Wednesday, July 24, 2013
The story tells of the shepherd who had 100 sheep. He "counted" only 99. He loved his sheep enough to leave the 99, momentarily, and go find the one.
It was a cold winter night, just weeks after my husband left. I remember being numb from the weather of the season and from my circumstance. My sweet 8 year old was curled up, asleep beside me. The other 3 kids were all out for various events. Just as curfew approached, my phone began to ring with requests to pick up my sheep. I looked at my youngest lamb, safe and asleep, wondering how I was going to leave the One, and go pick up the three, who were "counting" on me. As midnight quickly approached, I seemed frozen by my new predicament as a single mother!! I KNEW I was the shepherd to my children-----their ONLY shepherd that night. My kids were "counting" on me, so I decided to "count" on Him!!! As I thought of the lamb over the shoulder of the shepherd, I grabbed a sleeping bag, and bundled up my little lamb, and with strength beyond my own, and an attitude to match, I carried my one to the car, and on that snowy night, picked up the other three, who were "counting" on me. Amid the darkness and the cold, that night, I realized that "counting" would be crucial over the next few weeks, months and years. Not so much that I was being "counted" on as a single shepherd------ but that "counting" on Him would be my greatest source of inspiration and strength, to navigate the unfamiliar roads ahead. And, my heart was filled with warmth as I realized that I too, was being "counted" and cared for, by divine design, by various hearts and hands.
That night, I realized why "counting" sheep helps us fall asleep. "Counting" often those we are responsible for, called to lead, in a position to teach, guide and influence, gives us the peace we need, to allow our minds and hearts to rest. Thus giving us that unseen strength to keep "counting and the patience and inspiration required as we are "counted" on!!! "Counting" sheep helps me remember that not only is my family "counting" on me, but the ultimate Shepherd is there, for ME to "count" on. There are days when I come home rejoicing with a lamb, or two or three on my shoulders, after a hard day. Then, more often than not, I have those days when I feel like I don't matter or "count" to anyone, that the weight of those "counting" on me seems almost impossible to bear! It is then, that I realize, I am the lamb being carried, by the Good Shepherd, who is always "counting!" A hubcap so treasured! Not just a number! A good night's sleep and sheep! On His shoulders! Carrying! Counting!!
Thursday, July 18, 2013
My teenage daughter had asked me, a couple of times throughout the week, to get her a bucket of sand. I believe, to leave with a note for a friend. Needless to say, this bucket of sand did not seem to make it to the top of my "To-Do List." Getting kids to school and various events, accomplishing everyone's homework, keeping up with dishes and laundry and keeping everyone's emotion's in check seemed to be more the priority. A few days in a row, this persistent daughter would leave notes, with faith in me, that I could not only find the time, but find sand. So, the night she needed it arrived. I got home about 10pm. And, on the kitchen counter was a colorful empty bucket, a small shovel and a note of pleading, from daughter to mother, "Mom, please fill this with sand!!!" My sweet friend and I looked at each other and grabbed the bucket.
We jumped in his car and I said a silent prayer, "Help! I need a miracle! I need sand!" The sand was not crucial, but my ability to help my child was. We decided to head to a park where there might be some sand under a swing. We rounded the corner, in the dark, and made our way to the main entrance. As we entered the parking lot, a large something stopped us in our tracks. We turned on our high beams, then looked at each other, stunned. There in front of us, in the middle of the parking lot, late that night, far from any beach, was an enormous pile of sand!!!! We quickly filled the bucket and headed back to the house. I KNEW beyond any shadow of a doubt, that pile of sand was a miracle!! A miracle amidst a week of finals and challenges that come with being a single parent. That pile of sand testified that miracles are real, everyday, if we look for them!! He CAN move mountains. But, more often than not, the mountain he moves is within us, motivating us, empowering us, encouraging us to keep going and not to quit!! "A pile of sand", has become our name for miracles! We find "piles of sand" throughout our week, in the gas tank that lasts a little longer than it did when our wallets were full, in the call from a friend just when you felt forgotten, a note on your pillow when you were empty, and the text from a friend telling you to stay in school just when you were ready to give up. I believe that with every miraculous "pile of sand", I am reminded not only of my higher power, but that I matter to Him----- and that is power!! I believe that miracles are often surrounded by challenges......and that it could be just around the corner, right when you are ready to give up. Miracles are often surrounded by challenges-----which means you are not on the wrong track, but exactly the right one. Miracles often mean something holy is taking place. Challenges often pave the way for miracles. I believe that just around the corner, when you least expect it, and when it doesn't make sense, we may find the perfect "pile of sand!" I believe in being strong, even when everything seems to be going wrong!!
I believe in MIRACLES!!
I believe in MIRACLES!!