We have chickens. Forty some, to give you an idea! Its quite a flock! A noisy, stinky, feathery, hungry, easily excited, routine loving flock. I find these birds intriguing. Let me share!
The first thing I learned is they don't produce eggs very well under stress. Moving them to a new location, excessive heat, cold, change in diet,etc. will alter their ability to be fruitful & lay eggs.When we moved five times in five years, there was about a week after every move that I didn't want to do much of anything. In all honesty I wasn't very productive. When a loved one passes we feel drained for weeks, maybe years. When you recieve the doctors diagnosis, life seems to stand still. Your spouse drops the d-bomb & your world becomes frozen. Your in shock. You step into survival mode & go through an unproductive period.
Chickens go through a less productive time under stress, but they still need fed. Likewise, we, when going through that stressful time, need to be fed spiritually, or the load becomes even more unbearable. Open your Bible! Read a little every day. Going to church is vital, but if thats all we do to get a dose of spiritual food, we can't benefit to the fullest extent. God has a spiritual buffet laid out in His word. Dig in! Help yourself! Take all you want & even fill to-go boxes for later. Share those to-go boxes of faith food with your family & loved ones around you. They need it, too. And don't forget to return to His feast daily.
Chickens don't like new or different chickens. We started with Rhode Island Red chickens, as pictured above. When we were given 19 other chickens, some black, some white, there was some major drama going on in that chicken house for days. The black & white chickens were soon missing neck feathers, cowered in the corner & I even had to feed them in a different area of the coop. While humans don't literally pick out each others neck feathers, we've all done the same thing to someone not quite as stylish as ourselves. Maybe they don't look like us & we don't want to be associated with their look. "God does not judge by external appearance" (Gal. 2:6 & 1Sam.16:7) So if we are trying to put on the image of Christ, go talk to the person. Say Hi! If we hear others talking about the individual, picking out their neck feathers, so to say, we mustn't stand idly by! "Keep corrupt talk far from your lips." (Pr. 4:24) Especially, in your home, around your children.
When preparing for our small herd of chickens, my husband fixed a door, we built a roosting place, nest boxes, spread staw on the floor, bought a waterer, feeder & feed. We wanted to make sure the conditions were suitable & accomodating for a chicken. Likewise, we prepare or home with comfortable furniture & beds, good food, clean clothes, etc. We carefully attend to the physical needs of our small family. But what about the spiritual needs of our family? Proverbs 27:23 reads "Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds." OK!! So maybe we don't have 40+ kids, but even 3 can seem like a herd or a flock at times!! ;)
Spiritual well-being is an essential aspect of everyday life. When a family or individual is spiritually well, there is an undeniable sense of love & acceptance in their presence. The parents stive for unity, the children are aware of their value to the family & as an individual. 'The condition of the flock' is well! This doesn't just happen. It takes planning, preparing, communicating, intentionality, commitment, & perseverance. Parenting or shepherding a flock is hard, but God has equipped us for the journey! Dig into His spiritual buffet daily for continual encouragement & direction!
For me & my chicken prone heart, shepherding my flock would sound something like this coming from a megaphone: "A wise woman 'watches over the affairs of her household.' (Pr.31:27) So, today get off your social media duff, shut the TV off, & be attentive to the affairs of your household!" But, that's just me, I need a little in-your-face calling out sometimes! "Be very careful then, how you live- not as unwise, but as wise, makng the most of every opportunity" (Eph. 5:15-16) How careful?? VERY careful! How many opportunities?? EVERY.SINGLE.ONE. Pray over each member of your household for at least 10min every day. Encourage them to do for themselves. Engage in their activities. Laugh with them. Cry with them. Look into their eyes when they speak. Listen to their words. Being listened to is so close to being loved that most people can't tell the difference. " Be quick to listen, slow to speak & slow to become angry." (James 1:19)
Don't be chicken!! Buck up, dear mama!! Be encouraged! "Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature & complete, not lacking anything" (James 1:4) Lacking what?? NOTHING!! Na-da. Zilch. (Can you tell we watch veggie tales? lol) "Love [your] husband & children...be self controlled & pure...be busy at home...be kind," (Titus 2:4) "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances," (1Thess.5:16) Dear one, "make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business & to work with your hands"(1 Thess. 4:11), and diligently, ever so diligently "WATCH OVER THE AFFAIRS OF YOUR HOUSEHOLD" (Pr.31:27)
To the enemy chant "ba ba back-off! This is a household of God!" Claim it!