I Am Still Here

Apologies for not offering pondering or meandering lately on my blog, but life here on the farm along with life in general poked us with busyness lately.  I need to reread my post “The Car-less Woman” again. Next week, as my family migrates to the “back 40” for some respite, I will compose some thoughts that I trust bring a smile or lingering thought.  But most of all that my words be acceptable in His sight.

Visit next week!

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What’s A Girl to Do?

What’s a Girl to Do?
She hated her curly hair.  Others admired, often coveted, the chestnut ringlets that spiraled well below her shoulder.  She journeyed through a hair phase where she constantly tucked her tresses into a tight bun, practicing out of sight out of mind, but inevitably at some point through the day, a coiled lock of hair fell from form as if to remind her “I am still here—tuck, tie, twist, but the mane is what it is.” 
Girlhood waxed and waned with hair angst.  All along, deep down, the words from Matthew echoed “even the hairs of your head are numbered; fear not…”
Girlhood melted into womanhood and the flame for the Gospel became heart-ignited.  The big question loomed, “What’s a girl to do?” heart making plans and allowing the Lord to establish her steps (Prov. 16:9) became her road map to the future.
Then one day she understood His perfect sovereignty.  The days of friendlessness, thwarted ministry opportunities, feeling ugly, unworthy or unappreciated, all those insecurities hidden in the abyss floated to the top as she “set her mind on things that are above, not on things that are on the earth.”  
Her hair, she discovered, was perfectly designed.
Missionary Amy Carmichael was born in 1867 in a seacoast village of Northern Ireland. When she was only three she prayed that God would change the color of her eyes from brown to blue. The next morning she ran to the mirror but her eyes were still brown. She was very sad. Her mother said that God did answer her prayer. He answered “no.”
Many years later she was a missionary in India. Dressed in Indian clothing, her skin tanned brown, and with brown eyes she looked just like an Indian and she was very effective in her ministry. Many times she rescued some children from prostitution and from the dangers of the temples of India. If she would have had blue eyes she couldn’t have done this.
Amy reflected once that she now understood why she had brown eyes–a blue-eyed missionary would have been an oddity that never could have truly fit in with the people–and was thankful that God had persisted in God’s intricate and elegant design instead of catering to the wishes of a girl who had not yet met her calling. She even darkened her skin with coffee to further aid in her integration and assimilation into Indian culture. She did all of this, largely, for the children she ministered to in India. http://www.ttstm.com/2009/01/january-18-amy-carmichael
  
It was not uncommon in India at the time for young girls to be given to the local Hindu temple. The custom was thought to save the family of the girl money because they did not have to take care of the young one who was considered a drain on finances–unlike a son–and made money for the priests who often sold the young girls as prostituteswhich helped cover the expenses of the girl and the priest who controlled her.
So what is a young, single woman of faith to do?  Follow the same divine road map etched out for Mariam, Dorcas, Pheobe, and Lydia; the path of faith that gave Amy Carmichael contentment with brown eyes, and you my dear daughter contentment with those crazy curls.
Give daughters roots and wings.  Roots, dug down and firm that no matter where that divine road map takes them in this big world, the sinews of roots connect to their relationship with God that pumps and pulsates—alive.   www.amazon.com/Mothers-Heart-Character-Christian-Pilgrimag.
Wings, “to reach up to God and allow Him to set them free from fear of others, free from self-imposed limitations, and free to become all God intended when He created them,” www.amazon.com/Mothers-Heart-Character-Christian-Pilgrimage Wings that soar above spiritual mediocrity to altitudes that challenge and set apart from the standard flock.
  

When she was young, one of her most cherished books, Stellaluna, http://www.amazon.com/Stellaluna-Janell-Cannon  tells the story of a sweet, young fruit bat that one day realizes that she is not a bird but a bat. Her moment of realization comes through a serious of events as she discovers that she flies at night not day, craves the taste of luscious mango not worms, and hangs upside down, outside of the nest, rather than tucked inside the nest like birds.  During her maiden flight, Stella learns that her wings are designed for a specific purpose, so from that moment on Stella unfolds her wings and soars to new heights.
Be it freckles, curls, or lanky legs, the design is a perfect fit, ready to wear. As parents, our job is to show them how the pieces fit together, how to follow the divine road map, dig deep spiritual roots, and then take flight.

Chronicles of a Car-less Woman

Apologies for such a stretch of time since my last blog entry, but the well ran dry for a bit, Tony Reinke, words it beautifully “Bloggers should expect the well to run dry at times, and understand the personal factors that explain this barrenness…” 
Chronicles of a Car-less Woman
  The events of my self-imposed driving moratorium began with an oil leak, a slow but constant drip accompanied by an odor of charred lubricant with an occasional billow of smoke rising from the hood of my mini-van.
The repairs could take days.  As I sorted out my schedule over the next week, I realized the intricacies of functioning with one car and balancing the schedules of four children, household errands, church life, homeschool life…
The birth of my epiphany moment arrived while watching the vintage TV show, “The Donna Reed Show.”  If women of the 50’s and early 60’s could not only survive but thrive as a one car household, certainly I could at least experiment as a one car household for a designated time.
A month- that was the decided time limit.  A car-less woman for a month. 
“Don’t repair the car just yet, park it in the barn as a disabled vehicle, so I am not tempted to cave,” as the words spew from my lips, I seal the deal with my husband.
I broke the news of my experiment to the kids and they weren’t really surprised because I often banter about doing counter culture things but this was a reality not just more “mom chatter.”  Gulp.
Being car-less, living on a farm in a rural area of Maryland’s Eastern Shore where the only notion of mass transportation is hijacking a ride on your neighbor’s John Deere as he passes your lane, was not going to be easy.
Week 1– took some getting used to, like starting a diet program where the first week you feel like you’re starving yourself to death.  My 18 year old does own a car, so I bummed a few rides from her so I could fulfill pre-carless commitments.
Week 2 – Got into the car-less groove. Suddenly, there is no hurry to get anywhere.  With the hurried, frenzied, on the go lifestyle severed, life flowed— no longer at an adrenaline pumped speed, but calm.  I had time to listen and watch the birds as I hung clothes on the line. My normal routine is to race to the clothes line, hang, and sprint to the next task (which usually required my car) rather than linger and absorb the beauty of my surroundings.
By now, I’ve consolidated most of our errands and social gatherings into one day using my husband’s car.  On those days, he either catches a ride with a co-worker or I take him to work.
Week 3 – I find myself really enjoying chores that before seemed stress-filled. I take my time working with the livestock rather than rush through the chore.  Cooking takes on a whole new perspective now that I have the time to unveil new recipes from a book to my table.
Week 4 – Reluctance to return to the two car life again sets in, knowing that I’ve made it to the end of the month, car-less, and I’ve become accustomed to this new way of life.  And I like it.
I think about what Elisabeth Elliot says in Secure in the Everlasting Arms:
“One reason we are so harried and hurried is that we make yesterday and tomorrow our business, when all that legitimately concerns us is today.  If we really have too much to do, there are some items on the agenda which God did not put there.  Let us submit the list to Him and ask Him to indicate which items we must delete.  There is always time to do the will of God. If we are too busy to do that, we are too busy.”
At the end of the month, my car back in the driveway- repaired, adjustments made.  My month of car-lessness showed me how careless I am with my time.  So what do I do differently to prevent myself from falling into that disabling fast track?
1.    Submit my day, my agenda to God (Pray, then delete items if necessary)
2.    Make my day have eternal value, kingdom building value (eternal work is a gift, a privilege, not a chore to squeeze into the day)
3.    Build relationships rather than accomplishments (person to person /face time rather than Facebook; allow gentle conversations to trump the “To-do list”, enjoy true, genuine fellowship)
4.    Linger and ponder on at least one bit of beauty created by the Creator (today it was watching a Ruby-throated hummingbird at our feeder, watching my daughter listen with amazement as we read Trumpet of the Swan)