When City folks clean the coop it looks a little different than one might think.
I scoop up the hay off the ground where our chickens now live with a snow shovel, pretty much because I have no idea what else to use.
I've never cleaned a coop in my life, and I've got four kids standing by my side holding the trash bags that we grabbed from under the kitchen sink before we headed down our dirt road to the barn.
We're from the beach, remember?
And when I put the first giant scoop of hay in the bag some falls on the Spunky girl's shoe and she gasps, " MOM! You got my shoe all dirty!"
I smile big!
"Sorry about that, Love."
She brushes off her shoe and shrugs her shoulders.
"It's okay, Mom. It's okay if we get a little dirty. We're still learning to be the best kind of princess!"
And I think about it for a minute, then I too, remember that story, the one they got under the tree last Christmas.
"It's hearts that are willing TO SERVE that make a true princess, yes?" I ask it out loud and they know it to be true.
The Dancing girl pipes in,
"It's okay Mama, we can just throw our dresses in the wash when we're done with this stinky job."
I smile again and affirm her thoughts.
As I put more hay into each bag, the dust flares up and sometimes it's hard to breath. So the dancing girl comes up with a plan, and we all get on board.
"Eyes shut, head up, hold your breath."
When I look down, I find all three treasures holding the bag. Their faces are scrunched, their eyes are shut tight and all three are facing heavenward.
Three little folks clumped together in the posture of hope.
I'm going through the book of James with the lovely Beth.
In the coop with treasures looking up, I found myself once again thinking about my faith. I've been longing for some perspective, fervently asking that my thoughts would shift from all these worldly things, and instead be completely engulfed by the things that really matter.
If I really followed Christ with my whole being, it might just look like a whole new kind of beautiful? I might find myself covered in hay and dried up chicken poop, but with my heart looking upward in a continual posture of hope, might I be glowing with His glory as I cheerfully choose to be His humble servant?
And in thinking about the risks of serving such a God as we do under this farmhouse roof, Beth threw out these thoughts on what did happen to so many of Jesus' disciples, and on what we can only hope might unfold in our own lives, this morning as I read...
"We may be captured, but we may be rescued.
We may see horrors, but we may see wonders.
We may lose our heads, but we cannot lose our souls.
The stakes are up.
The fire is lit.
It's time to live like those who know they cannot die."
How will we ever be able to know Him in all glory if we aren't willing to live like we cannot die?
As I read The Word, I can hardly fathom some of the things that the most godly of men and women went through. And in the same breath I find myself completely envious of the ways that these very same folks have seen and experienced their Savior.
If I really want to see Him, I mean REALLY see Him, Know Him, in the absolute most intimate of ways...
I might be captured,
I might see horrors,
I might even lose my head,
But I'm getting close to being convinced that the only real way to fully live, is to live like those who know they cannot die.
All this, that we might be rescued,
that we might see wonders,
that we might live in ridiculous confidence that our souls can NEVER be lost.
I think I'll ask my non Christian neighbors to come to dinner this week.
Maybe I can make them some spaghetti and ask them how their hearts are doing.
After all, I've got absolutely nothing to lose.