Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Shepherdess Returns

He MAKETH me to like down in green pastures…

He leadeth me beside the still waters…

he restoreth my soul.

For the past several months, I have been away from the flock, watching the sheep from another pasture, a pasture green with soft grass and quiet streams. The Shepherd constrained me to stay in the quiet pasture…alone. Even when I begged and pleaded to return to the flock, he compelled me stay, and then…he left me there. I was in “time out!” I waited impatiently for his return. Time passed and he did not come. During my isolation and loneliness, fear came to sit beside me. I send countless messages to the Shepherd to take me from this lonely place of fear and doubt and allow me to return to the flock.

When no answer came, I waited beside the still water somewhat petulantly. For the first time, I noticed that the grasses growing in the pasture were various shades of green, each blade possessing its own uniqueness and color. The endless assortment of herbs and flowers in the field soon fascinated me. I began taking pleasure in my surroundings, lying down in the tall grass and resting beside the still waters. The stream was kike a balm, but it was also like a mirror, reflecting my image on the calm surface. Looking into the depth of the stream, I could see myself, traveling at breakneck speed, forgetting to be quiet, to slow down, forgetting to notice that grass is not just a covering for the earth and that still waters run deep and hold fathomless beauty and serenity calming to the weary soul. After a time, the Shepherd returned and took me by the hand and returned me to the sheepfold. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures. He leadeth me beside the still waters, he restoreth my soul.

I am wiser now, peaceful, inspired, and restored. I choose carefully the things that are necessary to my life and those that are not. I take time for what is truly important; things that add peace and joy to my life, and I remember that all that I do is weighed in the just balance of work and worship. If I forget this all-important principle, the shepherd will place me in “time out” again and will make my lie down. He loves me so…he is the good Shepherd.

©Ruth Carmichael Ellinger

Friday, February 11, 2011


Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for a while, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same.

No distance of place or lapse of time can lessen the friendship of those who are thoroughly persuaded of each other's worth. ~Robert Southey

Can miles truly separate you from friends.... If you want to be with someone you love, aren't you already there? ~Richard Bach

Only in the agony of parting do we look into the depths of love. ~George Eliot

Love is missing someone whenever you're apart, but somehow feeling warm inside because you're close in heart. ~Kay Knudsen

The reason it hurts so much to separate is because our souls are connected. ~Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook

You and I will meet again
When we're least expecting it
One day in some far off place
I will recognize your face
I won't say goodbye my friend
For you and I will meet again
~Tom Petty

Friday, February 4, 2011

Goodbye to an old friend...

Life is not so much about saying hello,

as saying goodbye

I read this quote recently and have been thinking about it ever since. I believe I understand the significance of these thought provoking words. In the past several months, I have been sorting through boxes of old photos and keepsakes, separating them into labeled boxes for my children to have someday. In all of this 40+ year collection, there are so many goodbyes…and truth be told, that is what life is mostly about. After all, whey does it take only a minute to say hello and forever to say goodbye? The hellos are fun and exciting. We embrace new challenges, meet new people, and form new and inspiring relationships. But oh, those goodbyes…

While perusing the memorabilia of an earlier period in my life, I found photos of old school and college friends, my extended family in every season and setting, ministry and church friends, even pets that I loved with childish devotion. One day, I said goodbye for the last time to many of them.

“Goodbye” is a rather sad word, a word we don’t like to say and a word we don’t like to hear. When our son leaves for his sometimes dangerous international job after a visit, I can only say, “I love you and take care,” but never do I say…goodbye.

I believe the goodbyes in life are preparing us for the heavenly world; a world where the word “goodbye” will have no relevance. This present world is so transitory, fleeting. More than ever, I am aware of my brief sojourn through this earthly life when I recall the many goodbyes said to family and friends. But we have a hope, steadfast and eternal in the heavens, a place where farewell will never be spoken.

Goodbyes are not forever.
Goodbyes are not the end.
They simply mean I'll miss you
Until we meet again!

May the road rise up to meet you, May the wind be ever at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face and the rain fall softly on your fields. And until we meet again, may God hold you in the hollow of his hand.
A Celtic Blessing