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Courage

Mom looked in the rear view mirror, watching carefully to line up with the horse trailer. The day was going well. The tack was in the trailer, clean and ready to go. The dog Rip was as usual in his seat, for he always went where Mom went! Now she only needed now to load up the horse, and she could be on her way to drill team practice.

Several people were already at the fairgrounds when Mom arrived. Unloading Jiggs was no problem. Mom chatted amiably with the other team members as she lifted her saddle up onto the tall, beautiful appaloosa. After double-checking the cinch, Mom prepared to mount. Just as she was swinging up, something scared Jiggs, he bucked, throwing Mom into the air;. She came down hard, slamming her head into the ground. She rolled under the horse trailer, moaned, and went unconscious.

Immediately someone called 9-1-1 and the helicopter was dispatched. The rescue team there in town worked to stabilize her and to prepare her for her for the flight to a hospital two hours away. My dad was called at work and he went straight to the hospital to meet her there.

Mom was unconscious for about four days. While she was in the hospital, two people came once to visit her. Dad came to visit as much he could. That was when I wanted to be there. That was when God sent his angel to sit with her, filling the room with his strength and comfort.

After Mom was able to go home, she began a slow road to recovery. Small tasks became hard. Walking about one block, reading, watching a movie were all difficult, as her ability to concentrate was practically gone. There were many things that had to be relearned – like where she was born. She slept a lot. When Dad called from work to check on her, if she did not answer, he would call a neighbor to check on her. Gradually over the year, she began to concentrate for longer periods of time. After several months, she was able to drive again.

When I was young, I had been on a horse and had ended up on the ground. Mom had been right there, so after checking to make sure I had no serious injuries, she made me get back on the horse. I am so glad that she did, for I would have missed many hours of pleasure. Now, my mom needed to do the same.

After many tears and butterflies, one year after the accident, Mom got back on a horse. One thing that helped her was God’s promise to take care of her. She knew that no matter what happened this time, and the next and the next, God would be with her. In time, she was even able to get back on Jiggs. She did eventually sell him, but I am proud of her for for getting back on him and other horses. I am thankful for our God who gave her the courage, comfort, and confidence to ride again.

Now, on many days you could find my mom confidently backing her horse trailer up, getting ready to load another horse and head for drill team practice. God has given her a horse that she is very comfortable riding, though she cannot ride him all the time. Whether riding her own, or someone else’s horse, she knows that God is riding with her, keeping and protecting.

Comfort

It was a beautiful fall day.  I was tidying up, getting ready for our move, when the phone rang.

“Hola,”  I said.

“Hello.”   It was my dad!   As skype and phone cards had not come into fashion yet, getting an international call from my parents was a rare treat.   What a joy!

“How are things going?”  he asked.  

“Fine.  We’re getting ready to move.   The girls are doing well.”   I don’t remember what all I really said.    

Dad got to the point.   “Your mom is in the hospital,” he said.

“She must be sick,” I thought.   Then I just said, “oh…”

“She got bucked off the horse,”  he continued.

“She must have broken her leg,” I thought.  But I just said, “oh…”

“She had a head injury, and she is unconscious.”   

Oh.   I didn’t say anything.   There were no words. 

Dad went on to explain more details, but I don’t remember them.   My thoughts started going crazy.  I wanted to cry. 

Over the next few days, these thoughts continued to run through my mind.   How long will she be like this?  When will she wake up?   Will she know who she is when she wakes up?    Will she know who I am when she wakes up?   Will she be a vegetable when she wakes up?   Will she wake up? 

Of course, God’s timing is always perfect, but I didn’t grasp that at the time.    From my perspective, the timing was not good.    We still had very little money, and we were to be moving out to the mission’s boarding school in a few short days.  Neither of these worked very well for me to hop on a plane.   I so wanted be by my mom’s side.  I had read that when someone is in this condition, they still are aware of people being there with them, and this helps them to wake up.    And, she was my mom… I wanted to be there. 

One night in the middle of the night, while nursing my young daughter, I finally prayed and prayed.   I told God my heart’s desire and how hard it was to be so far away at this time.  I asked him to send an angel on my behalf to sit with my mom, so that she would feel His sweet presence.   Finally I felt peace and did not stress about it so much.  

Just before we were scheduled to leave the city, we called again to see how my mom was doing.   Praise the Lord – she was awake – AND at home!   I got to talk to her.  Although recovery would be slow and long, she knew who I was, who she was –  her memory was there,and she would be fine.  While I was talking on the phone with my mom, she told me this story.   After she had woken up, she was talking with the nurse.  Mom commented something about someone being there the whole time, she had sensed their presence.  The nurse said, “No, no one has been here.”   

 Yes, God was there, watching carefully over my mom.   

 

Chickens

Last night the chicken coop door stood open.   Actually it has for a few weeks now.

It’s ok.  It doesn’t matter any more.  The chickens are all gone.

Well, except one.  The little black one.  She’s still around.  Somehow she survived the bear attack.  After he injured her, he dropped her (because the light came on and scared him away).   She ran across the yard as best she could, in spurts, to the safety of our porch.  She knew we were there, and knew we’d rescue her from the bear!   Of course, we did.   She wouldn’t at first even put pressure on one of her feet, and her wing appeared painful.  One son made a sling for her to sit in.  I think that helped.  As the days passed, she went from lying on the non-hurting side to lying normally.   Little by little, she has put more and more weight on the aching foot – Now she stand on both feet quite normally.  Still walks with a limp, but she sure can move fast when she wants.  It looks like the holes in her back are healing well, too.    She is quite the brave little chicken!

We did find one more chicken in the coop the morning after the bear.   She must have spent a long night, the lone survivor in the coop, wondering what had happened.   We gave her away, as she was restless and wondering where the other chickens were.  I hope she survived moving into a new flock.  Why is it that chickens have to peck each other so?

I am going to miss them.   When I worked in my garden, I enjoyed hearing them talking to each other.   I don’t know who enjoyed themselves more – me or them – when I’d come out with some too old grapes or bread and toss it out to them, bit by bit.  I loved calling, “Chickiroos!  Come get some grapes!”  and they’d all come running!    I enjoyed hearing them scratching around in the leaves, looking for bugs.  They cracked me up – how they always dug holes to take a dust bath.   I always wondered why they do that!    It was fun to hear them go on and on after they laid an egg.   Or watch them tear across the yard, looking for a treat that everyone else was enjoying.

Of course, they were a bit of a nuisance, too.   Digging holes in inconvenient places – like my daughter’s flower gardens.  Or, eating my tulips.  (This year I put up a fence before the tulips came up….)    But over all, they weren’t too pesky.  Like I said, I will miss them.

I wonder what what going through Jacob’s mind as gathered a rock or two for a pillow, while the sun was going down. Did he replay in his mind the events of the past few weeks? Of how his mother had called him in one day and told him of a sneaky plan. Jacob already had the birthright…. now he would get the blessing which was rightfully his brother’s. Did he remember of how he had gone in to his father’s room with the goatskins on his arms, wearing his brother’s clothes. Surely his emotions of that time came to his mind. Had he felt nervous, excited, guilty? As laid down on those rocks, did his mind replay the triumph he must have felt as he left his father’s tent, owning the blessing? (Or did he feel triumph?) Surely, it must have come to mind when his mother had come to him, “Quick… you must flee – your brother wants to kill you! Go to my father’s house until your brother’s anger has settled down!”
I sometimes wonder what Jacob might have been thinking as he laid his head down on the rocky pillow. Was his heart breaking because he was fleeing his family – was he wondering if he’d see his mother again? Was he fearful that his brother might one day yet find him and kill him? Was there any anger? Was he sorry for what he had done, or was he mad at Esau for causing this disruption in his life? Did he even wonder if God would still care about him? Or did he wonder if God might not be with him after all this?
I don’t know. But I do know that God came to comfort him that night!
God reminded him that he was the God of his fathers. He also reminded him of the promise that he had given Abraham – that he would have many, many descendants and in him all the families of the earth would be blessed (ie a Savior would come from the nation that would come from him!)
He also reminded Jacob – “I am here with you. I will keep you and guard and protect you, like a shepherd does for his sheep. And, know this Jacob, I will never, ever leave you.”
I love that. Sometimes when life leaves us tired and weary – whether it is because of our own sin and mistakes, or just circumstances in life – we can know this promise. We can know that our Shepherd is looking out for us. He is providing and guiding our steps. He is alert to the enemy’s attacks, to the struggles in our heart. He will protect and guard over us.
And – no matter what I do, what sin I commit, what mistake I make, how many times I stumble and fall – My Shepherd will be there. His strong arms will carry me through – blessing, teaching, guiding…. In the darkest of times and in the brightest of times I can look up and see his face, know his nearness.
Whatever was going through Jacob’s mind as he fell asleep, he no doubt woke up a new man. He could take comfort in his ever-present shepherd! As God never changes, this, too, is my comfort!

Need a rock?

As for God, His way is perfect.

The Word of the Lord is tried, he is a buckler to all them that trust in Him.

For who is God, save the Lord?   Who is a rock, save our God?    (II Samuel 22:31-32)

Life is full of changes.   One day your life looks like “this” and the next day, you don’t even recognize it.

Our life has had its share of change lately.   Some good – like my daughter is engaged!  Some more difficult – my husband is now unemployed (not his choice!)   Our days have a different schedule now!      Some of our friends/family have had change, too.     Two churches I know of have had major storms hit – and Sunday mornings are different.    One friend got news that her sister is not going to survive the cancer.     Another friend sent her son off on a journey to visit his brother – he was in an accident.  Now he will look at life from a wheelchair.    Another family is facing divorce.    This is not all – but all around are life-changing events.

BUT, one thing I know.   God is my rock.    I’ve been thinking about this  lately – Who is a rock, save our God?     I was thinking about rocks.  Just today I thought about life is so changing – it made me think of a river, or a sandy area blown by the wind.  The terrain around is constantly changing.  Yet, in the midst is our God, and he never changes.  His word says so.  So, the God who watched over Hagar – is watching over us.  The God who provided for Abraham will provide for us.  The God who remembered Noah in the ark will remember me.   In the Old Testament I read over and over of a God is overflowing in mercy and grace….. He has not changed!  He is full of mercy and grace for me today.   He is steadfast, no matter what will come.

In the midst of change…..  let us run to the Rock!

Hot Chocolate

When Byron suggested we stop for a little break, I didn’t mind!!  We had just finished teaching and doing crafts with the children at a school way up in the mountains.   So this short stop would be a nice treat – especially since it involved hot chocolate!  The day was a little cool.  (I wouldn’t have guessed it – being on the equator – but we were in the mountains, so I guess that made sense)

They brought us our hot chocolate, along with cheese sticks and bread sticks.  The bread was not soft, it was hard, with a – different flavor.  I don’t even know how to describe it, except that it was  good.  I always love the cheese in South America.   They both came on a plate for us to all share from at our table.

The hot chocolate had cinnamon in it!!  That took getting used to.  It wasn’t bad, just different.  In the end, I kinda liked it.

So, there’s two interesting things about their chocolate, besides the cinnamon.  The second time I had chocolate, we were at an outdoor restaurant at night – so it was chilly… and hot chocolate was welcome!  I got it while I was talking to our driver, Jaime.  Since it was hot, I picked up the spoon to kinda sip it up little by little.  I soon discovered something on the bottom – hmmm.. what’s THIS?   Since we were deep in conversation, I didn’t look too much, just kept taking bits of it.   Eventually I figured out that it was cheese!!!  I guess the first time we had it, they gave us the cheese on the side, but it was supposed to be in the cup!  THAT was different!!!

But, the first time we had the chocolate, on the way back from the school, I was again at Jaime’s table.  I enjoyed talking with Jaime.  He was a friend to Byron, and his job was to hire out his truck….  Since we really needed two trucks that week, he drove for us everywhere we went.  He didn’t know English, but wants to learn it.  So, anyway, when the hot chocolate came, Jaime filled me in on a few things I need to know before I drank.

In Ecuador, the saying goes – if you are mad at someone and you drink hot chocolate, then you will get sick.  Your stomach, kidneys, liver (I think he said liver…) all would go bad!   If you are not mad, then everything will be fine!   So, I assured him that I would be fine, as I wasn’t mad at the moment.

That sounds familiar!  God tells us to not even let the sun go down on our anger.   Nor come to the communion table if we are upset with someone.   So hot chocolate is another good reminder for me to keep short tabs on relationships!!

 

Hmmm….   the day loomed before me.   I could hear plans being made in the other room.    The guys were off to work on the house.  The women – off to the day care.   Well, my gender had decided what I’d be doing that day – but it wasn’t my first choice.

Part of our plans for the Ecuador trip were to work on the house for our missionary family….  mostly to get it easier for them to get moved in to.  I’d mostly wanted to go there.   I could paint or help the guy tiling, or whatever.  My work would “last” awhile, it would be quiet, I could chat more with the teammates.

My quiet self didn’t want to be with all the noisy kids.  (I didn’t voice this, as I as probably the only female feeling this way!)    But God then reminded me – isn’t sharing my word of eternal value?    Doesn’t my word go out and change lives  – for eternity?   And, also – he brought to mind the verse that said, “When you visit the sick, or help the poor… you have done it unto me…”

So, I went with a more cheerful heart – ready to minister as unto Him, my Savior.

I love sharing the Bible.  I love speaking Spanish.  I got to do both.  It was challenging for me though – it was noisy!  I don’t like being up in front of a lot of people.   But God brought me through.

And all that day -when I

  • greeted every child with a smile, handshake or hug
  • helped the small kids with their stickers
  • smiled at a worker
  • held a crying child
  • served food for these precious children
  • wiped down the tables
  • changed a wet – soaking wet – child
  • taught the Bible
  • helped a teammate

I did it as unto Him.

My day became a blessing.   I guess part of my trouble at first was – I was thinking – what impact can one day have in the life of a person?  How can I know?   Only God can know.    Only He can multiply and bless – both sides!