How blessed we are to have friends who lift us up, who speak truth to us, who listen, give advice, encouragement and their constant prayers. This is richness; this is true treasure to have such wonderful women in your life.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

It's a Cow Day!

When I am visiting with my sister at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains during the summer, I sleep with the windows wide open.  I love the the fresh, cool air filling my room and even enjoy the sounds of the night.  My bedroom window faces out onto a large, beautiful cow pasture.  At five this morning I was awakened by the sounds of the cows bellowing out over the meadow.  One bellow wouldn't waken me, but, for crying out loud, this was going on for quite awhile.  Sometime during the summer, the ranchers come to take the calves from the herds and then no one gets any sleep for two days around here, but the calves are too small yet.  I finally roused my weary body from bed, and saw through the window my sister sitting on a chair looking out over the pasture.  Joining her on the patio, we sat together and watched the sun rise over the mountains and listened to the cows literally yelling back and forth.  There are four different herds of cattle out in this vast meadow beneath the mountains and cows from each of these herds were conversing back and forth across the valley, each one trying to out do the other, with a few calves joining in just to prove they could.  

I grabbed a cup of coffee and decided to spend a little time with Kay Warren in her book we have been reading together.  The chapter I read this morning was  "Adopting Heaven's Value System."  I love this chapter and had to smile when Kay began talking about cows.  He loves to give me days like this...this is my "cow day":)  My sweet, sweet Lord knows how visual I am, so He constantly brings me object lessons to show me things I might not see any other way.  So today it is with the cows.  In this chapter we read that meditation on God's Word is the way to become "better acquainted with God," which produces a "settled assurance about God."  Meditation has been defined to me before as "ruminating," and I have been given the illustration of cows chewing, chewing, chewing their cud, swallowing, burping the whole thing back up and chewing again.  But this morning the Lord was pretty specific in what He was trying to illustrate to me...When a cow is bellowing away, their is no ruminating going on.  

I can talk.  I have always been a talker.  My dad one time told the doctor at an emergency room in Kansas, he was there not because he thought he needed to be, but because his daughter in California could "talk a mountain lion out of a tree."  In the last few years, God has been teaching me the beauty of silent moments of meditation, and I have grown out of my uneasiness with them and learned to crave those quiet times.  To begin with, I had the same thought as others Kay mentioned in the book.  I felt I just could not meditate. Until I realized that I meditated ALL THE TIME just not on God or anything good.  I was actually a great meditator!!!  I just had to switch what I was meditating on!  What a revelation!  

Here's the problem.  My thoughts so habitually went to the negative, the worrisome, the fearful and even terrifying "what ifs" in my life that the cycle had to  be broken over and over to finally get to a healthy, life-giving place of meditation.  Even now, when something comes up, it can take me back.  For days, sometimes, I will wallow there making myself completely miserable...and, sadly,  miserable is just as contagious as joyful. 

On my granddaughter, Brenda's, tenth birthday, we took her camping way up in a wilderness area.  Near a spring she found a really interesting plant;  we looked it up in the field guide and found out it was "loco weed."  True to the sound of it's name, when animals eat this stuff, they go crazy.  This is a great picture of what happens in these "down times" of mine.  I ruminate on "loco weed" and then I start bellowing like a cow gone mad.  And all the other cows around me, begin to feel my crazy and start bellowing with me.  Not good.  

Starting into Bible study some years back with the ladies of the church I attend, literally changed my life.  Sitting morning after morning with a Bible in my lap changed me and continues to change me...Thank God!  The one amazing truth I have found is the more I meditate on God and His Word, the more I desire to spend time with Him and His Word.  The opposite I have found, though, is just as true.  The less I time I spend with Him and am out of my Bible, the need ebbs away to finally no desire at fact, hardly a thought.

This morning as I read this chapter, I began to really pay attention, first, to what God had created for me to enjoy this morning...the sights, the sounds, the feel and smell of all that was so beautifully arranged around me for my pure pleasure.  The greatness of the Sierra Nevadas, the vastness of the valleys and meadows, the blues of the sky and brilliance of the sunrise all, just by themselves, were worthy of praise and adoration!  He has made it so easy for us to praise Him.  Then I thought about how truly loving He is and that His will for me is always good.  Contemplating a sweet verse such as "His love has overtaken our lives;  God's faithful ways are eternal,"  (Psalms 145:13) reminds me of what is important to my God, and I cannot stop the thoughts that come..."Overtake my life with Your love"..."Remind me today of Your faithfulness"..."I can trust Your ways for me and mine"..."You are a good and loving God!"  Meditation.  My mind was irresistibly filled with Him and His thoughts. And here is the precious dynamic of meditation.  Later in the day, I received some disappointing news about my puppy, Livvie, from our vet.  At first, my heavy heart lived in the despairing moment, but then the thoughts...THE TRUTHS of the morning began to beat back those nagging and defeating "what ifs."  Victory!  Peace flowed over my heart, faith in my God's good will in my life encouraged me and joy returned to my soul.

There is one wonderful aspect of our Lord that seems to always be true, at least in my life...if I crack door, even timidly, to take a step toward Him, He swings it wide.  I will pray those one sentence prayers "Lord, how do I love You more?" "I want to love Your Word."  "I need to have Your heart toward __________"(you fill in the blank)  "Bring peace."  "Help!"  "I want to meditate on Your Word, but I haven't a clue where to begin." Then there comes the moment when peace settles over me or the desire for His Word has become "bread," or the truths of a verse flood my mind with praise and adoration....the answer has come and is more, different and came so sweetly that in awe I think "When did that happen?"  All I know is He swept in and changed my heart and mind.  Miracle indeed!   

It truly is a mind shift, isn't it?  To think more on what God wants in our lives rather than what we think we want, what we think will bring us joy, contentment, and value those things He values.  I don't know who Mike Mason is, but his words "To embrace God's point of view, however briefly, is to be joyful" are words to encourage us toward a God centered mind set.
His desire is that we grow closer to Him, know Him better everyday, trust Him more fully, love Him more dearly, and truly know His good heart toward us. 

Love and sweet times of ruminating to you, my sisters,


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