Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Mighty April Winds

A roar from far behind moves the treetops high above;
A train? a jet? the rumbling
builds and gusts against our face
as we move along this sheltered way.
Trees on either side sway clear to the foot;
a "creak" is heard from our lower woods.

We talk little; what words come out
are snatched away by the April breeze.
Though quiet below
there's no lack of sound aloft;
while these heavy billows roll on.

As we change course the
force now presses against our backs;
Leaves flee before our feet;
flowers and reeds bend as we pass;
bowing to the Creator of
this rushing, mighty April wind.

These were our thoughts and some of the sounds we heard as we took our walk along Darling Hill Road today.  March came in like a lamb and went out like a lion this year and now April is proving quite "lionlike" as well. The tiny coltsfoot are still the only flowers we see in bloom along the lane. Their sunny, yellow faces smiling through winds and even occasional snowdrops. As always, Spring will be a fresh start and new life will return to the Hill soon.

Let us not rush it along but enjoy each new swelling of the bud and all the different grasses and flowers that appear.  God gives us these things to enjoy, "...the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy." ITim. 6:17
We have one single patch of this red columbine near Mom's house on the hill
Thanks for stopping by on our April walk.
We passed the"cousin trees"today; the yellow and white birches that are growing up together

Our nephew piled these rocks at least four years ago and even the snows of several winters have not taken them down

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

God Leads Us Along

May 1980, Cyndy's high school Senior prom. Isn't Syd dashing?

Our wedding day, Oct. 11, 1980
I love setting things down in a blog, as it is a journal of such memorable life-events. In His wisdom the Lord has led us along through these 31 years. During the early years of marriage He gave blessing upon blessing. We had only been saved 1 (Syd) and 2 (me) years when we were wed. The Lord knew how much we needed to grow and learn to trust and serve Him. During those first 8 years we served God at a small church in Ascutney. For the last six of the years we were there God opened up a ministry to the youth group. It was during that time, too, that Bradley came to live with us as an infant. He was there for everything. We took almost five years of evening Bible classes, two sessions per year, several weeks per session. Our pastor was the teacher and they were all held at the basement of our church. For at least one of those years I attended the class from inside the nursery (which had a dutch door, so open at the top). Later Bradley would play alone quietly while I sat nearest to the open door. During the break I'd put him to bed in the crib and he would awake in his own bed at our home. Bradley went along to Nursing homes to minister to elderly folks on Thurs. nights and Sunday afternoons. He was the little tag-along at every youth meeting and the older kids loved him. These were precious years of learning and service. Blessing upon blessing the Lord would give. It seemed our car almost never broke down (looking back, we didn't really have anything go wrong with that Toyota! perhaps because it was a Toyota!). A devastating blow to us, but one that caused us to grow, was a "split" in our church. It was a sorrowful time but something that we evidently needed to draw us closer to the Lord.

God very definately led us on to serve him at Dublin Christian Academy in 1988. Leaving our church was hard, but knowing that God was leading made it an adventure with Him. For the next three years we enjoyed the fellowship of a good church, school ministry and summer camp ministries. Many wonderful, lasting friendships were started. The Lord only had us there for three years, and while contemplating returning to our church in Ascutney to help the new pastor in the ministry, it became evident that we were to, instead, launch into the great unknown and go to Bible School at BJU in Greenville, SC. I think of these as the middle-years, where God brought blessings in the unknown. Up until the night before we actually were to leave, we still did not know where we were going to live. Nothing had opened up (to our knowledge). On the day that the "moving bus" was being packed we learned that we WOULD have a place to lay our heads and we would have a small job waiting for us. For the following six years we lived, rent-free, in a mobile home on one thousand acres of land! with a pond! It was wonderful. The hardest part of this move was leaving everything that I'd ever known "behind". I had the Lord and my husband - and it was enough!
Sometime in the mid-eighties
When our Lord was bringing school to a close we began praying about just where He wanted us to go. Syd was already considering moving us to Vershire to help in our present church (unbeknownst to me, but this was my desire too). While on the phone to the pastor (who is also my brother) one day, he shared with Syd that they had been praying that we might come up and help. That was the Lord's answer and we both knew it was His will. These 14 years have been a wonderful mixture of blessings and trials. He has brought us to a more settled-trust in Him so that when trials come we know without a doubt that our "proven" God will supply all our needs and bring us through on the other side. Does this mean we never worry? no! Now we know though that we don't need to worry and can make a conscious choice not to!
married 18 years

Most everyone who knows us knows what's up with us these days, so I won't bore you with it.  As I think along these lines, a hymn which has become precious to me comes to mind, My Goal is God Himself. 
It says: 'My goal is God Himself, not joy nor peace, nor even blessing, but Himself my God'. 

I read an excerpt today by Chambers which said, "Are we prepared to let God do as He likes with us - prepared to be separated from conscious blessings? ...When once we get there, no matter where God places us or what the inner desolations are, we can praise God that all is well."  This made me think of all the ways God has lead us along through the years. By His Sovreignty He has lead in wisdom, knowing what we needed and when, and every day He is bringing us to a better understanding of His heart and mind.

Oh, Lord, I pray that you'll teach me to be content with only YOU and not to look for feelings and outside blessings to bring happiness. Teach me to wait on you as you lead me along.
Last winter. God has blessed us with 31 years of marriage.

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Vital Connection

No steam coming from it in this picture, as I took this in the dead of winter, but there was today when I drove by!

It was exciting to see steam coming from our neighbor, Mike's, sugar house this noon when I went home for lunchbreak. The maple buds were swelling but it turned off very cold again, even only in the low 30s during the day, but today is 42 degrees and those who still have taps in are evidently getting some sap. The lifeline is still open from those large maple branches to the feet, planted in the wet earth. What a blessing that the leaves (that later become beautiful and showy, especially in Autumn) have not yet come out to steal the 'food' that makes our delicious maple syrup!

I was reading from a devotional by Oswald Chambers this morning. The passage was John 3:29-30. The entire text (vs. 22-36) concerned John Baptist's ministry and relationship to his Lord Jesus Christ. What a blessing God has been giving me through these months in the gospels. The life of Jesus on earth was the "express image" of our Father in Heaven. His ministry was so perfect and His relationship to people and circumstances was always secondary to the maintenance of the vital and constant relationship with his Father. In studying the epistles; the life of Paul, Peter and many other apostles and early church leaders are enduring testimonies of faithfulness but none could match that of the Spotless Lamb of God. In daily study, the epistles have always been my "books of choice" but now I pray that the Lord will lead me through the gospels at least once every year. As the 'friend of the bridegroom", John the Baptist fulfilled his ministry of preparing the way for Christ's message. As John's disciples approached him about Jesus' baptizing, John replied that, "a man can receive nothing except it be given him from heaven." He reminded them that he was not that Christ but was sent on before Him. He let them know that he rejoiced greatly at the bridegroom's voice and, upon hearing it, his joy was fulfilled. John had taken his ministry exactly as given him by God. He did not exalt himself but sought to only bring glory to the Christ whom he was sent to declare! "He must increase, but I must decrease". John's ministry had nothing to do with him, but pointed only to Jesus Christ's glory.

On the Lord's day our pastor reminded us that when we have a particular job to do, we needn't ask HOW we are to fulfill it, but we are just supposed to DO it. Day by day we walk by faith. Will we make mistakes? yes! The important part is that we simply maintain our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ above all else. In the short devotional piece this morning it was brought to my mind afresh when it said, "In order to maintain this friendship and loyalty to the Bridegroom, we have to be more careful of our vital and moral relationship to Him than of any other thing, even of obedience." I had to chew on that for a bit, but I think he may be referring to how God felt when he said, "away with your sacrifices..." (without maintaining our oneness with Him). I concluded that perhaps Chambers meant that He does not want sacrifice over relationship...just a little more of Chamber's quote: "the greater part of the life is not conscious obedience but the maintenance of this relationship" (we all know that obedience will naturally spring from this)"- the friend of the Bridegroom. Christian work may be a means of evading the soul's concentration on Jesus Christ. Instead of being friends of the Bridegroom, we may become amateur providences, and may work against Him whilst we use His weapons".

As our pastor said this Lord's day, we ought to be "boasting up the Lord Jesus Christ" on every hand. My life and ministry has NOTHING to do with me, and everything to do with Him! There is a vital connection, a life-cord that feeds us, straight from God the Father. How important that it is always open and free-flowing. I pray that my "showy leaves" do not come out and take away from the rivers of living water that could be flowing out from my belly, by God's grace.