Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Rescue Mission

A different neighbor called today.  Different neighbor - similar question.  "Do you have turkeys?"  If you read my post from last week, you know that our turkeys were lost and a neighbor found them in her yard.  The funny part is that she, like the neighbor that called today, assumed that they must be ours!  As it turned out, these turkeys were not ours but we rescued them anyway and put them in one of our coops to keep them safe.  Later in the day we met a new neighbor while he was out canvassing the neighborhood looking for his missing turkeys.  We enjoyed talking with him as we helped him walk his turkeys home.  It was the second "turkey trot" in Kents Store this week.

I love that our neighbors think of us first whenever there are lost animals in the area.  We have the reputation for collecting animals and also for rescuing those that are lost.  Though we have only been raising farm animals for seven years, we seem to be known as the local experts.  We are far from experts, but we have gained quite a bit of experience and we are always willing to try to help.

As much as I enjoy our status of the rescuers of lost animals, I would much rather be known as someone who helps lost people.  Whether we are helping them find their way to God or just guiding them through a tough time, providing shelter during a physical storm or an emotional one, I want my home and my family to be a place of refuge for others.

When people remember me, I won't mind if they remember our funny farm on the corner for all its animals and the tire swing in the back yard, but I hope they will also remember that we were available in their time of need.  While we are, at Cornercopia, collectors of animals, we are also collectors of people.  We enjoy relationship and we love to welcome others as part of our family.

I didn't mind that early morning call today.  We are used to the phone calls that invite us out on a rescue mission.  It is what we do and it is what we love.  I guess you could say that, at Cornercopia, rescue is our mission.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Lost Flock

You would have seen a very funny sight this evening if you were traveling near our house in Kents Store.  A parade of sorts was marching up our road in the rain, and I am certain it drew some rather curious glances.  It all began with the disappearance of our young turkeys and guineas.  After two days with no sign of the fowl, we had all but counted them gone for good, but in the grand tradition of our funny farm, the story was not quite over.

Just before dinner, our neighbor stopped by to ask if we were missing any birds.  It just so happened that our turkeys and guineas, no longer enamored with the security of our yard, had wandered several farms away.  Observing that these animals were not wildlife, she rightly assumed that they belonged to us!  Anxious to bring our lost flock home, Jerry and the boys jumped in the truck and drove down to the neighbors house.

After considering several ways of capturing the birds that would require a lot of chasing, our neighbor suggested that they simply walk the poultry back to our farm.  They slowly corralled the turkeys and guineas by walking behind and beside them.  Not feeling threatened, the birds were easily guided all the way home where they were happy to retreat into the safety of their coop.  Had the guys tried to chase them, the likelihood of retaining all of the birds is slim.

As Jerry described these hilarious events to me this evening, I couldn't help but think of my brothers and sisters in Christ who have wandered from the flock.  The security of living safely within the guidelines of God's law has worn off and suddenly, other fields look better than their own.  We often want to run after them in order to capture them and bring them back home, but our techniques sometimes do little more than push them further away.

My neighbors suggestion holds merit with more than wandering animals, it works with the people we love as well.  People are much more likely to allow themselves to be guided by someone they trust than with someone hurling insults and pointing fingers.  Simply surrounding our wayward loved ones with love, comfort, and wise direction will most often bring them safely back to the nest.

James 5:19-20 says, "My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover a multitude of sins."

I am happy to say that my wandering flock is safe and sound in their house on this rainy night.  They will enjoy the shelter of their coop for awhile before they get the chance to taste freedom again.  Hopefully by that time they will understand that our farm has all they need for a happy, healthy life.  

Whether you turn to the right or to the left your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it." Isaiah 30:21

Sunday, September 21, 2014


Sometimes I see my day as a long video with each scene blending into the next, while other days are more like a series of snapshots.  Today was a day of snapshots; vivid images set against a beautiful backdrop of family and friends, commitment and love.

The day began with an email from my friend, Melissa.  She was expressing how my son, Trevor, was a blessing to her yesterday.  Her affirmation and gratitude for his helpfulness was the encouragement I needed to begin my day.

The second image of my day is one of me standing next to my husband in worship service this morning.  I tilted my head to listen as he sang praises to God.  It gives me such pleasure to hear his voice, but knowing that he loves and worships Him together with me causes me to thank God even more.  This morning it brought back memories of me as a little girl standing next to my Grandaddy in church while he sang hymns.  

Another click of the lens reveals two precious children, Hailey and Dylan, professing their faith and rising out of the waters of baptism.  Though I already consider them as a part of my family, watching them become a part of my spiritual family is incredible.

This afternoon, on top of a hill on a beautiful farm, we watched as a couple that we love made vows of commitment to one another.  A beautiful picture was etched in my mind as Briton held the end of a unity cord while Jess braided the ends together.  They were purposeful about their task and all eyes seemed to be upon them - until I noticed their children.  The older two understood what was happening, at least on some level, but the little ones were completely oblivious.  It hit hit me suddenly that this was a beautiful picture of marriage and family building.  As parents, we must be purposeful and diligent in creating a loving, stable, committed relationship between the two of us.  While sometimes our children will witness us doing the work, for the most part, the work itself should be done in such a way that the children can sit at our feet carefree and confident that they are growing up in a family that is full of love.  

It was a special treat this weekend to spend time with my whole family together.  I am increasingly aware that those times are numbered for us.  It wasn't all fun and we weren't all happy and loving the whole weekend, but we were all there - together, and the snapshots that I will take away will be those of us laughing together.  

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The State of My Soul

Tonight I uttered words that spoke the truth about the state of my soul.  As soon as they left my heart they were returned to me by a voice that whispered of their fault.  Suddenly, I knew that all of the wondering - all of the wandering - all was the impact of my own doubt.

The words I spoke became a confession; one that would be taken lightly by many, but not by Him.  In an unassuming way, I simply stated, "I am a worrier."  While that may not seem like a confession worthy of such drama, it was highlighted by the months of questions and conversations, the sleepless nights, the tortured passing of time since I last trusted fully.

As I struggled through my crisis of faith, though never doubting His love or salvation, I stepped out of the comfort of His power and strength and into the pit of my own frailty.  I wrestled with my sin, pains of the past, concerns for the future, self-pity, and more, and He watched over me and waited - waited until I found peace that would overcome it all.  He tended to my needs but, in His great love, let me learn from my suffering.

Using the words of others, observations of life, and guidance from His gentle hand, He prepared me for the truth.  He hadn't changed.  All was as it always had been.  By the grace of God I had changed, but only by returning to the truth I had always known.  He is sovereign. He is eternal. He is all that I need.

The revelation that came from His whisper was a tiny transformation of the characters in my own pronouncement.  "I am a warrior," He corrected.  After all of the uncertainty, all of the inquiry, all of the dispute, He simply reminded me of who I am in Him.

Oh that I had never forgotten.  Time wasted, energy exhausted, precious opportunities lost.  My anxiety solved no problems, protected nothing.  Instead, it only served to rob me of my trust in Him.  Countless moments, meant for waging war against the enemy of my soul, were squandered in exchange for the empty pleasure of wallowing in worry.

Worry sapped my strength - trust restores it.  Worry staled my hope - faith renews it.  Worry stole my joy - He redeems it!  I am a warrior!  I can do all things through Him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13