by Michelle Welch
“…..Where is your flock-your beautiful flock-that He gave you to care for?”
Many years ago I owned a petting zoo. Yes, I know. That’s quite a stretch from where I am now. I owned a big drafty hundred year old farm house with 40 acres. We raised sheep, goats, chickens, cows, and every other assorted kind of farm animal. We were always taking in strays or unwanted or unloved animals from other people. They would come to me often bruised and battered, scared, and broken in spirit. I think that perhaps this time of my life was to prepare me for where I am now. As the shepherd of a flock, I had to spend a lot of time with my animals. I knew them all by name. I knew the sounds they made, the desires of their hearts, their mischievous nature. Each morning I would come into the barn and with the flick of a light switch, my little world would come to life. There was lots of noise and talking and bickering over who would get to me first. When a new animal came into our farm world, they often hung back from the group. You could see they were trying to decide whether or not they would be accepted. They didn’t know where they belonged in the group nor what they should do to be a part of the structure of the barnyard. As each day passed, the broken and bruised became whole and happy. The scared became courageous and the broken spirit became brave. It was a wonderful transformation that I have missed very much over the last decade. My heart broke when I had to give up my farm. I still miss each and every little face that looked up at me every day. Yet I came to understand that it wasn’t what I did, what medicine I used, what food I fed them. It was the smile in my voice. The love in my touch. The willingness to put their needs first. (yes, all farm babies ARE born at 3 in the morning….must be some sort of God rule) There was no crowd watching me. No applause. No one seeing my efforts. Just my desire to see them whole again.
A smile is such a simple thing. A gift from one person to another. A token of your love and acceptance of that person. I think back to the broken animals who came into my life. They knew by the touch of my hand that I loved them. The Lord has taught me that people will know by the touch of my smile that I love them. Each morning, no matter where I start my day, I am called to share God’s love with everyone who comes into my life. It’s not about me. It’s not about the name-tag I wear. It’s about touching them with my smile so they will be drawn to the joy that they see in me. It’s about sharing Christ with the broken so they can heal from their broken spirit. It is about showing them my God who says “For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” Isaiah 41:13
My life is now the Lord’s. Let me touch lives with a smile. Let me realize that it’s just that simple.
“I Offer My Life” by Dan Moen
All that I am, all that I have, I lay them down before you O Lord. All my regrets, all my acclaim, the joy and the pain, I’m making them Yours. Lord I offer my life to You. Everything I’ve been through, use it for Your glory. Lord I offer my days to You, lifting my praise to You. As a pleasing sacrifice, Lord I offer my life. Things in the past, things yet unseen. Wishes and dreams that are yet to come true, All of my hopes, all of my plans, My heart and my hands are lifted to You.
(lyrics to I Offer My Life by Dan Moen)
Blessings sweet friends, Jenny, Freida, Michelle, and Ingrid
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