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Of Cows and Pastures - A Reflection

You're wondering if I've lost it. No, but I am lost in wonder, having connected the dots!

In January of this year, 2015, the Lord ignited my heart with a Scripture:

"But for you who fear My name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in His wings. And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture." Malachi 4:2 NLT

A Christian leader who grew up on a farm in Saskatchewan asked if I had ever seen cows when they are let out of the barn in the spring (GOOGLE Happy Cows Spring Dance!). I have watched lambs as they bounce and frolic in ecstatic liberation and delight! One of the last verses in the Old Testament was not the first indicator that God was about to do something new in my life.

It wasn't until the end of June when precious memories made the pastoral picture even more meaningful…

In my 20's, I produced and hosted a daily TV program in Barrie, Ontario. When I found Christ at 24, word of my "new life" spread rapidly, and I was asked to share my testimony in every nook and cranny of CKVR's broadcast region. I still remember place names like East Gwillimbury, probably because I got lost trying to find them. More than once, a friend left a note on my car — "You should stay home sometimes" (I must have had a ride to those events). At some point in the whirlwind, I became concerned. Maybe I shouldn't say yes to every request, but pray and ask God about it. A few days later at a women's luncheon, the Bible verse at my place encouraged me, as it had Moses: "My Presence will GO with you, and I will give you rest." Exodus 33:14

When God called me to leave broadcasting and Canada to attend Bible school in England in 1981, there was no question about Who was directing me, and why I would give up such a significant post after seven wonderful years. Viewers had heard about my love of Jesus and my determination to fulfill His plan for me— whatever that meant.

I was tired. To this day, when I find myself traveling on Highway 400 between Barrie and Toronto, I remember the longing that always tugged at my soul - to pull my car over and walk in a pasture. I craved the peace, solitude and restoration of just being with the Lord in His unspoiled creation. It was too good to be true that He had planted me in a castle in the verdant hills just south of England's famous Lake District — for 9 months — to study His Word!

There was only one rarely used public telephone in Capernwray Hall, but for weeks I heard a phone ringing in my head. Symptoms confirmed that I needed to come apart before I came apart! As an adult child of an alcoholic, you live with disappointment. You "Don't Trust". Calamities were the norm, so I expected to be called back home to Canada any day. But that did not happen.

Capernwray Bible School, in "England's green and pleasant land", is nestled in 175 acres of gentle rolling hills and pastures. I wakened to the bleating of sheep outside my window each morning. My friend, Joyce Elhard, has captured in watercolour the view I cherish — unchanged more than three decades later.

Green Pastures - Original watercolour by Joyce Elhard

The school's scheduled "QUIET DAY" was memorable. We were encouraged to spend it in solitude, giving the Lord a chance to speak to us. We could go to our room, head down the road, or in my case, take a comfortable, careful seat among grazing cows on a sloping grassy patch of quilt. Of the 200 students (representing 19 countries and 22 church denominations) who reported on their day, only one did not have a unique and memorable encounter with Jesus. It wasn't me! Hours of refreshment flew by as I enjoyed the pleasure of His company — an everyday miracle: "a

surprising and welcome event …of divine agency."

So, you see, cows and pastures have special significance for me. The One who knows us better than we know ourselves is attentive to every desire of our hearts. He knows what we need. And He is all we need.

"The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives." Psalm 37:23 NLT

"The Lord will finish the work He started for me. O Lord, Your lovingkindness lasts forever…" Psalm 138:8 NLT

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