Seriously overwhelmed by your responses to sharing my journey with postpartum depression. A sincere, THANK YOU! The biggest takeaway is that we are all surrounded by people who want to help us. Sometimes we just need to suck up our pride and accept it. I am a a first hand offender of saying no thanks. It is ok to be vulnerable. It is ok to let others know you are hurting. It is ok if others help. The people that are there to lift you up will not love you any less for you allowing them to share in your journey with them.
That being said I shared my word of the year with you all in January. Several months into 2018 I was handed a book. A small thin book with ninety three pages. Ninety. Three. Now I should have got through this book easily within a couple days, but it took me several weeks. I don’t know if that was because I was reading it before bed half asleep and I would have to reread the same pages over or if it was because I was taking my time to really soak it all in. I’m going to go with the latter ;) This short book has opened my eyes and heart to God’s journey for me even more and I believe has set me up for my path to deliverance. It also made me realize that it is ok to ask for help and it is surely ok to start prayer with a prayer for myself.
How often do you sit down to pray and you pray for everyone under the sun except yourself? Not anymore! Insert “The Prayer of Jabez” by Bruce Wilkinson. What a game changer?! If you have never heard of this book or prayer, don’t be alarmed. I didn’t know it existed. I am fairly new to picking up the bible and actually reading it. I have never read through the bible in its entirety. It’s a goal of mine, one day. Anyways back to my point, this prayer is hiding within 1 Chronicles. Now if you are familiar with the bible you know that this book lists out decedents and lineage. In chapter four we are introduced to the descendants of Judah. Specifically in verse ten of this chapter we meet Jabez and prayer that he prays:
Read it again. Ok just one more time. Powerful stuff huh? Now I don’t want to spoil the book for you so I will share how praying this prayer for the last several month has impacted me.
In April every year I attend a one day conference in the Twin Cities for women involved in agriculture. This is hands down my favorite conference. Huge takeaways at a heck of a price. Connections with others in the industry I love. So much goodness! Leading up to the conference I was asked to present at a roundtable session on crop insurance. I gladly accepted and prepared my short presentation.
Arriving at the conference I grabbed some breakfast and found my table, which was front row. I was totally excited about this and trying to keep my inner fan girl at ease. The opening general session was titled Executive Leadership. A group of four panelists shared their stories of moving to the top of their respective industries and excelling along the way.
As one of the panelists shared her journey her words mirrored something along these lines, “I would not be here today if God had not opened the doors he did.” Now you could take this in a couple different ways, but where it hit me was her willingness to act upon the promptings of the Holy Spirit. When one prays the Prayer of Jabez we are asking for God to open doors for us. For him to expand our territories and share in the goodness that He only knows. To put our trust in him to jump when he says jump. To pray when he says pray. To listen when he says listen and to slow down when he says slow down.
One of the other panelists shared her journey to the top of a large regional bank. The day of her interview for the CEO position she needed a calming voice. She did what many women with a strong father figure in their life might do, she called her dad and asked “will you pray for me?” She never mentioned to him what she was doing other than going into a meeting. He prayed over her and several weeks later he asked her “how did your meeting go?”
Are we all this willing to ask for prayer and help? These two women that day, opened my eyes and cemented the importance of this prayer hidden in 1 Chronicles. In a room full of women they were not afraid to share the glory of God in their lives. That blew me away!
If you can hunt this book down I would highly recommend it. Even better once you read it share it with someone who is on their faith journey. I will be forever grateful to my coworker who took the prompting of the Holy Spirit to share this book with me; in a time when I need it most. Remember it is ok to pray for yourself, to accept help and to ask for help and healing. You have to love yourself first, so take the time to do so.
Have you ever been at a conference or in a meeting where you wanted to stand on the tables and applaud those speaking? They lit a fire under you and you now have an increased level of gumption. That was me on Wednesday. The only reason I stayed sitting in my seat was because I was in the front row and didn’t want to cause a scene. But honestly I was surrounded by rockstars.
Whether these women worked in the banking industry, production agriculture, education, law, research, etc they all had a reason and a purpose for being in that auditorium. That auditorium has housed the Women’s Agricultural Leadership Conference for the last several years. This is hands down my must attend conference every year. The planning committee does a phenomenal job of lining up speakers and tying the whole day together. This year the theme was “Passion for Progress” and the panels of speakers on executive leadership and women’s affinity groups were on fire.
One of my biggest takeaways wasn’t new to me but I appreciated the way it was presented. As women we aren’t “just” anything.
We aren’t just farm wives.
We aren’t just moms.
We aren’t just insurance specialists.
We aren’t just directors.
We aren’t just agronomists.
I think you get the point. When we are in any given situation we need to believe that we are there for a reason. We all have a purpose and a calling. We need to throw the “just” to the roadside and own what and who we are. Here’s and example: I don’t actively help on the farm every day but I do bring warm meals to the field, I make sure my farmer has clean clothes, I pick up parts from the dealership, and I advise on crop insurance. I am not just a farm wife, I am an integral part of the operation.
It doesn't matter if you are sitting in a boardroom or standing in a corn field let your passion and dedication shine through. Your integrity, courage and humble confidence will carry you far. Learn who you are and trust in yourself. Surround yourself with mentors who will be honest with you, but can also see the things in you that you can’t see in yourself. Drop the just and OWN who you are and most of all be humble while you are doing it.
P.S. I geared this post towards women because well hello that’s me, but that doesn’t discount that this same message applies for men too.
It seems as a parent you are trying to live in the moment and you don’t remember what life was like before kids or marriage or college or any of that stuff. Thinking back makes me sentimental and truly appreciate where I grew up. I had exposure to farming since I was very little but did not live on a farm until the fifth grade; little did I know this farm would change the landscape of my future. It would teach me hard work, perseverance, how stupid a sheep can be and how to trim a sheep’s hoof.
Most of this seemed trivial at a young age, but I also knew this was a dream of my parents to be able to raise us on a farm how they were raised. Scooping poop, feeding bottle lambs, and helping the neighbor fill vials for milk testing of his dairy cattle are some of the first jobs I ever had. These were not jobs that paid in money, but rather in character building.
This character can be seen in dirt covered hands, manure covered boots, and exhausted eyes. The dirt covered hands of my parents and neighbors taught me how to drive a tractor before I knew how to drive a car, how to throw a hay bale better than a ball, and how to fix anything with twine.
Today’s farming and ranching population only accounts for 2% of the United States population. So the ability to have the same character building moments that I had are few and far between. The patience to help a lamb latch on for the first time, the skill of listening to directions and taking action, long hours raking hay then later bailing it up in small squares, the perseverance to scoop a pen of manure that is over a foot deep by hand, the list can go on and is different for every kid that has ever grown up on a farm.
It’s crazy to think that when my kids start school in a couple years with 15 classmates they may be the only student that has a tie to a farm. So as a farm mom and wife I take great pride in building similar character and passing on the farming tradition to my kiddos even if it all seems like one crazy whirlwind of a chicken coop.
It's been a week since I returned from the four best days in my professional career thus far. Those four days were a blur that left 17 grown women wanting to sleep in front of a hotel fireplace in sleeping bags singing kumbaya. Spending four days with 17 other women from across the country learning how to represent agriculture in a positive light has been a
G A M E C H A N G E R. When I was selected I didn’t know if I should be more humbled or fortunate for being one of the seventeen. Upon completion the answer was crystal clear.
H U M B L E
The friends that I have created were the greatest teachers and listeners a girl could ask for. We could laugh with each other and know that it was in support of one another. Whether it was media training or learning about our personality profile, we wanted each other to succeed in a way that I have never experienced before. Imagine a room full of cheerleaders, hooting and hollering all while sharing our power poses! The moments shared are memories that I will hold on to while knowing that we ALL will be doing awesome things within our state and nation to promote the field we love, AGRICULTURE!
So today I challenge each of you to step out of your comfort zone and REACH! REACH high and far. Apply for scholarships, read, READ, and read some more. Fill yourself with knowledge of your industry and passion! We all have it we just need to believe. So as I write this a week later I know that I couldn’t ask for much more. And the above reminders for REACHING, are just as much for me as they are for you!
This picture may be low quality but as my fellow classmate Mallorie stated, it's not the low quality picture that matters it's the high quality people in the picture!
I'm Lisa, a farm wife turned city slicker. A child of God, wife and mother. I'm a dreamer relying on God's grace to get me through.