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VAMOOSE THE VARMINT

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Varmints

  1. Var-mint

NOUN   A troublesome animal.

A troublesome and mischievous person, especially a child

Have you ever had a varmint take up residence in … well, your residence?  Not the child version, but the troublesome animal variety. It seems there is a varmint squatter currently living in, or at least visiting, the space between the ceiling and roof over my bedroom.  It is doubtful that I would have ever known, but for one thing. My ceilings are tin, rather than sheetrock. Although I cannot be certain, I suspect the squatter is the opossum I have surprised several times helping herself to the leftover cat food on the front porch. When confronted with the beam of my flashlight, she sauntered off and walked straight up a tree, the branches of which hang over the front porch. Straight up!  I was shocked at the ease with which she climbed the vertical surface as if walking down a sidewalk.

I have no idea how this unwelcome critter is gaining access to that area of the house, but it is most important that I find out! It is imperative that I block the opening and deny her admission! Her, you might ask?  How could I know the gender, when I am not even certain of the species?  Truth be told, I do not know that the varmint is female.  I FEAR that it is female! More on that later!

As far as the species, the working theory right now is that the squatter is a possum, although a raccoon would also be on the short list. Due to the nature of the tin ceilings, one can easily hear that whatever is walking around up there is at least as heavy as a cat. It is also painfully obvious that it is nocturnal. Both of these observations fit the description of a possum.

Here is a quote from Mother Nature Network:

But first, the burning question: is it opossum or possum? In 1608, Capt. John Smith coined the word opossum from the word “opassum,” the Algonquian term meaning “white animal.” In his notes, the captain wrote: “An Opassom hath an head like a Swine, and a taile like a Rat, and is of the bignes of a Cat. Under her belly she hath a bagge, wherein shee lodgeth, carrieth, and sucketh her young.” 

Did I mention that it is nocturnal? Oh, yes, I believe I did. And THAT can be QUITE annoying!  Her play time of choice seems to be around 1:30-3:30 a.m. That’s A.M.; like –  in the MORNING!  THAT 3:30; the one I rarely see!  It is then that she becomes quite rambunctious.

Seeming to have staked her claim right above my bed, where the ceiling meets the wall, she can be heard scuttling about, scratching, and, it would seem, chewing on something.  I am not sure what it is that she has found to chew on, since the house is constructed almost entirely of metal, including the trusses and the interior wall framing.  Wallboard would be about the only thing I could imagine she might find to satisfy her nighttime munchies habit.  I shudder to think that she could be dining on wiring as well.  UGH

As you can see from the picture, the ceilings are indeed tin and follow the roof line of this barn-style home. The sound of anything walking on the tin is magnified. At least, I HOPE the sound is magnified, as whatever varmint I am hearing sounds fairly large!  Well, not BEAR large, but raccoon or opossum large certainly.  If the varmint had chosen to hang out just about anywhere else in the house, I would likely have never known.  AND I could have gotten some sleep!

I am totally baffled by some of the noises I hear at varmint playtime. It sometimes sounds as though a marble is being tapped  against a hardwood floor. And then there are, of course, the aforementioned sounds of  scuttling, scratching, and clawing. Lately it even sounds as though something is being dragged across the tin. Desperate to get a full night’s sleep, I have been doing my best to convince the pesky critter to vamoose! I feel sure that it is a viral video waiting to happen.

The ceilings are quite high; around 16 feet in the center of the room. Trying to find something I could use to frighten the intruder away, I finally resorted to using my dust mop. Unlike the old-fashioned dust mops our mothers used, this one has an approximately 8”x14” flat surface with two Velcro strips onto which a microfiber pad adheres. The head swivels and the handle is telescopic. So, I detached the microfiber pad, and extended the handle to its full length. Hmmm. I think this just might work!

Now armed with my newly appropriated Varmint Vamoose-er (patent pending), I marched into the room as if marching into battle, and placed the weapon in the corner by the bed. I almost hoped that she WOULD return tonight. I was ready to try out my new strategy!

And, sure enough, as if on cue, in the middle of the night, I am awakened to the sounds of scuttling and scratching! I leap from my bed and arm myself with the VV (varmint vamooser) which has been strategically stationed in the corner for this very purpose. Extending my arms as high above my 5’8” frame as possible, and standing on tiptoes, I begin banging the flat surface against the outside walls as close to the ceiling as possible. 5’8” frame + tiptoes + arm length+ VV handle length, gets me almost there. So I BANG, BANG, BANG, run a few feet down the wall and repeat; BANG, BANG, BANG!  Now it has moved to the opposite wall!  BANG, BANG, BANG!  A few seconds of precious silence, and then it is back over my bed!  In the center of the room where the ceiling is highest, it is necessary to climb atop my very high bed, steady myself with wide stance, and repeat the process there. Bang…bang…bang….bang!!

Now, with the additional height of the bed, I can bang actually ON the ceiling in addition to next to it. So I bang and bang many times along the wall and on the ceiling, as far as I can reach in all directions. Bang, bang, bang, bang!! And with fervor!  This critter is NOT welcome here! She will NOT steal my peace and quiet!! She will VAMOOSE!!!!

PHEW! At first, it seemed to work rather well and usually the critter skittered away and did not return for the rest of the night. Ahhhh. Relief. (Or was it that I was just too tired to notice if she returned). In any case… SLEEP!

I had high hopes that the Varmint Vamooser would be effective and that she would determine that it was too much trouble to stay around. Alas, a few nights later, it seemed as though she had either become accustomed to the banging, or had concluded that since no harm follows, who cares. Sometimes I believe it is neither. Sometimes I really believe that she ENJOYS disturbing my sleep and does it for no other reason but that! (okay, perhaps sleep deprivation has taken its toll on my thought processes.)

But really, THIS is personal! I WILL not let it beat me! To tell you the truth, sometimes I would rather just insert earplugs , turn off the light, and go back to sleep, allowing the pest to do what she will, and pretend I just don’t know!  But there are two major problems with taking this attitude!

And here’s the part where I tell you why I fear it is a “she.” If you have ever had a problem with mice in your house, you know that they just LOVE to build nests! AND they don’t even have the DECENCY to bring their own building materials with which to build them! Nooooooo! They use YOURS!   They tear the insulation from your walls. They chew on any wood in the house, and make mouse holes in your sheetrock.  They chew holes in your food supplies.  And everywhere they go, they leave nasty behind. And if this varmint is an opossum, as I suspect, what is an opossum but a giant glorified RAT!?! YIKES!  Therefore, reason #1 for not throwing in the towel when it comes to the Vamoose the Varmint campaign, is:

This creature squatting on the property above my bedroom is probably NEST BUILDING. YIKES!  She is possibly CHEWING on wiring, and TEARING insulation from the walls!  Ugh! And, most alarmingly, where there is a nest, there will soon be babies! Take a look at this; a picture of the first minibus.

Oh my! I MUST keep up the fight! If I allow this varmint to stay and bear young, I will have a MUCH bigger problem!   Suddenly, I will have possibly a DOZEN unwelcome “visitors” taking up more and more of my space, disturbing more and more of my sleep, with more chewing, more destruction!  DISASTER!

And that brings us to reason #2, which is a FAR more URGENT problem than any of the above! Reason # 2, to keep up the fight, fits into the category of –

[big_title2]Title[/big_title2]PICTURE PERFECT:

If, as has been suggested many times through these teachings and posts, anything and everything GOD (YHVH) has created provides a picture of that which is true in the spiritual, are there such things as spiritual varmints? Is this Vamoose the Varmint Campaign an opportunity to learn a much more important spiritual strategy?  Let’s investigate.

Do we ever encounter such a thing as spiritual varmints invading our spiritual property? If so, they would meet the following criteria:

These spiritual varmints would have taken up residence in our spiritual space; a place where they do not belong.

They will harass us and steal our peace.

They will love to play in darkness.

They will be nest building and will use materials that belong to us and which are readily available. They may use our tendency towards fear, or arrogance to fashion their nests. If they find greed or lust readily available, this will suit them just fine as well. They may even employ lack of self esteem, self degradation, anger, or spiritual laziness. If they run out of one material, they will likely find many more to use. Most likely they will use more than one building material.  They will gather them all together and fashion them into a place suitable to bear young.  And, OH, after they bear young! Now they have a dozen more varmints to do their work. And soon, THEY will be nest building as well, and you can see how quickly the problem can explode into disaster!

So, let’s review. Are there spiritual “critters” that move in uninvited and unwelcomed? Do they use our supplies to construct a nest for their young?  Do they dig out the building materials of fear, insecurity, rebellion or laziness, and use these components to set up housekeeping?  Do they chew away at the strong structure we have built and strip off the protective covering that protects us from the full onslaught of our spiritual Energy Supply? If we allow this process to continue without fighting back and reclaiming what is ours, will there be baby varmints soon? Will they then be able to expand their territory further as they destroy that which we have painstakingly built? Will they divert more of our supplies to be used building still more nests and eventually own more of us than we do? If we allow this attack to continue unchallenged, will we finally succumb due to the disease-causing filthiness left behind by these spiritual varmints?

Then we MUST bang on walls in the middle of the night, even if we would rather turn over and go back to sleep! It is IMPERATIVE that we chase the varmints out again and again until they return no more! And it is essential that we climb on tall ladders and inspect all possible points of entry.  We must deny the spiritual varmints access to our lives! It is time to cease being negligent when it comes to protecting our spiritual health!  We must replace the torn insulation of fear and insecurity with the strong faith that comes from trusting not in OUR abilities but in HIS! When we hear the varmint chewing away at our Structure, we must return to the Torah and repair and rebuild with HIS building supplies. We will fortify with His Word, and we will seek out and block the entrance points.

And if our spiritual varmint is telling us that we are not good enough, or that God has forgotten us, or never loved us in the first place, it is time to turn on the Light. Most varmints hate Light and will leave in the presence of Truth.

So, when you are in darkness, and being tormented by these “critters,” do not walk, but run and retrieve your weapon! You will not require a dust mop Varmint Vamooser. Instead, reach for the Sword of the Word whenever you sense that something is attempting to take over space that belongs to the LORD (YHVH). Wield your Weapon and deny access to nest building materials.  We can each win our battle as long as He is on our side.

Oh, and just in case you think the pictures above are rather cute, take a look at this picture.

Well, last night I slept through the night! It seems she has been gone for a few nights and I pray that  this is a permanent situation, although I can tell you that I have had short respites before.  If, however, she does return, you can bet that I will be yelling at the ceiling. “You are not welcome here!”  “This house belongs to the Most High and you are NOT allowed to do as you please!”  I will be banging on walls and on ceilings, and I am determined not to give up until I have found the access point and destroyed it! And as I repeat this process again and again, I will be soul searching.  I will be JUST as determined not to allow a nest-building, structure-destroying, spiritual varmint to become comfortable where she does not belong!  She will NOT bear her young here! I am NOT willing to lease spiritual space to something that loves to play in darkness!

2 Cor 10

3For though we live in the flesh, we do not wage war according to the flesh. 4The weapons of our warfare are not the weapons of the world. Instead, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5We tear down arguments, and every presumption set up against the knowledge of God; and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 6 And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, as soon as your obedience is complete.

Psalm 91

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.[a] 2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Surely he will save you  from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day,nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,     nor the plague that destroys at midday.A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked. If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”  and you make the Most High your dwelling,10 no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent.11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;12 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.14 “Because he[b] loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;  I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.15 He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.16 With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

(Just an interesting footnote. Did you notice something unexpected in verse 14? He says “Because he loves Me, says the Lord, I will rescue him;” Isn’t that odd?  Wouldn’t you have expected to read “Because I love him, says the Lord? But instead, it is because we love Him. How do we know that we love Him?  Is it a feeling?  Indeed, He provides the answer to this question in Scripture also.  Check out John 14:15,21 to see.)

Until next time, keep your Varmint Vamooser at the ready, and remain vigilant always!

Ahhhhhh. Peace and quiet at last!

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OF SPARROWS AND GOATS

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picture of goat with head through fence

 

Have you ever been living life as usual, when you suddenly realize that God has just dropped down into your day? Do you sense that He is sending you a reminder of His activity in the world and in your personal life? I realize we should notice His activity every day, but it seems we come to take so much for granted. Or, at least, I do. And then something rather out of the ordinary happens, and suddenly we see it!

That’s how it was that Sunday in October a few years back. On this particular day, my dear friend, Susan, had come out to my house in the country to spend the day. We hadn’t had a girls’ day in quite a while, and I was excited to make up for lost time. It was so good just to have the opportunity to hang out and visit.  But then … there was Zeke.

picture of large grey, white and black Great Dane
Zeke

Susan knew of the difficulty I was having controlling my seven-month-old, 100 pound Great Dane, Zeke. It was particularly challenging when I had visitors. And since, later that day, several other people were expected for Bible study, Susan and I decided to burn off some of Zeke’s energy. Walking him the one mile to and from the mailbox at the end of my driveway just might do the trick. However, even with the pinch collar, it was sometimes tiring to keep Zeke focused on walking. This was especially true this day, as there were signs that the pygmy goats belonging to my neighbor, Don, had paid a visit to my side of the fence. Zeke, it seemed, felt duty-bound to follow the very obvious trail left by the visiting neighbors. And follow it he did. And with gusto!

Nonetheless, with a little persuasion, we did indeed make it to the mailbox. It was on the way back that we encountered two bawling kids (the four-legged variety), teasing Zeke from the other side of the fence. Oh, the joy of trying to rein in 100 pounds of enthusiasm bent on playtime with the neighborhood kids! To say the least, though I am not certain that the walk did anything to tire Zeke, I felt sure that I would sleep well that night!

The Bible study group came and went, and Susan stayed on a little longer to work on my computer. And although I had certainly enjoyed our girls’ day, the very best part happened after she left.  You see, on her way down the ½ mile winding, wooded driveway, Susan called from her cell phone.  One of the goats, she relayed, was caught by its horns in the fence, unable to free itself.  I assured her I would immediately call Don, who, I had no doubt, would respond right away. “Should I leave?” she asked.  I told her it would be fine and she should go on home to her husband.  I hung up with Susan and called Don to let him know of the situation.

I had just returned to my comfortable chair when Susan called again. Her tender heart had not allowed her to drive away and  leave the little fella in that predicament, if only for a few minutes. So, she had worked until she had been able to free him. He had run off into the woods, as she climbed back into her car and  headed home. I dialed Don again, hoping to catch him before he headed out. However, by the time his phone began ringing, I knew it was too late. The sound of his Gator coming up the fence line could already be heard.  Well, I thought, Don will find no goat, assume it has liberated itself, and return home.  When my phone rang some 30 minutes later, I thought he was probably calling to let me know that he had found no goat. That’s why I was confused when instead he said, “Thanks for calling. That little girl had been caught down there for 2-3 days. She had dug herself in so far I had to take a shovel to dig her legs out.”

“I’m confused, Don”, I replied. “The goat was not there earlier when we walked to the mailbox, and Susan called back to say she had been able to free it.”  “Where?” Don asked.  I repeated what I had told him earlier, that the goat had been stuck between my house and the mailbox.  “Well,” Don said, “This little girl was down at the creek with her head caught in the fence, and her legs caught in the mud.  But she’s okay. Just hungry and a little sore. She’ll be fine.”

At the creek … caught in the mud? That was completely at the other end of my property in an area I never pass, and certainly Susan did not pass today.

Picture of goat with pipe attached to horns to keep him from putting head through fence
Not again, you won’t.

So odd, I thought. Now I know that it is not uncommon for goats to get their heads stuck in fences. In fact, a Google search will return many comical images, (like the one above), of contraptions farmers have attached to the horns of  goats in order to prevent such an event. However, during the three or four years Don had owned goats, I had never known of one instance in which this had happened. And yet today there were TWO at the same time? What are the chances?

 

[big_title2]Title[/big_title2]PICTURE PERFECT

And then, as the picture began to come into focus, tears began to flow. Wow!   We had just experienced something miraculous as our Out-Of-This-World Father had allowed us a glimpse into His oh-so-compassionate character. He had opened a door just a crack and motioned us to come in and participate in one of His activities.  He had invited us for a close-up look at Who He is and what He is like.  He had sent us a personal love note.

Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? And one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  Fear ye not therefore, ye are more value than many sparrows. Matthew 10:29-31

Could it be that the goat Susan had rescued was caught at that particular place and at that specific time, only to bring attention to the one in distress in the creek? If Susan had not freed this little goat, would Don have extricated it and returned home, never to find the other until it was too late?  Did God care so much for this little girl caught in the creek that He had dispatched a decoy and three adult humans to participate in her rescue?

That Sunday in October, God reminded Susan and me that He cares for the goats and the sparrows. How much more, then, does He care for us? Surely at those times that we find ourselves in desperate situations, we are not hidden from His sight.

You see, Yahweh/God has His own fence, or boundary, which He has put in place for our protection. It is called His good and perfect teachings and instructions (His Law). There are times that each of us desperately desires what is on the other side of this protective fence. Like Don’s goat, no one forces us to stick our head through, and so there is no one else to blame when we become hopelessly trapped. We make that choice ourselves, driven by our animal nature, which wars against His desires for us.

Perhaps, we reason, we can just stick our head through, but not really go completely there.  So, we purposely place our heads (our minds or thoughts) on the other side, thinking we can pull back at will. But alas, it does not turn out to be that easy, for where our thoughts linger, our heart and our actions will follow.  Whether we have crossed the fence into a spirit of anger, arrogance, or hate. Or whether we crossed into greed, one of the many lusts, or one of the many idols of the heart, we find ourselves there. And a power struggle has begun. We waver between desiring to pull ourselves completely back to the right side of the fence, and the desire to be completely on the wrong side, but we can’t seem to get altogether to either place. And in the process of trying, we become ever weaker, covered in spiritual mud, and edging closer and closer to certain death.

It will take the loving, compassionate work of the Ultimate Shepherd to bring us back to where we belong. We should listen for His voice, coming up the fence line, calling our name and asking, “Where Are You?” (see the teaching by that title under the 5 Loaves, 2 fishes tab for more on this).  When we hear His voice, we would be wise to cease struggling and allow Him to do the work that is necessary to bring us back into the protective boundary He has placed for us. What a loving Shepherd!

And it is also impossible to recount the above story without another strikingly similar one, documented in Scripture, coming to mind. You can find it in Genesis 22. It is the story of the binding of Isaac.  You remember it, I am sure. It is one of many stories which provide an amazing foreshadowing of our Messiah Yeshua. In fact, as He often does, our Rabbi and King has placed within this account, pictures of His character in several of His multiple roles. We see the foreshadowing of the Father who orders His Son (His only begotten, beloved Son) to go up the mountain carrying His own wood. And we see Him binding that Beloved Son to the wood upon the altar. We hear the voice of the Ruach Hakodesh (Holy Spirit) as He calls from heaven. And we see Him in his role of strong Lamb (ram), Who, of His own volition, places His head into the thicket, relinquishing His power to a crown of thorns in order to die in our stead.  (In Scripture, the word translated as horns, represents power). Amazing!

I pray that the next time fear rears its ugly head in your life or mine,  we will hear the bleating of sheep and the song of the sparrow, and the echo of His words – Fear not, for He cares for you. I pray that we will recognize the voice of our Shepherd coming up the fence line to extricate us from our willful disobedience, and that we will stand still, cease struggling, and permit Him to do His work. May we allow Him to bring us back onto His side of the fence where He will wash away the muck of our rebellion, feed us, and give us rest. And may we be reminded to thank Him always for the Sacrifice already made on our behalf, to free us from that which binds us to certain death.

Dear Father,

Thank you for the reminder that, though I may sometimes fall, and become hopelessly entrapped in a mire, I am not hidden from Your sight, and You will pick me up and return me to safety. Thank You for the reminder that even at those times that I find myself caught by my strength in a barrier and can move neither forward nor back, You will dispatch Your messengers to rescue me and to set me free.

And most of all, thank you for dispatching Your Lamb to carry His own wood up a mountain and there to be sacrificed in my place. No doubt, He had the strength and power to free Himself, and yet chose to allow His power to be bound up in a crown of thorns, because that was preferable to seeing me caught, paralyzed and dying without hope.

Amen and Amen (may it be so)

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BABY LOVE

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I had just turned 19, one month before we married. He had celebrated his 21st birthday a month previous to that. Looking back now, we were so very young. Two years later, we were ready to start the large family that we both wanted. Alas, the best laid plans of mice and men…wedding picture

I’m not certain what prompted the trip down memory lane this week, so many holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries later. But in any case, my mind and my heart have been time traveling, particularly to our pre-parenthood days. I cannot recall a time when I did not want to be a mother! Even before we married, I dreamed of what it would be like to have children, our children, tumbling and frolicking on the living room floor, like a litter of so many adorable puppies.  I imagined a day when Leo would return home from work to find baby’s breath adorning every available surface, including my hair, to announce that we were pregnant.

I was absolutely filled to overflowing with this mysterious, inexplicable, tremendous baby love; a love that did not yet have an outlet.  A cousin to other types of love, it was nonetheless not the same. It was both yearning and incredibly protective. It was an energy, a force, that I felt certain even strangers could sense from several feet away. It seemed to ooze from my pores, shoot out of the ends of my hair, and flow through my veins with each beat of my heart. But for all of its magnificent beauty, it was, at this time, most of all, terribly frustrating and sad. With no baby to receive the love, it had no place to land. It was like being 9 ½ months pregnant — forever! Or like experiencing overwhelming hunger or thirst that seemed never to be satisfied.

So intense was the longing for a baby, that my mind became an excellent deceiver. Each month, I would imagine that I was experiencing the beginning of morning sickness. I would be certain that I was NOT noticing the tale-tale signs of a cycle approaching.  But, alas, the cycle would indeed come. And along with the cycle –  tears.  I would plummet from mountaintop bliss, hope, and expectation, to the deepest and darkest holes of disappointment and hopelessness. I was undone.  Month after month rolled by, and still no baby. As the months became one year and then two, I cried out to God.  Why?  We would be such good parents! I worked in a radiology clinic where we often saw x-rays of babies and children brought in due to abuse. Why were these people allowed to become parents, and we were not?  Many of our friends had already started families, adding to the sting. It wasn’t that we weren’t happy for them; we simply wanted to experience that same kind of joy as well. I would offer to babysit, cuddling and rocking many babies, but when the parents returned, I would place them back into their arms.  This was not my baby.

It is the nature of love, is it not; this yearning energy that must have somewhere to go? Love without someone to receive it, can bring no joy, no life, no fulfillment.

Another two years passed with no pitter patter of tiny feet in our home. It wasn’t until we had each undergone extensive testing, that we learned the heartbreaking  truth. We, as a couple, were incapable of conceiving.  Depression. Despair.  Tears.  Why had He given us such a love with nowhere to put it?  What were we to do now?

[big_title2]Title[/big_title2] THE ADOPTION OPTION

After some time, when tears had subsided, and emotions no longer ruled, we began to seriously consider adoption. For, even though the hope for conception had ended, the intense yearning for a baby had not!  Adoption! A perfect solution!!!  A baby who was waiting for love, and a couple who had plenty of love to spare! Could it be that this was the ultimate reason that we had been withheld from conceiving? Perhaps our Almighty God had orchestrated the situation, choosing us as parents for a baby that would be birthed not from our bodies, but from our hearts!  Surely one special baby waited for a particular set of parents; us.

So we persevered through the extensive and intensive process of applications and home studies.  Many hours and much energy was invested in creating the perfect “family book.” The family book was a hybrid photo album/scrapbook, at a time before scrapbooking had come onto the scene. It would be shown, along with those of other applicants, to biological mothers, (and sometimes fathers as well), who had decided to place their unborn child for adoption. The social worker encouraged us to focus on making the book both pleasing to the eye, and soothing to the soul.  We were to include pictures of the nursery, our home,  family, and even pets.  We had the opportunity to write about our interests, our hobbies, our dreams and aspirations. We included a letter to the birth mother, expressing our deep desire to raise our child in an atmosphere of love, and described the excitement and support of our extended family.

It was often a connection the birth mother experienced from viewing these books that would help her make a most important, and often difficult, selection. Open adoptions were not common at the time, nor were they something we wished to consider. So this book was the only avenue we would have, in our attempt to convince a birth mother that we were the best parents for the child she carried.

Many hours were spent collecting photographs of aunts and uncles and grandparents, as well as nieces and nephews and friends. Pink, green, yellow, and blue teddy bears, carefully cut from construction paper, adorned each page.

The nursery had long been decorated, complete with hand sewn curtains, bedding, and wall hangings, lovingly crafted by my sister and mother. The walls had been painted a soft yellow. Images of brown teddy bears frolicked along the bedding, and hung on the wall alongside wooden plaques with Raggedy Ann and Andy decoupage; a gift from my brother-in-law.  Tiny, kitten-soft sleepers in lemon yellow, and mint green lay neatly folded in the chest of drawers.  And in the closet, on baby-sized hangers, hung several oh-so-frilly dresses, alongside miniature blue jeans, flannel shirts, and tee shirts adorned with fire trucks and cartoon characters. Stuffed animals filled a bassinet and lounged on the windowsill. A white fluffy baby blanket with the most delicate pink roses hung expectantly across the back of an antique rocker, while a baby blue version with dark blue trim was draped neatly over the end of the Jenny Lind crib.  Everything was perfect and inviting. Only one thing was lacking in this lovely nursery.  A baby!

But alas, a baby did not come right away. Each week I would enter the perfect nursery, dusting beneath the stuffed menagerie, and fluffing bedding. I would rock in the rocking chair, cuddling a stuffed bear, longing for the time when my arms would cradle a baby instead. Like Rachel in the Bible, I wanted to cry out “Give me a baby lest I die!” This unbelievable love had not dissipated. It ebbed and flowed and crashed on the rocky shores, but had yet to find a place to rest.

[big_title2]Title[/big_title2]AND THEN…

And then it happened! One day, while walking through the mall, we ran into friends we had not seen in some time. Having now been married for six years, it had become rather common when encountering people we didn’t often see, to be promptly asked about children. Although completely unintentional, it was a question that evoked considerable pain, and one which we generally avoided answering. But, of late, we had begun responding that we were seeking to adopt. We often received a response indicating that our friends would certainly contact us should they hear of a baby in need of parents. But, not THIS day! Dana excitedly responded that she worked with a young lady who had recently become pregnant.  Barely able to support herself, and with the birth father already out of the picture, she desperately wanted to place the baby in a loving home. This definitely had all the markings of a divine appointment! We were excited but cautious, as we handed Dana and Steve the name and phone number of our attorney. We had been down this road before, and it had ended in disappointment. Still, it was very difficult not to become eager and hopeful once again.

The birth mother met with our attorney promptly, and quickly decided that we were the couple for which she had prayed!  Throughout the following months, we occasionally received reports regarding the progression of the pregnancy through our attorney, Sam, who maintained close contact with the birth mother. We didn’t know her name and she didn’t know ours, but Sam described her as the most level headed young lady he had encountered when working an adoption. He had great confidence that we would at last be parents in just a few months. With the baby due the first week of September, the hot summer days were filled with excitement and anticipation. We could scarcely wait!  I informed my employer, that as soon as we received word of the birth, I would be leaving employment to be a full time mother.

[big_title2]Title[/big_title2]THE PHONECALL

And then, on Friday morning, the 20th of August, shortly after arriving at work, Sam called with a surprise announcement.  I was at last a mother!!!  Making an appearance two weeks before her due date, the baby had been born the night before. Our DAUGHTEROUR daughter! OUR DAUGHTER!  It kept rolling over and over in my head, sounding exceedingly strange and extraordinarily wonderful! I immediately called Leo, whispering excitedly into the phone so my coworkers would not hear, wanting him to be the first to know after me.  And then, with legs shaking and hands trembling, I left the office, almost shouting as I drove down the road “I’m a mommy!  My baby is here!!”

After all the years of waiting, it was hard to digest the wonderful information that, very soon, we would at last hold our baby for the very first time.  Sam described her as both beautiful and healthy. I could scarcely speak! We were ecstatic!  The day we had waited for – the day we had prayed for – had finally arrived!  We were parents!

Out of an overabundance of caution, and due to a touch of jaundice, our baby would be kept in the hospital until Monday morning. We were instructed that early that day we would be meeting Sam in the judge’s chambers, where the adoption decree would be signed. Then we would return home to wait, not so patiently, for Sam (whom we had begun calling “The Stork”) to deliver our little girl into our arms.

That weekend was a blissful blur of buying and laundering a lot of pink!  We chose the name Jessica, and began referring to her by her name. My heart beat wildly within my chest and my emotions swung just as wildly from excitement to tears and back again. Tears of joy for me, and tears of sadness for a birth mother whom I knew would be handing over her baby in just a few hours.

All of our family members were thrilled as well, counting down the hours with us. We asked them to allow us to meet and spend time with our baby alone before other introductions would take place.  Upon leaving the judge’s chambers that Monday morning, we stopped by the stork’s office with a delivery. I had purchased the sweetest and softest little preemie nightgown, white with tiny pink flowers, and matching ruffled cap. I had carefully laundered it to remove any harmful chemicals, and now Sam would take it with him to the hospital, where nurses would lovingly and tenderly prepare our little angel for her trip home. Home! Our baby, our Jessica, was coming HOME!

[big_title2]Title[/big_title2]HOME AT LAST!

I was so full of nervous energy that I couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep, and couldn’t sit still. What was taking Sam so long? I paced back and forth, smoothing the basinet sheet time after time. I repositioned the stuffed lamb and straightened the yellow ribbon that adorned the ruffled basinet skirt my mother had made. For the umpteenth time I checked bottles and diapers and blankets. All at the ready. The hours, and then minutes, and even seconds seemed to tick by at an excruciatingly turtle-like pace. Leo held me close as I wept into his chest, the emotion kept imprisoned for seven years finally making a jail break.

And then, with the sound of a car in the driveway, she was here!  Sam walked through the door along with his assistant, cradling a small bundle.  She was wrapped in a soft white and yellow receiving blanket on which giraffes and bunnies seemed to scamper and play. The sweet little rose covered cap, had fallen from her head, and now dangled by its pink satin ribbon from her neck, exposing thick, black hair. I met Sam a step inside the door, unable to wait another second to see my baby. My hands trembling, I gently but eagerly eased the soft blanket away from her face. I wanted to memorize the second I first saw her. Our baby!  She was beautiful and perfect and precious! I had thought it impossible to feel MORE love, and yet, I did! As I tenderly caressed the soft skin of her face, love flooded every cell, rushing from my heart and overflowing my eyes. My hands shook as I took her from Sam.  My baby.  Our baby. Jessica.

Our "Stork" attorney holding Baby Jessica
The “Stork” Delivers
I finally get to hold my baby Jessica
Mommy at last

We chatted briefly with Sam, receiving the small box of diapers and formula sent by the hospital. We wanted him to leave, so we could have time with our precious baby girl! We removed her little socks. Such tiny, little feet. Perfect.  I held her to my shoulder, allowing her to nestle her little head into my neck. What a miracle I was holding!  A flawless miracle!  I warmed a bottle and offered it to her, finally getting to rock my baby for the first time.  Leo reclined on the sofa and she lay, perfectly content, sleeping on his chest. She occasionally emitted a tiny squeaking noise in her sleep, which lead to her daddy’s lifelong nickname for her; Squeaky.  She looked so tiny against his 6’3” frame!  And there was something in his eyes that hadn’t been there before. He was smitten.

Daddy and baby Jessica's first picture
So proud Daddy

And then we could stand it no longer. We HAD to show her off to the numerous people waiting to meet her! So many had been earnestly praying for her arrival for years, and anxiously awaited the time they could lay eyes on this miracle; the answer to their petitions!

So we swaddled her in the soft blanket, placed her carefully into the new car seat, and began making the rounds. We took her to family. We took her to friends. We even took her by our credit union and introduced her there!  Our baby! This tiny miracle that would change our lives!  Our love at last had a receptacle and was now complete. Our baby. Our Jessica.

Baby Jessica is now thirty-four years young, and yet, as I write this post, the emotions are again fresh. It is as though this morning’s newspaper was dated August 23, 1982, and the stork was about to walk through our front door with Jessica in his arms. Why is that?

[big_title2]Title[/big_title2]PICTURE PERFECT

It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words.  Perhaps that is why our Creator, Yahweh, chooses to teach us through the images He has implanted throughout Creation. Perhaps even these powerful emotions of yearning and love are threads being used to weave a picture which will ultimately display His love for us!

In fact, might He even have embedded information about Himself, not only within the design of nature, but within the motion pictures of our individual lives? And, is it possible, that we each have opportunity to learn of Him, not only from our own individual experiences, but from those of others as well?  If so, what information about Him might we have the opportunity to glean by viewing this Baby Love episode, written into my life story by the Ultimate Author?

To begin with, what should we understand from this by design  common human yearning for children?   Why has He embedded it within the human DNA? Is this design detail, implanted within the human soul from creation, simply meant to ensure that the human race is perpetuated?   If so, then how do we explain that animals continue to reproduce WITHOUT the need for a design model which includes love, emotion, and yearning?  In fact, wouldn’t it seem that our loving, omniscient, and merciful Creator could have, (and, indeed, should have), spared infertile couples excruciating emotional pain by also removing from them the desire for children?  Could there truly be purpose in our individual stories, (even the difficult ones), that indeed teach of His love?

You see, the true story recounted above, is not a unique one.  A version of it has undoubtedly played out in countless homes throughout the world, due to the common thread He has placed within it. Since this desire and, indeed, need for parents to produce children is part of His design, placed not only in our bodies but in our souls,  this is where we will begin our search. Perhaps, just perhaps, the end result will be that we see His glory and His godhead, and better understand the depth and breadth of His love for us!

Because this Baby Love scene in our lives focuses on our role as parents yearning for children, perhaps we should first look at Him in His parent role.

[big_title2]Title[/big_title2]THE PICTURE COMES INTO FOCUS

Through our intense desire for children, might we come to understand that He, too, the Ultimate Parent, eagerly and impatiently waits for the “adoption decree to be signed?” Does He indeed dispatch His “Stork” (the Holy Spirit/Ruach HaKodesh), to bring us home to Him? Does the Stork arrive bringing new spotless clothes, in which we will be clothed before He transports us into the presence of the One Who has chosen us and yearned for us?  Wow!

Today I can truly say that I am grateful that I endured years of yearning for a baby to fill my arms, for now I can understand His great desire and yearning for each of us! He YEARNS for us! His greatest, all-consuming heart’s desire is that we be brought to Him one day. He is willing to wait for as long as it takes to make us His. So great is His desire to draw His children to Himself, that He, with great thought and tenderness, has written a Family Book, with a carefully crafted love letter invitation to come to Him. He has meticulously placed within this Book, pictures that describe Who He is and why He should be our choice. He has already prepared a room for us and filled it with gifts, in anticipation of our adoption. In fact, the room was prepared before we were born! And, yes, as a part of the process that would bring us to Him,  He has endured excruciating pain.

And while He waits impatiently for us to come to Him, He checks and rechecks all of the preparations, because He values us so highly. He is ready to feed us. He is ready to nurture us. He is ready to protect us. And once we are brought into His presence, His tenderness towards us is so great that it compels Him to draw us to His chest, where we can be soothed by His heartbeat, safe and secure in His arms! Surely He then exults over us, taking us from place to place and introducing us as His child; His love having finally found its resting place.

Ahhh, the love of the Ultimate Parent! Perhaps He has designed and allowed us to experience this unfathomable love towards our children, with the goal that we may one day come to realize the depth of His love for us!.

Zephaniah 3:17 The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

Yes, I cannot say what prompted my time traveling this week, but I am grateful for the journey. Revisiting the powerful emotions, the longing, and the yearnings that He has placed within the human heart, has helped me grasp, to some tiny degree, the enormous love He has for me and for you.

This week, may you bask in His love and recline upon His chest, being soothed by His heartbeat. May you spend time contemplating the fact that He sought you out, painstakingly prepared a place for you, sent His Messenger to retrieve you, and will one day bring you into His house to live in His presence forever. Ahhhh. Now THAT is LOVE!

Mommy and baby Jessica asleep on the sofa
Contentment

Psa 23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

1Jn 3:1  Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 2  Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

Amayn

**Note (Before writing the last few paragraphs of this post, I had no idea exactly where they were going to lead. Yes, I knew that His glory and His godhead would be displayed, and could clearly see the picture of a loving and yearning parent. However, before recounting them, I had not yet seen the many parallels He had embedded within this episode of our lives.  Writing a family book to draw us to Him?  Preparing a room? Enduring excruciating pain?  Having to wait? Being one of many applicants? (Yes, Ha-Satan desires to have you also).  Sending a “Stork”? New freshly laundered clothes for the journey?? How can it be??? And yet, it is!  Isn’t He amazing! He really does drop down into our lives, and through our individual life events, reveals Himself and His great love for us, in a most intimate way. HalleluYAH!.

Below I have included pictures of a father’s love.

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Bird Brain

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(Obviously singing Climb Every Mountain from the Sound of Music, he was belting out the last word  – “dream”)

This is my very first blog post! How should I begin? A little about me, you say? Oh, well, I guess that does make sense!

My name is Jacquetta and the subjects I share about in the teaching section of whoislikethee.com are BRILLLLIANTTT! They ARE!  Nevertheless, do NOT make the mistake of confusing the message with the messenger!  The message is brilliant because it is about His brilliant design! However, occasionally, when I travel to speak about His glory, even His eternal power and godhead (Rom 1:20), people become a tad bit confused. They may even venture to suppose that the messenger is brilliant also, simply because she is delivering the brilliant information! This is rather like claiming that an old cracked mason jar is priceless simply because it is being used to dispense the finest of wines!  Soooo, to dispel that rumor at the beginning (or as Barney Fife would say, “Nip it. Nip it in the bud”), perhaps you will allow me to share a little story. (In fact, how could you stop me?)

Awhile back, I was working around my house, when I received a phone call. Identifying himself as someone working at a home security company, Ryan informed me that an alarm had been tripped, and asked if I would like him to send police, or if I would rather take care of it myself. Well, as I mentioned, I was home at the time, and there WAS no alarm going off!  Thinking that this must be a scam, I stated rather emphatically that my alarm was not sounding.  Ryan replied that the alarm he was speaking of was at my daughter and son-in-law’s home. Unable to reach either of them at work, he had moved to the third person on the call list, which just happened to be –  Me!  Ohhhhh (a light flickered on).  Did I want him to notify the police, he asked again? I replied that I did not, and that I would check on the house myself.

Since my daughter lives only a few minutes from me, I decided to head in that direction. Thankfully, I would be able to see the house from more than a half mile away.  If I should see a large truck backed up to the garage, loading a big screen TV, I would certainly call the police at that time.  So I grabbed a gun, double and triple checked to be certain  that I had my cell phone, and jumped into the car. On the 6 mile drive through the country, I called my friend, Kim. It seemed wise to have someone stay on the line with me in the unlikely event that I needed them to call for help, as I was speeding away from the scene, tires screeching and rubber burning. (Never mind that I would be on gravel!)

As I neared the house, I was relieved to see no strange vehicles in the drive, and no valuables scattered across the lawn. Of concern, however, was the fact that my son-in-law’s truck WAS there! What was going on? What would I find? Had Addison been injured?  Had there been a home invasion? I pulled up to the house and parked strategically. It was imperative that I not have my back to the house as I exited the car. And I would also need to be able to dive back into my vehicle and leave quickly if need be, (with the aforementioned burning and screeching, of course).

So, I stepped out of the car, still holding the cell phone to my ear and trying to make as little noise as possible as I whispered step-by-step updates to Kim. I left the car door open and the engine running. With my right hand, I held a death grip on my 357 snubnose revolver. I had only taken a few steps in the direction of the front door when the unexpected happened. P. John!

P.John was Jessica and Addison’s pet pigeon (P.John – Pigeon). Addison had discovered the tiny bird when leaving work one day. Just a fledgling at the time, P.John had tumbled from the nest. A baby bird rescue seemed to be in order. So he brought him home, where he and Jessica fashioned a make-shift “nest” using a rubber bucket and cedar chips. For the first few days they fed him with a syringe, and then later by hand.  And now P.John was a full grown bird that just LOOVVVVED to roost on HEADS!

Yes, indeed! Is the picture coming into focus now? Cell phone held to one ear, gun gripped tightly in the opposite hand, and P.John on my head!  And I could NOT convince him to skedaddle!  I tried tilting my head this way and that way.  I tried swinging my head rather violently, first to the right and then to the left, almost touching my ear to my shoulder. But P. John would not be permanently dislodged from his chosen perch! He would flap his wings and rise a bit until the shaking stopped, and then land right back atop my head! It seemed it was great fun for P.John.  Arrrrgh!

And it was now painfully evident that I would have no choice! Too much precious time had already been wasted while who knows what was going on inside that house! It would be necessary for me to enter through the back door, calling for my son-in-law, with a bird on my head! If there WAS an intruder inside, certainly it would SHOCK him, if nothing else!

Aaaadddison!   Addddisssoonnn!! ADDDDDISSSSON!!!!!

Well, Addison was fine. He had simply been hunting on the back of their property. Unintentionally having left a door ajar on a windy day, the motion sensor had apparently triggered the alarm when the door blew open. He found the bird-brained situation quite comical, as did Kim. Sigh.  It is so gratifying that I can at least entertain!

Yes, my life has sometimes been quite amusing. But the MOST fun I have, is when I have the opportunity to interact with people while sharing the many hidden treasures the Master Designer has placed within creation! As I learn more and more about His design details, and how they teach me of my Shepherd, My Master, My Creator and King, and His love for me, He gets larger, I get smaller, and my faith explodes!

My prayer for you today is that you have a thirst for Him, explosive faith, and a pigeon on your head from time to time; just to remind you not to take yourself too seriously!

p-john-and-jessica

 

P.JOHN AND JESSICA

Hugs and blessings from my nest to yours,

Jacquetta

 

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