Tag Archives: lesson learned

I want feet like a deer, reflections from Pslam 18:33

If you read my blog from a couple weeks ago (and I KNOW all you fine readers have, right? but in case you missed it: Ready for a slow down, reflections from Psalm 90) then you’re already aware that I’ve been doing a self-study in the book of Psalm. A book that I’m falling in love with because it’s so musically written & “flowy” (is “flowy” a word??? Who knows? but I dig it!). While studying chapter 18 this scripture leapt out at me…

“He makes my feet like the feet of deer, and sets me on my high places”

-Psalm 18:33-(NKJV)

**By the way** Don’t cha’ totally love my word play??? leapt/deer…get it??? Smooth!

Anyways, (refocus) If I have read this scripture before, I’ve never noticed it. It’s pretty unassuming, but to an animal-studied-nerd, like myself, wow…this is a good one!

Deer feet. No doubt you don’t have to be in student loan debt to realize that, yeah, deer feet are important to deer. But do you know that, hands down, hooves are the MOST IMPORTANT part of deer anatomy??? untitled

Deer are flight animals, meaning they run from perceived danger, they’re lovers not fighters. Those skinny little toothpick legs carry a few hundred pounds gracefully at 40mph; they can leap about 8 feet high & the hooves are designed in such a way that they take the brunt of all that force. Pretty impressive, huh??

Without getting too technical & for the sake of this blog illustration, let’s break the hoof down into two simple parts; we’ll call it the “outer” & the “bottom” (creative, thank you very much). Most people know that deer are cloven hooved animals, meaning they have two toes, not one single toe-like a horse. God in his infinite wisdom designed them that way knowing the wide variety of terrain they’d be covering. That design allows them to cover everything from swimming in deep water, to scaling a mountain. The hard outer wall of the hoof is made of keratin (the same stuff as your fingernails) this helps them claw, paw, dig & fight; bottom part is a soft, spongy material that helps them grip slippery surfaces. Pretty cool that when you see a herd of deer running & leaping, they really don’t know what’s on the other side of those leaps, but rarely do they slip & fall. Flight animals cannot survive without their legs, the hoof is the first line of defense to protecting the legs & in turn, the entire being.

I’m in awe of the responsibility that hooves have.

“He makes my feet like the feet of deer, and sets me on my high places” -Psalm 18:33-

This chapter in Psalm was written by David wrote after the Lord delivered him from his enemies & Saul (who was out for blood!). David was in a tough spot, he had no idea how he was going to get out of the mess he found himself in. He prayed with a ferocity & the Lord saved him, not in a way he was expecting, for the Lord didn’t rescue him from the mess but equipped him with strength & abilities David didn’t know he had…and he conquered & gave the glory back to God. The NET version goes,”He gives me the agility of a deer; he enables me to negotiate the rugged terrain”. You may not think you’re equipped to negotiate the rugged terrain in your life & it may look impossible, but the Lord has equipped you to be a conqueror.

So next time you feel overwhelmed, look at your feet & see yourself has having the feet of deer!

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Book Report: Heaven Changes Everything by Todd & Sonja Burpo

*Living Every Day with Eternity in Mind*

heaven changes everything

It’s hard to review a devotional objectively. It’s something very personal & what speaks to you is going to be different than what speaks to another reader. But here goes Smile

I had read, “Heaven is for Real” a few years ago. I remember the exact moment I found it at the store. I had never heard of the book & was actually shopping for a Joyce Meyer book that was on my reading list. I picked up Heaven is for Real, read the description on the back; thought it sounded interesting & then shelved it. Throughout the rest of my shopping trip my mind kept going back to that book that eventually (mainly to silence the nags) I put it in my shopping cart & cashed out. I started it almost immediately & it was instrumental in changing  (and confirming) my view on heaven. At the time I read it, my Grandma was battling stage-4 cancer & upon her death the chapters & words in that book were such a comfort to me. She was a strong woman of faith & I know the riches of heaven fell upon her & that we will be reunited again and that fills me with healing. I’ve since passed the book on to others & have recommended it to countless people.

It took me awhile to get through Heaven Changes Everything (over 6months) not because it was bad, but because of LIFE. I had read other devotionals in between, read other novels, but every time I picked up this specific book the messages were very tailored to what I was currently going through; questions on my mind, troubles that were heavy on my shoulders. So I feel like God was telling me to take this devotional very, very, slowly to let it sink in (on average, I’m a speedy reader). Usually I’d find myself crying over the words I was reading & sighing over how “spot on” it felt to read what I was feeling. And I’ll be honest, it led to some frustration because I didn’t want to change my thinking or behavior about some subjects the author suggested needed changed (hey, God made me stubborn so “technically” its His fault, right? Haha!)

Heaven Changes Everything is obviously set up a little differently since it is a devotional & not a narrative. For starters, its written by Todd & Sonja Burpo (Colton’s parents) who alternate chapters (which I liked) each giving their own viewpoint & spin on the subject of the chapter. You definitely would be able to use this book for a Bible Study since it does pose group discussion questions & has countless passages of scripture to study, memorize & discuss. Like I do with all devotionals, I went after it with a “college” mentality. You wouldn’t want to borrow my copy because its highlighted, underlined in pen, things are starred & my personal thoughts are wrote in the margins. You’d finish my copy more confused than when you started! Flipping through the book even now, there’s so many good chapters that I don’t even know where to start! Todd & Sonja (obviously) center the book around their take on Colton’s (their middle-son) near-death experience; visit to heaven & then return to earth. They give their viewpoints on what happened “behind the scenes” & how their lives have changed post-publishing of his novel, “Heaven is for Real”. What I also like was they touched on a little bit of everything; their marriage, their struggles, parenting, balancing careers & of course, their personal views on God & faith.

Since I can’t go chapter by chapter (its not a big book, but it would take awhile & the weather’s to nice to be indoors all day typing on the computer *wink wink*) I’ve picked a couple chapters that really spoke to me:

Chapter 9: “A Mixture of Faith & Doubt” told from the viewpoint of Todd. It’s about how you can be a person of Faith & still Doubt. I know I can relate to that. I don’t know how many countless times I’ve prayed for something & then took matters into my own hands because God was moving to slow (you’d think by now I would have learned my lesson & realize I do more damage than good!). Todd writes, “So you’re struggling. God understands. He knows you can’t see what’s waiting for you around the corner-not to mention next week or next year. But God is good at working with strugglers. Pray, “help me believe”. Even though he’s a Pastor; a man people look up to for spiritual guidance, he still struggled with doubt when doctor’s reported his son would not survive.

Chapter 23: “Imagine Being Held by Jesus”. This chapter really got to be. In this chapter, Todd remembers the moment when he was in the hospital chapel; alone, spewing forth hateful & angry words to God, so fearful that he may lose his son-didn’t understand why & God seemed to be silent. Upon Colton’s “return to earth” he tells Todd that he saw him in the chapel, crying & angry. “yeah, Jesus was there too.”…..”well, where was Jesus?”….Colton looked me right in the eye. ‘I was sitting in Jesus’ lap.’”….I was hiding out in the empty hospital room, raging at God for bringing my son so close to death-furious at the very One who at that moment, unknown to me, was holding my son in his arms. Quite the contrast, isn’t it?”. For me personally, I don’t know how many times I’ve gotten angry at God for his silence (what I view as silence) when he’s got something so much bigger intended for me. “But at the same time I try to remember that God has a plan for my life-a plan that ends in heaven-and whatever is happening to me right now is part of that plan.”

Countless other thoughts jump out at me throughout this devotional, “There are things God allows to happen because he knows the outcome is going to be greater than anything we could ever do on our own.”,”Children’s simple prayers fall as sweetly on God’s ears as they do on ours.”, “there is blessedness in brokenness. God uses broken people.” & “stand without wavering. Stand without apology. Stand confidently & say, ‘I know who Jesus is, and this is what he has done for me.’”

This is not a hard devotional at all & I recommend it for any beginner who is new in their walk with the Lord. It’ll get your feet wet as far as getting in the Word & reading the Bible, its full of personal opinion & testimonials rather than a lot of Bible-scripture-reading. However, even if you’re dedicated & like those in-depth devotionals this works as well, you can back up the author’s points & key-notes with Bible scriptures that reference it. Any way you look at it, the fact is; it’s just a good clean read & I highly recommend adding it to any reading list.

The closing paragraph of the book just warms me: “I love thinking about being so glad, and so grateful, to see Jesus that I spontaneously fall down on my knees before him. And I know he’ll be glad to see me. In fact, he’s been praying that I would join him there. He’s praying you’ll join him there too. Please don’t disappoint him. He’s waiting for you in heaven. And that changes everything.” What a great feeling to think that the Lord is praying to spend time with you! That’s something to hold onto when you’re feeling challenged, stressed, & overwhelmed. The Lord is praying that you’ll talk to him & spend time with him.

How fantastic of a thought is that???

How will you react????

 

 

 

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Lessons Learned: Taking Ownership…

Lessons learned

One of my part-time jobs (yes, I work a couple!) is working at a horse rescue. Even though my employment “status” falls under the veterinary department, as anybody involved in rescue work knows; you usually end up wearing a multitude of hats. More often than not I’ve found myself doing less vaccine administration & more stall-mucking (fortunately a part of me loves that hard-labor work). Within the last few months, the founder asked if I’d be interested in learning how the adoption-process works; going through the application & interviewing process, matching up potentials with the right “fit”, home visits & conducting background & financial checks on potentials. At first I was hesitant…this is supposed to be my “fun” job, even though I’d still be working directly with the horses & getting my hands dirty, a few hours of office work would now be added to my plate. Blah! But since my ultimate life-goal is to run my own animal rescue/adoption group one day (my big God-dream) with little thought I seized the opportunity knowing this is something I need to learn & will only benefit me in the long run.

For several weeks I’d been working with this girl (she’s given me permission to blog her story), around my age, divorced, no kids…a horse girl at heart. For several years of her marriage she had lived in the city & had gotten away from her country roots. Upon her divorce, she moved out to the country, got a dog, & was now looking to add a horse to her little family. Several emails back & forth, a few meet & greets and (finally) we found a Quarter Horse mare that was a nice fit Buckles1for her (and on a personal level, this was a horse that was dear to my heart & I was waiting until just the right person came along!) I was stoked, she was stoked & in my heart I felt good. Everything seemed to be falling into place. Because of the cost to do background & financial checks, we don’t do them until the very last step (otherwise we’d be doing them on everybody & that cost adds up fast!) when we know this is a serious potential & that’s the last hurdle to overcome. This girl did not pass the financial check. I was heartbroken (literally, I cried) I felt so BAD for her knowing how much she needed this specific horse for her own healing from a painful divorce. I fought & fought on her behalf to our head Adoption Coordinator & in the end she told me,”Carey, its our policy. It’s not meant to be for either of them. This position requires you to be a voice for the voiceless.” I rolled my eyes at her (stupidest thing I’d ever heard!) & said, “F**k the policy” & walked out of the office (classy!) to call this girl with the news that it wasn’t going to happen this time. She was upset, but said,”I can’t blame anyone but myself. My finances are not in order & I’m going to have to learn that nobody is going to change that but me.”

I thought about these words on my drive home (and it’s a long drive!)

I really respect that answer. So often people blame others for their mistakes (myself included). When I’ve failed at something, I do find myself blaming this reason or that & more often than not, its because I wasn’t prepared. When my bank account is wavering on the verge of non-existent, I can look down & see the new shoes I bought because I “had to” have them in that moment. When I step on the scale & realize how much weight I’ve gained I blame my past, how I was raised, my genes…everything but the boxes of Girl Scout cookies I inhaled for every meal for 2 weeks straight. This is an area I struggle with, its hard to look in the mirror & take responsibility for your actions…all of them!

You’re in the situation you’re in because of decisions that (A) you’ve either made or (B) your response to situation’s you had no control over.

Every single decision that you will ever make has either a good consequence or a bad consequence….but take ownership of it, either way.

I wish I could tell you exactly how to do this, I don’t know. It’s something that I will have to work through, as well. Over the last few years, there’s been things brought up in my personal life that I’ve had to deal with & I’ve learned how its affected behavior that I didn’t even realize it affected. The point is, I can’t use it as an excuse anymore…taking ownership.

Today, was a good lesson.

 

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