Finding Your Authentic Self in the Face of Devastation

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Several of you have asked about my adventures in calving during the past couple of weeks. I still have four cows that are holding out for better weather or a really inconvenient day, I suppose.

Klinger, a little bull calf that has worn a hat and a coat, has tried to die on several occasions. My brother said “Well, it’s Klinger. He’s looking for a section eight.” He spent some time at the vet clinic and has had the best care that a calf could have during the first three weeks of life. I am happy to report that just yesterday he started running away from me so he must have decided to live. I guess he is tired of all the shots and manhandling.

It also occurred to me yesterday that we are incredibly blessed.

My heart aches for the people that have been affected by the flooding and the blizzard across our state during the last weeks. The images that have been posted included loss of life, devastation of property and the unbelievable amount of snow, ice and water. With every new report I found tears forming in my eyes and a heaviness in my chest. It’s hard to watch.

I was not personally affected by the destruction, only inconvenienced by the closing of bridges in Beatrice. I simply can’t imagine that kind of loss.

But as I was told a few years ago, whenever there is some type of a disaster, “always look for the helpers.” It’s true every time. There are always people that have stepped up and helped with sand-bags, moving horses and cattle or clean up and rebuilding.

There are plenty of those stories.

I’m reminded of the image of the State Trooper who stopped to aid a calf that was frozen to the ground in western Nebraska saving the calf’s life.

A friend posted this yesterday on her Facebook wall:
“If I am ever stuck in a natural disaster, I pray to God it happens in Nebraska. Being surrounded by farmers, ranchers and other individuals raised with that in their blood is the safest place in the world. The don’t strive to be heroes. They just are. God has led them to care for his creatures, his animals, his humans and his soil. He stuck them in the middle of the United States for a reason. For the same reason the heart is found in the center of our bodies.” (J.M.W)

I love that because I see how true it is from my perspective and such powerful, healing words.

By doing what God has called us to do, we are living the version of our most authentic selves.It may not be convenient or comfortable, but if we are working from our strengths with purpose, we are living our calling during that time.

I heard a Christian radio evangelist say that one of the ways that we can all live as missionaries is to live our lives authentically.

Not everyone can help clean up debris or shovel mud, but maybe you can donate supplies or possibly cook a hot meal for volunteers. There will be a lot to do to recover from the loss that many people in Nebraska has suffered, but we are community. It’s just what we do.

A friend asked me a few weeks ago, “How are you living victoriously in Christ?”  (PS – I think we all need a friend to ask us that!)

I stammered and said something like “I think I’m just beginning to.” But she gave me examples of what she saw that made me think about it more.

I’m the first to volunteer to help if there’s a need I can fulfill.  I use my strengths as a writer and grant writer to build God’s kingdom and, as she pointed out, I don’t ask for anything in return.

“People don’t do that!” she said.

Well, most people don’t, I guess, but God gave me a servant heart and by living authentically, I am living victoriously.  It’s just what I do.54433450_10155825698787046_4804068938033922048_o

I’ve known for years that my most authentic self is found on my family farm caring for the cattle or land. While most people see it as chores in the mud and working in the cold or extreme heat, it is more to me.  It is a portion of what God has called me to do. My purpose.

Where is your most authentic self?

You can find your authentic self by understanding your human nature, what you can change and what you cannot, your personality traits and learned behaviors. Your values, beliefs and strengths.

You have a purpose for which God has called you!

Psalm 1:3 – That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.  Whatever they do prospers.

Proverbs 27:19 – As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart.

Isaiah 58:11 – The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.  You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.

Christina

 

Christina Lyons

Photos by my husband, Dave Lyons.

Christina Lyons grew up and has lived in Southeast Nebraska the majority of her life.  With a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a Master’s Degree in Counseling from Doane University – Lincoln, she has worked in Criminal Justice as a Tracker, Probation Officer, Drug Court Coordinator and a Diversion Coordinator.  Christina has also worked in Human Services as a Shelter Director for Abused and Neglected Children, daycare and as a Community Coalition Director.
She writes grants, newspaper stories, a column in the local newspaper and recently began focusing on a blog. (Alliswellwithmysoul.com) It focuses on the three areas of her life that are most important to her – Faith, Family and Farm.
Christina lives in Beatrice, NE with her husband of 24 years, Dave, and their son, Luke.  Elyse, their adult daughter, resides in Lincoln, NE.
She is also a farmer.  The farm has been in the family for approximately 70 years. Christina and her brother have a small cow-calf operation.  They rent out row crop acres, but put up about 1,500 small square bales of alfalfa and brome every summer.
Christina enjoys doing whatever she can to build on the Kingdom of God.  She loves and cares for all living creatures.   She is living victoriously in Christ by being her most authentic self.