Seven years of love.
Today we celebrated our seventh wedding anniversary. Never in my wildest dreams did I think we would be as close as we are today. Never did I imagine that I could love someone like I love him. This love could have not grown this deep without disagreements, knowing when to say you're right and knowing when to not throw in the towel.
Marriage teaches you as much about yourself as it does about your spouse. There are blissful days but there are also days when I don't like my husband. I always love him but I don't always like him and that is ok. We are on a journey to know each other more fully every day. The love we share should grow with each passing day.
This past year has brought so much grace to our relationship. We are able to share our thoughts and feeling more openly and honestly. We are able to enjoy each others company like we haven't in the past. Yes, we still argue. In fact we did yesterday over where to go to brunch. Really, you can't make this stuff up.
One of the biggest blessings in the last year has been meeting with several couples from our church once a month. Having people on your side that are going through similar stages in life has been so helpful for us. This small group setting allows us to share struggles, sorrows and victories.
So today I am so thankful not only for the last seven years, but especially the last. Thankful that we get to do life together, even on the crappy days. Thankful that we can argue and learn from our mistakes. Marriage is hard. It isn't a walk in the park. Today I am thankful for you, Donald. The Godly man you are; loving me unconditionally even when you don't take me to the correct brunch spot. ;)
Messages have been popping up in front of me the last week or so. They seem to be tying back to the idea of deliverance. See that? The word of the year keeps following me around and showing up. Coincidence? Maybe a subtle reminder and a slight nudge on the shoulder that I have work to do.
For he will deliver you form the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence.
Breaking this verse down and delving into the meaning of each word opens my eyes more to the refuge that God is. A snare is a "trap for catching birds or animals" and a fowler is the person who sets the trap, who hunts for the birds. I would say that this is a pretty accurate description of what Satan is trying to do in our lives. He is setting traps for us to fall into, to see if we will take the bait. How are we responding when faced with a snare? Are we leaning on the Lord for knowledge and help or are we responding using our own knowledge. I know that in my life I have a tendency to respond quickly with words and actions. I give little time for listening or pondering my response. Each day I am faced with a snare and how I respond can change the trajectory of the day or my life!
Luckily when we place our life in God's hands he is willing to save us from the snares of Satan. He will heal us form the "fatal epidemic disease" that haunts our life. This pestilence or disease could be a laundry list of items: not attending church weekly, not letting God lead, a physical or mental ailment, lying, adultery, the list goes on. When we turn away from Satan and to God he will guide us away from this disease. We will be able to rejoice in the house of the Lord. We are assured several verses later that no evil should be allowed in when we are in his dwelling place.
Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place -
the Most High, who is my refuge - no evil shall be allowed to befall
you, no plague come near your tent.
What reassuring words we are given! He is a good Father! A saving Father! One who will protect us when we seek him and live out the life He has planned for us!
Today I am angry and frustrated. I don't know the real reason why, but part of me feels like people feel sorry for me. They feel sorry that I have to walk this difficult road. I would agree that it isn't rosy, it isn't a walk in the park, but guess what life isn't easy. I don't believe that when we are following Jesus and the promptings of the Holy Spirit that life will always be easy. The one thing I do know through all of this is that I find my rest in him. I have too. I have to give him the glory in it all. The good, the awesome and the downright cruddy.
As a sat reflecting on these tough feelings today I focused on verses from chapter three of Proverbs. Much of this chapter emphasizes trust in him. When we trust in him, our help will come from him.
"Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths."
When we take on the challenges in our every day are we taking the path that we want or are we taking the path that He wants? Are we taking the time to listen, observe and acknowledge the promptings that he is giving us? I know that I am very guilty of forging my own path at times. The reason that this path becomes more well traveled than I would like is due to me leaning on my own understanding.
When I relate this to my struggle with a mental illness I know that much of my sadness and darkness comes from my past when he wasn't number one in my life. When I strayed from the path. There were days before recommitting my life to Christ that were filled with bad decisions and heartache. This heartache has a different feel now that Christ is at the helm. In the song Shoulders by For King and Country the lyrics speak beautifully to the fact that he is here to help us when we let him help us.
"My help comes from You
You're right here, pulling me through
You carry my weakness, my sickness, my brokenness all on Your shoulders"
For King and Country. Run Wild. Live Free. Love Strong. Warner/Chappel Music, Inc., 2014
As I wrap all of this together I know that I still have work to do. I still need to open my eyes and heart more fully to him. I know that I need to do a better job of recognizing his path over mine. I need to listen to his promptings. I need to continue to pray the Prayer of Jabez.
When it comes to mental health, let us cast our worries on him. Let us lean on his understanding. If you are on the outside and think that you know someone who is suffering don't second guess the promptings of the Holy Spirit when he sets a path before you. It might be hard to reach out to this individual, but open your heart. Pray for this person. Don't every be afraid to reach out to this individual through email, text message, phone, or a shared meal. This touchpoint could be a positive turning point for them.
My prayer for all of you is that we may listen to the promptings from the Holy Spirit and remember that we all have a path forged for us as long as we leave the understanding up to him. So don't feel sorry for me. Pray for healing of those who are hurting, listen to the prompts and share love.
Today was a BIG day. Today was a day that I made a commitment to myself to truly get better. To officially start kicking postpartum depression to the curb. By official I mean I am seeking help from a counselor. I've waited too long in this fog and I am ready for it to start to clear. I know that this isn't going to be easy. It most definitely won't be fun, but it will be worth it.
I can look to the Bible for reassurance. In the past week I have submersed myself in the bible like never before. Each day I am taking the time to open up this wonderful book and surround myself with the story of the King who gave so much for all of us. In the book of Psalms we see that we should give him our worry and our strife as he will always keep us afloat.
"Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved." Psalms 55:22 ESV
No one else has made a sacrifice like he did. Who else do you know that says "cast your burdens" on me? Our parents, spouses, siblings, friends, and counselors surely don't want to see us suffer and hopefully they are reaching out to help us on our journey, but they should not need to carry our pain, strife, fear, worry, etc. They will walk through the dark hours with us but we are not to cast these burdens on them. A counselor is someone who I can share my history with and in my case be counseled by in a Godly manner. I believe this is what HE would want for me. HE gave so much for us to give it all to him. When we are seeking help let us seek it from the one who can provide it to us. Again I look to Psalms for this reassurance:
"I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes form the Lord, who made the heaven and earth." Psalms 121:1-2 ESV
I could repeat one part of that verse over and over. "My help comes forms he Lord..."
So I will leave you with this, a reminder to run to him.
God bless, Lisa
The season in our house right now is a tough one. Tough on so many fronts. I am learning that I need to lean in and give the glory to God (in every moment). That I am imperfectly made in his image. That he will help me through if I search for him in all moments of my life. I need to lean in when the moments are tough and murky AND when they are good and rich.
There have been more nights than I can count this summer when we have been unable to have supper as a whole family. In these moments the anger swells, the anxiety and shortness set it. Why or why can I not find grace in these moments? Why can I not fill my children with positive affirmations of their hard working dad? Why can I not lean on God and find the goodness here?
To be honest I think it is because I don't lean in and give him the glory in all areas of my life, in every moment. I fill these teachable moments with such angst and defeat. I go to anger and frustration towards my spouse and kids on matters which they have no control over. So today I choose joy and hope and leaning in. I choose giving him the glory in every single moment, tough and murky or rich and good.
Motherhood is hard and tricky. Sometimes its hard to navigate and sometimes you want to cry yourself to sleep in a locked closet where no munchkins can ask you “why” for the millionth time. But other times, most of the time motherhood is oh so rewarding. The title of mother is one that some have received through natural birth, adoption, hardships or unforeseen losses. The title of mother is one that will never leave you once you have heard that heartbeat on a fetal monitor or held a positive pregnancy test in your hands. God has chosen you to be a mother.
HE CHOSE YOU and don’t ever forget it.
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.
PLANT 18 is here! We all can hardly believe it. Did you hear me?! PLANT 18 is here. The winter drug on and no one thought we would be to this point. Sugar beets, corn, and wheat are going in, but we honestly need a good slow inch of rain. I might as well shoot for the moon with my weather requests right? Little spots of frost here and there and the ground is a tad drier than we would like. Either way rain or not very thankful that we are rolling. And with that I’m bringing back Tuesday Ten…haha how many times have you heard that before?
1. What’s for supper: Burgers on our new Traeger. This is not a sponsored post but you guys this grill is life changing. I say that after only cooking two things on it, ribs and chicken thighs. Hands down best at home grilled goodness we have had, EVER. Any other pellet grill owners out there? Share your top tips/recipes with me in the comments section!
2. What am I listening to: Just started to listen to Jenna Kutcher’s goal digger podcast, adding that one to my weekly list.
3. Weather: Mid 60s, hallelujah!!
4. Weekend plans: Bridal shower and cooking on the Traeger!
5. Watching: Parenthood, I blame it on my kids being sick with influenza and norovirus this winter. I’m usually not a binge TV person, but this show has done me in.
6. Boy moment of the week: We are in our terrible twos almost threes. So sweet at moments and at times cries because I carried him into the house versus letting him walk. My mother in law says he reminders her of my husband at that age. I have one word as a response to that: Karma!
7. Girl moment of the week: Is anything sweeter than seeing your daughters create a fierce bond? No, insert heart melt and a few tears. On a side not our bottom scooting 11 month old has learned downward dog on her own and it’s adorable, but I am also a little biased.
9. Recipe of the week: We have been scoping out the cookbook that came with our Traeger. Don has only mentioned the mac and cheese short of a thousand times so guessing that one will be at the top of the list.
10. Reading: Is three books too many? Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis, Grace Not Perfection by Emily Ley, and Body Love by Kelly LeVeque
On a side not you guys killed me with kindness last night in response to sharing about postpartum depression. The number of you that reached out to me was unbelievable. Please share the message with all moms not just new moms if you would like. We all need to know that we are loved! Again thank you from the depths of my soul. Friends we have so much to be grateful for and you have all shown me that!
I’ve struggled with this post for a while as the intent of my blog starting out was to share the story of our farm and not so much about our personal lives. Well as you would have guessed these go hand in hand. Farming is very personal for us as we are carrying on a legacy created generations ago. This legacy is something we hope to pass on, but in order to do that we have to take care of ourselves. So here it goes...
About six month ago I was sitting in a hotel room, alone. No kids running around, no middle of the night wake up calls to tuck someone back in, no meals to put on the table and no snuggles to be had. I had zero guilt for not missing any of it. I’m usually one that hates to be away for long periods of time especially bedtime, the sweetest part of our daily routine.
I didn’t miss my husband and I didn’t miss my kids. No desire to go home, I really was wondering how long the hotel would let me stay before they got suspicions. I know that there are breaking points for most moms, and moments when we do need to get away. This “getting away” was so different, it wasn’t me holed up in the bathroom for five minutes regaining my composure. It wasn’t me longing to go home for snuggles. It was me hitting rock bottom. A rock bottom of postpartum depression I wasn’t sure I was ready to face.
As I packed up after five days of being gone from home I began to wonder if my family really missed me. Would they really care if I came home? My mind was telling me maybe, but my heart was telling me no. Postpartum depression is a deep demon that tears at your heart strings and in my case makes me believe many lies.
I did the right thing that day and drove home to my family. I didn’t follow through on the lies that the demons were stirring in my soul. The top lie, do they really need me in their earthly lives?
That evening the kids and my husband happily greeted me at the door, but so did a pile of dishes, heaps of laundry and crumbs I could hardly stand to step on. It was as if with each step these crumbs were working in sync with Satan. Crumb one, “you are not worth it.” Crumb two “haha, you really think you can do this?” Crumb three, “don’t make a fool of yourself Lisa, keep it together or don’t.” Each crumb was a thorn and a scar on my heart and mind.
Something prompted me that evening to share these feelings with my husband, was it my last cry? Did I really have something wrong with me? It was decided I needed to call my OB. I pushed this off several days and confided in a coworker. He had a similar tone as my husband, make the call. A few days later a phone call was made and I was prescribed an antidepressant that would take twelve weeks to take full effect. Who has twelve weeks to wait to be happy? Another crumb. Surprisingly they started to work within several weeks and I started to feel less anxiety and more happiness. This only lasted for a short week or so. Pretty soon I was emotionless with no highs or lows. Just steady. Steady felt almost as bad as that deep dark hole.
I recognized this as did those closest to me. Again we knew an adjustment needed to be made, I ditched the pills and confided in a doctor that has been in my life for the past ten or so years. She spoke truth into my heart about my worth and being, she helped me to find solutions or a path to a solution that made sense. She explained what my body was lacking and why I was feeling the way that I was. She spoke truth into me.
Now don’t take this as she solved the issues in that one meeting, she didn’t and I am still fighting the battle six month later. She was a true second starting point for me. Thankfully my husband, family and some very close coworkers know of my struggles. These individuals that I have reached out to are advocating for me. They are being my backbone when I don’t feel as though I have one. In those moments when I want to crack I have someone to confide in. They speak the truth into me that I cannot see in those deep dark moments. As time has passed these moments are fewer, but I also have come to realize that I need to take care of myself. I need to see in myself what others see in me. If I am not healthy those around me will see my dark side not my happy side.
This journey that I am on also makes me worried for all of the others out there who do not have the capacity to ask for or to seek out help. For those who do not have others to lean on. My one request as you read this is, be that person. Ask the right questions but most of all be a listening ear for someone. You taking time out of your busy schedule to listen will be one of the biggest gifts you can ever give someone. I know as I have soaked up many precious minutes of others as they have listened to me as I struggle through postpartum depression. Do not let this person be alone emotionally. Being emotionally alone is one of the hardest places to be as postpartum depression eats away at you. I found that in these alone moments the darkness fell faster.
If you are a normal ready of my blog you may recall this post where I shared my word of the year for 2018. God laid the word deliverance on my heart for a reason. Now I don’t know the exact reason at this point, but I pray daily that I am delivered from this demon that has overtaken my happiness. I also pray that others who suffer mentally from any sort of illness are able to be delivered from it and can rejoice in the hands of our Father. When I look at someone I want to look in their eyes and see Jesus. I don’t want to see their outward appearance, I want to see their inward grace. I want them to know that whatever demon they are fighting there is a greater and bigger God that will guide us if we ask for him to do so.
***If you believe that you are suffering from any sort of depression or mental illness, please seek out help. Find someone that you trust to confide in, this individual or group of people will build you up so you may also see your worth. You are so loved and don't let anyone tell you differently.
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.
I'm Lisa, a farm wife, mom and old lady at heart (or my husband tells me so). Agriculture, quilting, and baking were my first loves and now I get to enjoy them with my family!