I’ll just let the photos do most of the talking this time…
For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. —Colossians 1:16
I’m a week and a half past surgery and as much as I want to move beyond writing or sharing about this chapter in my life, I’m not able to just yet because it’s not quite over. God is still providing teachable moments in this and I feel like it’s not for me to keep for (only) my own growth in faith.
For those who are reading this and missed my post a few weeks ago, I’ll do a quick update. The beginning of September I was diagnosed with stage one breast cancer. Appointments and treatment plans have moved along quickly and I’m now on the other side of surgery.
A friend asked me recently how I was feeling and I explained, “I’m ready to be past surgery limitations and be on the go but my body is so achy from some doctor restrictions that are in place…” After I finished my usual, overextended words she quickly drew up her own simple words, “so you’re feeling like you’re energy is back, but your strength isn’t?!”
“Exactly!!” …couldn’t have said it better myself.
And her words are spot on. My energy is there. I’m ready to lift some weights again, get back over to the nursing home to do hair, and take advantage (with a bike ride) of these 70 degree days we’re enjoying here in Nebraska currently.
But with my doctor’s orders (ten pound weight and range of motion restrictions) in place and his timeline in respect—the time is not yet.
I’m gonna give you a quick visual and you can thank me later for the image and laugh! …One of my most important restrictions is that I’m supposed to keep my arms tucked close to my body, no reaching out to the sides.
My doctor, and he’s hilarious, demonstrated how I should keep my arm movements within a limited range. Upon showing and explaining this to my husband to help get the point across of the importance the two of them then concluded that “I need to be using T-Rex arms!!”
So I’ve kept T-Rex arms in mind as I’ve went about my days…did you know you can actually sweep the house using T-Rex arms? Me neither but I learned that!!
Let me let you in on a little secret.
T-Rex arms are not natural. They make a person feel confined. They also leave you feeling stiff and sore from the waist up. Especially after a full night’s sleep in that position.
There’s a reason God allows chicken wing movements. It feels freeing and refreshing! And not so constrained.
Chicken wings aren’t in my care plan just yet though—therefore T-Rex arms it is.
It’s ironic to me just how symbolic this is of the Christian walk.
Chicken wings are like those beautiful moments in life where things feel on track. Our relationships are healthy and whole. Our jobs are appreciated and secure. Our bodies are nourished and thriving. Our faith is strong and vibrant. We feel we can confidently stretch and strut over God’s good blessings.
On the other hand, there are times in our life when our hope spirals out of control as we allow fickle, negative feelings to take root. Our prayers go up but sometimes we wrongly deem them as unnoticed. We feel tied down by undesired wrongs that have happened in our life and we’re just waiting to be released from the burden and trials. We feel trapped or restricted.
By analogy this describes T-Rex arms.
Here’s the solid truth though, over any and all things—God gives us restrictions for our own good and within His perfect timing He leads us to the other side of adversity.
For some of us that heavy load may not be lifted until we’re Heaven-bound. Likewise, for all of us, perfection in every single area and detail will come to fruition when we’re Heaven-bound as well.
The wonderful thing is, however, there’s taming available even in the midst of T-Rex arms…
Consider the way the arms are tucked in close at the sides, no flailing allowed. Now picture Jesus as He comes at your side, wrapping His caring arms around you. You’ve ached for so long that His gentle touch feels welcomed and comforting, merciful and grace-filled. His care is more than enough to sustain. No matter your mindset, His love is humbly fiercer than the pain. His steadfastness eases the harsh mentality. It’s His loyalty that calms the rigid edges.
No doubt, He is more than powerful enough to settle even the unruliest of all T-Rex’s.
Hope in Jesus is key.
And the beautiful thing is—hope is held in our hearts not our arms—whether we’re in a place relating to T-Rex arms…or chicken wings…
A few months ago a neighbor had staked down a rather peculiar sign in her always pristine front yard, it read:
‘Any chicken found in my yard will be dead meat’
Y’all I wish I had a picture of this but I guess I was too “chicken” to take one, nevertheless you get the idea.
The sign only stayed up a very short while and then it was replaced by warmer days, green grass, and this woman’s crazy mowing obsession.
These houses out where we live are part of a subdivision located outside of town. My husband explains it like we live in a pasture which I would concur. Quite a few people own chickens, some have goats, and there’s even a family with a cow or two at times.
At the beginning of this month, early on a Sunday morning, Nathan and I woke up to gun shots and sprung out of bed to see what the ruckus was. Farm animals out here are normal but gun shots right out in the residential area aren’t at all.
So we’re peering out our windows and much to our surprise we spot a group of chickens on the loose splashing around in the sprinklers of one neighbor’s yard and we’re oohing and ahhing for a second because it was cute and comical but still trying to figure out the gun shots.
I look over to the next neighbor’s property (the one who had a chicken slayer sign up a few months before) and wouldn’t you know there was a large cluster of what appeared to be white feathers on the far south end of her yard. Nathan ran and grabbed a scope from out of his gun safe and like a creep he’s spying out our front window, zeroing in on the lump of white and confirms…a fresh poultry kill…
Chicken dinner anyone?
Come to find out, apparently this woman with the insanely well kept yard had an issue with a nearby neighbor (who owns free range chickens minus a white one now) and was not impressed when those chickens would show up at her place and this day she took vengeance.
She actually ended up leaving the dead chicken on her yard for the next two days before chucking it onto its original owner’s driveway. On top of that, immediately after the kill, she created a trap system in the middle of her yard which consisted of a plastic dome container that was propped up and then had a rope connected to it and that rope lead right into the front door of her house. I guess if another chicken was brave enough to step foot into her lawn and happened to make it’s way under the trap she’d pull the rope and the chicken would be trapped inside the dome. More humane than meeting it’s uneven match with a gun I suppose.
Although I don’t agree with how she handled the situation, I’ve gotta give her a little credit because she did after all give a forewarning with the sign..
And here’s where I want to point us to Jesus.
When we read God’s word, all throughout we find truth, promises, hope, grace, mercy, and even forewarnings. The Bible represents all these things.
Pieces of scripture warn us of the consequences and fate of not following Jesus and when we choose to believe and follow then we experience the blessings and joy of a relationship with Him, plus an eternity spent in Heaven.
The deal with my neighbor has brought about some laughs. I joked with my son one day, “hey I dare you to run over and set off the trap unless you’re too chicken.” He didn’t go for it but we did “crack” up over it.
The thing is when it comes to the warnings we read in God’s word that’s one thing my family always takes seriously. There’s no jokes to go along with it.
We all are given the opportunity to read scripture and accept every word of it or reject it.
That chicken trap has now long been taken down from my neighbor’s yard just like the warning sign was removed before the slaughtering ever happened. She followed through just like her sign warned:
‘Any chicken found in my yard will be dead meat’
When we compare this to the way God operates we’ve been given the chance to study scripture and make what we want of the warnings. God will one day judge the world and by our choice we’re either walking toward Him or headed for destruction as the end will inevitably come.
As long as we’re living it’s never too late to turn to Him and take His warning for the benefit it longs to bring and the glory it provides for His purpose.
Have a blessed Memorial weekend y’all. I’m fixing to take my kids tent camping by myself as Nate is out of town. It should be interesting…and no worries my chickens are always locked safely away!
I was trying to figure out what woke me from a deep sleep this morning at 4:15. And then I heard the loud cry of our rooster crowing on the front patio, which happens to be located next to my bedroom window.
Yesterday afternoon our rooster (Blackie) flew the coop, literally. He must’ve had enough of the hens out there and decided to relocate, hence the reason he’s now been perched out front of our house for the past day.
After about a dozen crows this morning before 5 A.M. I finally turned to my husband, “that’s it, I’m gonna go outside and talk to him!!”…surely my husband questioned my awkward statement but nevertheless I stepped out front (barefoot and nearly frozen immediately). I stooped down to eye level with the rooster and calmly stroked his back and spoke softly to him. He nestled down closer to the table he was sitting on and relaxed as if to say, “that’s just what I needed, thank you!”
I tiredly went back inside and crawled into bed and got a few more hours of sleep—beautiful, quiet uninterrupted sleep. It wasn’t until after 7, the sun was beginning to light the sky, the rooster let out a few more crows. This time his noise was gladly welcomed, with the 7 o’clock hour seeming a bit more fitting.
Not only have Blackie’s crow-times been off lately, he’d also flown into our living room window several times yesterday. And today as we’ve had wind gusts of 35 miles per hour he still insist on sitting out front in the blistering openness of frigid cold.
Although he has a warm home, plenty of food, and many lady friends to keep him company something out in the chicken coop just isn’t quite right for him.