In most parts of the country an odd thing begins to occur for a deer during this time of year. The bucks begin to lose their antlers. By losing, I mean the antlers become loose because of several factors, and they just fall off. These abandoned antlers are called sheds. And many people enjoy shed hunting during February and March. If they are not scooped up during this time, the squirrels and other critters will eat most of them. But when found, they make great decorations and can be worth money to others as well. But can you imagine now, what that gigantic ten pointer looks like without his most prized possession? Well, he looks like every other deer - pretty normal. And not only does he look like every other deer, he no longer has the advantage he once had. And he no longer commands the respect he once commanded. And he has no greater weapons than the younger and lighter-weight deer. By this simple process of nature, he is stripped of his singular identity and now must allow himself to blend in with other deer of every sort until the time comes when he once again will separate himself as an even more impressive animal than before. In all of our lives, there comes times when God causes our antlers to fall off. Sometimes he does so without our consent and other times he comes to us and asks us to step away from positions and/or possessions. In those periods, he strips us of those things that were once what we were known for - our identity. Instead of setting us up, he sets us aside. Instead of surrounding us with fans, he surrounds us with all sorts of individuals, many of whom have been stripped as well. And he works on us, but not on the outside, on the inside. And there he feeds us, strengthens us, and reminds us that our trust and our identity is not in who we are or what we have, but it is in whose we are. And when we have regrasped that truth, he sends us back out as the special person he has made us to be with more wisdom, strength, beauty, and usefulness than we had ever had before.......Until he must remind us all over again.