Zechariah 13:9

And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried; they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God. Zechariah 13:9

Monday, October 17, 2011

Our Farm Life Continued

Back in May, I had shared our farm life beginnings.  Those years were interesting years, adventurous years, goal driven years.  And they took us on quite a journey! http://beingtriedasgold.xanga.com/748067892/our-farm-life-beginnings/  At the end of the "beginnings", we had been led to purchase a farm, which we have named "Summer Hill Farm" and it is where we have lived for the past 7 years.   I would love to write that those 7 years were pain free, worry free, easy going, smooth years.  After all, is that not the kind of life we envision to live if we are living it for the Lord?  Shouldn't living for Him mean that all answers to all the decisions we face will be crystal clear to us?  No, my friend, it doesn't.  We have found that is doesn't and it was never promised in His word that a life committed to Him would be smooth, easy going, worry and pain free!  I have hesitated in sharing the story of the last 7 years.  It is my pride, though, that has made me hesitate.  It is not a glamorous, victorious story, but a story of deep faith testing, a time of much wondering if we truly were in the Lord's will.  A story where the characters feel defeated, beat up and somewhat lost at times.  I feel led to share it though, not for your sympathy, not to complain, not to be negative, but for God to use it to touch others lives, even if it be just one.  I have permission from all the characters involved to share this story.

All decisions that we have made as parents were always made with our children's best interest in mind.  It has been Dave's goal to provide opportunities for them in life, even if it meant sacrifice of time, money, and hard labor on his part.  The whole idea of farming was to be able to work together as a family, to expose our children to many different skills and responsibilities, all the while doing what comes natural, especially to Dave.  He is a farmer!

When we bought this farm, it had been a rental for about 20 years.  We knew it needed some attention, some paint, hammer and nails, and TLC.  We knew we could handle it.  Only after the project began did we realize how much attention it really needed.  A lot more work was needed than the first impression let on.  We worked, and worked hard, at getting our little cozy farm to function in tip top order.  Our lives were moving on and it was good.  However, we were so busy that we did not recognize that some needs of our children were not being met.  Kelsey became severely depressed and ended up in Phil Haven for 2 weeks, came home for a week, only to have to go back for another week.  What a painful time for her.  It was also an extremely painful time for all us.  What terrible parents we felt we were!  For surely it was all our fault?  What is going on in all our children's hearts that we are missing because we are so busy?  What are they feeling and thinking?   It is difficult to put into words what was going on in our minds and it is a time in our lives that Dave will not talk about.  He was told that it was a "father wound" and it devastated him.  He was only trying to do what he felt the Lord was telling him to do and what he thought was best for his family.  No, he was not a perfect father, but he was giving it his all and he felt like it was not good enough.  He decided that if this farming thing makes us too busy, too busy for our children, than we have to sell it and get out.  He laid the farm, his dreams, his goals at the Lord's feet and surrendered his will to His.  The cows (we kept the heifers) left on a truck, a real estate sign went up and we started looking to where we will move to.  We waited . . . waited. . . waited.  No buyers, only a few masonry jobs came in . . . . not enough money.   Have you ever faced a time like this?  You follow what you feel the Lord is telling you and then no answers come and no doors open?  I went to work doing in-home elder care and Dave held down the farm, taught school, did the wash, etc. and fit his masonry jobs with my schedule.  After months of nothing happening with the farm, we realize that we have to get cows again to have income coming off the farm.  So, a truck delivers a beautiful herd of cows and the milk pump starts working once again.  I continued doing elder care part time and life moved on.  Well . . .  milk prices plummet and feed prices sky rocket and we are looking to have to go in debt to buy feed!  Is that what God wants?  For us to go further in debt?  To feed cows?  No, we did not feel that was His will, so off go the cows on another truck and along with them went part of Dave and some of the children.  Now Dave still did not have an abundance of masonry work, and he is thinking that he needs to find a secure job.  He was hired at Dutch Valley working nights sweeping floors.  Now there is nothing wrong with sweeping floors, a humble job, but after months of working nights, coming home to sleep 2 hrs. and leaving to do his masonry work (which by the way, has picked up), coming home to go to bed for a few hrs and getting up to go sweep floors, he became ill.  His heartburn got so very bad, and his deprivation of sleep had changed him into a different person.  He had to quit or it would have killed him.  By this time our older boys were itching to milk cows again.  Can you believe it?  Another herd of cows? "Oh, dear Lord, what is Your will?  You didn't sell the farm, Dave wasn't created to work on 5 hrs. of sleep a day, our boys need something to do.  Should we really milk cows again?"  Here comes another truck delivering cows and that milking pump starts up yet again.  That has been 3 years ago and we are still milking cows.  During this journey of 7 years, at times our faith was rocked and at times it was strengthened.  If we follow the Lord's leading, why at times do questions go unanswered, why do doors not open, why does His face seem hidden?  Oh, we have had times of deep doubt, deep discouragement, distrust and then we had wonderful times of faith building and confidence in what we were doing.  We have had times where we told God we are done and that He would have to reveal to us that His love for us was unconditional and that He loves us right here, right now, just how we are, no matter what!  And you know, He has always came through!  He has always provided for us and all things were done on His timing not ours.   We have come to realize that He loves to surprise us!  We do not know what the future holds for us here on the farm and sometimes it seems more than I can bear not knowing the answers, but they are not mine to know and it is better that way.   Only when I surrender, fully surrender, it to Him, to Him that knows the future and holds tomorrow, do I find peace.  He is working in our lives in ways that we do not always understand.  We have often, and still do, talk about some characters in the Bible.  I can only imagine what went through Joseph's mind.  His brothers betrayed him, he lived as a slave and ended up in prison for 7 years for something he did not do.  I wonder if he wondered where God was and why was he in prison where he was not doing anyone any good?  Did his faith waiver?  Then I see how God used him after he was released from his cell!  Oh, why do we doubt, why does our faith waiver, why do we despair and grow discouraged when life brings hardships and trials?   They are to make us more like Him.   We need to keep our eyes focused on Him and our lives surrendered.  Only then are we able to come through the fire and not be scorched, nor have one hair singed.  Only then will we be able to have the strength to face whatever comes our way.  Oh, the lessons we learn from the past.....

I read this quote after I had typed this post and thought I would insert here, for it goes with my questioning.
"During a test, the teacher is silent."  I like it!!!!

This is our barn with 42 milking stalls......  (I had included in the "beginning" blog, pictures of our previous milking facilities.  This is by far the best one!  :)

Until next time..............................

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