Friday, August 23, 2013

{From the Journal: Showers of Blessing}

This month I've been trudging through Ezekiel. I say "trudging" because it's a rather bleak book. (My family plays a rhyming word game called "Hinkey-Pinkey." As I read Ezekiel, I find myself playing the game: "Bleak Zeke!") Full of judgment, idolatry, and lament, these passages make me feel like I'm climbing a rugged mountain with no rest in sight.

Too often I realize that part of this bleakness is because the words are painfully familiar. I read of the Israelites turning to idol worship and I begin to wag my finger and click my tongue, only to catch my reflection in the mirror and blush in shame. I find myself in Ezekiel 33:32 which reads, ". . . they hear your words but do not put them into practice . . ." and the blush on my cheeks deepens to scarlet.

Ernest Walbourn

I was further convicted as I read Ezekiel 34:2 this morning: "Woe to the shepherds of Israel who only take care of themselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock?" And I see myself as a mother, tempted to listen to the world, which tells me to look out for number one, to have it my way, to focus on myself . . . all to the detriment of my lambs.

I pause, discouraged. Why is this so hard?

Whenever I fill out the "occupation" line on various forms, I write homemaker. This morning I thought about this -- this making of a home. To make something requires vision, action, and dedication. As I "make" my home, I need to look ahead, to plan. I need to have a vision. But having a vision is not enough. Choosing a recipe for chocolate cake is not the same as making a chocolate cake. This is where the action comes in. Making requires effort. I need to pull out those ingredients and mix them together. And then the hard part: dedication. Of course it's easy with chocolate cake. I'm not likely to give up while my KitchenAid is spinning it's yumminess or to stop just short of putting it in the oven. I want to eat that cake. So I complete my work.

So it is with making a home. I must complete my work. I must be dedicated to the vision, which will be shown in my actions. (A friend of mine recently encouraged me to remember an important key when raising children: consistency!)

But when I'm discouraged, when I want to stop, this causes me to wonder if I'm starting to rely on my own strength. Have I sought the true Shepherd as I tend to my little flock? Is my vision His vision? Are my actions His actions? Is my dedication a dedication to Him . . . or to myself and my own plans?

And the Shepherd faithfully gathers His wayward lamb -- the lamb struggling on that cliff and bleating so pathetically -- and speaks in comforting tones:

I myself will search for my sheep and look after them . . . I will tend them in a good pasture . . . 
I will search for the lost and bring back the strays . . . I will bless them . . . I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessing.
Ezekiel 34: 11 - 26  

Not only does He do this for me, but He does this for my family, too. He is a Shepherd to the heart of my husband, and He is a Shepherd to the heart of my children.

Which means that I can totally handle this homemaking thing; the Shepherd has asked me to do it and He and He alone will provide the strength to see it through. And what's more? He's given me a beautiful promise: There will be showers of blessing. 

I pull my cake out of the oven, its aroma filling our home, and the bright-eyed children come running. 

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  1. Thanks, Julianna! It is easy for me to lose sight of the importance of my job and get lax with it....but if God calls, He deems it important. Maybe today I'll get some pictures on the walls=)

    1. Happy decorating, Dayna dear! Yesterday I pulled out a table cloth and draped it across the kitchen table, even though it was "just us" eating. Little homey touches like that are helping me to see the beauty in my work, which invariably leads to joy!

  2. Julianna,
    I just discovered your blog via The Ultimate Guide to Homeschool Scheduling post and feel very drawn in. Love what you have shared here! Have a wonderful Sunday!

    1. Thank you so much for visiting, Nicole! It's a joy to have you here. May you have a blessed week!



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