"But as for me, how good it is to be near God!
I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter,
and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things You do."
Psalm 73:28 (NLT)
Personal reflections: The past few days, I have really struggled to stay focused... Monday was an extremely long day for me and its ending was stressful; somehow missing my exit off the freeway to return home after grocery shopping, it was nearly 9 o'clock and I hadn't eaten dinner, I had to drive into Tacoma to exit onto another highway home (and then, there was a car accident blocking three lanes), it was dark and I couldn't find my way easily to the right road toward home and got on another wrong road; ending up driving into Puyallup, it was dark and I was in an unfamiliar area, blood sugar dropping......stress took over. Don't even know how I got home really - well, yes I do. Blaine encouraged me, I finally found my way and he prayed me home. Utterly exhausted upon arrival, I could barely function. Yesterday and today, I still feel off and tired and restless; irritated - and yet, I still want to keep moving forward with this Lent project...
When I saw the word NEAR for Tuesday's Lent word, I knew what type of photograph I wanted to have for this post: sheep. Brenda and Jim are so gracious at Small Blessings Farm, that I was able to drop by and see the new ram lamb triplets born that morning. I needed a little "farm" time to try and refresh my spirit. How I wanted to linger, but even there I felt restless. Yet, I still managed to spend a little time with the sheep and took some lovely photos. I was blessed by my quiet time with the sheep I had ~ (I love when I can be with the sheep and no one else is around - for they teach me so many lessons; life lessons and spiritual ones too).
For the past couple of weeks, I have entered the sheep's world as the ewes wait in the maternity ward to deliver their lambs... They have taught me that as prey animals, I cannot just approach them - but I must be still and allow them to explore me and slowly build trust with them. I have to be aware of my intention when being amongst them - bringing gratitude, generosity and safety into their space. It is a beautiful gift to watch the sheep trust you to draw near to them. After birthing their lambs, the ewes lick their new babies to clean them and smell their bottom - alot - and they begin communicating with each other very quickly and the sweet little baby will "beeeeeeehhhhhh" and mama's baaaaaaaaaa in reply. Quickly the conversation is going both ways. Mother and baby must bond to each other, drawing near, smelling each other, listening to each other, so they don't get separated in the flock and mama can take care of her baby until her lamb(s) weans. Mamas are very protective of their babies, redetermining whether people are to be trusted or not. Lambs are exploring a new world and the smallest movements or noises send them scattering back near their mother. And, other ewes (not the lamb's mother) teaches lambs that don't belong to them to not try and nurse with them and gently push them away (and sometimes not so gently). And, as time goes by - the lambs learn and can wander a bit farther from their mom and can mix together with other ewe and ram lambs and know how to act around other ewe moms (although correction does happen too). But, as you can see in the picture above - Rose is chewing her cud while her ram lambs nap around her and many other lambs join in for nap time. Rose seems quite content that so many lambs have drawn near and feel safe with her; they all belong to the flock... I believe God wants that for us too!
Iris and Ivy have taught me so much about "drawing near" and building trust. They will both now chew on my iPhone when I stop by to visit. Iris will let me scratch her neck and sides. She evens seems to pose for photos. Iris has taught me to be aware of my surroundings, my movements, sounds. These lessons cross over into my spiritual life, as well, in drawing near to God - for the same components apply in spending time with Him!
I've learned that God is teaching us through countless sources if only we're aware of His presence and draw near to Him to learn. And, if we do - it's super exciting how He meets us right where we are! For me, He knows how much I love the farm and the sheep and He uses both to teach me many new, valuable lessons.
Iris and me!
Ivy and Iris
God is so good. All the time!
Blessings on your day. You are loved.