Helping in the Harvest
FYI- For Your Information, this is the first time I have ever blogged anything. I know, I'm getting old...so please bear with me...
(Philippians 4:4-8) 'Don't Be Anxious About Anything, Instead Pray About Everything'
"4Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."
To Anyone and Everyone who reads this blog, it is my hope and prayer that you would be encouraged and find comfort in God's everlasting love, thanks to His amazing grace through His Son Jesus!
God has been teaching me to not be anxious about anything, including finding a job. I have been hunting and waiting on Him to provide for my every need, which is nothing new; after all, there's a time for every season under Heaven (Ecclesiastes 3) 'A Time for Everything':
"1 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
2 a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot...
3 a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
6 a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.
9 What does the worker gain from his toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on men. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. 13 That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil—this is the gift of God. 14 I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him.
15 Whatever is has already been, and what will be has been before; and God will call the past to account.
16 And I saw something else under the sun: In the place of judgment—wickedness was there, in the place of justice—wickedness was there.
17 I thought in my heart, "God will bring to judgment both the righteous and the wicked, for there will be a time for every activity, a time for every deed."
18 I also thought, "As for men, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals. 19 Man's fate is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath; man has no advantage over the animal. Everything is meaningless. 20 All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return. 21 Who knows if the spirit of man rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?"
22 So I saw that there is nothing better for a man than to enjoy his work, because that is his lot. For who can bring him to see what will happen after him?"
Honestly, I don't know how often people think about what will happen after they die; yet, on account of having 13 surgeries, 12 physical ones in my life time so far, the first at age three, and the most recent just three summers ago, I have been wondering what people will do after I die and return to the dust. Growing up on a dairy farm for 20 out of the past 24 years of my life, I have watched how each season under Heaven is crucial. Spring is the time when my dad and my two brother's generally plow up the soil and plant the seeds that they want to grow over the summer, in hopes of bringing in the harvest in the fall. Many times there have been seeds that were sown that didn't grow, due to lack of rain, too much sun, or even too much rain, along with wind causing crop damage, when the plants don't have deep enough roots to keep them stable. Similarly so, I have come to see how God's planting, watering, and harvest of human souls is very similar to that of earthly farmers.
As a child, I recall hearing the stories of the Bible and wondering what all the parables meant. Over time, I was blessed with the hands-on education on my parent's farm, getting to help my great grandparents, grandparents, and parents work in the fields and gardens sowing and reaping multiple crops. Interestingly enough, I didn't realize at the time that God had planted a seed in my heart. This was a seed of love, which He was watering and cultivating through the multiple hospital visits I had throughout my lifetime, along with other trials that made me wonder when I would die. Each time I returned back to the farm, I questioned God and the many stories I heard from my Sunday School teachers, since I did not know when God would decide to call me Home for good, to Heaven. Mulitple people sent me cards of encouragement when I was physically sick, some of you who are reading this blog right now even. I can't thank you enough for all your prayers and the Bible verses that you wrote inside the cards, they were truly water to my soul!
During the times I was healed physically, my soul still remained sick from a spiritual perspective. Since I didn't understand why the things happened to me I questioned God and kept asking, "Why me? What did I do to deserve this? Would other people be better off if I were dead? What is my purpose in life? Where are we going?" All in all, the only place that I could find answers to my questions was the Bible, and from people who were part of our church and other churches, all who are part of God's Church Body as a whole. Yet, my soul was very unstable throughout the storms of life, due to the fact that my roots had not grown very deep into the Word of God. Sure, I knew the stories and had heard them repeated over and over every Sunday; however, I didn't know how to grow deeper on my walk/journey/adventure with God every day of the week. Needless to say, "God allows(ed) all things to happen for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His will" (Romans 8:28). At the time, I didn't understand this truth when I was going through the trials, which included:
1) an inguinal hernia at age three
2) a femoral hernia at age four
3,4,5) rhabdomyoscaroma/a type of cancer in my left jaw bone at age five, followed by radiation, the initial surgery to remove as much of what they could of the cancer tumor, a surgery to put a central line in/also called a port these days, and chemotherapy to follow up in means of trying to kill the rest of the cancer... A random manager in a Hardees asked my mom if he could lay hands on me and pray for God to heal me, which became answered prayers soon after; and another surgery to remove my central line that my mom had to remember to change the dressing and flush with heparin everyday so the blood wouldn't back up
*I was hospitalized with chicken pox's since my immune system was too weak from the chemo
*Next I had spinal meningitis and encephalitis at age ten and was hospitalized again
6) then another surgery for what was a possible hernia but was just a cyst when I was in junior high
7,8,9) the following three reconstructive surgeries my senior year in high school which were done out of selfish motives
*I was bit by a rabid skunk (a skunk with rabies) the summer after I graduated
10) open heart surgery, in which God took out my heart of stone and gave me a heart like His heart; I was 'Born Again' 9/20/03
11) an unexpected surgery my first year of college due to my hip bone fusing with my rib bone both of which were used to rebuild my left jaw bone
12) another similar surgery a year and a half later when the rib bone grew up around the metal fosa that had been put in and fused together once more
13) the most recent was a precautionary surgery to make sure the golfball sized lump was not cancer that was discovered upon getting kicked in my sternum by a cow the first couple weeks after my parents' put in a milking parlor the summer of 2006
***As you can read for yourself, I felt kind of like Job out of the Bible, and God responded in a similar sense to me like He did to Job the first fall when I went off to college at the University of Iowa in 2003. On account of being told, 'if I lived through all the research and experimental things I had done on me at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC) I would have full paid tuition at the University of Iowa, so I started there, only to have God move me back to NE Iowa two years later. Following my second un-expected surgery, my parents thought it would be best if I moved back home/to the farm so they could monitor my jaw better, in case I would need a third surgery. Therefore, I opted to attend the Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) the fall of 2005 - spring of 2007.
Moving back to Northeast Iowa, I saw my life through a new light, which was thanks to God's perfect timing of teaching me more about the two greatest commandments found in three out of the four Gospels, (Matthew 22:37-39), (Mark 12:30-31), (Luke 10:27):
"Jesus answered: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"
No one had truly taught me how to love my neighbor, like Jesus modeled for us when He walked on the earth calling His followers, to follow Him and He will make us fishers of men (Matthew 4:19). God used Sabina Huseyinova, an exchange student who stayed with my family my senior year in high school (from Turkmenistan, a country by the Caspian Sea), and God showed me that I needed to not only look out for my needs but the needs of others. He showed me what it feels like to be a foreigner in this land, as I went off to college and felt like a foreigner myself, not knowing people, where I should go, what I should do in a new place. Everyone on earth is our neighbor, and as Christians we are called to love our neighbors as ourselves, because we know where we have come from and where we are going when we die physically. Consequently, this is why I feel as though God has called me back to Northeast Iowa to love people like Jesus first loved us.
It is my prayer that God will continue to plant His seeds of love in people's hearts and water them, by pouring out His Holy Spirit on all His Children, who know Jesus as our Savior, Redeemer and Best Friend. As we come to the source of Living Water, Jesus, we can drink and eat our daily bread, which is God's food found in His Word. His desire is for us to grow up into maturity, as we are transformed by the renewing of our minds in His Word, so we can be harvested for eternity when Jesus returns to take all His followers Home to Heavens
(Matthew 9:37 & Luke 10:2) 'Jesus Told Us To Ask/Pray For More Workers To Be Sent Out Into His Harvest Field'
"He told them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field."
All of you are in my prayers; and if you have any questions, comments, or would like to help in the harvest if you are not already, please contact me or anyone else on the www.decorahsummerproject.com website, God Bless!
Resting In His Love,
406 E. Main St.
Decorah, IA 52101