Recently I was reading a book that mentioned the process of shearing sheep. I am sure you are thinking, “oh wow, I really want to learn about sheep shearing” but hear me out. When sheep are sheared they don’t really like it. In fact, they try to run away. So the farmer has to catch them and immobilize them. The only way to immobilize a sheep is to rock it backward onto it’s tail. Then the sheep cannot move and they allow the farmer to sheer them. Shearing is necessary, but also dangerous. If the sheep go more than a year without being sheared they will grow agitated and get overheated. Right after the sheep is sheared they need protection from the elements for a few weeks until they grow enough wool back to protect themselves. It’s kind of like if you or I walked around naked outside in cold weather. 🙂
So, what does this have to do with me? In the Bible, Jesus is called the Good Shepherd and we are referred to as His sheep. I so wish this were not the case because overall sheep are dumb animals. They will eat poisonous plants if they find them and cannot fend for themselves in the wild. They will die without the shepherd. Reading about sheep shearing made me think of my own life. Sometimes I need to be sheared. Sometimes I get too much wool on me, the stuff I think I need, and Jesus has to come in and shear it off. I build up this protective layer around myself of stuff I think I need and what will make me happy and secure, but really it’s killing me. The money and position that I try to attain to keep up with the world’s standards will ultimately make me think I don’t need God. That I can do things on my own and take care of myself. But then as the “wool” grows thicker I realize it’s just making me sick and tired from trying to carry it all around with me. I cannot take care of myself. I need God to come and shear all that stuff away, often though, this is not something I willingly do. God has to tip me back onto my tail and immobilize me to get me to see what I have done to myself and that I need help. He does this through circumstances in our lives that force us to stop. Things like sickness or financial issues. It is only at those times when we realize that we need God and we cannot do this alone. Then God can sheer me down of all the stuff I don’t need. But He doesn’t leave me alone in my naked state. He stays beside me to protect me when I am vulnerable and it is then that He can give me back the things I really need.
We have been going through an adoption process for almost two years now. At first we were gung ho and all excited about it. We were ready to fundraise and see our daughter come home tomorrow. As the time went on we got to the place where we were doing good with fundraising and I for one, thought I had made all this happen and I could do it on my own. Look what I did, and look how good I am. People around you don’t help either because people are always telling you what good people you are for doing this and so on. Those comments are wonderful compliments, but if you take them to heart they can make you cocky. Why yes I am a good person, thanks for telling me. Round about this summer I thought I had it all together. We had fundraised all the money we needed and look how great we are. I am so glad I am not like those other families who need to beg for money to just make it at the last-minute. I might sound like a horrible person but I am just being honest. Heaven got silent. If you have been a Christian long enough you have seasons of time when you feel as though you are talking to the ceiling when you pray. It’s not because God moved away from you or isn’t listening but because you have moved away from Him. Pride was getting in my way. I realized this was happening but sometimes I am too stubborn to move. So, I stayed in my state of dryness for a while, hoping God would talk to me. He didn’t.
As we got closer to our adoption being finished I realized I needed to move toward God. When you move away from God you can allow Satan to have a field day with you. The closer we got to bringing our daughter home the more scared I got. I think scared is a natural reaction but it’s not one that God wants you to have. One day I was in service at church and we were talking about our daughter and her situation. She has some significant special needs. People were talking to me about her and asking me my favorite question of, ‘how are you going to do it?” I smiled and said we would figure it out but inside I was freaking out. As I stood in church during praise and worship I started to feel faint, my heart was racing and I was sweating. I knew I had to get out of there, I HAD to! I went to the bathroom and realized something was wrong. I got myself together and was able to go back into the service but I knew I had reached the end of my rope. I was having panic attacks. I have had these before, in college. I went through counseling for a year and was able to overcome them, but they can be debilitating. That was my bottom of the pit moment. I knew I needed to come back to where God was because I was not going to be able to do this without him, It’s too big and too scary. That week I prayed for peace and moved back to God and the panic has greatly improved. What it showed me was that I cannot do this alone. God is absolutely got to be my Shepard and lead me to still waters of peace for me to make it through bringing our daughter home. How are we going to do it? Truthfully, I don’t know and not on our own. God will show up and help. The God of angel armies goes before me and behind me and He will make a way. Right now I am sitting on my tail, allowing God to get rid of unneeded wool and letting Him lead me into what is next in our lives.