Packing…

I hate packing…  It does not matter how excited I am for a trip, the thought of packing is daunting and the fear of forgetting something important is the thing of nightmares for me!  I struggle with having to plan out the future of what I would need to have and to wear!  So, how do I deal with packing?  I don’t deal with it well.  So I put it off, in which then I’m scrambling to pack last minute, when I’m absolutely forced to, and the chances of forgetting something exponentiates and robs me of taking in the excitement of even going on the trip.

The hand of the diligent will rule,
while the slothful will be put to forced labor.
Proverbs 12:24 (ESV)

Why do we procrastinate on the hard things, that make it worse when we actually have to face the facts?  We all do it, whether it’s packing, or dealing with a sore tooth to avoid the dreaded dentist, or ignoring a tough conversation we need to have with a friend or loved one…  I think human nature is to avoid painful things, but are we truly avoiding it when we know it needs to be done?  God wants us to be diligent with all actions, big or small and not be slothful, as when we get to the point we need to do it, it becomes forced labor.

He who observes the wind will not sow,
and he who regards the clouds will not reap.
Ecclesiastes 11:4 (ESV)

This verse in Ecclesiastes refers to sitting around and waiting for the most opportune moment to do what is needed.  But if you wait, that time may very well pass you by, and can be very painful if it does.  Especially when it comes to having those hard conversations or mending relationships by asking for or granting forgiveness.  Packing is a piece of cake compared to those!  But letting those feelings steep because we don’t want to face what God wants us to mend can hurt us and the ones we love worse than the actual action of just doing it and getting it over with.  We may miss that moment altogether, and even if you don’t miss it, how much time have you lost in the waiting???

Shepherdess, I encourage you to get packing!  The most opportune time is right now.  Don’t procrastinate on the things that must be done today, whether it’s a physical job, or relationship mending, especially with those in your flock.  Just get’er done and reap the joy and peace once it is complete!

Cara

Advertisements

Have you ever…………..

Have you ever felt so tired you didn’t want to move? Have you felt your mind become so tired that thinking becomes impossible?   Every once in a while I let myself become over committed to activities.  It is simply in my nature to ‘do’, and it also brings me joy.  However, sometimes there are more balls in the air than I can count (currently I have 7 balls being juggled), and fatigue sets in.  Mental and/or physical, it doesn’t really matter, fatigue is fatigue.

When times like these happen in my world, there is one simple verse that comes to me, brings me comfort and supplies strength for my spirit so I may continue with my responsibilities.

but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
    they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
    they shall walk and not faint.  Isaiah 40:31

How can you feel tired after reading these words?  I can soar like an Eagle, I can run and not be weary, I can walk and not faint!

Just writing this and reading these words have made my heart lighter, my spirit less weary.  I am smiling and know that I can face anything that comes my way.  I can soar above it, I can run past it, or I can simply walk through it knowing I will not faint.

Shepherdess as you tend your flock, you will find times that weariness sets in.  Remember Isaiah 40:31………………….and get ready to soar!

Stay safe!

Jamie

 

 

 

Crisis mode…

I will be the first to admit.  I am NOT a patient person, especially when it comes to issues that require “solving” or things that may shake my world.  We’ve all gotten that email, phone call or text at some point that throws you into a crisis of some type, be it work, friend or family centered.  My natural inclination is to go into get’er done mode and work to solve or mitigate the crisis as much as possible on my own, shutting out much of the rest of the world while I tend to that crisis.  How do you react to a crisis?

In going through the miracles of Jesus at church, a statement resonated with me that our pastor shared.  It come from the story of the miracle of healing Jairus’ daughter after Jesus had crossed the Sea of Galilee (read Mark 5:21-43 for the full story).  The crisis…  Jairus’ daughter was on her death bed, and knowing that Jesus could heal her, approached Jesus within a large crowd, begging Jesus to go with him to lay hands on her.  If you had the power to heal a young child from impending death, wouldn’t you hurry to do so without stopping, entering “crisis” mode?  That’s where it gets interesting…

Jesus is not hurried or anxious during crisis. 

With a great crowd pressing in around Jesus, He was still aware that something had happened when the woman touched his garment.  Jesus chose to stop and help the woman with a crisis of her own.

And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well;
go in peace, and be healed of your disease.” Mark 5:34 (ESV)

Jesus made the contact personal by calling her “daughter”, and affirmed that her faith had healed her because she believed He would.  He then sent her off, no longer unclean or to be considered an outcast.  And Jesus continued on and healed Jairus’ daughter – in His timing.

There are three points that this story makes me step back and think about…

1.  I think of how I handle crises and if I put off other people at their time of need because of something I deem a crisis (big or small) in my life when something might be as profound as to help another in their need.  What opportunities are we missing in crisis mode to minister to others that may need us more than our crisis needs us?

2.  It also makes me think back to the training a few weeks ago in Dallas and how I jumped to making decisions without slowing down because of the crisis (even for a split second) and thinking things through, especially tools I had just learned that I should have put into action.  Our instructors kept repeating that we need to be thinkers before doers.  It highlights that we should always think before we act (or speak) in anything we do, or we may regret our actions or words.

3.  Finally, we are at our most vulnerable (physically and emotionally) when we are in crisis.  It narrows our focus and attention from full awareness around us.  Some crises require that focus, especially severe ones (death, sickness, etc..), and when that kind of crisis is in your life Shepherdess, you need to surround yourself physically with members of your flock that can watch your back to keep you safe, but also be your arms and feet to hold you up in a time where you may not be able to stand alone.

By yourself you’re unprotected.  With a friend you can face the worst.
Can you round up a third?  A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.
Ecclesiastes 4:12 (MSG)

Shepherdess, tend your flock well, and in times of crisis, allow them to tend to you!

Cara

You are……

You are enough.  Say this out loud with me, “I am enough!”  It is so important that you understand you are enough for God.  It simply does not matter how broken you may be (or think you may be), you are enough.  The world spends a great deal of time trying to convince us otherwise.  It wants us to believe that we aren’t good daughters, wives, mothers, etc.  If we hear it enough we might begin to believe, but I promise you it isn’t true.  We are special creatures and each is provided with the talent that is important to those around us.

Think of those in your flock.  Are they enough for you?  Do you love each and every one of them regardless their condition?  Of course you do!  You wash their faces, bind up their wounds, protect them at all costs.  You do so freely with no thought of repayment.

We have that same promise and comfort that we are enough.  There are no strings attached to this amazing deal.

 Nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 8:39

Shepherdess, where ever you find yourself at this very minute, stand tall, rest easy and know in your heart of hearts that YOU are enough!

Jamie

Violence…when will it end?

Each day when we watch or read the news, it almost always highlights some crime, criminal case, or murder.   But I was taken aback when I opened up my devotional today and the topic was “Violence”.  It started with a grim statistic, that every 68 seconds someone died at the hands of another man as a result of violence (1,270 per day), and that statistic is not from today, rather it is from 1820 to 1945.  Not what you would have expected, right?  Today that statistic is at 60 seconds.  Yes, watch a ticking clock for a minute, and each click of a minute in this world today a life is needlessly taken through violence, 1,440 people each day according to the World Health Organization.

Violence isn’t new to this world.  It only took the 2nd generation from the Garden of Eden for the first violent crime to be committed when Cain killed Abel.  Violence has existed nearly as long as man has, and to extreme levels.

“Forge a chain! For the land is full of bloody crimes
and the city is full of violence.”  Ezekiel 7:23 (ESV)

Violence is a choice that someone makes of their own free will against another for some gain.

You have condemned and murdered the righteous person.
He does not resist you. James 5:6 (ESV)

We cannot become numb or insensitive to the evils of society.  The context for the verse above is from many wealthy men who began to use their influence in courts of justice, bringing death to innocent men who did not resist them.  This means that we will still be disheartened with each act of violence (we must resist becoming numb), and that we need to be diligent in preparation in case we are caught up in an act of violence (we must resist the act).  That is a large premise of The Good Shepherdess, to help educate and prepare people in case the worst day of your life happens.

Shepherdess, it’s so easy to become numb and avoid the news or think that it doesn’t happen here in my town or area with or to people like me, until it does.  We encourage you to not wait for an incident that is close to home, but to actively ensure that you are not part of any violent incident by being proactive in protecting you and your flock.

Are you interested in learning more?  We host a free seminar on learning about how to protect you and your flock against a violent crime?  Reach out to Jamie or myself directly to experience this unique training.

Cara

Always learning…

I’m a firm believer that we must always keep learning, whether that’s in the workplace or our personal life.  Part of learning may require tests or testing of ourselves.  This past weekend I had the privilege to experience some very intense training scenarios to learn skills on how to better protect myself and my flock (and to gain knowledge that I can pass onto other ladies like you).  This training involved a lot of thinking skills, but also adrenaline and the unknown.  Then add in being with peers who are there watching you through the process. When the scenario was done, I didn’t live up to my own expectations, and not just once.  After one of these scenarios late in the training, I couldn’t hold it any longer.  My frustration at myself and grading myself with an “F” became apparent to one of the other ladies that I was on the verge of a meltdown.

Have you been there?  I had not in a situation like that.  I’m a strong person.  I typically don’t show feelings like that to anyone other than my husband.  Failure is a hard pill to swallow for myself (and probably many of you as well).  But then something beautiful happened.  My flock came around me there and reminded me of three very important things…

First of all, no one was grading me.  There was no pass/fail.  We were there to learn and experience.  I was grading myself.  Ladies, we need to learn to stop putting a measuring stick up to ourselves.  The only measure we need is of God’s fullness in our life.

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. – Galatians 1:10 (ESV)

Secondly, the purpose of the intense training was to set us up for failure so we could learn from it.  How better to learn something than to fail at it?  Pick yourself up again and go back at it, learn from it and grow.  These quotes sum it up pretty well…

“A failure is not a loss. It’s a gain. You learn. You change. You grow.” – Unknown

“Failure is not the opposite of success, it is part of success.” – Arianna Huffington

Finally, I learned that your flock is anyone around you that cares enough for you to stop everything going on and encircles you to protect you from Satan taking hold of negative thoughts.  Most of the ladies in this group I have only met one or two other times.  Yet, they hugged me and encouraged me.  If you are in a similar situation and see another Shepherdess struggling, even if you don’t know her well, jump in to help protect her and build her up.

Let each of you look not only to his own interests,
but also to the interests of others. – Philippians 2:4 (ESV)

Shepherdess, remember to never stop learning, even if there is a risk of failure. Push forward with courage and surround yourself with your faith, and your flock to support you as you go!

“It is better to make a thousand failures than to be too cowardly to ever undertake anything.” – Clovis G. Chappell

Cara

Walking in security…

Do you walk in security?  Okay, maybe security is a vague word, how about, do you walk daily in confidence of yourself?  What’s the first thing that crossed your mind when thinking about that question?  If you are a regular reader of our blog, you might have thought in regards to keeping yourself and your flock safe, which is great if that’s what first crossed your mind!  There’s no wrong answer.  We’ll come back to that thought shortly…

Beyond learning and training together about self-protection, Jamie and I also work through daily devotions together to lift each other up and ensure that we stay sharp and strong in His word and our faith, as Proverbs 23:17 commands “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” (NIV).  We work through topics that are relevant to one or both of us to improve ourselves.  The latest topic we have gone through together is about insecurity.  Am I good enough (fill in the blank)… I would guess that many of you ladies struggle with insecurity currently or have struggled with insecurity at some point in your life.  It is a daily struggle for me personally.

Today’s devotion really struck a chord with me and put things in perspective that correlates our insecurity with self-protection.  It focused on the Armor of God passage in Ephesians 6:10-20.  If you are not familiar with the passage, take time to read the passage now before moving on.  I know it’s long, but bear with me…

How do you feel when you are insecure in yourself?  Do you walk in confidence around your family and friends or in public, or do you walk like you want to go unseen, not noticing others and hoping they won’t notice you?  Insecurity is the devil’s snare.  If we are not standing strong and confident in ourselves (because that’s how God sees us), Satan takes the opportunity to take hold of the insecurity we are grasping onto and grow it.  Do you ever notice if you are insecure, how your mind can continue to build that doubt and discouragement into epic proportions?  When that happens, we are pushing God and how He values us further away.  God commands us to protect ourselves with His armor (verses 14 – 18), and that it must be “daily attire” for us.  Each morning we need to consciously prepare ourselves for battle because we do not know when we will encounter doubt, and the devil is ALWAYS prepared for when that happens and will take advantage of us when it does if we don’t have God’s armor on and Him in focus.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Ephesians 6:12-13 (NIV)

So back to walking in confidence…  We may sound like a broken record by talking about being aware of your situation and being prepared for protecting yourself from being a victim of a crime, but it’s a similar struggle we face daily.  We stress to our students to walk confidently as predators typically do not prey on people who outwardly display confidence.  Don’t stumble by having your head down looking at your phone or being in the zone focusing on a specific task in public.  There is no shame in walking with your head up, with a purpose, looking people in the eye and intentionally people watching.  It needs to be a conscious, daily decision to put on our “armor” when it comes to self-protection.  When we let our guard down we become easy prey for criminals, just as if we turn our eyes from God, we become easy prey for Satan in our insecurity.

Shepherdess, you are fearfully and wonderfully made just as Psalm 139:14 states.  He knitted our very being together.  God wants us to be strong in the face of evil, whether it is allowing Satan to control our thoughts and feelings about ourself, or if it’s protecting ourselves against the physical evil of this world.  His strength is never ending, and if we trust Him and guard ourselves with His armor, tapping into His supply of strength, we can rest in His confidence and reflect the confidence He has in ourselves to others!

Cara