It's that time of year that farmers love and their wives approach with caution. It's harvest. As the wife of a farmer, my job of being a stay-at-home-mom is modified slightly. I add to my job description: meals on wheels delivery person, gopher, and substitute tractor driver.
It is quite common for me to spend hours in my kitchen during this time of year. I make and take lunch and supper out to my hubby and his dad. That means I also have to do dishes and clean up the kitchen twice. (Oh, joy.) ***Side note: this is not how all farming families do it. It is just the way my family has chosen to operate. Plus, it gives my kids a chance to see their dad!
So, because I am spending hours in my kitchen, I have been thinking about the roles of women. In most families that I am aware of, it is the woman who buys the groceries, plans the meals, and makes the food. Eating is pretty important, so why is the job of "just cooking" often looked down upon? Why does it seem so thankless?
When you have little kids, much of what you do as a parent is thankless. In fact, it's your job to teach them to be thankful. But at times, it is so frustrating to have this aspect of your life, one that you devote so much time to, overlooked.
Have you ever felt that way? Overlooked?
There's a little story in the Bible that is speaking to me this week. You all have probably heard it. I have even blogged about it before. (For that blog, click here.) It's a little story about how Jesus fed 5000 men, plus women and children.
In John 6, we read about a crowd that has gathered around Jesus. It is getting late, and the people are getting hungry. The disciples wonder how they can feed such a crowd, especially since they are far from town and have no money.
Andrew finds what seems like the only solution. He says, "There's a young boy here with five barley loaves and two fish. But what good is that with this huge crowd?" (John 6:9).
If you know the story, you know that Jesus took that meager offering and used it to feed the entire crowd until they were all full. The disciples even collected 12 baskets of leftovers!
Now, Jesus could have made food appear from thin air. But for some reason, God likes to have His people be involved in His plans. A boy offered his lunch for Jesus to use.
This boy was young, as scripture tells us, so you know who packed that lunch? His mother, of course! My almost 7 year old son can make his own sandwich, but only if I tell him to and get out all of the ingredients for him.
The mom made the boy capable of participating in a miracle. In reality, the mom played a huge role in God's plan.
I'm encouraged by this today as I make my meals and plan to feed my people. Without being well-fed, people cannot function at the highest possible level. My farmers, in their combines and tractors, would get weak and tired if they were not fed. I am also able to encourage them by making them yummy meals and tasty desserts. The same goes for my children.
God sees every effort you make. He sees every special meal and yummy treat you make to bless your family. If you are a mom, God has called you to be just that. He will bless you for carrying out your calling well.
So pack those lunches, cook those meals, and wash those dishes. Do your best, Mama, and be blessed. For our God sees you, and you are never overlooked.
I want to inform you all of something we deal with up here in Minnesota. For as a Kansas girl, I didn't know. I had no idea what went on up here. Here's what this story is about.
In Kansas, we have the darker red of the two insects: the ladybug. This innocent little bug is the subject of storybooks and cute Halloween costumes. To my knowledge, nobody in Kansas is bugged by the ladybug. At least, she never caused me any harm!
I arrived on the scene in Minnesota 8 years ago during the fall. My inundation to the more orange insect in the picture took no time. You see, southern friends, on the last warm day of the year, this orangey insect, known as an Asian lady beetle, tries to come in to prepare for a warmer winter. They swarm your windows and doors by the thousands. I remember that first fall I would sprint past the two windows to get to the door to go inside, and then look at myself in a mirror to see how many Asian beetles were on me. Oh, plus, they stink. You can pick one off of you and its smell lingers on your fingers.
So, after the day of swarming, those thousands of little "cute looking" bugs are in your house. They lay in window sills, dead, creating their own Asian beetle cemetery. They flutter around lights and mirrors, trying to avoid their imminent death. They are terrible. If you have a basement, be prepared to take your vacuum and go to battle with the little creatures. I spent a morning cleaning up their "remains." It's even best to suck them up alive so you can avoid the stink!
Guess what? After my day of cleaning, I found more bodies. I think their life expectancy is nearing an end, so the death toll is no longer rising. I just have to clean them up. And just when I think I have them all, Crunch. I step on one and it sticks to my sock. Gross! Oh, and one just landed on the screen of my laptop. AHHHH!
In spite of their disgusting-ness, they have a purpose. Can you even believe it? You see, up here on the farm, we grow soybeans. Like many plants, they are subject to insects. The insect that likes soybeans is the aphid. My smart, farmer hubby tells me that long ago (1900's), some genius farmers brought the little Asian beetle over because, low and behold, they eat aphids. They thought they had a break through in farming!
If you look at this picture below, you see the number of teeny tiny aphids on this one soybean leaf. There's like, 100, on one leaf. Well if one plant has between 50-100 leaves, that's at least 10,000 aphids per plant. And the field outside my house is 160 acres. We're talking billions of aphids!!! The little Asian lady beetle has no chance. It cannot keep up with the little aphids. Farmers still have to spray for aphids if they want their crop to be productive.
It's not the little Asian beetles' fault. It is carrying out it's purpose. I'm sure they eat a ton of aphids. They just can't keep up with the advances of the modern farmer, who do their best to make the land produce more and more soybeans. Something about feeding the country... :-)
Even though the Asian lady beetle is a nuisance, it has a purpose. God makes everything for a purpose that He designs.
I'm encouraged today by this. God cares enough about the little Asian lady beetle to give it an even tinier bug to eat. Its purpose is to help farmers out a little bit. That's cool.
If God cares that much for a stinky, crunchy bug, how much more does He care for us!
Here's what the Bible tells us about our purpose:
1. We are created by God. "Everything was created through Him and for Him. He existed before anything else, and He holds all creation together" (Colossians 1:16-17).
2. God gives us life and a purpose. "For in Him we live an move and exist" (Acts 17:28).
3. God loves His people the most out of all His creation. "What are mere mortals that you should think about them? Yet you made them only a little lower than God and crowned them with glory and honor. You gave them charge of everything you made, putting all things under their authority" (Psalm 8:4-6).
4. God calls us all. "Therefore I... beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God" (Ephesians 4:1).
That last one is my favorite. We have all been called by God to live our lives for Him. Each of us have a calling, a purpose, that only God can help fulfill. Our part? Simple. Seek God. "Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need" (Matthew 6:33).
It is human nature to need a purpose. By seeking God with your whole heart, He will reveal your purpose. Something else that I'm discovering? We have different purposes at different times of our lives!
Right now, I'm a stay-at-home mom, caring for my young children. Before, I felt called to be an English teacher, and I got to do that for a few years. In the future, who knows? God wants us to serve Him, so He will reveal your purpose if you seek Him.
We all have a purpose, for we have all been called. If you're doubting this truth today, think of the little, annoying Asian lady beetle. Even it has a God-given purpose. And trust me, God loves you way more than them!
God answers prayer.
This is a statement all Christians make at one time or another. Most of the time we honestly believe it. Sometimes, maybe we doubt it.
But, God answers prayer. We can't always trust those feelings we have, you know.
Here's a story for you. A love story, and a story to remind you that yes, God always answers prayer.
My grandmother has always been one of my favorite people. She is positive beyond belief, joy-filled always, and goofy and fun mostly!
When I was 12, my family received terrible news. My grandfather, her husband, was diagnosed with cancer. It was very aggressive. Grandpa was one of those people that only see the doctor if they are like, dying, and well, he was. He was diagnosed with cancer in October, and on December 23, 1995, he passed away. We will get to see him again one day. I wonder if he is as ornery in Heaven as he was here on earth.
Anyway, my grandpa's passing left my grandma a widow at the age of 55. When you're 12, you think that is old. But now, at age 33, I understand that's not that old. Isn't that weird?
We were all devastated by the loss of my grandpa and deeply saddened that Grandma was alone. She's such a wonderful lady! After a time, my family began praying, asking God to send someone new for Grandma. This is a prayer I began as a preteen.
Over the years, there were some interested parties, but no one to fit the bill. To tell the truth, Grandma and the family all just accepted that she would be alone for the rest of her days. She had her pet family, and her people family, and Grandma was at peace. Her singleness did not keep her down. She woke every morning expressing, "This is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it!"
It was just recently that things began to change. In what I will call "a flurry of events," my grandma started seeing someone. No one really told me about it, since I'm up here in Minnesota. But, things got serious and the two began talking marriage. That's right, my 76 year old grandma is getting married this weekend!
That exclamation is pretty amazing on its own, but let me tell you, "The rest of the story."
This man, is not just a random man my grandma randomly met. He is a man that was recently widowed. It just so happens that he and his late wife knew my grandma for about 40 years because they brought their families to the same church. I even know him from church! The two of them were there for my grandma when my grandpa passed away.
I watched as this man cared for his sickly wife so sweetly and diligently. She had lung cancer, and a lung transplant, and finally passed away about a year and a half ago.
In her last days, she told her husband, my grandma's now fiance, that it would be okay with her if he courted my grandmother. What a women! To look your husband in the face and tell him he can move on, even as you're dying...what a love! So, after his grieving period, he did just that.
Needless to say, my grandma was hesitant about the idea of marriage. After all, when you have been single for 22 years, you kind of get used to it. I mean, she thought she was good! But after some prayer, the two decided to join the rest of their lives together! It is just the sweetest thing ever!
I know what you're wondering, and my grandma and my family have all wondered it too. Why did God not bring her someone sooner? There were a lot of years that she was lonely and wanted someone to be with. Why didn't God come through then?
Here's the thing about God: He says, "'My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts," says the LORD. "And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine'" Isaiah 55:8.
God's ways and timing are not our ways and timing. Our plans are not God's plans, nor does He answer prayer in the way or time we want Him to.
"You can make many plans, but the Lord's purpose will prevail" Proverbs 19:21.
The Lord had something else in mind for my grandma for those 22 years. And if you ask me, her other grandchildren, and her kids, it was a pretty good one.
Because it was just Grandma, we got her all to ourselves. She was able to travel on vacations with us and come visit us whenever she wanted. I got to have many sleepovers with her, something that probably would not have happened if my grandpa had been alive or if she had remarried right away.
The closeness that I share with my grandma would not have been. And my relationship with her is one of the most special in my life. She is my role model both spiritually and personally. She is a woman of great strength and faith, and she is a light in our family!
I wanted to share this story for those who have prayed for a long time about something. Maybe you are waiting for a spouse, a child, or for a lost loved one to come to God. God answers prayer.
Our prayers don't end just because we've made peace with our situation or accepted the way things are. God is eternal. He exists outside of our time; therefore, our prayers are eternal. They don't go away just because we lose our patience and give up. God hears them and remembers them. God answers prayer.
I am so looking forward to this special wedding weekend, and the celebration that will take place when two special people are joined together by the God who made a way for them to be together.
God answers prayer. Even 22 year long prayers. Don't give up friend, He hears.
Hi, I'm Kristen! Just a girl who loves all things Jesus, family, music and food!
For previous posts, click here.