Category Archives: Faith

Thank you God for my 20’s.

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Today is my 30th birthday.  I had every intention of writing all about how thankful I am that my twenties are over and that I get a new decade to hopefully have amazing and wonderful years (like I’ve mentioned in previous posts I’m a natural pessimist).  Yes, my twenties were rough.  College was not what I thought it would be.  I was a straight A student in high school and barely made C’s and B’s in college.  Then I went to cosmetology school, which was the worst decision I ever made.  Several traumatic events happened in my family over the last 10 years or so, including the divorce of my parents.  I fell into a severe depression in college of which I am still fighting daily (I have a much better handle on it now though).  I gained a lot of weight in college probably due to all of the above, and have lost and gained weight several times through various diets in the years since.  Though I love my husband dearly, our marriage hasn’t been an easy one.  Getting pregnant has been a challenge and in May I suffered a ruptured ectopic pregnancy, which led to the loss of my Fallopian tube (possible post about this in the future).  There was at least one wonderful thing that happened! The BEST part of my twenties was the birth of my baby girl when I was 26…she definitely helped make the last 3 years of my twenties pretty wonderful and helped to make up for the years before she was born!

I’m saying all this to let you in on a well-known secret: life is hard and sometimes it really sucks!  So many people see my instagram or facebook posts and think my little life out here on the farm is perfect and that I don’t have any struggles.  If I could pick one word to describe my twenties it would STRUGGLE.  I sound pretty ridiculous listing all the bad things that happened like I’m the only person in the world having trouble.  I know there are so many people in much more dire circumstances.  But in saying that, in those moments I felt despair and anguish and loneliness.  Depression is real, and it’s really lonely.

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Makeupless Birthday Selfie 🙂

So…this is where I was going to leave this post: “Thank you God I get a new decade!  My twenties sucked.  I’m throwing myself a pity party.  Bye!”

Well, God had other plans for my heart today.  This morning I woke up extra early and Eden was still sound asleep so I decided to go ahead and do my devotional and pray for our day.  This year I have been doing the New Morning Mercies devo by Paul David Tripp (I highly recommend it!).  I was reminded in it that “life is war.”  Tripp asks what the war is about and he answers by saying that “it is the great war for the rulership of our hearts.” Thankfully, God has equipped us with the armor of God to fight this “great spiritual battle.”  Tripp says,

“We are tempted to have more excitement in the things of this world than we do with the reality that we have become children of God.  We still complain when sanctifying trials come our way and we still tend to credit God with faithfulness only when things in our lives seem to be working.”

Ya’ll!!!  That is so me!  I struggle to see the hardships in life as sanctifying, and I definitely forget that I am not alone in my hardships because I am a child of God.  As I recently read in Eden’s devotional, I’m reminded of the Israelites wondering in the dessert grumbling against God, creating false Gods, and giving up on him.  God rescued them, and though they had to wonder in the desert for quite some time, He had great plans for them and even through the desert HE WAS WITH THEM AND HE PROVIDED FOR THEM.  For ten years I have been just like the Israelites grumbling and complaining, but the Lord has been with me every step of the way.

In reading through my devotional and scripture this morning, my heart started to soften and I sat in my kitchen and I actually thanked God for my twenties and I truly meant it.  Yes, a lot of those years truly did suck and a lot of bad things did happen, but God was with me the entire time.  He never left my side, and he was using all those events to sanctify me and to give glory to him.  The trials I went through in my twenties have made me the woman I am today, and will continue to shape the woman I become.

Thank you God for my twenties.

If you’ve made it this far through my reflective rambling remember that no matter how hard things get, God is with you.  Life on this side of Heaven is war and there will be a constant battle in our minds and in our hearts.  God never said life would be easy or that there wouldn’t be hardships.  We have to be strong in the Lord and persevere.  You’re not alone in this fight.  Be thankful for the years God has given you and brought you through because even when you think they were a waste God has a plan for every moment.  He will bring you through the dessert and hold your hand and mine as we continue to fight this war.  And for that I am very thankful.

 

 

 

 

Not Alone

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Not Alone

As you’ve noticed, I haven’t posted anything since last March.  I’ve thought about it several times, but then I get overwhelmed about what to say and I overthink the whole thing and give up.  But today I don’t care.  Today I’m going to be me.  Since I moved to this farm just over 4 years ago, I’ve been trying so hard to fit in.  For one, my liberal views and hippie mama ideas don’t exactly mesh well with most of Pawnee County (though by the blessings of God I’m slowly finding some wonderful like-minded mama friends!).  And then there’s the whole trying to fit in on a farm with a farm family when you grew up on a paved road 10 minutes from town with a dream of either living in Africa or suburbia when you grew up.  Some days I feel incredibly alone.  Physically alone, but mostly alone in my thoughts, dreams, and passions.  Most days I’m fine and happy and thankful we live out here surrounded by God’s raw beauty.  But some days (or weeks) I’m not.  Being a stay-at-home mom is hard enough when you’re not isolated from the rest of the world.  But then throw in several dreary rainy days in a row and finding the energy and motivation to wash dishes, fold the laundry, and build play-do castles is just plain hard.

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This was my living room a couple weeks ago, and it pretty much looks the same today! And I have no idea what Eden Is doing!? Ha ha!

I guess I’m writing this to let you know it’s okay to have a bad day…or a bad week.  I get so sick and tired of Facebook and Instagram because sometimes that’s my only connection to the outside world and everyone looks so perfect and happy.  All the stay-at-home-moms are having the best day of their lives in their work-out clothes (with makeup) drinking their latte while their 3 year old naps for 3 hours.  I know that mama has bad days.  I only post the good stuff too…that’s why I’m writing this.

I’m writing this to let all the mamas know they are not alone.  We are not alone.  Even if you’re not a mom you are not alone.  I think everyone desires to be known deeply.  Everyone desires to have companions.  Unfortunately, there are times in our lives where those things are hard to come by.  I’ve tried really hard this year to be consistent in my “Jesus time” everyday.  I have been using “New Morning Mercies” devotional by Paul David Tripp and it is AMAZING!  God has been speaking to me in so many ways, but I have been so encouraged and comforted by knowing that God knows me.  The God of the Universe knows ME and He WANTS to know me…deeply.  Psalm 139: 1-6 says,

You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain.

No matter how alone I feel or how badly I just want someone to “get” me or to care about the things I care about or actually listen and try to understand what I’m saying GOD DOES.  He “gets” me.  He knows my heart.

Another thing I struggle deeply with is wanting to please people.  I want so badly for the people around me to approve of me, to like me, to encourage what I’m doing…and what we are doing as a family.  I think a lot of us women (and it gets worse when you become a mom) struggle with this.  The good news is it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks!   Galatians 1:10 say,

Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” 

I have to remind myself daily that it does not matter what others think, but what God thinks.  I could write an entire post about caring too much about what others think but I’ll save that for another rainy day. 

Bottom line is:  it’s okay to have a bad day, but remember you are not alone.  And mamas out there: y’all are doing a great job.  Do what is best for you and your family.  Don’t get overwhelmed by little comments your neighbor Sally said about you still nursing your 3 year old or about the fact that you let your boy toddler play with your makeup or tea set.  Will worrying about those comments/opinions matter in 10 years?  Nope!

Now that I’ve got that out and wallowed in my self-pity I’m going to go get something done around here…starting with washing the pee out of our queen-size bed sheets since we’re co-sleeping hippies! 😉

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We made butterflies during craft time! 🙂

Leap of Faith

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Well it’s officially been four weeks since Chad quit his job with Adult Protective Services with DHS.  As some of you know, it was extremely difficult for all three of us to have Chad working full-time and then coming home to farm just about full-time.  Plus, it was a very difficult and emotionally draining job.  No one should have to deal with the things he dealt with on a daily basis.  It was wearing emotionally and physically on Chad, which was wearing on us.  He hardly got to spend time with Eden during her first year of life.  Chad and I cherished our hour drive to and from market each Saturday.  We called them our “business meetings” because it was really the only time we actually had to sit and talk and plan.

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I am a stay-at-home mom and I do not currently bring in any extra income.  Yes, I do save us a lot of money by cloth diapering, nursing Eden, meal planning, and budgeting, etc.  However, we still have to have money, especially for my huge college debt!  And not to mention health insurance.  We just aren’t brave enough to go completely without.

We’ve been talking about him quitting for months, but we just didn’t know where the money would come from.  We make good money farming, but since this is only our third year of poultry and vegetable farming (we do have cattle too), we have a lot of expenses.  New equipment and hand-built chicken houses are not cheap!

We knew it was going to be a HUGE leap of faith.  Our spiritual life is a bit lacking I would say, but we needed to trust God more than ever if Chad was really going to quit.  We had to rely on Him to provide “our daily bread.”  And we knew it would be a day to day faith we would have to have.

We have both read books and listened to podcasts about life and being happy.  Chad listens and reads a ton of stuff about finances.  Life is so short.  Why work every single day and be miserable just to pay your bills and have health insurance when you can most likely figure out how to live frugally enough and create enough income to work from home and be happy and have a happy family.  Stuff and money are not the things of happiness.  (Read the Radical Homemaker by Shannon Hayes if you want to learn more on the subject.)

The last four weeks have been a whirlwind.  It’s been incredible having Chad home more.  Before, I had to figure out how to do everything by myself with Eden.  Washing eggs, cooking dinner, bathing me and her, cleaning the house, etc.  If Chad has the time or just wants to spend some time with her he does because he can now.  It’s glorious!  But things haven’t really been normal since he quit.  We’ve been playing catch up like crazy around the farm, and Eden had a huge birthday party we had to get ready for, and then on Friday I sprained my ankle so I’m needing a little extra help from him right now.

I am so thankful God provided us his job.  Though we’ve always had to live frugally, we knew we would have money each month to pay our bills and buy gas and groceries, and we had good health insurance.  Now we have to write ourselves a check each month out of the money we pray the farm makes for us.  We have insurance through healthcare.gov with an insanely high deductible.  Chad will be doing farm taxes with H&R Block during tax season and it looks like he will start doing some bookkeeping soon to bring in some extra cash.  We will be researching some Christian Health Shares too to see if they are a better option than what we have now.  Yes, it is stressful.  No, we don’t know if we will make it.  But we do know that we made the right decision for our family right now.  We will live one day at a time and pray for our daily bread.  Hopefully I can get some of our lovely produce preserved for this winter (once my ankle is better, of course!).  Now that Chad is here I might actually get to preserve some things without Miss Eden getting into trouble!

Eden’s Bible Story the other morning was about the Tower of Babel and it greatly spoke to our current circumstances. Here’s what it said, “It was a grand tower, but something was wrong.  The people were working only for themselves.  God had to show them they would always need His help to succeed.”  We can’t farm for ourselves.  Our business must glorify God.  Even the mundane tasks of cooking dinner and washing diapers are for God.  That is the attitude we must have.  I don’t consider myself to be a super churchy person, but her Bible Story greatly spoke to me that morning.  We can’t keep growing our business with us only in mind.  We must rely on God and not our own strength.

With all that said, I am excited about our family being home together a little more.  Chad is happier, baby is happier, and most importantly momma is happier (ha ha!).  I am so incredible proud of Chad.  He is one of the most passionate and hard-working men I know.  I know our little farming business will now be able to grow even more with him having more time, and our little family will have time to grow closer too!

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Just Our Daily Bread

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I am so incredibly proud of this sexy beast!  And so blessed to be married to a man that provides for his family!

I am so incredibly proud of this sexy beast! And so blessed to be married to a man that provides for his family!

As many of you know, Chad and I have been looking for jobs over the past several months. I applied for several right after we moved to the farm in December, but they either didn’t pay enough or didn’t like my degree (which Anthropology is perfect for one of the positions I applied for, plus it’s a social science degree just like they wanted…idiots.) Anyways, so after nothing worked out, I decided to stop looking so hard for one and focus on working at the farm…it’s not like there wasn’t plenty to keep me busy. Plus, Chad was working full-time from home so we were fine. But when the company Chad was working for told him in June they could no longer afford to pay him we knew we both had to find a job fast. Luckily, we saved every penny of our tax return and knew if we couldn’t find a job immediately we had a couple months of survival money (I am so glad we didn’t put that money towards my student loans like we planned! Whew!). We never thought in a million years it would be so hard to find a job, much less an interview. We both applied for several positions and never even got an interview. What was wrong with us? We had college degrees, were intelligent, trustworthy, etc. So it was getting rather stressful around here.

For several years, I have had the desire to be a stay-at-home mom.  And I thought maybe our move to the farm would set us up perfect for that.  We could finally settle down and have children.  I could stay at home and take care of the children, plus farm and homestead.  And since I wasn’t having any luck finding a job out here in the boonies I felt like there was a reason for that.  But I knew we couldn’t both stay at home at this point so when he got notice he would lose his job I applied for just as many full-time jobs as Chad.  We knew it was a possibility we would both have to work full-time if the pay wasn’t right, and then farm at night. So over the past three months, as our savings has been dwindling and our move to the homeless shelter was on the horizon ha ha, we continued to pray. We knew God would provide. He always has and he always does. I know that sounds cliché’, but I have seen it over and over again in my life. That doesn’t mean things weren’t stressful and tense. I’ve never been one to be okay with the unknown, and we were definitely living in the unknown. It was so nerve racking. I began thinking it would be way better for me to work and Chad to stay at home and farm since I can’t do everything he can.  I just wanted to know if I was going to have to drive 30 minutes to an hour to work everyday 5 days a week or if I was going to have to learn to use a rotor tiller ha ha!

One day after searching the Internet for jobs, I found one I thought Chad should apply for. It was do be an Adult Protective Service Specialist with DHS in Pawnee (which is the town closest to the farm, abut 25 minutes away). He is so good with people! He applied for it and got called in for an interview! We were so excited to have an interview! Then he got called back for a second! Then…wait for it…he went to his third interview yesterday and they gave him the job!!!!!! I am so insanely proud of my husband right now! It was about a month long process or so after he applied for the job, and I never thought when he went in yesterday they would go ahead and offer it to him! When he texted me that he got it, I broke down and cried in the middle of the coffee shop because I was so incredibly relieved!

But wait…there’s more! I lose my health insurance this year because I turn 26 and am still on my dad’s insurance. According to my research I thought I had until the end of the year. Well, my dad got a letter this week that I have until the end of October. Like we needed another stressor! So on Tuesday I began applying for Obamacare because it was really our only option. Looks like I don’t have to finish that application because I should have insurance by the end of October through his job!

And this week I started training to work one or two days a week in the coffee shop in Pawnee, which is exactly what I wanted: a part-time job that I enjoy…and there are females there!!!

I am so overwhelmed with God’s presence that I cannot even begin to describe it! Everything is falling into place. We should have just enough money left in savings to make it to Chad’s first paycheck, we will have health insurance, and we will both we working jobs that we enjoy. Chad always emphasizes in the Lord’s Prayer that it says “daily bread.” God always provides us with just enough. When the Israelite’s were in the desert he provided for them just enough food for each day. He would not let them keep any back, and if they did it would go bad. He wanted them to let go of control and trust that he would provide their needs for them: not too much, but not too little…just enough for that very day. God has been teaching Chad and I that over our marriage, but especially over the past three months. I cannot even begin to praise God enough right now, because I know we are literally in his hands. So if you’re reading this remember that God is there and will take care of you. He isn’t giving us our daily bread because of anything special we did. He loves us and wants the best for us. And he wants the same for you too!

So those of you around the Cleveland area, don’t worry! We are still going to be growing and selling vegetables and raising and selling chickens and eggs(if they ever lay them!). Things just might have more of a feminine touch since I’ll be doing a lot more of the farming while Chad’s at work. Prayers about that would be much appreciated! And thank you to all who have been praying for us during this journey since we moved in December. We know we have a lot of wonderful friends and family who have been supporting us along the way. GOD IS SO GOOD. HE’S SO GOOD TO US.

 

 

Prayers for My Grandpa

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I’ve never handled death very well.  Those of you that know me are probably wondering what I mean since no one super close to me has ever passed away.  My husband, Chad, has thought I’ve needed to see a therapist for a while now to deal with my fear/paranoia of death.   Chad can’t go out of town without me calling every few minutes to make sure he hasn’t died in a car accident.  I often think about those I love dying, attending their funerals, imagining how I would deal with it.  It’s really strange though because I’ve never really done that with my grandpa.  He is going to live forever so why bother wasting tears and time preparing myself for something that will never happen.  Well, over the past couple of months I’ve had to prepare myself.  Even if he doesn’t pass away during his operation on Monday, he will pass away during my lifetime.  And it sucks.  It really sucks.  He has been that one person in my life who has been my constant.  My entire life he has been the same amazing Godly man who would do anything for anyone.  He’s always been the same man who walked with me through the pasture as a child, who sat on the back porch swing with me and talked about everything under the sun, who let me sit in his lap while he drove the tractor, who taught me how to do math problems (and his way was way better than my teachers…and he didn’t even finish high school!), who let me untie the laces on his boots and take them off every single day after he got home from work, who let me go ride in the truck with him when he fed the cows, who loves my grandma more than I’ve ever seen a man love a woman, and who loves God with his whole heart.  Even though we don’t walk through the pasture much anymore or sit on that porch swing as much, I still do it in my heart everyday.  It was so nice to sit on that back porch swing with him yesterday and talk about “the good ‘ol days,” as he calls them.

And even though I want to hold onto him forever, I know that everyone has to die.  It’s just like the Jon Foreman song, “Learning How to Die.”  We are all on this earth learning how to die.  Some do it well and some don’t.  I can tell you that my Grandpa has spent his entire life learning how to die well.  He has lived his life with grace, dignity, and love, and my hope is that he can continue learning how to die after Monday’s operation.

So if you are reading this please pray for my grandpa.  Since we found out a couple months ago he has cancer, and in an almost inoperable location, I have learned to pray not only for what I want, but for what is best, even if I don’t like it.  Sometimes I am selfish and beg God to keep him on this earth forever.  But when I’m not, my prayer is that he will be in peace and not be in any pain, even if that means he won’t be here anymore.  I have also prayed a lot for my grandma.  They have been married for an eternity and I can’t imagine what it would feel like to know the person you love most in this world is sick in the worst way.  So please pray for the doctors as they operate on Monday, pray that my grandpa feels no pain, and pray for my family.  I know that when my grandpa goes into this next life he will be with Jesus.  And like my grandma taught me about heaven when I was little, my grandpa will have the most jewels in his crown, have the biggest mansion, and his street will be paved with lots of gold.

I just thank God for him so much: for the memories, the life lessons, the example.  I will have them in my heart forever.  I love calling my grandparents just so I can hear him say “Bethany oh my Bethany” when my grandma hands him the phone.  And even as I write this tears are streaming down my face at the thought of not hearing that again.  But I know that God is good all the time and that I am going to have to give him up one day.  And let me tell ya, if my future children do not get to meet him I will take them through that same pasture and we will sit on that porch swing and talk about my grandpa and the “good ol’ days.”

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