“Momma… do you think that God only brings women into church leadership when a church is mature enough? In Romans, Paul writes to a deacon named Phoebe before he says says ‘Hi’ to anyone else… and a bunch of other women are named. But when he is addressing baby churches he seems to keep it very basic for them. Like He won’t give them women in leadership because they haven’t matured … they wouldn’t be able to handle it. Because Paul does refer to how he has to talk one way to some churches and more evolved to others…. that milk or meat bible verse, ya know…. So it sounds like everyone is right on some level….” This oldest of mine has been working on this paper for weeks. It seems every day he is surprised to find out another person thinks women are not fit for church leadership.
1 Corinthians 3:1-2The Voice (VOICE)
3 My brothers and sisters, I cannot address you as people who walk by the Spirit; I have to speak to you as people who tend to think in merely human terms, as spiritual infants in the Anointed One. 2 I nursed you with milk, as a mother would feed her baby, because you were not, and still are not, developed enough to digest complex spiritual food.
“what do you mean….’everyone is right’? I have read the book he is reading… and albeit it is amazing… I know that is not in there.
“Well the churches which think women shouldn’t be in leadership, because of the verse in Timothy…(which by the way Timothy was sent to clean up a big immature church mess),.. are just aware of how much maturity exists in their body. When they have grown past the milk stage and are eating spiritual meat, maybe then God gives them women in leadership. Because clearly Paul is not only friends with but works shoulder to shoulder with women church leaders. Sort of like He made Adam first… and when Adam was ready He brought Eve. Men pursue a wife…. but the idea is that you don’t get a wife until you are more mature …,” he laughed rolling his eyes, “I mean the idea is to be more mature. So churches who are given women in leadership are just places where they have a closer idea of what their identity is in God… like God sees us all and loves us all… but humans get hung up on stuff like ‘men seem stronger and better leaders’… but a more mature Christian could receive from wherever the Spirit and the Presence of God is moving… man pastor … woman pastor whatever. So it can be that every one is right…. if a male pastor is the only thing you can receive from because you aren’t ‘there’ yet, that’s okay as long as you are evolving. But it’s still a dumb idea to think that somehow men are the only ones who can lead when the Bible is full of women leaders…. but if it’s just based on the maturity of the church itself, that makes more sense. Because when they have matured and can handle listening to women and not hung up on a pastor being a ‘she’… and more just inspired by the Jesus moving through her then they will also be to a place where they can handle bigger spiritual concepts. Like when they aren’t thinking he or she… just about the love of Jesus.”
I came home from church and there was a moaning. No one could hear it but me. Over the kids playing baseball in the backyard… over the clanking of pots and pans as we made Sunday Dinner… a playlist of cheesy 90’s music humming along… I could hear it. Nearly an hour later as I washed the asparagus at the kitchen sink… I heard it again. This time it lined up with Rose stretching her head back and lifting her lip up in a strain. Her eyes looked like every mammal ever in labor. I walked out and sure enough… two feet, a little muzzle and a concerning little tongue hung out of the business end of Rose. As I walked towards her she got up and hid behind the hay rack. Again I tried to tap into the four seasons of Lambing Live UK… I called for my son Zim. He helped with Agate’s lambs and I was still in my skirt and jewelry from church, I needed help! Rose, who normally doesn’t ‘connect’ much looked me straight in the eyes, begging me. The lolling tongue of her lamb sort of creeped me out…so I grabbed the little feet and just held them through her pushes. Rose leaned her head on Zim and strained…. she looked back at me and yelled… I held on. Then with one more push out the little ram slid…. with his weird little tongue hanging out off to one side. Rose didn’t make the sounds the other mothers did… and behind us all the other mothers wanted to take her wet newborn. We were still out in the barnyard… but it was a beautiful sun streaming 70degree day. It took her awhile to realize this baby was hers and not like all the other newly born lambs who just annoy her. Once she started to call to him and begin to lick him… I had a bit of hope for them. People started to show up for Sunday Dinner… and there I stood in church clothes and barn boots still sort of dripping with amniotic fluids, waiting for paper towels.
“What do you want me to do with these potatoes? I will just steam the asparagus,” Ashley called out through the open window. Seamlessly she took up where I had left off in the kitchen, as she could see I wasn’t really ready for food prep.
I called for my daughters… and they helped us rodeo just Rose and her new baby into the barn…. or rather they helped us rodeo all the other lambs and sheep away from the barn so Rose could get through the fray. Once tucked into our hay stall… I weighed him and at 9lbs and 7 ounces he was just 3ounces more than Zim was when he was born.
As everyone showed up for Sunday Dinner… the new lamb was the topic of conversation. Happily they are doing well. This little guy was the last lamb for us this year. He is much smarter than his mother and so much braver. Most of all Sylvs loves the new BabyBaa to add to her barn chores.
Flipping through the channels a serious blonde blurts… “seven children and two adults found dead in a local home… it is thought that carbon monoxide is the culprit…”I glance at our detector.
I repeat the news commercial to the man who survived it with me as he walks in and places our evening snacks on the table. He converted me long ago to his ways of snacks before bed. “So what do you wanna watch?” …
The next morning I listen to a message from a friend, “Hey friend… I have a question to ask you… so put this in your hopper and let me know what you think…….” I don’t remember what she asked me… I just remember that one word…
For whatever reason when it all happened … when we four of ten could have died… I didn’t process it much. Back when the hopper caught on fire and smoldered and filled our bedroom with poison. Back when He called me three times, “Get up and check your fireplace”. Back when our six other kids were two hours shy of being made orphans. Perhaps it was too much back then when it happened… but now safely away from the event… many mornings we have since awoken safely…
But that other family didn’t wake up.
They went to sleep and never woke up the next day.
I remembered that poisoned brain foggy feeling from that night.
I remembered snuggling in close with my baby and that toxic room.
I remember so crazy clearly Him speaking those three times…
Tears poured down my face and it hit me…
As timing would have it, in walked that same man who survived that terrible night with me… with me and my two babies… I grabbed him and he smelled of guitar wood and stain, “They all died…they didn’t get to do all the things they wanted. Did they go to sleep and think they could fix things tomorrow? They thought they had time to fulfill their dreams. Did they make love or did they think they still had time? Did the kids go to bed stressed out about tests or did they fall asleep knowing how loved they were? They had so many things they wanted to do. They all thought they had tomorrow. They have no more tomorrows! Did they go to bed holding hands? So many dreams were never fulfilled! They went to sleep and never woke up!” Most of that was squeaky and blubbery and he tried to piece it together.
“It is just so sad, ” I whispered. “It could have been us…only worse because our other kids would have found us!”
So many toxic things we have been saved from…
So many toxic rooms we have been taken out of ….
So many poisonous environments He has called us out of….
Not just for us…
for our futures …
for our kids …
I am thankful all over again. Maybe even moreso. Now with a clear head and no residual haze lingering. Now that we have a carbon monoxide detector in our bedroom. Now that all our wills and paperwork are in order. Now that I know He can call through the fumes… and that He will keep calling me…
In all the beautiful Kingdom that blew through here on Sunday I forgot to mention…. these two cute little dorks were born this past Saturday. Two strong little girls! So it was a cracker jack weekend. My son Zim has a way with calming the strongest of animals… so when he asked if he could go out with me for the birth I said, “sure but wear snow pants it’ll be messy”. Agate is a discount sheep… and albeit she makes a great milk…she is not great to deal with…a bit mean and dumb as a rock…God bless her and all that (ahem). So bringing Zim was a good idea…. he held Agate and when the second baby came out he helped dry and run for more towels. My favorite quote of the morning was, “You know I like lambing just fine… but when I was born upstairs I didn’t have to see all that jazz,” he said as he swung a thumb in the direction of the afterbirth.
In other news my right hand helper in the barn is smiling and well again , as is the baby! So all the sheep are back to being serenaded as they dive into grain buckets. This girl can climb a fence or fling a flake of hay or round up a new lamb for shots like she’s been doing it her whole life…all with a smile and a song… and God help us all , a seemingly endless supply of new boots.
So with almost all the lambs safely born (still have one at the end of April) and four out of five being girls which in the dairy world equates to a great blessing!and… All of my babies are finally over that retched belly bug. and…. We are currently through only half of our hay storage…that is a giant Hallelujah! Then as if all that blessing wasn’t enough… I had that out pouring of love on Sunday… We are feeling pretty charged and thankful around here!
He is so good.
“We have something for you… It’s set up in the other room,” my very dearest friend Jess told me. I must have looked terrified because she immediately put her hand on my arm, “It’s okay, ” she laughed…”It’s really good.”
As I came around the corner with all of Sunday Dinner trailing behind me…” We put it out on Facebook ,to anyone who has come to Sunday Dinner in all these years… to send you cards of thanks… You both have done so much… we just want you to see a glimmer of how thankful people are for all that you do. ” My studio was packed with gifts. I looked around with my eyes brimming with tears and my mouth laughing, “So crazy… this is so crazy.”
To feel my heart swell…
To feel the warmth pouring out of my studio….
To read the cards from voices from all over…
To see my HusBen shake his head and his eyes liquify….
I burst out in a blubbery cry, “A trash can! Whoever did this, knows us! ” Our trashcan has been broke for a long while and I never think to replace it… You would have to be the type to come to Sunday Dinner and see that need and to fill it…”This is so crazy…”
To know that people love like this…. I am a puddle.
I just make food.
We just open our home.
We love these people… but still… This is all so crazy.
The cards with the stories…
The delicious treats….
The visions and prophetic words…
The hand felted pillow from an amazing artist… I know that took so much love and time…
The 1920 kids who went out and posed for a hilarious picture… I love it so much I cried.
To the people who sent dishtowels! I LOVE IT! We are practically out of the two huge baskets of dishtowels… who knows where they go… and now they have been replenished!
For the wooden declaration of what He told you about me… I mean… I can’t… I felt my heart swell into my throat with love.
For these collections of items that made you think of us… I love more than ever.
For my dear friend who is one of the queens of amazing ideas … I can’t believe all of this… But I choose to override everything I was taught about people and to believe..
Because people are so good.
You all are so good.
We are so thankful.
You have all taught us so much
I can’t finish a sentence…
It’s all just so crazy….
Curled up in a ball on the chair she barely looked up when I told her we were going to go out and plant the peas… “It’s St. Patrick’s Day…. It’s tradition.” These little girls are still so sick…and little Noa has lost her smile and gained a furrowed brow. She shook her head and curled back up. In all my years of parenting and in all eight kids I have never seen such a slow moving relentless stomach virus as this.
I begged her…. she told me to go on and she would water them in a few days.
I looked at my husBen… and he scooped her up promising her that a good dose of sunshine would take her mind off of her belly. We zipped winter coats over cozy pants and pjs… and released ourselves to the sixty degree but very windy day. Excuse the homelessness look of the children… they have had a tough week… and I dare say we have had it almost as bad while taking care of them.
So that is how we planted hope. Hope that soon the sixty degree days will be more frequent. Hope that someday these babies will feel better. Hope that our garden will grow. Then filled with this same hope and most surely not wanting to go back in “that house”… we raked the yard and cleaned up the messy remains of last years garden.
In other news… the triplet lambs are doing wonderfully! They have each gained four whopping pounds per lamb in their first week! Today is the ten day mark and all is well! 80% of all lambs that will die… will die within the first ten days… so I feel like I can name them. Secretly I have named the first one… Elma. She is the friendliest. Perhaps it’s because she knows I brought her back from the grey blue grip of death… or maybe it’s because she is the littlest… either way I have let it slip a few times when I pick her up to feel for a full stomach….which is always warm and full.