We duck from the sun and clomp our feet on planks of wood in the barn, we city folk peeking in on the good old days. I wipe sweat from my forehead and pat down a yawn. My kids scatter to the corners. Little lover girl leans right in to kiss a goat on the cheek, makes its pupils flare. She plops another smooch on the cow’s nose and it bats its lashes. My little boy grabs a straw broom and dust pan and takes to the sawdust like a bona-fide farmhand.
At the edge of the pens where he sweeps, a brown lamb scuttles next to his mother, darting his head underneath her to nurse out a drop of drink. Forget the water trough-- he knows where the good stuff is. And the more he takes, the more she seems to make.
It’s a miracle like the widow of Zarapheth. The woman gave her little bit of oil and flour to the Lord, and her jars never once went empty the whole drought through. Give first, and in the right direction, and be filled.
Mama ewe knows where the good stuff is for her, too. She finds it in the cool of morning. When she wakes to the sight of the barn gate swung open, she saunters out to the field and takes in her morning manna. She feeds on it in the early hours so that all day long she can feed that lamb.
I wish I were more like her. Me? I burn the midnight oil, working at my hobbies, and in the morning I find myself clinging to dreams, trying to squeeze out one last drop of sleep instead of waking in time to meet the Lord before greeting my children.
He’s been known to walk the garden in the cool of day. He tosses out new mercies for breakfast. And for so long now, I’ve been hitting snooze.
But this time of year, as schedules change and as this season promises to give way to a new one, I find a chance to change, too. Next week, my firstborn starts Kindergarten and I've known for a while that I'd have to figure out how to lasso my nocturnal self to an earlier bedtime, to find a way to wake to the cool of day and fill up so I can give in the way I was meant to.
Just when I thought I was going to have to pull myself up by my own bootstraps, I heard whispers of women all over the country who nudge each other from sleep and point to the open field ready for grazing. I signed right up. There are other circles too, like women reading the book of wisdom alongside each other this month. Or maybe you have a few friends who spur each other on over the phone or in person. We all need like-minded ones to remind us that when we let Him nourish us in the morning, He keeps us going all day long.
Here, in the heat of another hundred-degree day, filled to plenty, the mama sheep bends her legs beneath her and lowers to the ground in front of an industrial sized fan. She draws a clump of grass up from storage and chews on it. Even in this afternoon break, hours after her groggy grazing, she continues to receive nourishment. The time-spent in the early morning multiplies itself as she ruminates.
Her needy lamb is right in tow. He curls at her side, bits of straw and hay flying from wool. And the Word comes back to me, “...In His arm He will gather the lambs and carry them in His bosom; He will gently lead the nursing ewes.”
We don’t have to run on the fumes of midnight oil. He cares for the caregiver, leads us to pasture to be filled. And I am determined this season to follow Him to the good stuff...even in the early morning. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I'm Darcy Wiley, a world-traveler turned stay-at-home mom who writes to preserve everyday mercies and wide-eyed wonder at Message in a Mason Jar. Come on over for a visit and join me in finding the loveliest things in the most ordinary containers. I'd love to chat on Twitter, too. Follow me @darcywileywords.