Where I live it is pretty dry right now. We have had no rain for weeks, and the temperatures vary from comfortable to insanely hot. The grasses on our farm are mostly cool season plants meaning they go dormant in the heat of summer. When dormant, the grass dries out and mellows to a rich, yellow gold in color. It looks dead even though it isn’t.
Though technically sleeping, this grass can be a formidable adversary. It is full of tiny seeds and small shards of dead plant matter. Some of these pieces are so small you don’t even know they are there…until they attach themselves to your socks.
Whether wearing sneakers or boots, these seeds have the amazing ability to leap up unto your leg or foot and maneuver themselves into the tiniest space between shoe, sock, and body part. Innocently, you walk forward and are instantly pricked with the miniscule seed or plant part. You know the sensation if you have ever pricked yourself with a needle.
You hobble to a stop, remove the shoe, and run your hand across the sock. You see a tiny piece of straw, hay, dead plant matter, whatever it may be, and flick it off. Confidently, you replace your shoe and continue on. Then it pricks you again. “What? I thought I removed that!” you think to yourself, and you repeat the above steps. This can go on for several sessions until in desperation you remove the sock, turn it inside out, and pluck and pick for all you’re worth across the offending area where the blasted stick was last felt.
If you are the lucky sort, that will do the trick. If not, the procedure will be repeated until you either take off the socks, put on a clean pair, and throw the compromised pair into the laundry (which may or may not work – sometimes they survive intact through both wash and dry cycles) or just plain give up and throw them out completely.
You may think I am joking, but, I assure you, I am not. It is a hazard for us here, and one which is repeated every summer.
Sometimes the smallest obstacle can become your greatest hurdle to overcome. How often do we set out to make a change or do something different only to be waylaid by one tiny little setback, one miniscule doubt in our mind that says we can’t do it, we will never succeed. That tiny little dead plant matter can totally ruin your day and your plans.
When we come across something like that, we need to handle it just like the seed in the sock. You root around, you look at it from all angles, you search diligently until the answer to that doubt, that fear, that insecurity can be found. No matter how much it pricks you and makes your life miserable you don’t stop searching for the way to remove it from your life.
Unfortunately, life can’t be thrown in the laundry to be cleaned and de-seeded. You have to muddle through with a soiled and messy life. But that is ok because you have the fortitude to stick it out, to find the way to clean your own socks of life’s dead matter and sticky seeds.
The obstacle may seem huge, but, just like the tiny seed in your sock, once you find it you will realize how small and insignificant it really is, and you will overcome it.
You are a Shieldmaiden. God has provided you with all you need within yourself to overcome all obstacles that rise up before you. He will be there with you. He has promised to never leave you or forsake you, and He always keeps His promises.
Just pull off those socks, find those seeds, and throw them back where they belong. Outside and out of your life.
When God finished His creation, He saw that all was good. Even today His creation is still good, though imperfect. You are also His creation. His goodness is within you, but it is up to you to find it and use it.
Exploring, living, learning, being. That is what Shieldmaidens of Shiloh is all about. Life isn’t static. It is a beautiful wild dance of abandon and thankfulness to a gracious and loving Creator. There is so much to this world. Complex, amazing wonders in the natural world. Beautiful, useful, and fun ideas and skills created by humanity. Tiny things. Giant things. New skills to learn. Exciting paths to follow. Doors to open. Adventures to undertake.
Each day we are alive is one more day to live with eyes wide open, ears attuned to all that is around us, senses aware and filled with the wonder of the amazing world we live in. We all need to live in our unique world; in the existence that is specifically created for us.
Authors and the wonderful worlds they create can help us navigate through the waters we are all moving across. They see things in creative and exuberant ways. They introduce us to ideas and emotions that may be new and unusual for us, but that is the beauty of it all. We all need to see things differently sometimes - to shake things up a bit. Sometimes turning the world upside down is what we need to break out of the mediocracy of our normal existences.
Non-fiction authors can also change the way we view the world. They can introduce us to better ways to live our lives. New ideas, old ideas reintroduced, unique ways to figure out everyday situations – all and more can be found in the pages of non-fiction treasures.
As a Shieldmaiden of Shiloh it is our duty and our pleasure to delve into all the wonders of the written word. Not all books are suitable for a child of God, but there are so many that are even in genres you might not have considered. Yes, the world is full of bad. Evil exists everywhere, but so does good. We are here to help you on your way to being a woman of discernment in this crazy, complex, and amazing world.
Life is a journey. You can slog through it struggling every step of the way or you can find the steps that allow you to dance in perfect rhythm and harmony to your own distinctive beat.
When each individual moves in her own unique and special way the whole of creation will once again move together in perfect time in an amazingly wonderful dance choreographed by the greatest Creator of all.
The first step begins with the written word, the creative process, and your connection to it.
Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds at meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious - the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you have learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into His most excellent harmonies.
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