The Mess of Miracles {And a little Avengers}

Have you ever waited for a miracle? I mean a real, God-supplied, supernatural, no-other-way kind of miracle?  I feel like my life is a series of miracles. All of them waited for, prayed for, hoped for, dreamed about, begged-G0d-for…I have seen many.

The Bible is full of miracles. But if you look closely at every miracle within the pages of God’s Word you will find that miracles rarely come packaged neat and tidy or without side-effects.  In fact, most of the Bible’s miracles have a story before and after that often get missed in the hype.

Take, for example, Eve.  All of the creation story is one miracle after another. God took nothingness and make birds and  fish, flowers and rain, gardens and rivers.  He made stars and light and darkness and lightning.  He created weather and oceans, horses and dragonflies.   I mean, it’s mind-numbing.  The creation story is millions of miracles multiplied.  It’s staggering.

And then there was Adam.  God created a likeness of Himself. A companion.  A caretaker of creation. The highest form of created beings. A communicator.  A lover. A soul-carrying tangible , immortal being.  Amazing. But then…Eve.  Miracle upon miracle to get to a woman.  ( there ought to be some sort of pause here taken for the sheer humor of it all~ even in the Beginning, woman has made an entrance).

So Eve, a miracle.  A created being. Helpmeet for man.  A lover, soul-mate, complimentarian to the only dude. Oh God…what were you thinking?? Just kidding. It’s miraculous. She was created with a uterus and therefore, obviously she was designed to bare children. But his miracle was not finite or simple. And ultimately, Eve succumbed to selfishness, fell out of favour with her Creator, was banished from the Garden , bore children, one of whom would kill the other…..oh dear. Eve.  A miracle….and a mess.

And then there’s Isaac.  One of my favorite all-time miracles.  Abraham and Sarah who waited till their 90s to see the fulfillment of God’s promise to them; a son.  They got impatient along the way. Sarah set up the maid, Hagar , with Abraham and thereby Ishmael was born.  Anyone read anything about the Middle East lately? The descendants of Isaac and the descendants of Ishmael have been duking it out for thousands of years.  But Isaac.  A miracle. How else do you explain a woman in her 90s who had never been pregnant before, giving birth? There is no explanation but God. But Isaac,  Jacob, Joshua….the descendants of Abraham struggled. They struggled to claim their land. The Promised Land. The Holy Land. God set it aside for them. He could have wiped everyone else off the planet and handed it to them. But instead. They wandered the desert for 40 years trying to make a trip that should have taken 2 weeks.  You gotta feel bad for them. I mean, how could they have been SO LOST??

David, a shepherd boy, killed Goliath with a rock.  A giant that an entire army could not defeat.  How?  A miracle. And David spent much of the rest of his life running, hiding, killing, committing adultery, sulking, floundering, and yet still finding favour with the Most High God.  A miracle.  But a mess.

The widowed woman who helped to feed Elijah. She had nothing. There was drought. No rain. No food. No hope.  And God, replenished her tiny bit of oil and tiny bit of flour each day. Just enough to feed her, her son and Elijah. For weeks. God could have provided chicken, cattle, a spring, gold coins.  He can do stuff like that. But He provided….enough. Just enough. And she never got rich.  She probably worried. She likely died poor and maybe even alone. A miracle. But a mess.

Why when we talk about miracles do we act like they’re going to come in like the Avengers, clean up the town and save the day?

Why do we assume that if God provides OUR miracle we’re going to be good to go, happy and carefree for the rest of our days?  Where do we get this from? It’s certainly not Biblical. It seems to me , that God, more often than not, provides JUST what is needed for the moment.  With not much fanfare or bonus material.  Our reliance on Him is key. And if we don’t need faith because we have all we *need*, or maybe if we’re just too greedy , or irresponsible….well, God knows.  And He provides healing, provision, shelter, children, companionship, friendship when He sees fit. In His way. In His timing. And maybe never. And that is the mess we must accept.

For a year, we have been trying to sell our house. I will not go into the boring details of what led us to be in this position. But suffice it to say , we’re WAY PAST needing a miracle.  I just want to move forward. A miracle a year ago would have looked like having a bidding war and getting more than we were asking.  6 months ago, a miracle would have been getting $30,000 less than asking.   A miracle 3 months ago looked like being moved before my son’s grad so that we could celebrate together, under one roof, without the stress of the unknown.  A miracle 6 weeks ago looked like being able to afford a house in Regina at all.  Well, none of those happened.

In fact, we came to a point of letting go of any and all expectations.  And maybe, that was the miracle that we needed all along. You see, we’re consumers. We’re spoiled.  We’re Westerners. We have come to see life through the lens of owning a house, living on a nice street, having nice things, going on vacations, wearing nice clothes and going to a nice church.  We’re nice people and how we look is more important than who we are or WHOSE we are.  And we have lost it all.  In the course of this year, we have lost the ability to have and control where we live. Painful. Sad. Lonely. Horrible, really.

So what does a miracle look like then?  A miracle is something that could not, would not , happen without the intervention of the Holy Spirit, God and Jesus intervening on our behalf. A miracle 6 months ago of our house selling and finding a new one wouldn’t be a miracle at all. It would be the market, doing what it does. It would be us pricing our house to sell and someone coming along and buying. Our miracle now, in financial ruin, in a dried up market, with no buyers and no ability to qualify for a new mortgage….well, the only miracle is the impossible.  And that’s exactly what we got.  There is no other way to describe it or explain it.  We have a house. We are moving at the beginning of August and it is completely surreal because of the fact that it shouldn’t be happening at all. If I told you that we did not rob a bank and we did not sell a child, would you believe me? It’s true. And there is no rhyme or reason for it. Except God.

But that’s not the whole story.  You see, selling our house did not factor into the buying of  a new house. But selling is still necessary. And that’s the messy part.  Getting under one roof and not having an extra mortgage payment is HUGE, but we still have bills to pay.  And we still have the weighty burdens of caring for one house while we’re far from the other. There will be costs. There are stresses and worries that sometimes cloud the fact that we got a miracle!

I wonder if the widow, or David, or Abraham , or Eve ever thought about the miracle behind them and the mess before them?  As wonderful as the miracles are, there’s more to the story. It doesn’t make me not want the miracles. But it makes me rely that much more on the Miracle Giver. If I didn’t have Jesus, it wouldn’t matter.  We said from the beginning, whatever happened we only wanted God to get the Glory. I can’t explain to you why we are getting a house that is half a block from our kids’ school, that is owned by a Christian couple, that has all the rooms we need  and no repairs needed.  I can’t tell you how we qualified, except that God is the GREAT Qualifier of all things good. He sees, He hears, He knows, He responds.  Sure, I’d love a clean slate, no outstanding debts, no bills to pay, no creditors on my tail. Sure, it would be nice if this would have happened a long, LONG time ago.  Yes, I’m sad at what we’ve missed this year as a family. NO, I wouldn’t recommend this kind of separation to any married couple. But you know what?  The miracle AND the mess that come with it are God’s way of teaching us reliance on Him.  And regardless of what miracles we get, don’t get, wish for, never see….HE WILL AVENGE OUR TROUBLE.  (it just might not be the way we think)  After all…the Avengers have been known to make a mess. ;)

John 16:33  (Jesus said,) In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

In The Middle of a Mess

My husband just shakes his head. After 20 years of marriage he knows better than to try to change me or expect anything more from me. Sometimes, it’s all he can do to bite his tongue and walk away.  I have the uncanny ability to just sit in the midst of a mess, happy-go-lucky and focus solely on whatever I’m doing.  I can read a book, write a letter,  bake a cake, watch TV, laugh at a joke, sing a song and all kinds of other mindless, frivolous ventures in the middle of a room that looks like a Chernobyl afterthought.

I know it probably bugs many of you reading this. I’m sure you’re all the perfect housekeepers; uber-organized, ultra-clean….that’s fine. You can do whatever you like. But for me, I can just plop myself down in the midst of massive chaos and enjoy one thing. It doesn’t bother me, phase me or rattle me in the least bit. I am in total bliss-dom with my one task.

And perhaps, this is why….in the midst of a life of chaos, where I don’t know if next weeks’ mortgage payment will be paid, or how I’m going to keep up with this weedy yard, or how I’m going to get that quonset door closed by myself, or if I’ll be able to get my dryer working again, or if my van will make it to town for another trip before the tire finally blows….maybe it’s  why I can sit down, hum a tune and sew something pretty and not be phased in the slightest.

Matthew 6:
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[e]?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Day 28~ Already There {Seeing the End when It’s Out of Sight}

I’m going to start this post where I normally end; with a video.  Watch it and then get back here for the rest of the story…

http://castingcrowns.com//updates/behind-song-already-there-1141

I bought Casting Crowns’ new CD this week: Come to the Well.  I love their music~ always inspiring, encouraging and relevant for where real life is….not always fun, not always neatly packaged but always full of grace and mercy.

The lyrics to this song: Already There  (Mark Hall, Bernie Herms, Matthew West)

From where I’m standing
Lord it’s so hard for me to see
Where this is going
And where You’re leading me
I wish I knew how
All my fears and all my questions
Are gonna play out
In a world I can’t control
When I’m lost in the mystery
To You my future is a memory
Cause You’re already there
You’re already there
Standing at the end of my life
Waiting on the other side
And You’re already there
You’re already there
From where You’re standing
Lord, You see a grand design
That You imagined
When You breathed me into life
And all the chaos
Comes together in Your hands
Like a masterpiece
Of Your picture perfect plan
When I’m lost in the mystery
To You my future is a memory
Cause You’re already there
You’re already there
Standing at the end of my life
Waiting on the other side
And You’re already there
You’re already there
One day I’ll stand before You
And look back on the life I’ve lived
I can’t wait to enjoy the view
And see how all the pieces fit 

Could there really be a more appropriately written song that so accurately describes how I’m feeling these days? I don’t think so. I am having such a hard time just looking at what’s in front of me and understanding why it’s taking so long to get anywhere. It has been a trying day for our family, to say the least.  It has been even more trying to KNOW that God has this all figured out and just trust in Him.  I’m thankful for His grace.  He’s showing me a lot these days.  I don’t understand why. I don’t understand how but I know that we are gently held in the palm of His everlasting hands.  He sees the end and the beginning all in one blink of an eye. He is catching us, caring for us and preparing us for what is  and what is to come.  

Just like a good dad, he’s already there.

Sometimes I Cry

It isn’t hard for me these days to feel discouraged. Everywhere I look in my own life, in my family’s lives, in my community and world I find discontentment, sadness, loneliness and fear.  I sometimes want to crawl into a hole and never come out. Because, well, life is tough.  And it’s not fair.

Fair.

What is fair? As a mom, I often am called on to be the referee and judge. Someone has something that isn’t theirs and the owner wants it back.  Someone else wanted the last pizza pop in the freezer but so-and-so took it~ knowing full well it was already marked for consumption.  And yet another wants to know why “missy” got off with a warning when he was doled out punishment and a grounding.

Hmmm.

What can I say? Life isn’t always fair.  In fact, I don’t recall life EVER being fair. Parenting can really bring that into perspective like no other situation can. I love all my kids. But I will be the first to say that I love them differently. **gasps heard everywhere**  Let’s face it, we don’t love our kids the same. We don’t treat our kids the same.  We don’t punish them the same or give them gifts in the same manner or value.  And well, if you do….I don’t know what to say to that. We are all individuals. We have unique ideas, passions, feelings and thoughts.  I may have raised all 4 of my kids under the same roof , with the same foods and the same routines but I will tell you very clearly they are anything but the same!   Years ago, I remember being in my grandma’s house preparing for Christmas.  Grandma told me she was nearly done her shopping but had a couple of gifts left to get.  I will never forget our conversation.  She and Grandpa were expecting most of their grandkids home for Christmas that year.  At that time I think there were about 15 of us.  She wanted each kid to get a gift and I was surprised that they would go to that expense and trouble.  I said, “Grandma, we don’t need gifts; being here for Christmas is all that we need or want.”  And she told me then that I need not worry about the expense.  She said that she never worried about making sure she spent the same amount on each person. She simply bought a little token that would show her love and be unique to the grandchild receiving it.   We had a lengthy conversation on making sure that everything is fair and she laughed out loud~ life is not fair and it never will be; it’s best that you learn that early on.

My grandma taught me much that day.  I have never spent equal on my kids for birthdays , Christmases or back to school shopping!  My kids know that and it has never been an issue.  But, at the same time I have learned that it is not so easy to punish fairly.  The kid who learns nothing unless privileges are removed is clearly going to feel slighted when another child only needs to be told of their wrong-doings. Some kids you have to tell over and over …….and OVER again! Some only need to be told once.  Others make excuses and some simply deny.  And there never seems to be a fitting punishment for lying. *sigh*  It’s hard to make a child understand that you don’t love them less~ but you love them differently.  My mothering heart is full~ full of patience and impatience. Full of joy and sorrows.  Full of anger….yes, anger….and full of love.   The negative is only there to make me appreciate the positive and the positive isn’t so positive without the negative.  Does it make sense?  I don’t know.  But it sure makes me start to understand why there seems to be such a dichotomy in the Bible when God doles out punishment and love.  When His mercy seems endless on those who have done so much wrong and when the unfairness of his wrath is almost too painful to read.   Job knew this all too well.  A man who refused to curse God in the midst of so much loss.  Stripped down to nothingness~ lost without his children and his home~ bankrupt, burdened and sick. And yet…he praised.  And I don’t understand it………….but I do.

The story of Jacob and Esau is probably one of the most riveting in the whole Bible. Esau~should have received his father’s birthright but Jacob duped them both.  And God, knowing all of this , still blessed Jacob. Why? There are so many elements to this story. So many unanswered questions.  Jacob himself was duped into marrying Leah, the sister of Rachel, whom he loved more than anything. He ends up with them both~the one he wants and the one he doesn’t.  And at the end of the story we find the beginning of a nation~ Israel.  I am not a scholar and I do not understand why God would choose this man to be the namesake of His chosen people but maybe within that one act is a lesson to us all.  That God sees us, He knows us and He will use us when we are broken, bad, lonely, afraid, searching, sinning, lying, cheating and stealing~ He will meet us face to face.  He will restore relationships and lead us on journeys.  But it won’t be pretty and it probably won’t be fun. Oh, and it won’t be fair.  Perhaps that is what is really meant in 1 Samuel 16:6  But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     God does not look at the situation the way we do.  And I don’t look at any situation the same way as my kids.  It’s the whole rule about making a judgement call on a case by case basis.  Something that has been sadly lost in our “fair” and “equal” world.   I’m not saying that I always agree with God’s ways. But that’s why He is God and I am not.   I’m getting a bit frustrated with His methods~ I have no shame in saying that.  This is a conversation I have over and over and over with him……just like my kids do with me. *insert lightbulb here*  But I do know that at the end of my story, there will be a purpose, a moral, a truth~ I hope that there will be anyways.  

I have been asked recently , many times actually, if there’s something I need to confess? Like, do I have some unresolved issues with God.  Uhhh…..wow. All I can say is that I daily bring all that I am and all that I have to the Lord and I ask Him if He needs more from me, wants more from me, what can I do?  Sometimes, like a parent, I don’t think He’s really listening.  I mean, I’m trying here but it doesn’t seem to matter.  And sometimes the answer is just “wait”.  Or “soon”.  Or “it’s better that you don’t know everything right now”. And like an impatient, bratty adolescent I run to my bedroom, slam my door and scream into my pillow.  Because I want answers now….actually, no , that’s not right.  I want answers RIGHT NOW.  And I want them to be the nicely packaged, tidy answers that will make my life easy………and fair.  *sigh*  

I haven’t learned I guess.  I’ve been working on this concept for years now and I still haven’t got the kinks out of it.  This is the failure of the human spirit: We want what we want when we want it and we want it now.  Don’t tell me you haven’t been there.  It’s happened to us all , just on different topics.  You want a baby, and no baby ever comes.  You want a husband and he never shows up to the wedding you’ve been planning for 20 years. You want a better job, a new job, any job.  You don’t want cancer, you want your cancer healed, you want the cancer your child has so that she doesn’t have to go through the pain.  It’s hard.  I know.  Because everytime I turn around and think it’s going to be okay:  we’re moving on, our house will sell………….WHAM! there’s another obstacle, another heartache, another disappointment.  And I am discouraged.

disCOURAGEment

Between the DIS and the MENT…….is COURAGE.

Deuteronomy 31:6               Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Where am I going with this?   What is the point? Well, the point is that sometimes , often, usually…life is not fair. But God is just and strong…….and HIS COURAGE goes before us , with us and behind us.  He pushes us, He holds us up, He even drags us…..into His presence.  It’s a rough and rocky road.  It is difficult.  But consider this: if your life was perfect, your kids were perfect, your husband only ever brought you flowers, sang you love songs and wooed you with his handsome face…..if the dog never barfed on the carpet and the cats never dug up your flower beds,  if your daughter never yelled at you and your son always helped with his laundry…..if there was always money in the bank and food in the fridge, if you got a tropical vacation at least once a year and your business always made money……..if Grandma never died and Mom never got cancer, if Dad never divorced Mom and your sister still talked to you……….where would there be room for God in your life?  Seriously~ if you never had NEED of Him…where would He be?   We may not like the methods…..but there is a purpose…….stripped, broken and hurting……we come to the feet of Jesus and in His presence is where we daily live. But only by His grace and mercy.  Because HE, beaten, stripped and broken had the courage to face what we cannot.  And sometimes I cry…but it’s okay.  Because He cries with me.                                                                                                                                                   Check out this video…it’s so good:       Sometimes I Cry                                                                                                                                                                                                   

40 and Lilies in the Woodlands

It has been just over 7 weeks since I last posted here. It wasn’t intentional, just something that happened. It’s been sort of a busy summer in some ways and in other ways very uneventful.  Last week I was thinking it would be time to blog again but what would my first post be about? There’s many things that have happened in the world, many ideas that have come across my desk and many conversations that have peaked my interest.  But writing has not come so easy. I decided that 40 would be my topic.  Why? Because this summer, that is the threshold that I crossed.  Yes, I am now in the over-40 club! Wow! It really sort of snuck up on me.  No fanfare, no party , no real celebrating other than a quiet little cake festivity with my husband and kids.  And so, I decided to mark this historic event by dedicating this post to the number FOUR-O.  And as I just looked at the calendar, it has been exactly 40 days since my birthday. How’s that for timing? Or maybe it’s God’s way of sending me a message.

As I was looking for examples of 40 in the Bible I saw a pattern.  It isn’t the first time I noticed it but tonight it has a clear significance for me.   Noah and his family endured 40 days of rain in the ark.  Moses was on Mount Sinai for 40 days two different times.  Jonah warned the city of Nineveh that they had 40 days to turn from their wickedness in order to escape God’s wrath.  Goliath came out to challenge the Israelites 40 days before he faced David.   The Israelites roamed the wilderness for 40 years before getting to the promised land. Jesus fasted in the wilderness for 40 days.  He then was seen on the earth for 40 days following his death and resurrection before he ascended into Heaven.

There are more examples but here’s what I noticed:   The 40 days or years always preceded something great.  David killed Goliath in one shot of a stone.  Moses came down from the mountain with the Ten Commandments.  Jesus revealed WHO He really was. Jonah and his family were saved got a chance to start over fresh.

I have no idea why God has chosen us to be where we are right now at this time.  But I do know that He has brought me through 40 years of struggles, triumphs, tears, joys, sorrows, mercy and grace overflowing.  I do know that He has a plan even though I don’t know what it is.  I do know that He will redeem all of the negative things I’ve done and said and been through in order that His glory will be revealed.  This I know.

We are here…in the wilderness. And for the past 40 days I’ve been waiting for God to DO SOMETHING.  We have 2 houses up for sale and for the past several months we have been a week or two away from defaulting on a mortgage payment, loans, credit, etc….and yet, here we are, months later and we have not missed one payment.  I don’t know how. I really don’t.  My husband only started working last week and we haven’t received one paycheque yet.  But God has provided .  He has miraculously made sure we’ve had gas in the tank for countless trips to the city as we looked for work and a house.  We have had food on the table and we have paid our bills. We’re still behind on many payments and by no means are we out of the woods…but HE has given us lilies in the woodlands.

Matthew 6:25 “Therefore I tell you do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29yet I tell you,even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

 34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

This passage stirred within me 6 weeks ago as I was driving to pick up my kids from camp.  I had to drive very close to the area where I grew up and I always enjoy so much seeing  the dense forests.  When my sisters and I were very young we lived with the woodlands right outside our door. We spent hours a day roaming through the trees, creating our secret hideaways and houses, sunlight filtering through and causing all sorts of shadows.  Some people find it creepy and scary but we thrived on the mysteries within those forests.  And each summer we looked forward to seeing the forest floor covered in Tiger Lilies.  Beautiful and perfect these orange beauties would sprout up all over the place….in a place where few eyes would even see them God had lovingly crafted each one and placed them in the darkness and shadows……for who? I often have wondered who they are for.  Why would God hide them? But he hasn’t .  In his word He clearly tells us that he lavishes His creation with beauty and clothing and so how much more will He then clothe us?   I just think it’s the perfect picture of my life.  Even in the shadows and the woodlands, He gives me lilies….the gifts and the joys in each day.  

These days are sometimes hard.  The unknown is always a bit scary and uncomfortable but I have learned….am learning…that HE has not forgotten me.  He’s giving me lilies ~ beautiful gifts, provision, clothing, food, comfort~ even in the shadows of my circumstances.

Thank you Lord for the lilies…and these 40 days of seeing your hand move and provide.

And as I drove………..I saw the lilies….

Finding Safety in the Firestorm

Last night, I was riveted to my computer screen.  Watching posts and photos coming in of the fires spreading in Northern Alberta.  It is a helpless feeling to know that a place where we have done business, shopped and traveled through hundreds of times is burning uncontrollably.

As I lay in my bed, knowing that many will never sleep in their houses again, and knowing that there is more wind and fire to fight today…..and knowing that flooding in Manitoba is of “epic proportions”…I think of this passage. A passage that my mother made us memorize when we were very young children.  It is a prayer of safety~ a confirmation of God’s unchanging hand in the midst of chaos.

Psalm 91

1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”

3 Surely he will save you
from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
5 You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
8 You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.

9 If you say, “The LORD is my refuge,”
and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

14 “Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”

May you all rest in the shadow of the Almighty. May He cover you with His wings and protect you.

Where does your bread come from~Part 1: The farmer and the seed.

I was thinking the other day how it is interesting that my grandparents and for generations before them were farmers.  It is also interesting that the same fact remains on my husband’s side.  We come from the true pioneer spirit of breaking the land, sowing seeds, living on faith and and harvesting crops.

As my husband and I embark on this journey together, we realize how little we know.  And we also give thanks and credit to our forefathers(and mothers) who sacrificed so much back-breaking labour to get their crops into the ground.  We are fortunate that we have hydraulic-powered equipment that cuts down on time and effort.  How did those pioneers do what they did with what they had? We are blessed.  Our equipment came with the purchase of our property.  A tractor, air seeder, cultivators, harrows, auger, grain truck, swather, combine….we have it all. But our knowledge is limited.  My dad farmed when I was too young to know the terms and the processes.  In his later years of farming I only saw him at different times of the season and rarely did I get a good grasp of what he was doing.  My husband was the chore-hand in his family. He had the grunt work and did not learn the ins and outs of seeding. Thankfully though, he learned how to repair and troubleshoot.  He is very proficient in those areas and that’s a definite must on machinery that is constantly needing maintenance.

Yesterday, I helped him out.  Cleaning the seeder and prepping it.  Making sure things are operating right.  He was cultivating and had a breakdown or two.  As I was helping him change out a hydraulic jack from one piece of equipment to another I was struck by how that smell of diesel and hydraulic oil takes me back to simpler days on the farm.  I smiled.   The breeze was blowing and there was that fresh smell of soil being worked, green grass growing.  And the sun.  Something about the prairie sunshine smells so wonderful.  The dogs were lazing under the shade of the tractor,  the country radio station playing in the background and my husband’s grease filled hands working tirelessly to get back in the field.

Most of us take for granted how much goes into the bread we put on our tables.  We just think it magically appears on our supermarket shelves.  But there is blood, sweat and tears that goes into every pound of flour.

We are planting wheat.  We are learning as we go.  It has cost us(on credit) $3000 to purchase the seed for our one quarter of land.  Add to that the $1200 in fuel and the couple thousand dollars in parts and other necessities and you can see how the farmers work so hard for so little. We don’t thank them nearly often enough.

Our seed will need to be treated. That is on the agenda for today if the wind dies down.  Treating it prevents disease from taking over and controls pests.  I wonder what our grandparents would think of all this technology?

So, after buying seed, treating it, adding fertilizer and getting the equipment ready….we will sow into the ground.  132 acres if we can squeeze out some of the slough land that has been too wet to sow in previous years.  And then , we will wait….and spray for weeds….and pray.

Thankful for our grain truck to load the seed.

Keeping both dads on speed dial to ask for advice and help.

Picking up the seed at the grain terminal.

Trying to figure out the correct settingsThese rollers pack the soil after the seed is dropped into the ground.

Taking the seeder out for a dry run to make sure all is working well.

Attaching hoses to hydraulic jack. Dogs sleeping in the background.

I'm glad it's him up there and not me! Getting ready to treat seed...from truck to granary.