The Shepherd’s Lamb

Unfinished projects. My life is far too full of those! So, to overcome this unbecoming characteristic of quitting before completion, I have a new resolution: before this pregnancy ends I want to have completed all the projects I come across that have already been started.

One that I’m particularly excited about is a poem I started 2 years ago. It’s very special to me; never before has a character become so “alive” to me in writing than this shepherd boy who is the subject of the poem. It’s written to a tune that came to me at the same time as the words, but the idea was to have it split up into a number of songs, because it will be rather lengthy. I hit a snag when the very best part was coming because I didn’t know how to capture it in the beauty that it’s worthy of, so it has been put away…for 2 whole years!

Here is the first “installment” of the poem:

The Shepherd’s Lamb


As a shepherd young in Judah’s hills I watched my father’s sheep
But on this night my heart did yearn so much I could not sleep
I thought of David young and bold, a shepherd just as I
Whom God anointed, made a king, and said, Who would not lie
That of his seed would come a King to sit upon his throne
Who in all righteousness would rule, Whom God would call His Son
And with His sword upon His thigh in majesty and might
Would with success reign by His truth, by meekness, and by right

I thought as well of David psalms writ from my heart as his
Beseeching God for mercy and His cleansing from all sins
“Purge Thou me with hyssop, Lord, and I shall then be clean,
Whiter than the snow, if Thou dost wash me, shall I be”
But where, I wondered is this found, this hyssop that may cleanse?
What did Israel’s sweet Psalmist have in mind when this he penned?
How may I be washed cleaner, even whiter than the snow?
My sins from me as far as East from West be made to go?

For though from this flock is taken out the goodliest young lamb
That myself took care of, nurtured, from the day he left his dam,
I find no true atonement when for me his blood is shed
My guilt lies just as heavy then as ere the beast had bled
That God Himself would bear the branch! Ah! this must be his thought!
His sprinkling with waters pure must make all sin but naught
Thereby would perfect grace be found and truest life be known
The joy of His salvation would then within me be sown

O Lord! that even now would come that King in majesty!
That I might kneel before Him, cast myself down at His feet
And learn of Thy salvation full, that I might drink and sup
In pastures green, of waters still, that overflowing cup
I hunger Lord, I hunger so, I thirst for righteousness
To be, as David spoke of, in that place of blessedness
My sins all fully covered and transgressions all forgiv’n
Iniquity unreckoned when confession I have giv’n

But though I weep and cry with buried face in lamb’s warm wool
And its coat is greatly dampened, yet I still do not feel whole
My tears do just as much as does the lamb slain in my place
For redemption they are empty and they can bestow no grace
I’ve sought Thee Lord with all my heart and with my whole desire
Oh that Thy mercy seat were here that I might there inquire!
How canst Thou purge me, O my God? with what shall I be washed?
And when, O Lord, shall this take place? for I, Thy sheep, am lost

Make haste, I pray, to help me, for I cannot find my way
Thy fold I gladly now would dwell in, fain would ever stay
Though enemies encompass ’round, my greatest are within
I feel that I shall perish from the weight of all my sin
Yet Thou art great, O Lord, my God, in kindness and in truth
Thy compassions never failing, and Thy mercies ever new
With this recalled unto my mind I know that I have hope
And in it I shall wait for Thee, Thy way to me to show

jesus-holding-lamb[1]
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There’s another part written to it, but since I hadn’t read and reread it as many times as the first part, I don’t have it committed to memory. When I’ve been able to unpack my notebook, I’ll post the second installment.

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Once upon a time

October, 2006. A young man planning on joining a group for evangelism and gospel outreach faced a problem: his van had broken down days before the planned trip. He called an organizer of one of the tours to inform him sadly that he would not be able to come. Just hours before this, the same organizer had heard from another family planning to attend that before heading up north for the ministry tours they were going to stop at a museum and theme park in Pensacola, FL: Dinosaur Adventure Land. This is where the young man worked! In the providence of God he was able to gather up his things in short order and take off with this family to join other believers in Virginia.

This family is very dear, I had known them from previous outreaches together. I stayed with them the night before the first day of ministry began. As I talked with one of the women she told me about the man who was traveling with them, and out of the blue this thought shot through my mind: this is the man you will marry. Right away the thought was rejected as absurd. I didn’t know a single, solitary thing about this guy. He could already be married for all I knew! He could be old, he could be worldly, he might even be ugly (not that that’s the be all-end all, but, he could be)! O folly of youthful, feminine thought–be gone!

The next day I met this man of whom I had heard. He was young, (22, I would learn later), unmarried, conservative, and handsome. And, in my immediate estimation, completely smug, maybe prideful. First impressions. 🙂  I wonder how many times I’ve been esteemed that very way because of hanging back, not necessarily looking shy but also not engaging. Poor guy. Everyone knew everyone, but him. My brothers were able, in the course of the next few days, to carry on meaningful conversation with him, which I often was in earshot of, and I was inwardly reprimanded for my swift judgment. In short, he conversed quite easily, and I liked everything I heard. 🙂

He lost his ride after one of the stops, and came along with us to go to the next destination. He would ride in the back of our van a good number of times after that first time, and I would listen to him speak Bible stories to my youngest brothers (8 & 10 yrs. old) and was impressed that he could detail dialogue word for word from the Bible in his unfolding of it. In all truth, before that first week of ministry ended, my little heart was going pitter patter every time I saw him, which I made every effort to do as frequently as possible. 😉

Every person that knew me (which was everyone there, but him) knew I was “fallen”. I mean, I was talking to a guy. Lauren Murch doesn’t talk to guys. I even had the brazen audacity and forwardness to ask him if I could sit across the table from him! Yes, it was very obvious to everyone, but him. One lady, a female pastor or some such, that was not a part of our group but that had clashed with us and had tried to stir up trouble in a number of ways, at one point while we were holding signs close together to each other said, “There’s a fire between you two, isn’t there?” Then to him, “You like her, don’t you? I saw you hanging around until she left today” Everything in me was fed up with that woman, and also afraid of his reply. He simply ignored the question and addressed something else. After that, I was sure our sweet times of conversing on matters and the Bible were over, because he wouldn’t want to encourage the idea “Reverend Faith” had shared so insightfully. But then a couple minutes later he asked me what time it was. Oh, the relief!!!! 🙂 🙂 Actually, we conversed just as easily as ever after that somewhat awkward little happenstance there. He told me later that it was then he actually realized that he did hold an affection for me, because he said he would not have been able to honestly answer “no”.

By the end of the nearly 3 weeks of ministering together, I felt almost sick with the thought that he would simply go back down to Florida, I would go back to Virginia, and we’d never or rarely see each other again. So I called my father, and asked him to pray, because I had met the man I hoped to marry and didn’t want him to just slip away! My father must have had a number of reactions to that. His daughter, that had on so many occasions at his hintings about getting married and “giving him grandbabies” and had replied with doubt that that would ever happen (not for not wanting to, but I’d always been shy, awkward, plain, and convicted about so many things I couldn’t imagine the possibility of someone getting through all of that AND being compatible doctrinally/practically) was now, after he let her go on a 3 week trip calling him about a marriage prospect! He handled it with wisdom, and he did pray with me.

This story has gotten so long and it is so much longer, but, in short, I married that man. Nathan Tyler, the guy who hitched a ride with some of my friends at the last minute, is now my husband of 6 years (this Saturday) and the father of our 5 children (assuming there’s only one in my womb).

He turns 30 today. I truly don’t know what I would do without him. He is one of the Lord’s richest blessings to me. Marriage would teach me that neither he nor I were as holy and humble as we might have thought about ourselves and the other, but it has grown us. Sometimes I wish I could somehow change back and be what I thought I was when we married–that sweet little headcovered girl that above anything else in the entire world, wanted to SERVE, to serve GOD, to serve my husband. With all my heart. I wish I could be more worthy of wifehood, more worthy of my Nathan. Instead of being a picture of sacrificial love to him I’ve been the object of his expression of it. He has rebuked me when I needed it for sure, and reasoned with me through many, many questions, but has also shared wisdom in my fears, held me in times of weeping, and borne me up when I’ve fallen.

Anyway, this post was sort of disjointed, my “tribute” wanting, but I will close now.

I love my Nathan. May the Lord enrich it. And may the Lord enrich him with all the good and pleasant gifts reserved for His faithful children.