My favorite time of year is the spring. It always has been. Maybe it is because I was born on the first day of Spring. It might be because the sprigs of green grass are sprouting and because the daffodils are flying flags of bright yellow. It could be because the tulips are preparing to carpet the Skagit valley with vibrant red , yellow and orange. I think it is all the color! All of these colors cheer and inspire my soul, they give me hope. Another reason I wait in hope and anticipation is because the flock has been shorn revealing ewes waiting to lamb. In sheep husbandry the spring brings with it this anticipation of new life.
My shearer from Wales comes in early March and shears my flock of 50 as part of the two thousand sheep that he shears in the area.The end of shearing day always reveals how well the flock has fared over the winter. I was thrilled this year to see my yearlings looking strong and plump… ready to grace the table for an Easter dinner. My twenty ewes looked robust; they are about 4 weeks from lambing. Some are round and heavy, clearly the earliest ones to lamb. Some are not as obvious and I wait and hope they are bred. This year I was a bit disappointed to see that 2 of my oldest ewes look a bit poorly. They are my original foundation ewes and I have a special place for each of them. Number 94 is a bit crotchety; hard on the dogs when she has lambs on her. Number 80 has a kindly eye and is an easy ewe to manage. Both have consistently produced strong twins. I bred them for their last time and hope they will each produce ewe lambs. I will have to wait and see. I reason (and hope) that they are bred and that is why they look poorly… bearing young takes it out of you; all of your energy goes into developing them. It is hard work bearing fruit that will last. (JN 15:16) Already after a few weeks of extra rations they look better. So I wait in anticipation of when they will lamb and how it will go.
This year is my first year to breed the two year old ewes that were my first group of lambs I ever produced in the spring of 2011. I can’t wait to see how they lamb and what they produce. They look awesome. As young ewes, they are still spry and energetic despite big bellies. I am especially eager to see Sundays lambs. Not those born on Sunday, but those born of Sunday. Sunday is my only sheep to have a name. She was born on a Sunday and named by Vivian, the 89 year old woman that owns the farm I rent. Sunday is special: she looks like she is wearing a black sweater and therefore always easy to spot. She also has a sassy attitude. I can tell she is bred and we all wait to see what she will produce.
All of this focus on anticipation and production makes me ask myself about my spiritual life.
Am I waiting in hope for something? Am I planning on growth within myself? These two scriptures remind me to plan for , prepare for and hope for personal growth.
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Galatians 5: 5-6
For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
So in springtime..this time or growth and renewal, I am hoping to grow and change
How about you?