Now, I'm what you call a City Mouse. I didn't even know what those green fields were when we moved to Indiana (turns out they're soy!). And Ott, A—well, she's a Country Mouse. She's actually gotten to work on a farm! But she is certainly no hayseed. She's stylish and fun, and she's a whiz in the kitchen. She's a one-woman episode of Green Acres! And if you don't understand that reference, just trust me: this gal has it all!
Read her here. Go check her blog here. Follow her on Twitter here. She's super great!
Faith on the Farm
My grandparents have a farm in North Central Indiana and raise sheep. Late one winter during my Junior year of high school, my grandfather had some surgeries that kept him in bed and unable to go out to the barn to take care of the animals. Our ewes (female sheep) have their lambs in February/March, the same time as his procedure. Needless to say it was a busy time of year on their farm, so in order to help out, I would drive out to their farm (about 7 miles from my parents' house) before school each morning bright and early to do chores, then shower and get on to school. As a junior in high school, this was not fun or even convenient to my schedule.
Yet, every morning I went out there in the snow and cold, and every morning there was one group of sheep that slept every night at the far back part of the field. Their feed went at the front of the field near the gate. So, every morning, I would holler for the sheep to come get their feed, and they wouldn't come. They didn't know me from Adam, and my holler was completely different than my grandfather's, who they had been used to hearing. If he hollered, they'd come running.
So in order to get them to eat I would have to climb over the gate, walk halfway back in this big, cold, snowy field shaking my bucket and hollering until they saw me. Then they would get up and come to the front to eat their feed. Each morning I walked back there to get them, and each morning all I could think was, This would be so much easier if they came when I called them.
After two months of doing this day after day in the snow and sleet and ice, I would complain to myself how cold it was and how this was going to make me have to rush to get ready for school---on and on the complaints would swirl around in my head. Then one day, just like any other, I threw the feed down in the troughs, hollered for the sheep and as I was putting my foot up on the gate to climb over I looked out over the horizon and saw the sheep coming up on their own.
I didn't have to go out into the field to get them. They knew my voice.
At that moment the first thought that came into my mind was.... so that's what they meant in John 10:1-5 when the bible says:
“Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”
It worked. The sheep knew my voice and knew I would take care of them. How many times have I been stubborn just like those sheep and not come when the Lord spoke to me? It took two months of farm chores in the cold for me to figure out the stubborness in my own heart.