Saturday, April 26, 2014

Rez Dogs

Foundation  $60.00
There are lots of dogs around Dulce. I guess that's fairly common on reservations. Some are tied up or kept inside, but many are loose and run around town in packs of a couple of dogs up to ten or so. Many people are afraid of the dogs, and I have to admit that I am wary of them. When I am walking, I see many of the same dogs each day; that's nice because they get used to me. They might bark, but they don't usually chase after me anymore.

I was bitten once, not long after we arrived here. I rearranged my walking route to avoid that street! I occasionally pick up a stick when I see an unfamiliar dog.  Once I was followed on the high school track; six dogs were trailing me in this fenced area. I planned my escape onto a retaining wall, figuring I could kick them off the narrow ledge one by one. As it turned out, I growled at them and stomped my feet; they dispersed into the neighboring area pretty easily.

This past week, though, I noticed something curious. I was walking by two dogs that were chained up when a loose dog came tearing through their yard. The chained dogs strained at their chains, barking madly, while the loose dog almost pranced just out of their reach. He dashed off down the road after he passed the chained dogs.

At first glance, it's easy to feel sorry for the chained dogs. After all, the other guy got to go wherever he wanted, right? But as the loose dog raced off, I caught a glimpse of how skinny he was... and his fur was matted and ragged.

I looked over at the chained dogs. Each had a doghouse, a water bowl, a food bowl, shade, and a long chain. Neither was skinny... or matted...

And I thought about how God's Ways... Like in Psalm 18:21: "For I have kept the ways of the Lord; I have not turned from my God to follow evil." And in Isaiah 55:9: "For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways..."

For some people, following God's Ways seems to be a restriction... a tying up.  Being "free" for them often means pursuing the pleasures of the flesh... to the point of the destruction of relationships, health, and even life itself. The ways of the world appear to promise fun and excitement.... but they do not offer Joy. Not the kind of joy I have in knowing that I am resting in the care of the Almighty. I am given the kind of Joy and Rest that only God can offer, only Jesus can redeem, only the Holy Spirit can lead me to.

I used to spend much of my attention on what others thought, on how I was perceived, and on how much fun I could claim as my own. Now I am at peace with my place in the world. I don't seek attention; in fact, I prefer to serve quietly. And the fun I find in my life overflows every day: playing with our daughter and her friends; teaching our wee one; taking kids out into the wilderness of this beautiful place; creating glass to glorify my Lord. I am more at peace than I ever dreamed was possible. I am freer to love and serve than I ever imagined I could be.

Foundation  $60.00
I was called a "rez girl" for the first time recently; I am happy here! I am growing, and I am serving. And I am tied to God's Ways, anchored in His love. My life is overflowing with Grace, and I don't mind being His and not my own.

Happy to be "tied up" with God.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Take for Granite

 I recently read a delightful post on Facebook that used the phrase "take for granite." Now, obviously, the person was really talking about taking something for "granted," not "granite," but as I read the post, I realized that there are some things I take for granite!

Granite is a rock-solid substance. It is a good thing to build on. Stable. Non-shifting. Secure. Firm.

So....things I take for granite:
 1. God's Grace. All of the sins I have committed (or will commit) are forgiven in the finished work on Jesus Christ on the cross. Amazing Grace.

2. God's Love. I am God's precious child. So are you. And you. And you! Yep, even you.

3. God's Call. My life is not my own to spend in serving myself. I am God's for His purposes. He has called me to fulfill His will.
4. God's Gifts. I am surrounded by abundant gifts: Loving and supportive nuclear and extended families. Friends. Time, sweet time. Prayerful support from many for the mission of our church. Prayerful support for our family from the members of our church. Enough food, clothes, money, shelter... actually, more than enough. Abundance.

These are the bedrock of my life. What is the bedrock of yours? What do you take for granite?

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Love and Logic

Mother's Day #1
There was a time in my life when I walked far away from Jesus. I lost His way for many years. The precipitating factor was (ironically) an "Intro to Religion" class in my freshman year of college. Faith was so "illogical"; I had many new friends who were good people, but not Christian. I followed my "rational" thinking into non-faith.

I lived much of my life during that time in fear. Fear that I wasn't good enough. Fear that people would leave me. Fear that I would be left alone.

God slowly called me back to His fold. It happened moment by moment. Love conquered "logic." The first time I took communion following my lost years, I was positive that I wasn't "Christian enough" to partake. God disagreed; he clearly called me to participate. He said in my heart, "Just take it. I love you. I will complete your return to faith."

And He did. My faith has blossomed into the definition of my life. I seek God's Truths, Jesus' Grace, and the Holy Spirit's guidance in all I do. Not perfectly, by a long shot! But this is my constant prayer: That I might be closer to God today than I was yesterday. That I might do His will today.

But Satan knows my penchant for logic. This is how he attacks me as I draw closer to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He uses my intellect against me, putting "logical" thoughts into my head. Like, "Every human civilization has manufactured a 'god,' yours is no different!" And, "What about all those good people you know? How can you think they won't go to heaven?"

These insidious thoughts occasionally creep into my days, and I doubt. Sometimes I have asked God why these thoughts keep coming back when I have Jesus in my heart. A few times, I've even doubted if I had Jesus in my heart... If I did, why would doubts come in???

Mother's Day #2
Recently, I was having these kinds of thoughts. I asked God to show me where my sin was, where these doubts were coming from. I asked Jesus to come into my heart, and He said, "I'm already here."


It wasn't a voice aloud for my ears; it was a voice for my heart. But it was real.

I must've forgotten His answer, though, because I asked again a few days later, "Jesus, please fill my heart with your presence." And again I got the answer, "I'm already here." This time I listened. And I asked God to help my unbelief.

And He did. Through Scripture and song, my faith has been bolstered, and I have become convicted that this "logical" voice in my head is Satan working to destroy my faith. After all, the Bible says, "The foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom." (1 Corinthians 1:25)

I am certain of God's victory. Jesus has already paid the price. And I am equipped with the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:11), which enables me to stand against the schemes of the devil. My life is built on the firm foundation of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.