The intention of this blog is just to share with you the way God works in my everyday life. I hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Lord is My Shepherd

If you pay close enough attention, you can see the Lord in every aspect of life. Wonder why that is? Haha. I was just kidding. I know why that is. He created us, therefore it is nearly impossible to live and not see the works of His hands. If you have given your heart to Him, your heart longs to see Him in everything.

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork. Day unto day utterth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Psalm 19:1-3

As for me, I especially see Him in relation to creation and the earth itself and the animals. Honestly, I sometimes have a hard time seeing Him in people, and I wish that weren't so. As I look around me, in all seasons of the year, and in all seasons of life, I see glimpses of Him in all of my surroundings. Shew! It takes my breath just to think about it. Creation is so amazing!

Last week, I was made most aware of my Lord when putting on my cowgirl hat. (Not literally) My husband purchased 9 or 10 head of Hereford cattle from a woman who had recently lost her husband. These cattle were on one side of the road, and needed to be moved across the road and into the barn in order to load. George and his dad had alternated feeding the cattle in the evenings throughout the week prior to us actually going to load them. This is beneficial to us because the cattle need to know their master. Since their previous owner had passed away, we needed to gain their trust for a little smoother transition. Normally, when you purchase cattle, the seller is there to help get them in the loading shoot and in turn into the cattle trailer.

Once we got there, and got everything set up, George and his dad started walking down the road with feed bucket in hand. George had just introduced them to grain the previous week. Up to that point, they had only had grass and fodder. As he shook the bucket, he called to them, "Woo scaves.....sook, sook, sook. Sook heifers. Come on!" He would pause in his vocal beckoning and give the bucket another shake. Moos of every pitch echoed in reply as the cattle headed out toward the gate. Myself, (nephew) Kyle and Uncle Woody hung back since we were fresh faces.

As I stood on the side of the road watching this scene unfold, these words came to mind:

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: John 10:27

Thankfully, we were successful in getting the cattle across the road and into the barn. Well, all but one. They were all across the road, but one bull calf would not come to the barn. He stood on the hill above and watched.

The guys got the first trailer loaded, pulled it out, and backed the second one in to load. George and I then headed out around to the hill to try to get the straggler into the lot. All I can say about that is 'thank God for rubber boots.' I was in grass that was at least waist high if not higher. There were ruts on the hill, probably made by the cattle during a muddy winter. Up and down, forward and backward. I moved this way and that trying my best to block that poor dude and get him to go runnin' to the barn for safety with his friends. Well, he was having none of it. He was NOT going to that barn.

Just as Daniel determined in his heart that he would not give into the Babylonian ways, and that he'd continue to serve his God, I believe this guy said come tall grass or barbed wire, I will not go into that barn. And, eventually, it came to barbed wire. Um, electric at that. He didn't break the fence, but he did get a nice scrape across his back as he headed safely back to the bottom from which he'd come. Sweaty, tired (from being up nearly 24 hours) and covered in burrs & manure, George said we'd come back for him.

So, Daddy-in-law and Uncle Woody headed out to the market to take the big bull, and George, Kyle and I headed back to the holler to unload our little crew. As we traveled the decent little haul home, we began to get our plan together. We had to go back to return the seller's trailer they had so kindly let us borrow. (So we wouldn't have to make two trips! Haha!) When we parked it, and unhitched it, we would load up our corral panels that we'd set up to aid in...well, corralling the herd...and we'd go set those up in the field. We would take a small trough from home and put it inside our little temporary cattle lot. We would sweet talk that little bull with some feed, and encourage him into the lot to eat from his very own plate. We would gain his trust. It may take a few days of feeding him in that specific spot for awhile, but eventually, we'd get him loaded and brought home.

As I rolled this around in my mind, this verse came to me:

What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? Luke 15:4

We had been working hard all morning, and we were all tired and sweaty, but as we began loading up corral panels into the truck, I couldn't help but smile. I was thankful that God was revealing Himself to me in this way. I also admired my husband for his role as the shepherd in this revelation. I am thankful that when he does something, he does it whole-heartedly and honestly. See, he had told the widow who sold us the cattle that they would be taken to a good home. She was very sad to see them go, but unable to care for them herself. I was proud of him, and his ingenuity.

As the cool morning began to fade and our flannel shirts were thrown into the back seat of the truck, we set up the panels out in a shady spot close to where the calf lay. ~And, just for your information, we are not talking a baby calf, we are talking about a year old calf. So, instead of picturing a poor, frightened little thing, lonely and scared to death without his momma, picture your child during the most rebellious stage of their teenage years.~ Bucky-which is the name commonly given to any bull that has ever had the pleasure of meeting George Willis, Sr. or Jr.-watched from a short distance. In case you didn't know, cows are just as curious as a cat. He edged closer to investigate, thinking he might figure out our strategy.

Just about that time, Kyle suggested that he and I take the truck and back out in the field a ways to see if George could lure him into the makeshift lot. So, we backed on over into the shade where we could keep a front-row view of the scene as it unfolded. It was like watching a suspense film, both of us quietly urging words of encouragement to both cow and cowboy. (as if we knew more about how to do it than George. haha!) "Come on, buddy, go getcha somethin ta eat. Ya know your hungry." "Oh, he's goin in!" "Why is he just standing in the entrance!?" "Go to the trough, buddy. There's more feed in there, and no one else you have ta share it with."

I think Kyle and I being the "cow-whispers" we are finally got through to him. He eased his way in and we screamed in a whisper, "Go, George, Go!" George got over there, and pushed the corral panels together and Ole Bucky was trapped. The long silence and anticipation was abruptly ended as phase two of our plan was set into motion. Kyle stood guard at the panels while George and I went to re-hitch the borrowed trailer back to our truck. All the while, Ole Buck ate the feed never phased by the ruckus going on outside his temporary cage.

Before I go on, take your mind back again to that rebellious the picture........ok, moving on. We get the truck & trailer back into a good spot, and separate the panels just enough to allow room for him to climb on in. George even pulled the trough, still with some feed in it, into the trailer, enticing the calf to just head on in. Not that simple. He decided to have a little temper tantrum. We all took turns backing away from the panels as he came near our sections and slammed himself against it. My wonderful husband, being the experience cattle man that he is, gets in there with the crazy thing! Tobacco stick in hand, he waves his arms a little urging the calf to get in the trailer. Well, that brat teenager decided to act out! He headed right for George causing the cowboy to scale the furthest panel. Kyle and I urged him to get out. This cow was nuts! Alas, Ole Buck's stomach got the better of him and he resolved to get back to the feed. As he climbed in the trailer, George jumps off his perch and is in the trailer shutting the gate in about 2 seconds flat.

We try to breath sighs of relief as the confined-again calf begins to throw 'im another one. He kicked the trough, climbed in it, turned it sideways and upside down, then he pooped in it. I'm telling you, he was not happy. For a fleeting moment I entertained the thought that he might have claustrophobia, but then I thought better of it. Would you believe that the entire ride home he laid in that trailer almost as if he was enjoying the breeze tickling his ears! I imagined the people we passed were thinking, "Oh, what a docile animal!" I have never before seen a cow lay down in a trailer! It was like he was bound and determined to make liars out of us if we told anyone about the tantrum he'd thrown earlier.

To make this relate-able, once again, think of your children. Easy to understand how we felt, huh?

Now, to make easier to relate to the spiritual aspect, think of the Israelites. Here we were wanting to take this ole boy to the Promised Land, aka Beyond Blessed Farm, and he almost wished he was back as a slave in Egypt (not comparing that kind lady's farm, just work with me...) We even brought the darn thing manna from heaven, aka sweet feed. We knew that he'd like the holler once he got here, and once he saw that his buddies were there, but he had to put up a fight. We knew he'd even enjoy the ride if he'd trust us. See where I'm goin with this?

So, we got the dude home, got him wormed and unloaded, and fed again. All's well that ends well, or so I'm told. In the end, these verses are the ones that seem to fit:

And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.
Luke 15: 5-7

Moral of the story: When God is working in your life, don't buck and kick around and poop in your trough, just sit down, enjoy the ride and let the wind tickle your ears.


  1. I really enjoyed your cow story. I grew up with cattle, but no one in our family has any now. Crazy Cow.
    I like your spiritual analogy. Sooo true. God has so much for us more than we can ask or imagine.
    ♥ Joy

  2. I am so proud of you and George. You see what is important, giving God the glory in all aspects of your lives. Seeing God's glory in all things, even a disagreeable "teenage" bull is praying without ceasing, keeping that channel open to God always. Love you both.

  3. Thanks Dad. That's means so much to me. I love you!

  4. Hey, I'm doing this for the first time! I loved the Bucky entry and the God given insight in the experience. Seeing God in all things, that's what you do and I praise God for it. I, like you am so blessed by nature:wind blowing leaves, sky filled with stars, harvest moon, in them God is so near. You and George are so blessed to live and work on a farm. That is real life, being in close connection with nature and animals as God intended. You are Beyond Blessed! Great story, well written and wonderful spiritual application. I love you two, Mom Joy

  5. Thanks, Mom. Thank you for always standing behind & encouraging my decision to stay home & take care of my family. Love you!

  6. Oh Erin! I am so with you on this one!

  7. Oh Erin! I am so with you on this one!