Friday, February 7, 2014

Remember the Birds

You know, being accountable to those who are following along this Inward Journey has made me step things up a notch. Have you found the same thing? I hope so. I’ve found that even though it’s a bit harder, it has also given me strength knowing others are also doing their best toward living a life of excellence.

That doesn’t mean we always get things right, but that we are seeking God to help us do better each day no matter what the task.
My husband and I were already working on some things we needed to improve after last week’s challenge.  By the time Daily Favor was posted I had already worked on several piles of mail like I promised. 

The trunk on the other hand didn’t get very far, not because of lack of willingness, but snow and ice.  He did move some things … from the trunk to the back seat!

As we progressed, there were other things that distracted our good intentions. 
Welcome new friends this week from around the world.

Inward Journey circle is growing and I’m so glad to be a part of it with you. Please continue to share this site along with praying for your brothers and sisters of faith following Daily Favor from around the globe.

Don’t miss out on this week’s challenge (below).  Q & A Section
Mocha the Siamese Cat
Mocha December 2013
I guess some might think our schedule isn’t normal, but for us things seemed to be moving along about the same. 

It was Monday evening February 2nd, 2014 at 11:00 pm.  We had done our final rounds and put Mocha (kitty) in the potty to do the essentials.  Mocha is about 15+ years old, very frail, but still strong willed.  He is also fast and determined to have his way. 

For those who don’t know, he was given up due to his lack of bladder control and is now under extensive care being treated for kidney failure.  Not only does Mocha have a kidney problem, he is visually impaired, has a weak heart and osteoporosis.

Red Alert
He finished his deposit, and as Mocha popped out of the litter he tried to jump up with the other cats.  All the cats sleep together every night so this was normal, but this time he fell breaking his leg.

We weren’t sure how it happened and thought his balance might have been off due to his IV (we call juicing) treatments.  The fluid settles in their legs, because there is hardly any meat on their bones.  It makes it difficult to walk.
Just as we were winding down, we had to go into red alert mode.  Our emergency phone call to the veterinarian didn’t get through until 2:30 am.  The doctor talked to my husband, but Mocha wasn’t able to see him until 9:00 am.  Immediately my thoughts on last week’s Daily Favor reminded me to “ask” the Lord what to do.

Watch & Wait
Normally I wouldn’t go into so much detail, but this time they kind of unfold my story.

We put our plan into action of what I felt the Lord was directing.  My husband would go to bed while I took the overnight shift.  I put Mocha in a long box with several towels to keep him warm.  Every time I moved he would try to get up, so I quickly figured out that he had to be right by my side on the sofa.

In my mind I thought that after he was asleep I could do some work on the computer to help me stay awake, but Mocha would have no part of that.  The only thing I could do was sit beside him with my hand on his side in order to get Mocha to settle down and sleep through his pain.
While sitting in the dark I prayed for wisdom and the passage where Jesus asked the disciples to watch and pray with Him came to mind.

I kept thinking how they couldn’t even stay awake an hour … how am I going to stay awake all night after the day I had? (Reference Matthew 26:40)

Six o-clock seemed to come earlier than usual, and before I knew it once again our routine was in full force.

With the examination complete the doctor told my husband that Mocha’s break happened simply with his walking.  It was already cracked due to the deterioration of the bones.  When asked what we could do he said, nothing but put him down.
The vet explained how Mocha was too weak for an operation, that he wouldn’t make it through the surgery and that he would probably only last a few days without it.  He gave him some morphine for the pain and left the rest to us. All we could do now is watch and wait.

Wrong Thinking
I asked the Lord how to go about seeking excellent things when Mocha needed 24 hour care. 

Everything has to be monitored, his food intake, potty, medications, etc.  There isn’t any time for anything else. 

At first I thought that all the other things were the distraction keeping me from focusing on Mocha, when God told me that wasn’t true at all.  Taking care of special needs animals was normal for us, and that included Mocha. 
What made us think we had gotten off track was our wrong thinking about Mocha’s diagnosis.  The bad report from the vet didn’t help, but the thoughts that were fed to us by the devil changed our positive outlook into something awful.

Instead of focusing on Mocha’s strength, we had been watching and waiting to see if he had crossed over.  You can’t live that way.
I cannot blame it all on the vet’s report. My thinking swayed that way because a friend of ours went home suddenly last Friday and the funeral was Tuesday. 

The word “vigil” was on my mind each night until I was reminded of when the disciples were in the garden with the Lord.  Jesus was watching and waiting on the Holy Spirit for strength and guidance.  His disciples were supposed to be doing the same thing, but they fell asleep.

While waiting they would have received what they needed from God.  That is what He was teaching me during that quietness.

Life & Unexpected Workouts

Instead of things calming down the trials rose.  Like the majority of America, we’re in the middle of an extremely cold winter.  Propane gas has been on restriction, so we have cut back.
In trying to stay warm, Thursday I did laundry all day long so we could run the dryer.   Our washer is in need of repair and overflows if you don’t catch it in time before it drains.  Of course you realize I had to make a mad rush to it for every drain cycle all day. I am pleased to say I got a good workout.

Finally I was able to sit down to work.  Mocha was within eye sight, the washer/dryer somewhat under control and a piece of dark chocolate was smoothly melting in my mouth.  Ouch, what was that?  My tooth broke!  Oh, that isn’t right, especially with chocolate.
The same day while my husband was out on an errand, he removed something from the trunk and closed it.  It only took a matter of 5 minutes for the truck lock to freeze.  He had to come all the way back home to get some vinegar (thanks Mindy for the tip) to put on the lock so he could open the trunk. (BTW – vinegar freezes, so don’t leave it outside.)

The Birds of the Field
Through it all we didn’t get upset, raise our voices or ask “Why God?”  There has even been laughter and meditation.

For me, I can tell you that I have spent most of the “between” times looking out the kitchen window watching the squirrels and birds.  As they played I was reminded of the passage that gave me hope and comfort.
Every day I noticed that the birds would come around 10:00 am and by 3:00 pm they were gone.  Suet was already hanging on the fence, but two squirrels were chasing away the birds.

"Don't you have anything gluten free?"
I decided to put melba whole grain toast rounds, mixed bird seed and bran cereal out on a graham cracker crust pie plate to lure the squirrels away from the fence for a time.
It was hilarious to watch the squirrels as my husband scattered the melba rounds in the yard.  He said they were looking at him as if they were saying,

"Don’t you have anything gluten free?”
At one time there were about 50 birds of all sorts in the yard, but only two cardinals. My husband said my neighbor down the road had about twenty on her property.  I have a feather to pick with her about that.
In the frigid cold, these birds were hopping about on the snow, running along the fences and flying onto the shed roof.  They were having a grand time diving, swooping and chasing one another, not giving one thought about anything except the moment at hand.  The birds never forget God’s covenant to them, so they don’t fret over things.

Throughout the week when feeling overwhelmed, I returned to the window and stopped to watch the outdoor activity.  Immediately, I was reminded of God’s faithfulness to complete that which He started, and that I had to remain faithful by trusting Him. 
God has been showing me all week that you cannot achieve excellence without faithfulness.  Instead of running to Him in a panic, I’ve been in continual contact for every step I’ve needed to take.

My husband said for him, excellence came when he willingly volunteered to assist the vet in something he didn’t know how to do.  He remained faithful in spite of the distractions.
Stay in the Fight (... but not with your wife)

Mocha decided he liked the crate better.
Mocha is showing us that he is strong even though his body is trying to tell him something different. He has fight in him, and isn’t willing to give up on life. 
He is learning to walk with something broken even though it is painful.  That’s something most of us don’t want to do.

If things aren’t working out like we want, we quit and ask God to change our circumstances.

God wants us to remain in the good fight of faith so that we can win.  He’s not “putting” things on us because we did something wrong or that He’s angry with us.   Fighting to win is all part of remaining faithful to God’s plan for us.  We don’t need a plan if we don’t plan on finishing anything.
Surrender to His Plan

This morning my husband needed to clean up in a hurry after tending to the cats.  He had a busy schedule and with the additional medications for some of them he was running behind, plus Lady had an appointment at 4:00 pm. 
He grabbed a wad paper towels and headed off to the bathroom.  “Oh, no you don’t.”  I quickly called out stopping him in his tracks.  Holding out my hand for him to give me the paper towels, I told him to use a washcloth.  As he surrendered his will to me he said, “The washcloth doesn’t deserve that!” 

I burst into laughter as he hung his head like a little boy going around the corner.  He just wanted to get it done fast and be on his way.  Using a washcloth would take longer, make work for me and might even end up with stains.  My husband then realized I didn’t care about the dirt, but was concerned about him. 
Most of the time there is no quick fix or easy way to resolve a situation.   Sometimes it’s hard to surrender our situation to God.  We don’t know how things will turn out, but base our thinking and beliefs on what we have experienced in the past.   

As we progress on our journey to change from the inside out, we need to stop thinking the way the world thinks and remember the faithfulness of God.

Bird Brain
The Bible states in Matthew 21:22 (NIV) that “Whatever we ask for in prayer, having faith and really believing, we will receive it.” 

Our believing can only stay strong if we remain in faith … that is “faithful to faith.” 

God cares for us just like He does for all His creation.   Jesus said that if He cares about the life of a bird, don’t you think He cares for you? 

If a birds tiny little brain knows how to trust God to provide and protect them, shouldn’t we take that lesson to heart?

I don’t know what is going to happen with Mocha, but I do know I’m not waiting for doom and gloom.   With each day I count it a blessing to serve and will faithfully wait for my instruction from the Holy Spirit. 
One of the things Jesus wanted us to remember is that He is coming. When He does, will He find anyone who has remained faithful to Him?

This week’s challenge: Remain Faithful. 

We’re taking a new approach on this journey, right? So when circumstances or people tell you to quit and throw in the towel, don’t.  If you feel like changing something, don’t unless you know you’re hearing that direction from God. 

The Lord has given you strength and the ability to tough out the hard stuff.  Remain faithful as you watch and wait to see God work things out for you.

Remember the birds!

When all this was happening this week, someone questioned my husband about his attitude.  This person had been fighting with the Lord and took it out on his employees. 
With one of the staff looking on, my husband smiled at the man and said, “I didn’t get mad at God.” May we be able to say the same. 
When you feel yourself starting to lose faith, remember the birds and how God loves and cares for you.
Let the Lord transform your heart to His as you remain faithful on your journey.

 Holiness/Take my Life by Scott Underwood
Until next time, favor comes through faithfulness.

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