My {Dad} – The Shepherd

The other day, as I walked to Black Forest Academy, I noticed that the sheep were down the hill and along the fence.

I have often seen these sheep wandering the nearby hills… and the city-girl in me delights in quaintness of life now lived.

We aren’t so disillusioned with life through the fast-paced technology and feed-me-now imagery that we can’t also enjoy a few bleating and wandering sheep.

A sheep on my walk to BFA šŸ™‚

It made me think back to all the stories my dad has told me about his own life as a shepherd.

Yes, in addition to all of his other amazing professions and attributes… he is a shepherd.

And he’s taught me quite a bit about sheep. And what it takes to care for them.

So I thought about this post and debated telling this story… then today I arrived at my Moms in Prayer group. Sat down. Opened the Word. The leader said, “Today we will be celebrating God as our Shepherd.”

Isn’t He so ironic?

Confirmed that today I’d be writing about my shepherd father.

The sheep on a hill across from BFA… as I walk by šŸ™‚

Who breathes every waking moment the air of sheep.

Which, if you’ve passed by any, isn’t always that pleasant.

He’s spent endless waking hours looking over their safety, their provision, their comforts.

When one wanders away… he secures the others and goes after the lost one. Even one will send him on a search.

Because it matters to him.

They all do.

Because he wants to eat them? Use their wool? Drink their milk? Make cheese?

No.

Because sheep are kinda… well… dumb. And without a guide, the scatter and fall off of cliffs or get eaten by wolves. They haveĀ no survivals skills of their own.

And my dad is compassionate.

To see such a lost and hopeless creature and it’s depravity without a leader… has brought him alongside them. No matter the color of their wool, their gender, or how they can Ā provide for him.

He’s there.

Sometimes, he’s told me, a sheep that continues to wander requires a little extra attention. And he (along with other shepherds) will gently break the leg of a sheep Ā in order to keep it close for awhile. So it gets to know him, trust him, and love him. And ceases its wandering ways.

I love this image… of a shepherd risking his life for a lost sheep…

He’s also found that sheep do not like to be alone. So he keeps an entire flock… builds for them a community, if you will. Because they like it that way. They are not lone creatures.

He uses oil to heal them and protect them. After carefully inspecting each sheep, my dad applies oil to any bruise or scratch. He knows the insects that can literally pester one of his sheep toĀ death… and rubs its snout, head, and horns with oil as a bug repellant. Finally, he uses oil to slicken snake holes in order to prevent the traction of snakes hoping to dart out and bite a sheep.

Ah yes, he must be ever attentive to their surroundings… (hills or flat, cliffs nearby? water? predators?)

To their provision… (has the cold winter left them without food? Are there thorns among their food? Other dangers? Places for restĀ ?)

To their emotional and physical needs… (is there a pregnant sheep or one with young lambs to care for?Ā loneliness? illness?)

How like his sheep am I!

Offering little and needing much! My eyes see the grass in front of me, the sheep next to me… he sees the whole of the hills and the predators that are housed within. Sometimes moving me to a new pasture when I think the one I am in is just fine. Sometimes I follow willingly, sometime I need a nudge of his staff… and other times I need a broken leg.

If I am to be a sheep…. how grateful I am that he is my shepherd.

That he is my dad and I am his daughter.

That I am not hisĀ only daughter or child… that he can be your shepherd too…

This could have been a pic straight out of our local woods… <3

The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.

He makes me to lie down in green pastures;

He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul;

He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His nameā€™s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil; – for You are with me;

Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;

You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life;

and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever!

Psalm 23:1-6

To learn more about 31 Days in 2012 or view other 31 Dayers blogs, click here.

I’m spending 31 days writing about my confessions and the lessons {Dad} has taught me. This is day 30 of 31 Days in 2012.

My {Dad} – The Defense Attorney

About seven years ago, my family endured a tragedy that led to the need for attorneys.

The defense attorney on the case of our loved one, in the name of creating “doubt,” began to insinuateĀ preposterousĀ ideas.

Like, perhaps the person charged in the case didn’t do his crime alone… perhaps one of us had helped!

How this aided his plan of proving the innocence of the accused is beyond me. But he was promptly asked to leave our home. (Yes, he made this suggestion in my home)

And he failed.

His client was proven guilty, we were proven innocent (even though the prosecutor never even questioned our involvement, or charged us of anything).

In fact, in the end, the position of the defense attorney to stretch his imagination and createĀ fictitiousĀ situations because his job was to “win” (as opposed to discover and uphold truth) brought me to a sad reality about the state of attorneys.

Or at least that one.

Then I looked at my dad… who also happens to be a defense attorney.

And breathed relief to know that his work is based on justice, not “winning,” on upholding and fulfilling law, not finding ways around it, and doing what’s right for the sake of right… and not the paycheck.

And there’s one more difference.

My dad pleads the cause of his clients… then offers to take their penalty.

Yeah.

He doesn’t make it sounds less than it is. He doesn’t exaggerate what isn’t. He doesn’t ask for an exception for his clients.

He looks truth in the eye… and when it deserves prison time… he takes it on himself.

If the client will let him.

You should be in the courtroom when that happens!

Imagine this. A murderer standsĀ on trial. My dad is his lawyer. The man is guilty and it’s proven. The charge is given… along with his punishment. Death.

My dad looks the judge in the eye. Looks at his client, defeated.

“Your Honor… I’d like take the punishment on his behalf.”

The courtroom is silent.

Then it uproars.

The guilty man just stands there stunned. Could he let this honest attorney take his place? Could he live knowing that this innocent man had died for whatĀ heĀ had done? If he returned to his “previous” lifestyle… would any other lawyer ever make this same offer? He imagined only a place like Hell awaited the likes of himself… the gates were within view.

The judge returns the strong gaze of my dad.

“Are you sure about that?” he asks.

My dad nods. Smiles at the guilty man. Love for another human.

“Then son… you may give your life for his,” the judge answers… tears in his eyes.

The room explodes in confusion. This isn’t justice! This is… kindness gone too far! Generosity that certainly isn’t for the pride of the giver. And did the judge say son? What kind of soap-opera insanity is going on here?

But it’s not a soap-opera… though for some, it is insanity.

The bailiff steps forward. Handcuffs the hands of innocence. Opens the door of freedom for the guilty. Ushers my dad to his fate… his chosen fate. His fate of love for others. Self-less. Unheard of.

That’s my dad.

He’s taught me more than I could ever truly live… without his constant whispers. His hand in mine. His voice. His tender ways of walking me through life. Never alone.

Not even when he gives his life over for a criminal.

But you’ll have to find out how that works on Wednesday… my last day of this series of posts. Ā šŸ™‚

I know, right?

Do you need a defense attorney? If you were to stand before a judge… ruling over your thoughts, beliefs, actions… your treatment of others, your taxes, your driving record, every minute of raising your children, marriage, your work life, your honesty, integrity… every exam you ever took… where do you need a defense attorney?

I know a good one.

My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Fatherā€”Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

1 John 2:1-2

To learn more about 31 Days in 2012 or view other 31 Dayers blogs, click here.

I’m spending 31 days writing about my confessions and the lessons {Dad} has taught me. This is day 29 of 31 Days in 2012.

The Voice That Matters

Voice

I’m always told that “voice” is the most important part of a story.

To have a strong, catchy, resonant voice.

One that others will engage with and relate to.

That when aĀ manuscriptĀ is rejected… it is normally due to lack of this voice.

You need a stronger voice.

A bolder voice.

A voice with more personality.

Less like the others.

How much we focus on getting this voice just right… and we should.

But today I hear “voice” and others come to mind.

My dad’s.

My own.

How do I use my own voice? Am I aware of its influence in the tender lives around me?

Is it strong? bold? Need more personality?

No, the opposite is true. My voice must be controlled, loving, affectionate, purposeful. It must reach into the depths of little hearts and souls, beyond the behavior and circumstance. It must marry love and bear fruit in the words that pour through it.

My voice.

How often it has been used to praise and affirm… thenĀ chastiseĀ andĀ criticize.

Same voice…

And then I think of my dad’s voice.

A voice that has led me through every year of my life… with wisdom, discernment, guidance… yes, discipline when I needed it… but I needed it. A voice that always speaks through a filter of love.

His voice gets drowned in the static of life. His words get lost in the crowd of modern sense and popularity polls.

It is silenced by self.

The voice that loves me the most… is the one I sometimes quiet for the spectacle of others.

Which leave me empty, tired, and alone.

So I return to that first voice. The voice of my daddy… who so patiently waits for me while I take my side excursions.

Waits to speak again… all the truths of life, all the guidance I need for each moment, all comfort that can’t be found elsewhere.

And I want that voice to be my voice.

The words I repeat to be his words, his leadership to be my leadership… that my children and husband would be surrounded with a voice that filters through love.

That my voice would have one purpose… building up those around me.

The power of voice is strong.

In story. In life. In eternity.

Let’s use it with intention and thoughtfulness.

And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you if you heed the voice of the Lord your God.

Deuteronomy 28: 2

 

To learn more about 31 Days in 2012 or view other 31 Dayers blogs, click here.

I’m spending 31 days writing about my confessions and the lessons {Dad} has taught me. This is day 26 of 31 Days in 2012.

Five Minute Friday