buyer's financing will eventually go through, I am trying to proceed living within that reality. One part of that reality is that there are no grape vines or plum trees at the new property- a problem that should be easily solved, and even satisfies my deep nostalgic side, by propagation. Propagation, in its simplest terms, just means to take what you have and multiply it. We have an abundance of grape vines and plum trees on the farm, besides an abundance of perfectly composted black dirt, so I took a chance on the World Wide Web being accurate and set off to clip some branches to try the experiment.
So far, so good.
A couple of weeks ago I cut some healthy, still dormant vines/branches (research says to cut them at an angle for best results) about 9-15 inches long that included several buds each, then put them in a vase to soak one end in water to get them started well. Some of the grape vines have already started budding, but I understand that some may take up to two months to show growth. Yesterday I dug out some planters from the garage and filled them with black gold from the compost pile, then gently pushed the cut end of the branches into the dirt. I covered each pot with a plastic bag and set them in a south facing window to indulge in all the sunshine they want. Hopefully, after a few weeks of watering and care, there will be an abundance of beautiful new roots and healthy, young plants to transfer to their new, permanent homes.
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Sometimes, life has a way of zooming on by without bothering to ask if we can keep up or even looking back to see if we're buckled in for the ride. The past couple of weeks have been a whirlwind of exhausting, amazing, satisfying, God filled, as well as plenty of mundane, activities. One of the highlights of those frenzied activities was running the 5k race.
I survived. I did not come in first. I did not come in last. I did take a wrong turn and instead of running 3.1 miles, I ran more than 3.1, but whose counting?
On so many levels, the activity of running grows and stretches a person. It was growth far beyond the new muscles and the shin splints that kept this middle aged woman putting one step in front of the other. Some stubborn determination to finish what I said I'd do was definitely a part of it, with perhaps some pride mingled in to show the kiddos that I could actually make it. But the best benefit was the spiritual aspect.
Out there on that course it is only your sheer determination that gets you to that finish line. Only the hope of actually seeing those flags flying, possibly around the next bend, keeps you from laying down in the ditch and instead forces you to keep going. Half way through the race I was overwhelmed with why I was out there. The race was in honor of keeping the legacy alive of another little boy who left his momma's arms sooner than she expected. It was a race to honor our children who are not with us.
I was a mother running in honor of my son.
My arms raised as my soul felt again the impact of that reality. That finish line became synonymous with the ultimate finish line of Heaven and the sting of that strained muscle in my thigh became the ache of grief; the ache that hasn't dissipated even after three years and I assume will probably never totally dull. But as it has been a joy to look back upon the accomplishment of crossing that finish line, so will it be a joy to cross over the finish line of eternity when God calls. To look back, to see the ache as a vague memory that was nothing compared to the victory, to look ahead to glory.
So I'll keep running, both physically and spiritually as God leads, because eventually, possibly around the next bend, I'll see those flags flying.