Thursday, November 17, 2011

Nourishment: Better Than Cow Therapy

Have you ever just craved nourishment?  How do you get it physically, emotionally, spiritually?  Because I have these questions and I want answers, I've asked a series of people to come in and share how they find nourishment.  Will you come along for the journey?  We will meet here every Thursday until the posts  run out.  Have something to share about nourishment?  Contact me and we will set a date!
Meet Marty.  She loves cows and her heart's passion is to encourage women into a deeper experience of the Father's heart for them through the giving out of His Word.  Clearly, what is there not to like?  I think we are kindred spirits.  Perhaps you will think so, too...
"The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows; He leads me beside peaceful streams.
He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to His name."
Ps 23:1-3

 Have you ever noticed?  It’s impossible to remain stressed while watching a cow eat grass.  Seriously.  Try it.  No, I mean really try it.  Take some time.  Watch the process.  Let your mind enter into the grazing moment.  Anxiety melts.  Pressures deflate.  Worries subside.  It’s a total “Ahhhhh…” experience.  I stumbled upon this astounding discovery eleven years ago during the second-home-in-the-mountains chapter of our lives. 

As we would race to the somewhat nearby Blue Ridge Mountains for 48 hours of weekend bliss, I began to notice in interesting phenomenon:  cows were impacting my life in some significant ways.  Oddly enough, throughout our trip, I discovered my heart relaxing and breathing more and more fully with each successive cow sighting along the way. 

Without fail, this marked unwinding intensified and culminated on the last leg of our 3 ½ hour journey, as we inched our big-city car down the quaint, pasture-lined, dusty road leading to our beloved rural bungalow.  Inevitably, I experienced the need to pause along the way, gazing eye-to-eye with various members of the grazing herds, completely transfixed by their laid-back modus operandi.  Prior to this season in my life, I don’t think I had ever looked a cow straight in the eye at close range...ever.  It was the commencement of authentic and lasting transformation for me.

In this context, cow therapy was birthed.  The treatment plan for this approach is amazingly simple:  Stressed out?  Go watch a cow eat grass…for a while.  I was the original guinea-pig for the research behind this revolutionary medical discovery.  As a result, my life has been personally enriched by the exhaustive list of anti-stress indications linked to this tremendous bovine breakthrough. 

In fact, truth be known, I’ve been keeping it a secret all these long years.  Actually, I hadn’t intended on sharing this highly effective therapy with anyone until I could figure out how to market it…and retire early with my proceeds.  Alas, I’ve had a change of heart - for the better, I might add - and I have decided to disclose my treasure without regard to potential personal monetary gain… As a point of interest, my research into the impact of bovine behavior on the human heart has actually expanded into the equine field, and I’ve made an amazing discovery:  Horse Therapy is equally as effective; maybe more so...But that’s another topic. 

What is at the core of this revolutionary cow therapy modality, you may wonder?  What is the secret behind this innovative remedy for modern man’s (and modern woman’s) pressing malady of heart and spirit called, stress?  I’m not sure; even though now I am a self-acclaimed expert in this field.  I have watched a lot of cows eat a lot of grass during the past eleven years. 

Perhaps the secret lies within the cow countenance; the inescapable expression in their eyes throughout the grazing process…steady, unhurried, self-assured enough to unravel even the most tightly-wound, adrenaline-addicted soul.  With every bite, they seem to say, “What’s the big deal?  Relax…Chill…All is well….Here, have a blade or two.  Trust me.  It’s really good.”  Or, maybe the clandestine power of this radical therapy, so mesmerizing to the spirit, is hidden deep within the nonchalant way cows – of all breeds and backgrounds, I might add – methodically, yet somewhat randomly, move throughout a pasture, blade by blade, seeking out their next bite.

Yep.  I’m thinking that might be it.  Possibly, the effectiveness of cow therapy lies hidden within the whole blade by blade thing.  From our highly proficient human perspective, this incredulously inefficient process is in desperate need of an overhaul. 

From a time management point of view, the grazing habits of cows are an utter (pardon the pun) disaster.   I mean, really…How Neanderthal!  Where is the cow-version of a fast-food McDonalds?  Think of how much more they could cram into their cow-schedules if only so much time wasn’t squandered with the whole grazing thing?  And we humans know that more is always better.  Right? 

If I’m honest about the whole thing, however, I am forced to concede.  In spite of its agonizingly measured, methodical pace, somehow, the blade by blade approach to cow-life does, in fact, minister a tremendous measure of grace and peace to my frequently over-scheduled, frantic, frustrated heart.  It’s beyond my comprehension, but once again, I am indeed indebted to the cow for this poignant revelation. 

So now that I’ve disclosed my life research, where does that leave us?  What are the practical implications of this radical therapy?  Moreover, what possible relevance exists between these discoveries - regarding the connection between bovine behavior and human sanity - and those who sadly find themselves without the bottom line commodity, essential for beginning this therapy:  access to a cow…better still, a herd of cows??? 

For many years, I too found myself restrained by this unfortunate category of life circumstances.  As a result, cow therapy was completely inaccessible to me.  (Fortunately, however, at the time I wasn’t even vaguely aware of what I was missing.)  What to do for frazzled hearts caught in this situation?  Where can those of us locked within the confines of an urban lifestyle find rest and rejuvenation for the heart, when cow therapy simply is not a viable option, for obvious reasons?...  

Well, laying all cow-fun aside for the moment, fortunately, lasting hope is within easy reach for our weary hearts, regardless of our life circumstances.  It’s as close as the pages of God’s Word.  Truly, Scripture is the Light our paths require, and the Lamp our feet so desperately need as we journey through this life.  Psalm 23 reminds us, “The Lord is [our] Shepherd; [we] have all that [we] need.  He lets [us] rest in green meadows; He leads [us] beside peaceful streams.  He renews [our] strength.  He guides [us] along right paths, bringing honor to his name.” 

Familiar words….familiar concepts…Today, however, as we close our “clinical analysis” on the intricacies and benefits of cow therapy, let’s fully embrace the Psalmist’s words, and be drawn into that wonderful place of rejuvenation and peace our spirits crave.  Truly, Jesus is the one and only eternal remedy for our exhausted, thirsty hearts and lives.

In fact, in these days just prior to His return, those of us who claim to know Him must to be on the alert more than ever before.  The intensity of the times in which we live, necessitate us being scrupulously aware of the condition of our hearts and lives, with the Spirit’s help.  Only as we follow His lead, can we sufficiently tend to our souls and feast on His Presence, averting the many pitfalls aimed at our demise.  It is time to heed the delightful invitation to abide in our Lord, drinking deeply of His powerful Presence, in an unprecedented way.  His Arms are open wide, inviting us to come closer, to stay longer, and to know Him as our All-Sufficient Shepherd, more powerfully than we ever have in the past.

The issue of what to do with over-stressed hearts will remain a pressing dilemma for every generation.  And as much as I am a devoted proponent of the prolific benefits of cow therapy, (and plan on continuing to practice it on a regular basis) the heart of the matter truly lies in connecting with, The Heart of the matter.  He longs to be the One Who hold us close, whispering to the depths of our spirits, and filling us to overflowing in the midst of our over-crowded, stressful lives. This day, let’s pull aside from the hassles and heartaches of our circumstances long enough to feed, blade by blade, Word by Word, on His faithfulness…and be thankful. 

As we close for today, may your heart be renewed, and your eyes be on the lookout…Who knows?  Your next opportunity to engage in some peaceful, rejuvenating cow therapy may be closer than you think…
“Father, You are so gracious and abundantly extravagant in caring for us as you do.  What a treasure we have in Your Presence.  Open our eyes to see You more and more clearly.  Free us from all that distracts, depletes, discourages, and degrades.  Thank You for Your lavish reservoir of patience, mercy, and thirst-quenching Love which more than abundantly ministers to the depths of our parched, stressed-out hearts.
Lead us, Holy Spirit, this day into the fullness of Your agenda for each one of us.  Cause us to follow; to linger; to revel in Your Presence, as never before.  Open to us fresh, new pastures previously unknown in our experiences with You.  Fill us with a sense of excited anticipation over the journey ahead, as we devote ourselves to intimacy with You.  Take us higher and deeper into Your Heart, O God, for You alone truly know us intricately and have the power to fill us abundantly as our souls require.  Shepherd us, protect us, renew us, guide us and most of all, bring honor to Your Name through our lives, this day.”   
Want to know more about Marty?  Read more of her wise words?  Click here to visit/follow/subscribe her blog, Rhythms of His Grace. 

9 comments :

  1. This concept totally makes sense. The cows are so focused on this one thing. They really don't get distracted either...this is how we should be as well. So focused on Jesus that nothing else matters!:)

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  2. So glad that you are here today, Marty. Your words are nourishment to our souls!

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  3. I never heard of Cow Therapy until now, and after reading this post, I must say that it really makes sense.

    Joshua 1, and Psalm 1... among other passages, all relate to Cow Therapy. Ruminating, meditating... chewing the cud. It all results to contentment and peace and nourishment as well.

    Awesome post. Thank you Jen for inviting Marty to your blog. What a blessing it is to read her words at five o'clock in the morning!

    Love
    Lidia

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  4. Ok, maybe that's my problem. I don't think I've ever watched a cow eat grass!

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  5. What a novel idea - focusing on one thing and being completely content with that task. I wonder how much more I could accomplish is I lived with that focus? I'm will look at cows in a different light from now on. :)

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  6. Wonderful! I love the literal cow theory and can't wait to share it with my farm wife sister who literally lives in the middle of a pasture of them.

    And I love the precept behind it all and the relationship to our spiritual life and the Word and the leaning on our God, blade by blade.

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  7. Cows! I love cows! I love watching cows. I love watching them eat grass. I love watching cow daycare (watch - one mama cow will have all the calves around her while the other mamas eat). I love watching the calves run and jump (they really do!). Watching them is a gift from God, in my humble opinion.

    And thank you for the rest of the post too. I didn't miss it. I just got really cow-focused!

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  8. Cows are a bit scary. Their bulging eyes and slimy muzzles - and the looooooong, eager-to-kiss tongues! But from further away, yeah. I too like seeing them grazing or dozing in herds.

    Horsie therapy is my thing. It's unbelievably effective and I've been talking about it for a while already. Would like to hear your thoughts about it, too, Marty!

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  9. I'll skip the cows...
    but watching a herd of elk, up here in the mountains is much the same!

    The whole idea reminds me of the incredible rest & peace God poured out, during my Mommy Sabbatical a few weeks ago. I'm still drinking deeply from that well of His living water!

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