Stories of life on our farm in Northwest Georgia where every day is an adventure in this beautiful spot that God has entrusted to our stewardship.

Monday, October 7, 2013

In Christ Alone

The past week or so has been . . . busy hectic, for lack of a better word.  We've had a lot going on:
  • Our roof was replaced to the accompaniment of plenty of hammering, lots of coming and going, and a few roofing nails still turning up in odd places.
  • Our hay barn got new siding on the front and back--more comings and goings and hammering.
  • We purchased a 4 month old steer that I was supposed to pick up today.  (Keep reading . . .)
  • I've been working on another huge development to be revealed in a future post.  Lots of internet research, emailing, phone calling, etc.
  • We had kids and grandkids here overnight Friday and I kept the older two most of the day Saturday. 
  • Herb attended a two-day counseling course all day Friday and Saturday.
  • Herb's counseling internship has continued during the week along with full-time classes.
  • Our church had a potluck dinner Sunday.  That means something planned and prepared ahead of time, ready to take to church hot--not a last minute, "Hmm, what shall we eat tonight?"
  • At the end of this week we'll make a 10-12 hour trip to Kentucky to pick up our new cow, Ebony, and get home in time to have company the next night.

Those are all good things.  Busy, but Good.  Then there's Busy and Good, but Hard.  For the past month, I have been preoccupied with a friend and a family in great need.  Helping a team of others to bear their burdens has been a blessing, albeit one that often leaves the heart and mind weighted down and the body weary.  I believe the Apostle Paul meant it literally when he encouraged us to "bear one another's burdens."  Burdens, whether our own or someone else's, are heavy and hard to bear.  That's why we call them "burdens."

The photo above is of a place where we laughed and shared moments of joy with these friends in a happier time.  I dug it out to remind me of that time because right now this all feels very intense, and my heart is extremely heavy.  Our pastor Cal preached on worry two weeks ago, from the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus told his followers not to worry (Matthew 6:25-34).  It's easier said than done, as our pastor so eloquently and humorously told us.  I'm finding that out right now, again.

Yesterday at church we sang "In Christ Alone," by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend.  Here are the lyrics:

"In Christ Alone"

In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song;
this Cornerstone, this solid Ground,
firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
when fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my All in All,
here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone! who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones he came to save:
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied -
For every sin on Him was laid;
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain:
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave he rose again!
And as He stands in victory
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine -
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life's first cry to final breath.
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand.

Here's a beautiful rendition of the song that I found on YouTube.  I listened to several versions, trying to decide which one to use.  This one gave me chills and then brought me to tears on the last verse, so here it is.  Sunday as I listened to the last chorus (in bold type above), it struck me that this is the perfect promise to claim for our friend!  And my heart was lifted up.

Then we got home Sunday afternoon after the church dinner, and Herb went out to hitch up the trailer so I could pick up the new steer in Tennessee today.  This is what he found.  We're not Monk, but it sure looked to us like the tire had been slashed.  It's obvious Herb could not have driven home with it like that, so it must have happened in the driveway Saturday night, probably in the wee hours of Sunday morning when Hero barked loudly and halfway woke Herb up.

Misty and I watched Herb put the spare on the truck.  Then I went in to email the steer's owners that I wouldn't be going anywhere with the trailer on Monday, how about Tuesday after Herb bought a new tire?

We spent some time puzzling over who would do such a thing, and why?  And when?  And why just Herb's truck, why not the cars of others on our road, why not my Doodad sitting right in front of the house?  Of course there were no answers.  Just more questions.  And worries.  What about the Doodad?  What about the animals?  If someone would commit such a violent act, might they hurt our dogs or horses or cows or . . .  What about me home alone so often?

"Don't worry about these things!"  That's what Jesus said.  That's what Pastor Cal said.  I wish I could say I didn't worry last night.  But I did.  And when I heard footsteps on the front porch this morning, I jumped.  But it was just Kara.  Of course it was!  Tire slashers don't come walking up to your front door.

As I went outside to do some chores, drifts of beautiful mist floated past me down the hill.

Out back a bright blue sky, fluffy clouds and a hint of fall colors brightened the morning, and a bluebird perched on the phone wire across the pasture.  Every bluebird makes me think, "The bluebird of happiness."  I began to feel a tiny bit happier.

In the barnyard, raindrops sparkled like so many diamonds dangling from every fence wire.

Siobhan and Macree came nicely on their leads to wait for the vet in the barnyard.  I left them peacefully cleaning up their breakfast with some help from the ducks.

As I walked back to the house, Misty frolicked around me, happy to have company on this cool fall morning.  And I started to sing, "No power of hell, no scheme of man, Can ever pluck me from His hand; Till He returns or calls me home, Here in the power of Christ I'll stand."

It struck me then that this is the perfect promise to claim for ourselves! 

I'm sure I'm not done worrying, about our friend or about us.  I can't really say I feel happy.  But I can say I felt joyful today.  

Joy is that enormous thing that swelled up in my heart as I listened to "In Christ Alone," that choked me and made tears pour from my eyes even as I smiled. 

"In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song;
this Cornerstone, this solid Ground,
firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
when fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my All in All,
here in the love of Christ I stand."

My hope.  My light.  My strength.  My song.  My Comforter.  My All in All.  What heights of love, what depths of peace.  In Christ alone.


  1. Hugs!! ♥ ♥ ♥

    1. Thank you, Barbara! Back at you! (I forgot how to make the hearts!)

  2. Susan that is troubling that someone would slice your tire back at your farm in the country. Did Herb cut someone off on the highway on the way home? If the dogs start barking again in the middle of the night I would check it out this time with a shot gun in hand. Hope you don't have no more trouble and hope things workout for the best with your friends and what troubling them.

    1. Gordon, no, Herb didn't cut anyone off, at least not that he's aware of. But it is troubling because it makes us wonder what on earth could drive someone to do something like that? It tends to make one think that someone's thought processes aren't quite normal, and that in itself is troubling. Good point about the shotgun! I'm also calling an electrician to fix the motion-sensitive spotlight above the parking area! Light tends to discourage the doing of deeds done sneakily in the dark!

      Thank you for your kind thoughts for our friend. It will be a long road. We were told that most people don't have such a big support group, so at least our friend will have many friends walking that road with them.


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