Tag Archives: moving

A Morning, A Turkey, and A Cup of Coffee – Reflections

“Does the mother turkey think about the time she spent on the nest, preparing to hatch her brood?” This morning, the thought came to me as I watched a hen and her hatchlings move through the undergrowth of the nearby forest. Sitting on the porch of the Spiritual Retreat, the memory from three years ago popped up on my social media feed. As humans, we have the capacity to look back and reflect. Sometimes, we are made aware of how far we’ve come, both physically and spiritually. But, more often than not, we are painfully reminded of how far we have to go.

As the picture revealed, the first five or so rows of cinder blocks of the building that was to become the spiritual retreat were just starting. Yet, like that building, my development into how God was to use me in the next few years of my life was just beginning. Although it was just a few rows of blocks, it was a far cry from where my family and I had started our journey. You see, when you make that choice in life to finally quit beating around the bush and choose to finally surrender all to God, it becomes a lot more complicated when you have a family. As the leader, whatever your choices are in life will eventually, if not immediately, affect the ones you love. So, when you decide to give it all in and follow Him – go wherever do whatever He says; your family is right there with you every step of the way.

So, even before the first bag of concrete was poured, before the first tree was cut down to make a place for one to find themselves closer to God, I made a vow – that this project would be for God. It was a personal commitment that each step of the way, my actions, my thoughts, everything that went into creating this building would be of God and with God.

To understand such a vow, one must realize how far we had already come. The verse, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new,”[1] had become part of the new me. Something else that I strove to maintain in the forethought as the real work began was this verse from Proverbs, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Once God took the reins, it was as if the roller coaster ride had just begun. From moving an entire farm, moving our entire household belongings not just once, but twice, to starting an entirely new career, not once but three times in less than a year and a half – to say it was mind-boggling would be an understatement – it was numbing. Through each step, through every valley, there was always another mountain to climb. As Moses was tested through the desert, we were tempered like the steel he wanted us to become. Through it all, we found that alone we were nothing, but with God, all things were literally possible.

As first mentioned, sometimes we look back and see we are at the same place we were years ago. Although this is not always bad, it can also be disconcerting. Stuck in a proverbial rut, trying to change things on our own, we feel like we are on board the grand ship Titanic. To turn the massive vessel around before we crash headlong into the iceberg, we need more than the tiny rudder which corrects the enormous boat ever so slightly. We need more than a rudder. We need an entirely new vessel. Seeing how we can feel trapped, some give up and go on, living the life they think they have been dealt, not realizing that there is something more magnificent, if only we awaken to what God can do for us. For when we truly give it all to God, we find, not because we give it all to him to expect wealth, fame, or fortune – no, quite the opposite. For it is then, when we absolutely commit our lives to serve, it is then the real challenges begin.

It was a very difficult and painful decision to not only leave behind years of sweat and toil but also a lifetime of friends who had come to be part of our extended family. Some of my co-workers, folks that I had known from my beginning at the company to which I had devoted my life’s work, must have wondered if I had finally cracked under the stress of the job? Others must have thought that I had lost my mind. If only they knew. In a sense, it was true. I had been changed. My natural mind was replaced with one mindful of the Lord and how it was to fully give it all to Him – every-thing, yes all!

Some of those friends and neighbors who had known us for years had to wonder in amazement as they saw us leave behind the farm we had carved out of the forest. We literally began a dream from scratch. It was not easy. There were the multitude of memories created; watching my son catch his first fish, seeing my daughter ride her pony at full speed up the road, to those quiet evenings rocking together in the front porch swing. Yes, like that mother turkey with her brood following closely behind, when we are family, we don’t just do anything alone. To make a life change to serve God requires more than your own trust in the Lord, it requires the whole family to follow.

With eyes open, we can see anew. We are changed, and the focus in our lives shifts to not just of things of this world, but the preparation for life eternal through the gift of life given to us because of God’s only Son. When we realize that what time we have left here on this earth has a purpose, if only we awaken to that task. It is then, when we come to the realization we are God’s creation, here to honor and serve Him in everything we do – it is then that the perspective of life changes.

So as the trees were hauled to the sawmill to be cut up to be used in the building, as the dirt was moved to pour the footings, it was quite literally as if God was there watching and helping each step of the way. The tiny abode in the woods next to my home where one could go and commune with God was to become a place where anyone could come and be alone with the Lord. Being separate, in silence, and surrounded by God’s creation – makes a difference. Jesus often retreated into the wilderness, himself alone, to find solitude from the crowds where he could spend time alone with his Father.

So, here I sit this morning, a nice cup of coffee in hand, the stillness of the forest all around me as the mother turkey takes her brood deeper into the safety of the deep woods. She may not think of her past, but I’m thankful that God has allowed me to look back and give thanks for all that he has done and is doing in my life. Although there are miles to go, a never-ending attempt to find Sanctification, there is the comfort in knowing that He is with us each step of the way. It is up to us to ask, seek, and ye shall find, as the verse tells us.

Friend, take a moment and look back in your life and see if where you are, today is where you really want to be? Is this where God is leading you, or have you given up? It is never too late to seek Him. But, once you make that choice, be prepared for your world to change in ways you would never have imagined. It’s the most extraordinary journey of all.

Thanks be to God.

[1] 2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV

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The Weight of the Mind…

“When wisdom enters your heart, And knowledge is pleasant to your soul, 11 Discretion will preserve you; Understanding will keep you, 12 To deliver you from the way of evil…”

– Proverbs 2:10-12booksbooksbooks

Sweat drained down my face as each arm carried the burden down three flights of stairs. Their weight was not as exhausting as was the repeated climb to-and-from the attic as I slowly emptied years of accumulation into the moving trailer. My current load was books that at one time occupied my library. They had been stored away for safe keeping until the day came that my study would once again be restored; that day had not yet come. They varied from works of fiction to technical manuals. The piles had been placed as they had been evacuated from their respective shelves, into shopping bags which I now used to transport them once again. “How many more times will I continue to move books that are already in my head,” I thought to myself as I panted down the steps.

The intrepid fear of losing memory instantly came to mind as my excuse. We spend more and more money in this modern day and time to backup our precious pictures, documents, and writings; memories. The mere thought of losing one’s lifelong collection of photos is enough to cause a shudder to run up and down your spine. A friend of mine once exclaimed how they had lost everything in a house fire when she was young. They, the family, had all survived, but she said of all the worldly things they lost and missed the most were their family photos; something that could never be replaced. It is no wonder that the ambiguous cloud is one of the fastest growing industries today and has become a sanctuary of safe keeping.

“Never fear, keep your memory safe and back it up to the cloud,” adds tell us as they promise safe and secure storage for all manner of devices and computers. But how much is enough and what do we really need to keep?

Can I afford to toss some of these antiquated manuals and books from college,” I thought out silently. Several years and thousands of dollars were spent studying in several of those books that allowed me to invest 23 years of my life into the telecom industry. Then there was the box of notes with which were used to study; many more hours of time spent pouring over equation after equation in order to train my mind to think a certain way. “No, I cannot,” I told myself, “besides,” my mind continued to reason, “one day my children might find it interesting or at least entertaining to see what I went through to build the world in which they lived for their first 15 years of their lives.

So, I trudged on carrying the heavy load. “Be real,” I told myself, “you’re just carrying this boat anchor around. When are you going to realize it and set yourself free?”

As I strained, my mind continued to wrap around the recent understanding of a Biblical principal I had so long overlooked; our soul and what it encompassed. One aspect of our soul is our minds, our ability to learn, reason and understand. Proverbs 2:10-12 describes how we gain wisdom, and it pleases our soul. The thoughts continued to swirl around in my head as I thought of my ancestors and their ability to memorize so much of the Bible. Their physical burdens of that precious text were small since so much of it was within, deep inside their soul. They had learned that the only safe place was inside their hearts, not on their backs, nor in the cloud of today’s world. Instead, their cloud was a place beyond the limitations of mankind, far above our terrestrial abode. Their storage capacity was limited only by their ability to take it in, as is ours today. They used their God-given gifts to increase their storage capacity until it is nearly beyond our belief today.

I placed the cargo inside the trailer and looked down at the accumulating pile of books. So many stories that had led me to this point in my life. Tales of death and mourning, stories of adventure and might and whimsical journeys of fantasy, all fun yet seldom endeavoring to affect the person I was to become. Had I studied the Bible to the degree that I had poured over these countless volumes, how much more different my life might have already been. Yet, God has a plan, and it is not for us to try to understand.

You must learn to let go,” the voice said, “be free.”

As I slowly closed the door, I realized that there was still so much to learn. My arms trembled from exhaustion. I sat down on the porch and took a long drink from the water bottle, realizing my clothes were drenched with sweat. I could feel my heartbeat in my temples as I closed my eyes to find coolness in the air around me. My heart was finding a new pathway to walk, a new way to think.

There was so much to consider.

The cloud might protect my writings, but my real sanctuary lay within Jesus Christ. When we truly can turn it all over to Him, our spirit within becomes fed from the Holy Spirit so that our soul can then reach its potential we never imagined. We then become capable of doing things we never realized were possible.

Letting go is never easy.

All we have to do is release our burdens to Him and accept him into our hearts.

Once we are set free, moving never became so easy.

Thanks be to God.

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