As men, we tend to get caught up in the things of this World, pursuing the “American Dream” or “a life of ease.” We do everything we possibly can to arrange life so that we don’t need anyone else, including God. I recently discovered something in scripture that I have read over for many years without noticing.
Take a look at Genesis 3:17-19
“Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life.
18 Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field. 19 In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you returnto the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return.”
God said “for your sake” and “for you” as if it was something good for us…huh? If your not a farmer, maybe you can’t relate, but don’t fixate on the term “thorns and thistles,” think anything that frustrates you…anything that prevents you from “getting on top of life.” You see, God added hardship to our lives because we need it! It is meant to drive us back to Him, to rely on him for our wisdom and strength. Yet we spend our entire lives trying to circumnavigate process, “the toil,” and “the sweat of our face.”
This explains a lot for me and actually helps me when I feel frustrated. Knowing that life isn’t meant to be easy “for our sake.” It often feels like a game of “wack-a-mole,” just as soon as you take care of one issue, another pops up. This past weekend our septic tank filled up and sewage overflowed into our basement, what a mess! I was up late Friday night cleaning the basement, not what I had in mind for my Friday evening. Sunday I went to my restaurant to meet the general contractor to fix a few items on the punch-list before our one year warranty is up. While there, I discovered all kinds of issues that frustrated me with my team. Things are not being cleaned and organized the way I want. At first, I found myself getting really mad, but then I realized that is not going to help the situation. I took lots of photos of things before I fixed them and plan to talk with my leaders on Wednesday at our meeting. However, once I remembered “if it’s not this, it will be something else,” I decided to pray and ask God for wisdom and strength on how to handle all of the existing issues…and that is the point of “the curse”…to drive me back to God. Thank you for doing this for my sake Father.
I was talking with a friend recently about how he has built walls of protection around himself. These walls are so tall and so thick that nobody ever gets to see the “true person.” He has literally built a fortress with many defensive measures. It is the defensive measures that often destroy the relationships that he is trying to establish with women and male friends.
Unfortunately, most of us have these walls and are unaware of how they prevent us from living a full life. We spend our entire lives reinforcing them and doing everything we can to keep others from getting in. We don’t want to get hurt, so we surround ourselves with protection.
Many of us started building walls at a very early age. The foundation of these walls starts with a question. Every young boy has a core question; “do I have what it takes?” and every little girl asks “am I beautiful or am I worth pursuing?” These questions are written on our hearts and we first take them to our earthly father. If the father is absent or doesn’t answer these questions with love, a wound starts to form. This lays the foundation for the wall. The question is then taken other places; for young boys, it’s taken to sports, video games and girls; for young girls, it’s taken to boys and pursuits of vanity. As these other things continue to fall short of answering the question, as they always will, the walls get reinforced until they are completely impenetrable.
It’s not until we realize that our core question must be taken to our heavenly Father do we start to get healing. Father will answer these questions with a loving “yes,” and the process of deconstruction begins. We come to the realization that we were never meant to have walls, but to allow Him to protect us. Ultimately we didn’t trust Him, so we built our own protection. I have spent the last 10+ years allowing Father to tear down my walls and offer His protection in the breach. I am learning to trust in His strength and not my own.
Merry Christmas from from the Thomas family! Every year starting on December 1st, we start our Advent activities. We’ve used several resources over the years, but one that we continue to use year after year is a book called Getting Ready for Christmas, a daily Advent prayer and activity book for the family. Day 1, we read the story of Gabriel’s visit to Mary from Luke 1:26-32 and our activity was to create angels for the Christmas tree.
Usually they draw or cut out angels from construction paper; however, this year Christi had the creative idea to use plastic spoons, yarn, coffee filters and aluminum foil cupcake baking cups. I thought they turned out pretty cool! I encourage you to start an Advent tradition with your family. In the world we live in today, it is very easy for children to get caught up in the commercialization of Christmas and forget the real reason for the Season.
I recently decided to change the nature/purpose of this blog. It was originally about our re-discovery of life on the farm, but I would like to broaden its content to share our personal journey of learning to love and live life following God. Our family is far from perfect and I will share some of my personal struggles here, but in a world full of confusion about the “modern family” and other really bad examples of family, we hope to be a beacon of light for others to follow.
On Wednesday we got our cows! The much anticipated day had arrived. Upon the announcement, Ellesie (6) and Harris (3) decided to cowgirl and cowboy up.
Upon releasing the cows they immediately went to exploring their new home. I think they walked the entire fence line in less than 10 min. After their first round Ellesie decided to chase them down the road. We all got a kick out of watching our animal lover herd the cows!
Getting cows again here on the farm was part of my life-long dream. When we moved to the farm when I was 7, my Granddad offered me the opportunity to trade cattle with him. I would give him a deposit on a calf when the Herefords were bread and the balance when the calf was born, selling them 6-9 months later and making a $200-300 profit. However Granddad did most of the work and I wish I’d spent more time learning from him. Now we start a new venture on the farm with cows and I will learn as I go. Granddad would be proud!
We are so excited that our first baby chicken hatched! After buying an incubator at Tractor Supply, we decided to take a few of the eggs to see if our rooster was taking care of hens and sure enough after about 21 days we had a baby chicken! Having grown up on this farm and raising thousands of chickens for Gold Kist/Pilgrim’s Pride this was a first for our family. The children were so excited!
A few days ago we lost another hen, I’m pretty sure she “flew the coop” and our little Jack Russell Cookie played a little rough. Unfortunately, she didn’t make it. I mentioned the incident to grandmamma and she suggested I clip one of their wings to keep them from flying too high. Great idea! But easier said than done! After fourteenth time around the chicken pen, I’d only caught three, so I enlisted the help of Louci. I told her to stand in one corner with her little pink hoe and “shew” them back toward me if they came that way. Mr. Rooster wasn’t very happy, he came after me several times as I snatched up his hens and clipped their wings.