Sunday, December 28, 2008

Contemplating Stuff

I have been doing a lot of thinking...and a lot of praying. I am starting to realize some things, or perhaps God has been attempting to reveal some things to me and I just stopped to listen. We have been house sitting and dog sitting for my mom and step dad for nearly a week now. It seemed like such a blessing at first. A shower, a washer and dryer to use any time I wish, an indoor toilet, a kitchen, and hot water - even a driveway made of concrete instead of mud. I can even park just twenty or so feet from the door instead of nearly a half mile away. Does life get any more blessed? Seriously, we have no idea how many daily blessings we take for granted until we do try to live without them. I appreciate so many things more deeply these days.

But here is the thing. I am ready to give them up. I want to be back at my home - the land God has given to me! I miss it. I admit I don't miss the mud, and a few of the other things. I am ready to live with a few more modern conveniences. But if I had to choose, I would choose to stay in the camper at the land over comfort away from the land. Does that sound crazy?

You would have to stand there in my place and feel the peace that overtakes me. It is impossible to explain. God is standing there with me assuring me that all of this falls into HIS plan. He is assuring me that everything, even the trials, are for my good. He excites me with the plan he is slowly unfolding before my eyes. I feel him working personally, hands on, in my life. That is incredible! How could I walk away from that? How could I choose something as small as comfort over the enormous peace of knowing I'm in God's will?

I have given much thought to the community God is slowly working on forming. What is it's purpose? What is it's path? I know that God is using us to form a community that's primary focus is to promote fellowship and sharing. I know that he wants us to be able to meet the needs of our neighbors and people throughout the community. I know he wants us to feed the hungry, and that through sharing our resources and living more simply, we should be able to accomplish so much more for others with the resources with which he has blessed us.

But why? What is the purpose behind all of this? What does he actually hope to accomplish through us? I believe he has begun to tell me. It is SO simple. I really can't believe I have been struggling so hard with gaining understanding.

He wants us to teach people about Jesus. That is all we are supposed to do. We are supposed to go out and create disciples. But you reach different people through different avenues. Some people learn by reading. They will best learn about Christ through reading scripture. Others learn by hearing. They will come to know Christ through being told about him, through a preacher or a friend. Other people learn by seeing. Those are the people God wants us to reach. We will teach people about Jesus by living like him.

Jesus listened. Jesus shared. Jesus gave. Jesus forgave. Jesus fed. Jesus healed. Jesus taught. Jesus loved. Jesus participated. Jesus lived in the world, but not of the world. That is all he is asking of us.

So when we choose to live in community with one another...when we choose to share in each others victories and burdens...when we choose to teach, to listen, and to share...when we choose to give, and feed, and forgive...when we choose to heal, and love...we choose to live like Jesus. We teach people about who Jesus was. People will see Jesus in us. I can't think of a better purpose for our lives. Can you?

Exodus 9:16 But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.

Proverbs 19:21 Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails.

Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

December Update

Merry Christmas my friends! Happy day before the day before Christmas. It has been so long since I have had an opportunity to share that I don't know where to begin.

The leaves have all fallen and the community land seems more beautiful to me bare and brown with frost coating the ground. It is such a peaceful place to be. I awaken every morning and head out to feed animals and take my time returning to the warmth of the camper. I just look about me in awe.

So far our progress has consisted mostly of adding to our animal collection. Our herd is now up to eighteen hens which free-range through the day, three roosters, one pig, four rabbits, two dogs, and seven pygmy goats. They are so much fun. I never thought I would enjoy watching chickens, but the hens come running up to greet me and seem to check in on me throughout the day. The girls have leads for the goats and love to take them for walks and even carry around the baby billy goats, Cody and Bolt.

And it has rained...and rained...and rained. I admit the rain has dampened my spirits as much as it has dampened progress. The lots have been staked out since nearly Thanksgiving, awaiting perc tests. But it has rained bucket loads, and the soil is saturated. We have attempted to get a crew out to put in the road, but the rain rained on that little plan too. So we have been slipping and sliding in mud. Most days we park the van out at the main road and walk through the mud and back to the camper.

Little things like taking a shower and doing laundry now take up much of a day as we need to travel elsewhere (mostly my mom's house) to do them. So we have felt like we are chasing our tails a bit.

Boy, have we ever needed to shower and wash clothes! All this mud. I think God loves irony. He takes someone with some itty bitty obsessive compulsive tendencies about neatness and cleanliness and puts them in a small space in the middle of a mud hole with no washing machine or shower. And we have to get muddy to get to a washing machine or shower...isn't that funny? One day we will laugh about day very far off.

Yet we know we are where God wants us and take incredible peace from that. See, we have been unsure before, but now we KNOW. That is an incredible feeling. That means we will be victorious. And it truly is an amazing plot of land. I feel God's presence and can witness so much of his creation from my vantage point. So many trees...and the creek...and the deer...and the birds. I love it.

And our girls love it. They think they live the most blessed life. Oh, the stories they will have for their own kids one day. They also encourage me greatly when I lose my feeling of contentment.

We have to come up with names for two roads - the one leading in from the main road which will be dedicated for public access, and the one that circles through the community residences, which will remain private. We think we have settled on their names. The public access road will be Koinonia which means fellowship, sharing, contribution, and participation. The residential road will be Allelon which means one another, reciprocally, mutually. Both are Greek words from the New Testament.

Well, I must get to work on my tamales for Christmas, but I am house sitting for my folks through New Year's day, so I will be posting more while I can. Have a blessed Christmas. Enjoy your family and friends and tell them you love them. And relax and think about Jesus and the babe he was when he was merely our Lord, before he became our Savior.