"Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain."
~Psalm 127:1

November 16, 2017


There is a lot more to the story that I posted the other day, but it would have been way too overwhelming to write everything down in one post.  I think it will have to come in bits and pieces as we process everything more and see where God is leading us.

Something I've thought about a lot over this whole journey has been failure.  At first, I was worried about what other people would think when they heard we were selling our cows.  I thought it would seem like a big failure to them.  I could just picture some people laughing and whispering behind our backs about us not being able to make it in a tough dairy economy.

But here's the thing about failure.  Maybe we're too quick to call something failure when the Lord has another name for it; His leading.  Maybe failure is His way of directing us away from something that might seem good in the short term, but in the long run isn't His best plan for us.  And only through the difficult process of "failure," will we grow in the ways and areas that will make us more like Him.

One of my favorite podcasts that I've ever heard is a series by James MacDonald called When Life Is Hard.  Our veterinarian introduced it to us a couple of years ago (thanks Bridget!!).  One of the things that James MacDonald talks about is the difference between trials and consequences.  In life, there are consequences for our actions, for example if you rob a bank, you could go to jail if you are caught.  That is a consequence, not a trial.  He says that Christian men and women go through difficult trials to display "the superiority of a life lived in Christ."  Our choices, thoughts, and actions through a trial will display where we are rooted and display the reason why we can ever bear up under that trial.  We have hope in something more than our jobs, our dreams, and our goals in this life.  And that is the reason that we can keep going, trusting that the Lord will work out His specific plans, trusting that He is good even when it doesn't feel like it, and trusting that there is so much more that He has for us than our little human brains can ask or imagine.

November 9, 2017

Season of change

I have so much to say, but every time I sit down to write, the words won't come.  I'm going to try to push through this because I want to share what we've been going through this past year and where we are headed.

This year has been and will be one that revolved around change.  Change is not something that I readily put myself through on a regular basis, I would rather stick with the status quo of life, let's not rock the boat too much, even-keeled everyday living.  But the more I go through difficult circumstances, the more I can see that I need change in my life.  Changes, especially hard ones, make me lean harder in the Lord.  They make me set aside my desires and dreams and ask the Lord, "what are You trying to teach me through all this?"  I've been having this kind of scary thought recently: maybe I shouldn't wish for seasons of rest, because in those seasons its almost harder to trust the Lord than in the hard times.  And that is a truly terrifying thought to my North American perspective and lifestyle.

This whole year, my husband and I have been processing what we should do in the coming years.  The dairy industry has been a hard one over the past 9 years or more.  We (I say we to include the previous generation, not just myself and Josiah) expanded the dairy in 2007.  2008 was a "rebuilding" year, trying to get the cows used to a new facility and back up in production, while paying off loans and other bills from the expansion project.  Then 2009 hit.  And it hit hard.  Milk prices were very low and as you can probably figure out, low milk prices for a dairy that is trying to pay off loans is not a good thing.  And it just feels like we could never get our feet back underneath us with one thing or another.

In 2013, Josiah and I bought the farm.  We restructured everything, renovated the barn and milking parlor to meet our (and the herd's needs), and tried to keep moving forward.  2014 was a really good year for milk prices, but once again, we were in a "rebuilding" year where we were all adjusting to the stress of finishing up construction and getting the herd healthy and used to a new routine.  So we've basically been holding on for the past 4 years with everything that we have.

This past March, Josiah was approached by my dad about the possibility of coming to work for him and 2 of my uncles.  I don't even know how to describe the agonizing decision that was, especially for me.  I did not grow up on a dairy farm, and over the past 8+ years of working on one, I have fallen in love with the animals and the work itself, as hard as it is.  I'm the one that drug my feet on giving up this lifestyle.  I felt like it's all I've ever been good at and to take that away is crushing.  But at the same time, the Lord was leading me to let go of this thing that I have held on to so tightly, this idea that dairy farming is the only way we can live our lives, that it is somehow my only identity.

But changes are coming.  In about a week, we are selling our cows.  We don't know exactly what the future will look like yet (of course, we never know what the future looks like until we get there, and we never get there because the future is always the future).

There have been a few verses that I've been clinging to over the past few months:

- "I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.  Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord." -Psalm 27: 13-14

In a world where nothing is for certain, if I can get to that point where I can say that the Lord is good through everything, I'm getting somewhere.  His goodness may not always look like what I had planned, but He does have good plans for me (Jeremiah 29: 11), and even if I have to walk through difficult times, He is still there and He is doing work in my life to make me more and more into who He created me to be in Him.

-"The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need." -Psalm 23: 1

As simple and familiar as this verse is, I've been reminded that it is true.  The Lord does provide all that I need.  Once again, sometimes what I think I need and what I actually need aren't the same things, but the Lord is faithful to gently lead me away from the things that might actually hurt me in the long run that might seem good right now.

I am going to miss the cows, the work, and our workers like crazy, but all the more importantly, I don't want to miss out on what the Lord has for me in this new season.  I don't want to miss out on the purpose that He is fitting me for even now in the middle of the messy unknowns of life.

A book that has meant a lot to me during this season (besides the Bible, that's been a very important aspect of life + tons of prayer) is Girl Meets Change by Kristen Strong.  There were also a few Bible studies that have been impactful over the past year as well, the 2 that stand out are by Priscilla Shirer: Discerning the Voice of God, and The Armor of God.

January 3, 2017

Something to work on this year

I'm a few days late with these thoughts I guess, but I'm still mulling over exactly what this means for me this new year.

And I've been anxiously holding my breath, hoping that the stomach bug that has recently visited my sister's home will not show its presence here.  I always get a little unsettled in my stomach when I know someone I've recently been around has gotten the stomach virus.

So something that I've been noticing recently... well, not really recently, I've kind of always known, so... something that I've been wanting to work on recently has been communication.

I like when people communicate in a direct way, not beating around the bush, but saying what needs to be said, in a kind way of course.  To me, a good communicator is succinct (without leaving out pertinent information), direct, and kind.  I feel like you need all of those factors.  Some people can be direct and blunt, but leave out the compassion for their listeners.  And others can be a little overly nice in their speech and never actually say what needs to be said.

I would probably fall more in the second category.  I try not to be too wordy when I speak (which really isn't that hard for me, I don't talk much.  I think it has something to do with the verse in Proverbs 10: 19, "when words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise." For some reason that verse has always stuck with me), but I also don't always get around to what I actually want to say because I don't want to hurt the feelings of the person that I'm talking with.

So I guess one of my goals for this year is to work on my communication skills.  And not just with other people, but with God as well.  I've kind of been slacking in my prayer life since the little guy came into our lives 13 months ago.

Who knows, maybe I'll even improve my communication skills on my blog too (actually posting more than once in a blue moon). 😬