Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Backyard Blessings

Turtles are something else. Over the past year we have "adopted" three turtles. The first two that joined our family were given to us by the granddaughters of our next door neighbors. Evidently, these two little critters were excellent at digging. All that digging, however, had these two turtles looking for a new home.

Our most recent addition was given to us by my husband's co-worker. This turtle had been living in a yard with several others turtles but unfortunately, he had fallen victim to the backyard bully. His shell can attest to the unfriendly environment he came from.

So now, our backyard is home to these three turtles. I am happy to report we have yet to discover any unwanted holes in our yard. And, I have yet to see signs of any bullying in our yard. What great news, especially since I am not a fan of either.

As I have been observing these little guys (at least I think they are all guys!), God has been teaching me some spiritual truths.

1. Enjoy where ever life takes you

All of these turtles ended up in our backyard without any say as to where they were going or where their next home would be, or if they even wanted to come! Circumstances beyond their control picked them up and dropped them off at our residence. Yet, every morning, I see them trucking around our yard. And from all accounts, as far as I can tell, they seem to be having a lovely time. They climb over this and hide under that and live each day here in our yard to the fullest. They didn't choose to come here, but they are choosing to make the most of where they are and enjoy it.

Hmmmmm.....what about you and me? Has life dropped you off at an unfamiliar place? Is where you are now not at all where you envisioned you would be at this time in your life? If so, rest assured. While it may feel as though circumstances beyond your control have taken control, God is still there. Ultimately, He is still in control. He has a beautiful way of taking the barren, unfamiliar, un-chosen places of our lives and transforming them into fruitful, enjoyable, desirable abodes. Trust Him to be where you are. Trust Him to do amazing things where you are. Knowing God is in control and is at work in your life, you, too, can enjoy where ever it is life takes you.

Behold, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs forth; do you not perceive and know it and will you not give heed to it? I will even make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.Isaiah 43:19, The Amplified Bible

2. Forget about the past

Naturally, you would expect these creatures to be a little wary of humans. And, they are. Well, two of the three are. One, surprisingly enough, is not wary at all! In fact, this one in particular seems to thrive on human companionship. If I happen by our patio door and spot him boogieing across our yard, I call out to him. As soon as he hears my voice, he makes an immediate turn in my direction and heads straight for the door. Whenever I am sitting out on our patio writing, just like I am right now, I often am joined by this little guy. He will come right up on the patio and rest under my chair.

Can you guess which turtle this is? Yep! The one who was bullied and picked on in his old environment. Isn't that amazing?! You would think he would be the most cautious of all the turtles. But he's not. He is the one most willing to make a new friend. He doesn't let the hurt of his past keep him from experiencing new opportunities or developing new relationships. And, not only is this turtle friendly with my husband and I, he is also friendly with the other turtles.

Hmmmmm.....what about you and me? We all have scars, some visible and some hidden deep in our heart. Do we allow these wounds and scars to hold us back or to keep us cowering in a corner? With God, the pain of our past can be used to serve an amazing purpose in our future. Instead of allowing the pain to hold us prisoner to our past, we need to take our scars and seek out those who have been hurt, too. We can choose to move ever forward comforting others with the comfort we have been given in and through Christ. The choice is ours. I am so glad this little guy has chosen to forget his past. His choice to keep reaching out to others has brought me so much joy and such wonderful companionship....not to mention, inspiration! Who needs you? Are you willing to put yourself out there for them?

All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort—we get a full measure of that, too. The Message, 2 Corinthians 1:3-5

Which, by the way, brings us to the third spiritual truth God has been teaching me through these fellas.

3. Be willing to stick your neck out

I marvel at the Creator's design. Have you ever studied a turtle up close? What a protective armor they have! When danger comes, they are not only able to duck their head into their shell for cover, but pull all of their legs in as well. In this position, they are safe and sound. But, there is one problem. As long as they are all safely hidden in their shell, they are stationary. Where ever they were when they pulled it all in is where they are when they poke it all back out again. They may be safe in that position, but they certainly aren't going to go anywhere. In order for them to move anywhere and in any direction at all, they must first be willing to stick their necks out, literally!

Hmmmmm.....what about you and me? Are we willing to stick our neck out and take a leap of faith out into the unknown? Or, are we willing to play it safe tucked inside our life, stagnant and motionless? If we are content to simply stay put, hiding, and playing it safe, we will eventually die. Faith requires action. If we are ever going to get where God would have us to be we must be willing to stick our neck out. If we are ever going to be who God created us to be we must be willing to come out of our shell and move in the direction the Lord is leading.

In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. James 2:17

I am so thankful for these three turtles! Even more, I am thankful for a Heavenly Father who is using these small creatures to grow my faith, to deepen my relationship in HIM, and to open my eyes to spiritual truths.

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  1. What wonderful wisdom from turtles! Thanks and blessings to you and the waddlers for these delightful lessons!

  2. Stacy - I really enjoyed this. What an incredible story you share about the turtles. God often uses seemingly simple things to deepen our knowledge and understanding of His Grace. Inspiring insights. Thank you. Blessings.

  3. Thank you Stacy for sharing this lovely story- the messages you have drawn from observing these wee creatures are excellent, and blessed me today. I appreciate your sentiments and will mull over them. God Bless!

  4. Hi Stacy - great post. We have a tortoise too who we call Patch. He also came to us through odd means and someone had fibreglassed his shell, thus, Patch. Thanks for linking up with me. i so enjoy seeing you there.
    God bless


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