From the monthly archives: "March 2013"

Temptation is before me. It is strong. I am hearing that wretched little voice taunting me, telling me that it would make me feel better. I almost smile thinking of what it would be like in that moment. I am on the verge of jumping, falling into the pit on iniquity.

I am away for a couple of days on retreat. I am alone with my bible, my God, my laptop and the various wild animals about. I am in my magical place, my dad’s home in the sierra foothills outside of Yosemite. It is my place of renewal. I always hear from God here. I rest here. I take care of myself here.

It is so peaceful looking out the window at the trees, the deer that stop to nibble on fallen acorns and the oversized squirrel digging up its hidden treasures in the dirt-filled flower pots on the back deck. I remember my dad here and almost see his face, hear his voice.

It is my special place removed from the daily realities of life and stress. There is no dog here to be fed or wake me up in the middle of the night to go out. There is no child here to be dressed, fed, lunch made followed by the mad dash to school, the pick up after school, the homework, and the nighttime rituals. There is no husband here. He is home taking care of those things that are not here.

My euphoria is disrupted this morning by a phone call. It is daughter calling on her way to school to tell me she misses me and loves me. It is husband sounding rushed to get to the classroom before the door closes and a promise of a call on his way back home. I can hear the strain in his voice.

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My daughter is afraid of the dark. We have taken to leaving a light on in the bathroom just across the hall with her door slightly ajar so that a small stream of light glows softly on her bed and she feels safe.

While this has helped her, it has been challenging for me because the light also streams into our bedroom at the end of the hall and I am distracted by it. It has been hard for me to sleep.

Then it hits me. I like the dark because I have been living in darkness, even on the brightest day. The darkness is my grief. It is my grief over losing my dad, my grief over unmet and unrealistic expectations for my life, my husband, my stepdaughter and my daughter, the sorrow and the self pity that has paralyzed me for almost two years.

I forced myself to look into God’s word this morning. I headed for the Psalms because I often find them uplifting, an easy place to put my mind in a state of praise. I randomly flipped to Psalm 30 to find David telling me “For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.”

I fell on the floor in tears, the tears that just keep coming.  When does the morning actually come? I want to rejoice in the light, not walk in perpetual darkness. Then God’s truth comes crashing in on me like a train wreck. Rejoice is a choice. It is not some easy, natural thing that just happens one day. It is a choice and choices involve work.

I have been choosing darkness. I have been choosing sorrow and self pity.  These choices have also involved work. How much energy have I poured out, thrown away in a wasteland of self-imposed grief. It is mind boggling to think of my lack of stewardship over God’s gifts to me in all areas of my life.

Today I choose morning, I choose light, I choose rejoicing!  I am rolling up my sleeves and venturing into the work of pulling myself out of the pit and allowing God to work in me, to heal me.

“He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth , a hymn of praise to our God…” Psalm 40:2-3

God will do this for me and he will do it for you too! Make the choice of light and freedom with me this day!

Photo Credit: Heidi Lettau Photography

Hi, I am Barbara Straub, founder of Shepherd Her Ministries. Welcome to my blog. Our ministry is all about shepherding, which is discipleship. It is about equipping and empowering women to go forth and expand God’s Kingdom. One of the essential elements of being a shepherd or discipling others is doing life together.

My heart for this blog is to do life with you, to share my life, openly and candidly with you and how God is using the circumstances of my life to shape me into someone who walks in God’s truth and gives me the strength and courage to share that truth with others.  This can’t be done without digging into God’s word so we will be doing a lot of that here. The bible means little if we do not apply it to our lives and experience the Holy Trinity as we work out our salvation (Philippians 2:12).

My sincere prayer is that this will be a place where we do life together, learning from each other and sharing God’s truth and victories in our lives. I can’t do that alone, so please, let’s make this a conversation. I will keep this a safe place where we can be heard, loved and comforted – a place where we can walk in God’s truth and learn to live courageously for Him.

I look forward to hearing from you as we journey in God’s word and life together.