Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Different Harvest

LinkPhoto by Holly Spangler, used with permission from Prairie Farmer.

They say grief comes in waves. Ya know what? It is true. You never know when one will come creeping up on you, or taking you under for awhile.

Tonight as I was coming back from taking my kiddos to AWANA, the sights and sounds of harvest were all around me. I LOVE harvest. We're not a farming family, but growing up in rural IL and then spending almost eight years in rural ND, we've spent the greater part of our lives in farming communities. I love driving our country roads and seeing the corn change from bright green to golden tan this time of year. You can just sense all the anticipation in the air as equipment is brought out from storage buildings and prepared for the rigorous season ahead.

As I saw our friend's semi pulling out onto the rural road it just hit me that this year .... this year is so different.

My dad spent most of his life going down the roads of this great country in his own semi. Because of that job, he wasn't home much. At all. He'd always call us to check in though. I remember answering the phone as a child, you know the kind that was actually attached to the wall! One of my first questions would be ... "Where are you?". Even into my 30's the question was the same .... "Where are you?". I learned a good bit of my US geography knowledge from mapping my dad's trips. Often dad would speak of a friend he'd just met on the road for dinner. Didn't seem to matter where he was, there was always a friend passing through. No doubt there were times in his family's life that they wished they were the ones having dinner with him. Our dinners together were very few. But I knew that my dad being on the road meant there would be food in my house and a warm place to sleep. He taught me about work ethic and was always quick to speak praise to me of my mom for being there for us in the day-to-day.

There's one thing my dad loved more than trucking and that was farming. If his life-circumstances had been different he might have spent his life in the fields instead of on the interstates. For the last many years, dad would park his truck come harvest time. He'd head down further south in IL to his sister's place. To him, getting up in the combine was like vacation. He loved it. I could hear it is his voice when he'd call. His sister's family was dear to him.

Well this harvest that's all part of the past. Dad passed on suddenly last October from a heart attack. I miss his phone calls from the road. Sometimes when I hear the hum of a semi it takes me back to my childhood days of hearing his truck in the drive. I miss his hankie, that he was always quick to share with his children, and then his grand children. Not long before Dad passed on he took me aside and poured out his blessing on how I had invested my life .... in raising my children. I had never before heard such affirmation before from him on what I'd chosen to spend my years doing. I hold tight to that blessing this harvest.

The above photo was taken from my friend, Holly Spangler. Be sure to check out her blog and hear some wonderful stories of raising a family on today's farm.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Our Portion

Psalm 73:25-26
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.

Sometimes we find ourselves in places we'd rather not be. It might be our marriage. Perhaps the man we 'thought' we married isn't what we conceived after all. It could be our children. Ask any parent that has had to watch a child struggle and they'll tell you there is nothing like that kind of difficulty. Maybe it is our finances. You might have done all the right things and still, you can't control ALL things. Possibly, it is grief. When we least expect it we find ourselves smashed up against by yet another wave.

No matter WHAT it is .... we can rest assured that God alone is our portion. HE himself is enough. He promises to be our STRENGTH. That doesn't mean all of our heartache or trials will go away.

There's so much talk about "portion control" in our lives today. "Don't eat too much!" "Only take a small portion!" Obviously if we're concerned about our waistlines we'd want to choose the portion on the right, instead of the one on the left in the above photo.

Sometimes we question the portion that God gives us. OUCH. Yes, it's true. We wonder why we have a little house, while our friend has the bigger one. We are perplexed when someone we know is surrounded by a large, support network while we are off on our own in an isolated area. We fall into jealousy over that family who takes big trips while we struggle to put a meal on the table. What we fail to realize is that God KNOWS what He is doing! He sees the BIG picture. He has our BEST in mind. It's not just "our" best in mind either, but those around us watching and witnessing. Our Father can be trusted!

We need to remember that HE is our portion. We could never ask for more.

Father, thank you that YOU are our portion. You know us so intimately and have full comprehension of every detail we are going through. When our hearts grow weary, You are there. Help us to remember that in the day-to-day. Amen.