Feeding the Sheep and Hot Showers

I feel like every post lately has started this way…things have been busy.  While they have been busy, I am recognizing, however, a maintained peacefulness in our house.  Despite the craziness of our daily lives, I do see a remarkable contrast between life before family rehab, and life during.  Our routine at home is more relaxed.  We are having more open conversations about Scripture and life, in general, with our kids.  We are learning together and resting together, eating together and playing together.  We may be a little behind in some of our science and art lessons, but overall, I think we are doing okay.  We are busy, but we are settling in to what life at home and in school looks like.  The girls are already at the half-way point in math and are doing their mid-year reviews.  Both girls are excited to have earned having a sleepover by reading and reviewing a certain number of chapter books.  I am rejuvenated by the impending Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks, excited that we can do fun holiday activities and “sneak” in the math that we have learned as a way to practically apply it to life, and to “sneak” in science and simple life lessons.

I also am really excited for January and February.  I love the Olympics.  It really doesn’t matter if it’s summer or winter.  I love the competition.  I love the drama.  I love the idea that anyone can work really hard and train despite all kinds of adversity.  We are going to research the different sports, the different athletes, Sochi-Russia, and so forth.  The girls will pick their favorite U.S. athlete and write a letter to them.  Then, in February, we will watch and track the Olympics.  I can’t wait.  If it were not for the Olympics in February, I probably would have no creative juice left for the remainder of the school year!

I’ve written in earlier posts about waiting and seeing what God is doing.  I’ve focused a lot on the period of waiting–resting in complete trust that Jesus can do more in our waiting than in our doing we can do.  It’s hard.  I want to do and go and move.  But I am learning.  I went to a Worship Conference last month and heard Jesse Reeves, bass player for Chris Tomlin, speak about waiting.  It hit me to the core.  He talked about all the time that passed after David was anointed king and the time he actually became king.  It was something crazy, like 15 years.  Every time anyone was looking for David during all those years, he was usually found with the sheep.  He was tending, protecting, and feeding the sheep.  He wasn’t out making sure everyone knew he had been anointed king.  He was busy feeding the sheep.  Jesse talked about how Jesus tells the disciples to “feed my sheep.”  It was a good word and a challenging word.  

During our time of waiting in Family Rehab, I don’t even necessarily know what I am waiting for.  I just know, I guess through the work of the Holy Spirit, that something is happening.  It can be easy for me to try and figure it out and wrestle with, preparing and analyzing, but I don’t think God wants me to spend my energy doing that.  He wants me to feed my sheep.  He wants to me tend and care for my children.  He wants me to take care of our house and all that He has currently given to me.  He wants me to fulfill the roles that He has already called me to.  He wants me to care for hurting friends and relationships that are right here where I am.  I can ask questions of Him, and pray and wonder about what the future holds, but I need to be in the field with my sheep.  When God comes looking for me, to tell me that a giant named Goliath is asking to fight, I need to be found in the field tending the sheep, because only then will I faithfully go where He calls me.  For David, protecting the sheep and being with them in every moment, is what prepared Him unknowingly for his battle with Goliath.  He fought off a bear with his own hands!  That gave him the confidence to even stand against Goliath.  Trying to determine what personal giant is hiding around the next turn only produces anxiousness and fear of the unknown.  Counting down the days, weeks, and years until something new and exciting happens doesn’t produce anything good.  Feeding my sheep out in the pasture gives me a peace and a comfort to answer whatever God calls me to.  Being in the pasture gives me a quiet wisdom that only God through the Holy Spirit provides.  I don’t always do this, and therefore, that’s why the message was so powerful and spoke so profoundly to my heart.

To tend the sheep and the pasture, Paul took this week off of work and we declared this week “vacation”–well, kind of.  A little over a year ago, we moved into our house and we never really got a chance to fully unpack and settle.  So, this week was all about organizing closets, cleaning the garage, and purging boxes.  The kids have had school work, but minimal, and we’ve been having fun finding all our lost treasures in the depths of the closets and cardboard boxes.  There is a godly satisfaction that comes with taking care of things.  At the root of Family Rehab, is the desire to take care of our four little sheep, to care of each other, and to turn to the Good Shepherd for all of our needs.

After a garage cleaning session, I was taking a shower–a HOT shower.  When I take a shower or a bath, the water is usually extremely hot.  I don’t think I have always liked scalding hot water.  I think the habit began after having kids.  I noticed that when the shower was hotter, it meant no one else was willing to take the risk of opening the shower door and encountering the burning water-spray to talk to me.  When my bubble bath was beyond warm and steam was rising above the bubbles, no one asked to get in and steal my supply of soapy foam.  I may not get to do very many things by myself these days, but I have created an environment in my showers, that assures some alone time.

Family Rehab has really encouraged me to ask harder and deeper questions.  So yesterday, when I was thinking in the shower about how hot the water really was and how most likely I take these scalding showers as a way to have privacy, it caused me to search a little deeper.  Are there any other areas of my life where I create an environment that causes others to keep themselves at a safe distance from me?  Immediately, I think of the times when I am short of patience or frustrated about something and the childish way I can huff and puff around the house.  When I do this, though I am not purposefully pushing anyone away, I am telling my husband and my children that I am unapproachable.  I don’t think any of us want to be “unapproachable.”   I am sure that all that hot water is taking a tole on my skin, too.  It can’t be good for me.  If it keeps others away, then is it really any safer for me?  What else do I do that is keeping others at a distance and is also harming me?  What emotional barriers and fences do I throw up that are also effecting my heart and my soul?

I know there are answers to these questions.  I feel as though I am only starting to uncover these things in my life.  I know there are more instances when I create scalding walls between myself and others.  It really is a humble thought to think both about the command to feed my sheep and the hot showers I take to keep them away.  In a world that promotes self-care and rest, which is a good thing, we can push that to an unhealthy extreme.  We can promote self in a way that has been labeled as healthy, and in the process create barriers and draw boundary lines that Jesus would probably wince at.  He provides a pasture that is green and plentiful and by quiet waters…what sounds more restful and healthy than that??  I don’t want to seek out my own needs to the detriment of those around me, and ultimately of myself.  This is pretty much all I know for sure about this.  I know that I don’t want to be unapproachable or self-seeking.  I pray for God to reveal to me where I am seeking hot showers away from the pasture.  I pray for God to give me a desire to sit in the grass with the sheep and to take away my desire to self-promote.  And, I will continue to pray that He helps me wait.  I pray that He reminds me over and over that He can do more in my waiting, than in my doing I can do.  I am so thankful that He doesn’t tire of me–that reminding me of His love and His care and His provision is a joy to Him.

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