Several nights ago I dug out a study that I had started over a year ago. It is a six week study and by quick glance I had completed through week four. Rather than pick up there I figured it was best to just begin again. As I began to read the teachings and practices the study came back to mind.
Like many other studies there are places to jot notes and answer questions. I read the prompts, spent some time in reflection and began to write. I then read my responses from over a year ago. It was a true reminder of the work that God and the Holy Spirit have been doing in my life.
So many of the old statements and answers were filled with "I' and "me." Clearly I had learning to do and still do. I am floored at how God has worked in one year in my life. How a clearer dependence on him has opened my eyes and has started to change how I pray and talk to God.
Today my prayer is that he continues to journey alongside me to help guide my path as I know he already has it all planned out. True dependence is knowing that the journey can be long, painful and drawn out with a short period of living out what we have learned. The process can also be smooth without hiccups as we navigate the doors he opens and closes. True dependence is knowing that he has us in the palm of his hand, that he is the one who provides for us through his deep love and sacrifice.
Today friends find peace knowing that if we depend on him he will guide us through life's trials and joys.
The weeks long slump of not looking at the word is in full swing. Really during Advent I should be delving into the word, reflecting on the sin in my life and preparing for the Lord's coming. Instead I am scrolling Instagram and hoping God will just show me the way. You and I both know that is not how this works. It takes work to be a follower of God and yes at times we may get into a slump. It is not different than a slump in exercise, meal planning, or managing schedules. I slump in all of those ares simultaneously most days.
Do you want to know the mental difference in my slumps from a year ago? I don't feel nearly as guilty. Through my work with my wonderful counselor at Valley Christian Counseling we have been talking through this guilt and need for perfection. It is ok to get into slumps. The mindset behind the slumps has changed. As I start planning for the week I have started to use the word "could" vs "should." I don't feel nearly as guilty when I don't accomplish something that I could have done versus should have done.
Every day and every week is a new opportunity to overcome the slumps that may consume our lives. The final days of advent will be spent in reflection for me while dreaming of the future with God at the forefront.
The last several days have brought anxiousness and fear for the unknown as our family reached a day that would need immense prayer. In each moment of unrest I have tried to release and give these thoughts to the Lord. I know that he will carry them for me as I need.
When life is a whirlwind and we have fear for the future that fear will consume you. That is what I was feeling. I was feeling unrest, worry and anxiousness. Difficulty sleeping and lack of focus. Last night I prayed and read in my devotional before putting myself to bed at 8:00. The first five hours of sleep were solid, followed by three of tossing and turning.
Little did I know that when my alarm would go off at 4:45 I would have a calming sense of peace wash over me. No fear for the day or what was ahead in it. I knew that God had today in his hands. I recently read in a devotional that he gives us the exact amount of strength we need for each day. How fitting. How correct. The peace was and is part of his plan. He knew what I needed today. A true sign that even in what we think are our dark moments he is there to help carry the weight. He is always good and it is always well in him.
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. ;)
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
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.
I have been more than absent from blogging lately and it bothers me but at the same time I know it was needed. Not that I have ever been a consistent blogger, but usually it is an outlet for me. A way for me to disconnect and let me mind go where it wants. Each season brings new challenges hopefully met with grace.
Farming continues to be part of our livelihood along with myself continuing to work off the farm. We are very fortunate to have what we have. The winter months (November-January) are our precious moments where we all get to enjoy meals together. There is no wondering when Mr. Farmer will be home, there is no cold suppers left on the table waiting for him far past bedtime, there is no single parenting. We get to be together enjoying precious well deserved time together.
Don’t get me wrong that the business of farming is teaching our children things we never would be able to teach to this degree if we worked in other industries. Our children get to see perseverance, grace, hope, trust, and patience daily. Some say farmers are the eternal optimists and I would have to agree. So as I make a commitment to share more of our real farm life with you, I ask for your grace as each season brings new challenges and with that a continued faith in God, our Heavenly Father.
We moved back to the farm in April of 2012 newly married with a very narrow vision of the future as far as careers. I was about to celebrate my one year anniversary with a company that I loved but I also knew that commuting an hour one direction was unrealistic in the long term. This became more evident as we found out that we were expecting our first child. There were no sizable towns on my drive so the first question became daycare and the second became do I find a new job?
I’m sure I’m not the only crazy hormonal pregnant lady who breaks down to their husband about these types of solvable problems. I started to search, but jobs in the field of agriculture are hard to find around our area unless you want to be an agronomist or sell seed. I wanted to do neither. I spread my search to banks and other financial institutions with little luck and held onto hope that something would open up with my current company.
Through many tearful conversations with my husband of trying to find daycare we decided that for now we would do what we could. My husband would head one direction to drop off our firstborn while I headed the other direction to work. Extra miles, but it was reality. Fast forward to December of 2012, I was 7 months pregnant and still lost. The uncertainty of it all and knowing how far I was going to have to drive was eating me up. Just as I was about to call it quits, God stepped in. A fellow coworker had the opportunity to take a position in her hometown cutting her commute time from thirty minutes to five. The good Lord helped me through the interview for that position selling and servicing crop insurance. I knew little about the insurance industry, but knew that the change was needed for our growing family. I would say this was a little divine intervention for both my coworker and me.
Looking back the jump from credit to insurance was a little daunting, but would I change it? No, absolutely not. I have been afforded so many neat opportunities while fueling my passion for education through customer outreach and activities like Ag in the Classroom. Know that just as one door is closing or you are not sure that there is hope you need to leave it out on the table. Some things are out of our control. Bless the good Lord that he knew what I didn’t.
When I started blogging I really wanted to share farm life with all of you and I soon realized that in order to share farm life I also needed to share my heart. If you have read some of my previous posts especially this one you know that my roots in agriculture run deep. This passion does not shut off, it does not get old, it only grows.
Attending conferences with other “aggies” only spurs that passion and creates a desire in my heart to share what I love even more. So today step back and think about what pushes you in your life, where does your true passion lie?
Mine is in educating others, specifically women about the wonderful field I get to be part of in my day job and when I get home. Agriculture is much more than farming, it is more than dairy cows, more than farrow to finish operations, more than a man dressed in overalls. The career possibilities are really endless, they can be on a farm or they can be in a high rise in the city. My intended career path was to provide credit to farmers. I wanted to be a banker for farmers. Little did I know God had a much greater and somewhat unexpected plan for me...
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!