As Christmas approaches, I am convinced more than ever that Jesus is the Reason for the Season. The past 6 months, since my husband's unexpected death on June 2, 2013, have been a season of great sadness, yet also the overwhelming promise of the Cross of Jesus, and therefore eternity in the presence of the one true God, the Creator of the universe, and each of us. Without this hope, surely I would be an alcoholic, since my life as a farm wife and mother to many is a daily struggle to trust in the God I serve, for wisdom and guidance in every decision large and small.
My abundance of children (10 living, one with my beloved husband, Cary in Heaven) is simultaneously my greatest blessing, and also my biggest challenge. Beyond food, clothing, and shelter, how can I, a mere farm wife, provide for all they need, point them to their Savior and encourage them to serve Him with their lives, while also helping them set and reach their goals and dreams in life? I cling to my Lord through constant prayer, and (hopefully) daily study of His word in the Bible, which is the human race's instruction manual for life.
My personal goal I want to a achieve by Christmas is a gift to my family, and to Jesus, whom I love and serve. It won't be completely finished, but it will be nearly. Part of my grief therapy is writing a multi-generational memoir of our family. It is entitled: STRETCHED...BUT NOT BROKEN, A Family Knit Together Continues Their Legacy of Faith. Interestingly enough - and I knew this before but it didn't really sink in until now - both my Dad, and Cary's Dad were raised by widows. Both of these brave and undaunted women lost their husbands as a result of tragic work accidents. Both were left destitute with young children during the Depression years. They managed to survive, raise their children, and live on to enjoy rich and full lives trusting in their Savior, I was blessed to have my husband die peacefully in his sleep, on the farm he loved, and he left us with means to live on modestly, yet abundantly. A permanent record in print of my beloved husband's and my life together, standing on the shoulders of our amazing parents and grandparents, is my gift this year to those I love.
As the year wraps up on the farm, in very cold weather, we are able to eat well, stay (reasonably) warm, travel to town safely and easily in our 4WD truck, and enjoy life together as a family. With four of our older children out on their own pursuing their God-given dreams, one of my older sons enjoys running the farm for me, and thankfully is just like his Dad - able to fix anything, learning as he goes. His presence is a daily gift to me and my younger children, as he is helpful and fun-loving!
This winter, we have sold more grass-fed meat than we ever have before (we still have left some beef, pork, lamb, and geese in our freezers, having sold out of chickens, ducks, rabbits, and turkeys). That is an answer to prayer, and the fruit of our hard work. We also have the prospect of significantly increasing our pastured turkey and pork production in 2014 under a pre-sale contract - if we wish to accept it.
Yes, God is good and gracious, as He blesses those who trust in Him for their very breath and daily existence. Our life is different now, but it is still worth getting up for every morning, and doing our best in every task we undertake. Truly we live on 'BLESSED' CREEK FARM.
As we look to the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ our Savior, let us all remember that we live in a nation born out of providence, and we as a country are blessed beyond measure, certainly more than we deserve. Let us appreciate and not waste our ability to be educated, work hard at what we love, and share what we have with others less fortunate here and abroad. With CHRIST in Christmas, we can give the gift of life to others - that is the best gift of all, and can't be wrapped under the tree, but given from our hearts every day of the year.