"When God begins a work in our hearts, it is never just about us." -Hazel Pattison
I've been reading a book for several weeks now in addition to my Bible reading in devotions . It's called , "Live Life Big or Stay in Bed" by Heather Puffett & Hazel Pattison . I randomly came across it one day on a McKays visit . I had sold several items and had a bit of store credit burning a hole in my pocket . The book was only 3 bucks and the title itself at the time screamed out to me . So, I thought why not ? If I ended up not digging it I can always sell it back . I let it sit on my end table for months before I actually picked it up and gave it a glance . For some reason I knew that this book would end up challenging me , speaking some truth and perhaps making life even more difficult than it currently felt . So. Of course I let it sit for months.
"Sometimes it is very difficult to see the things in your own life that are holding you back."
- Heather & Hazel
Once I finally began reading the book I was immediately overwhelmed . It was as if someone had been reading my diary . Sentence after sentence , paragraph after paragraph I was more and more shocked at the similarities I had with these words, feelings & thoughts . There are many magnificent illustrations in the book , but one that recently has me on my knees is that of the Shepard and the Sheep . In the chapter along with personal stories and Bible references they gave a detailed description that for some reason I had either never heard before, never understood or simply ignored . It was the definition and action of actual shepherding . See , my Uncle raises sheep and I have many times watched as he and the farm dogs heard them around . It is quiet the show . I have also watched as the guard dog keeps a ever protective eye on the sheep . He even sleeps with them at night . No matter the weather conditions . So, as I read the paragraphs concerning the Shepherd and the Sheep I had very vivid images in my head of how sheep seem to be . I had forgotten due to their cuteness how easily fooled they can be sometimes . As I read the paragraph below my heart was heavy with the idea of Jesus our Sheppard and we as the sheep . Then I became even more aware of my possible role as the wandering sheep .
|My BFF Sarah and her son Griffin petting some |
of my uncles sheep last summer .
" Finally , shepherding means that we bring back the strays and search for the lost . In nature, sheep are prone to wonder off , which must be a nightmare for the shepherd who is trying to keep track of where all his sheep are. In Bible times, when a lamb consistently wandered off, the shepherd would look for the lost lamb and draw it back to himself using his staff . If the same lamb continued to wander, the shepherd would do something a bit more drastic . You see, the shepherd knows about the dangers that are constantly lurking and that the sheep's lives are at risk . He also knows that a wandering sheep will lead the others astray too . In order to save the life of the wandering lamb, he would break its leg, bind up the wounded leg and then keep the lamb close to himself until the leg had completely healed. Only then would he release the lamb back to the rest of the flock."
- Heather Puffett
He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms and
carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.
My strongest thought as I read that chapter and specifically that paragraph was , "Am I a wandering sheep ? Has my leg been broken by my Shepherd for my own safety and possibly the safety of others ? " . I am very attached to animals and the idea of having to break the leg of one for it's own good is nearly impossible for me to grasp . I can't even think of hurting Jack Davis on purpose . When he misbehaves and has to be punished it is probably as hard on me as it is him . So, the idea that our Shepherd has to at times for our own safety break us is heart breaking in itself . As you know I have been searching , praying , trying and retrying for varied employment and ministry opportunities for a long time now . I have had a few odd jobs and opportunities, but nothing permanent . I have to keep myself reminded that God has a plan . That this time is not for nothing . That I indeed have a purpose . This is nearly impossible to keep in my mind and heart every day as I struggle to not be weighed down by this worlds expectations of a human , woman & Christian . It is with this paragraph that I somewhat am beginning to understand Gods movement and sometimes lack of movement in my current situation . I can safely say that for quiet a while I have been no good to anyone , myself and God included . I have been flat out "Mad About It" all as I shared two blogs ago . With the revelations that God has brought me through this book I am beginning to see more of why .
"He must be our source, the place we draw from to satisfy
the hunger in our hearts and the thirst in our spirits."
- Hazel Pattison
I am grateful that God uses varied vehicles to get our attention , speak to us , and help us further understand Him and His desires for our lives . While I still feel far from my destination I am so very thankful to have my wound bound and to be kept close to my Shepherd while I heal . The more honest I am with myself and my God I can see there is quiet a bit of healing to be done before this wandering lamb can be released back to the flock . I look forward to possibly sharing more challenges, revelations and love as the journey continues . Do not be brought down by your wounds and time of healing . Be grateful that your Shepherd cares enough for your safety and desires it so that He longs to keep you close in your weak times .
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. ...