Draw me nearer

I served no less than 51 months Active Duty in the United Stated Navy directly after I graduated White Bear Lake High School. I graduated on a Friday – and left for bootcamp on a Monday.

I moved back to Minnesota in April of 2005 and by May I was living with my now husband Jason. (To the dismay of my parents)

It has been a full 8 months since my dad has left this world for Heaven – and its been just enough time now that I really – really miss him. I ache for him and memories that creep up split my heart apart.

Spending those 51 months away from my parents, and then living 22 miles away from each other – we didn’t stop over every weekend, or on our way home from Cub, or church. Of course we did see each other more than just birthday’s and holidays – but those times were far and few between. I was never used to seeing my dad on a daily basis and now that a real solid, healthy amount of time has gone by I miss him.

I miss him.

I miss him.

I miss him.

Since August I have been wildly chasing him through my plans for our upcoming boundary waters trip, and I still believe that I will find part of his spirit there – because God’s creation will be so prevalent, and so untouched by human hands.  We [my dad and I] shared some of our very deepest conversations over a glass of wine, and sunsets over these boarder and boundary waters during the summer of 2013, and have felt an overwhelming desire to go back; an unquenchable desire that can only be explained by the hand of God and my dad leading me towards this trip.

When I was there with my dad I was on the comfort and safety of a houseboat. No portaging, and navigation was a breeze since we had markers every hundred yards or so which lined up perfectly with the map. This time will be a bit more physically challenging – but isn’t that what’s sometimes needed?

For boundaries to be pushed, to be kicked out of the safety of the nest?  I’m greatly looking forward to the quiet reflection and solace release that will ultimately come as well on those late nights and early mornings with deadpan silence across the remote lakes of the north woods.

I’m realizing though – this will not be a coda to my healing and grieving journey. When we get back I will still stain my pillow with my tears, and choke back the screaming that tries to be let out in the night.

And I wonder if God has me right where I’m supposed to be. Silently crying out to God in the middle of the night and begging him with a tear stained face asking him to draw near to me, and cover me with wings like an eagle – as a fragile child who is terrified and afraid of what this world will bring, and what has already been brought.

I’ve never been closer to God in my entire life. Depending on him like life support to help me face each day. That His promises are true. That through my dad’s faith – I WILL see him again. And ultimately I will see Him.

When my emotions are especially raw and fragile at times, I listen to this song and repeat to myself what James says in James 4:8 “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” I’ve said so many times that verses and Gods promises are so true – but this one has been one of the truest for me. God has kept me in the comfort and safety of his wings as a majestic eagle holding its eaglet in the safety of His wing.

Is there honestly any other place that is more desirable than in the wings of the Lord? Close enough to feel His strength, His heartbeat.

I can honestly say, there is no other place I’d rather be.

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Eucharisteo for the crows.

Today I am thankful for the crows.

Is anyone ever thankful for the crows? They are seen by so many as a menace, a disease, a disturbance.

I had let my little flock of four chickens outside a few weeks ago to free range in the backyard while I was working remotely from home. Two ISA Browns named Babs and Beatrice- and two Black Australops named Lexie & Nathalie. They were so happy to be out in the yard turning it up, dust bathing, foraging for food, and doing what chickens do.

  – and I hear this constant cawing. 

and I look out my window to see Nathalie under the covered porch in the back frozen. I open the door and expect her to run – but she doesn’t and I hear the constant non-stop cawing of the crows.

I look around the yard and do not see Babs or Beatrice, or little Lexie.

Coming around the corner I see the ISA Browns, and they are unusually frozen and pinned against the wall and Lexie is no where to be found.

I run to the coop amongst the cawing, and she  is not there. I look up in the tree and my heart sinks.

Among the crows is a huge bald eagle – perched low. Searching. Stalking. Hunting.

My heart sinks, and I realize now that sweet little Lexie – is possibly dead or harmed on the other side of the fence below the eagle.

I go to unlatch the gate to go to her, but just then the eagle takes flight , and the crows chase it out of the yard, out of the neighborhood and out of site. I go to run to the gate to see if Lexie is over there, and in a flash Lexie comes from where she was hiding and they all run to the safety of the coop.

Photo Cortosey of Ingrid Taylor

Photo Cortosey of Ingrid Taylor (click for source)

Today I am thankful for the crows. An unlikely hero and savior.

Are we so unlike the crows? Is there someone in your life that you’ve viewed as a crow? Someone you think is unworthy of your kindness- your love – your attention? Maybe its the person that cuts you off in traffic – the oddball at the concert, or maybe a family member? Have you been viewed as a crow? With great caution I ask – didn’t the Pharisees view  our Savior like the crow?

Today is Holy Thursday – – Maundry Thursday – –  Great Thursday. Jesus commands two things of us tonight.

Of course the most famous:
Jesus says to his disciples in Matthew 26:26-28
“During the meal, Jesus took and blessed the bread, broke it, and gave it to his disciples: Take, eat.This is my body.Taking the cup and thanking God, he gave it to them: Drink this, all of you. This is my blood, God’s new covenant poured out for many people for the forgiveness of sins.

And secondly, which ties into my story – is the command that He gives us in John 13:34-35 “A new command I give you: Love one another. as I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Even the crows.

Even the crows?

So we find excuses. But THEY aren’t christians, THEY smoke, THEY drink, THEY sleep around, THEY spend too much money, THEY have a different orientation, THEY don’t keep house, THEY gamble, THEY swear, THEY are republican, THEY are democrats, THEY eat meat, THEY don’t…. THEY, THEY, THEY when we should be on our knees saying, ME ME ME. FORGIVE ME.

If I’m real honest this evening – I view far too many people as crows. Everyone, everywhere should be viewed as a valued person that God loves, and not labeled as THEY people – or crows. We are all on equal playing ground. As I saw so clearly. The crow is just like you and ME. Jesus LOVES the crows. The broken – real people that we are. May God put more crows in my path to love – and may I extend [more] love to the ones that are already there – because if I am bitter honest… I’m no better… I’m a crow too.

Jesus came for all of us crows on a rescue mission so that we could all enjoy eternal life – and love one another as He has loved us.

Linds

 

Countdown to the BWCA ~ Part 5

Seriously – I’m posting part 5 today! It seems as though I was just at the local library picking up a copy of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Western Region book almost as a joke to see what the big fuss was about the BWCA, and now just 8 months later I am dreaming wildly of my first paddle stroke into the wild.

Everything is starting to run together now, but all that we really have to procure now is paddles and new fishing poles – because – eh – why not.

I recently purchased an Exped mat at the recommendation from my new friends over at bwca.com. I asked the kind folks of REI if I could “play” with one before I purchased so I pumped it up like I was giving my mat CPR (kind of wondering if all of this CPR pumping was worth the Exped) and then it was finally to the desired firmness, and I laid on it. I instantly was sold and probably laid in the store on that mat for far longer than I should have. (Later that evening I had a 12 hour drive ahead of me to Oklahoma) so I was taking advantage of the five minute snooze fest on the floor of REI. I’m sure they’ve seen far worse but I digress.
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Nature is releasing its grip on winter down here near the cities with all of the snow gone, and ice out on much of the lakes. It is making me crave the wild places with an increased and renewed hunger. I recently spoke with some people from Ely who said the snow is gone-baby-gone (Hallelujah), but alas there is still two feet of perfect glass ice that is holding fast. Each day I am checking the Ely weather forecast to see if it will be warm enough to melt that ice – but ultimately I have to let nature do its thing and not worry about it. “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?” ~ Luke 12:25. My worrying about it won’t make the ice melt any faster. Well said Jesus. Well said.

At the end of this month I’m heading to the Outdoor Adventure Expo at Midwest Mountaineering and can’t wait! We went to the Sportsman Show at the Minneapolis Convention Center last weekend, and it was pretty underwhelming. Mostly RVs, big boats, and lodges. We did run into a few canoe outfitters, and I did purchase a subscription to the BWJ so I can dork out with a magazine too!
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I think that’s it for now. Minimal things left for the month. To do’s include buying my 48″ bending branches espresso bent shaft paddle – leaving the fishing pole stuff up to the husband, and watching lots of videos on how to pack your canoe pack. The way I have it now I nearly tipped over like Reece Witherspoon in Wild.

Linds