When my son was a toddler, we would go for drives, just to get out of the house. I wasn't one who wanted to head for shopping, I wanted to head for the back roads of Eastern Oregon. We have barns here, many many old barns. Some of them are standing barely and some of them are so grand you envy the cattle that reside in them!
I have a number of photos of barns around our area I've taken. When I look back on them, there isn't any similar element but one. Old barn wood. Some are big. Some are small. Some function and some have no function at all. Never really mattered much to me before, because although I loved them - it had always been from a distance. That has since changed.
I married a cowboy. We have two horses and one steer. Our animals are hosted on a property which my husband maintains in exchange for boarding our animals. There is a barn near this property, out buildings are what they are currently used for, which I covet. I know I'm not supposed to want for what others have, but ohhh I do desire to have such old barn wood buildings.
Last Spring my husband, who had plans to help castrate and brand calves phoned me at work. He shared his friend had a bummer calf and did I have any interest in it. WHAT? Me a calf? I don't know the first thing about calves, cows...bovines!
Me, what am I going to do with a calf? I laughed (of course) and said I needed to think about it. I laughed every time I thought about it. WHAT was he thinking? So I asked him upon his picking me up to head out to where the calves were to be branded. I told him, he must think I could handle it or he wouldn't have mentioned it. He explained, there were twins and the momma could only care for one of them. This was the "runt" (yes upon hearing that I felt my heart strings tug) and they'd need to sell him. The calf would require bottle feeding twice a day for up to two months. We'd need to nurture and help it bulk up and get strong. My mind wasn't completely made up but I was thinking ABSOLUTELY in my heart.
We arrive to find the calves, a yard full of them to be branded, etc. Our friend pointed out the "scrawny one" up there and I smiled. YES! We'll take it. All those cows moooooing and pooing and well, I'm not gonna lie, they were not that pretty. But that one calf... he stole my heart, I was DONE LIKE DINNER! Which I was to keep in mind. "IF WE BUY IT, you need to know we are going to kill it and eat it." My husband told me. Of course I replied "Well, I KNOW THATTTTT".
And so my time on the farm in the mornings in early spring began. I would prepare a warm bottle, warm the car, wake my daughter and we would head out to feed. (*side note: the mornings my daughter and I shared rising early and taking care of that calf have to date been my most favorite mornings with her. We were so in tune with one another and our love for this adventure!)
I would smile as I drove down the gravel road toward that little guy, I love early mornings, the dew on the grass, the barns, the sunshine comin' over the hillside, his little mooooo when he saw us. "All was well within my soul".....
I came to name my bummer calf, CHICKEN. Yes, it's funny. Yes there is a story. I named him that as I happen to like chicken, my husband not so much. My intent was to name him something I wouldn't get emotionally attached to and to be funny. When my handsome husband arrives home at the end of a long day and I'm making dinner he'll ask "What is for dinner?" I will reply "Chicken" and he will wonder... chicken or beef. Yes, I must admit, I am hilarious ;)
While feeding my calf one morning solo I was holding his little head and I was looking, really looking into his eyes. I'm not sure if I was looking so that he would SEE ME or that I would truly SEE HIM. Either way... while I was doing so, I received a message and I truly believe that it was God speaking in that moment. The message was "He Is Clearing The Way". I wasn't sure then, and I'm not completely clear now what the message means exactly, but I do believe with all my heart that God spoke to me, through that little calf as I stared deep into his eyes that morning. The message stayed with me. I wrote it on a piece of paper and I tucked it in my wallet, I wrote it on a sticky and placed it on my desk. I still hear it today.
He Is Clearing The Way.... hummmm I believe the message came as God saw the desire to care for this calf in my eyes that morning, the genuine hope for a day when every day would begin much like the one I was experiencing. I believe that as I was looking into this silly calves eyes, hoping to see him more clearly ~ God was looking into my heart and seeing my desires as clearly as they've ever been.
My desire for a simple life, taking care of my family, being outside of "this world" and in a place where there is more peace and time for spending with God. Not the hurry and go from one thing to the next. The time spent simply loving and being loved, in serving others, even if it is a silly calf. I believe God was sharing that HE IS CLEARING THE WAY and that my hopes and desires were heard.
My husband and I have two houses, we each had a house when we got married so we are abundantly blessed in the house department. Our shared hope however is to find a house, not too far out in the country with a wonderful barn for our animals, a shop where we can putter and be creative together and a house to host our family and all of the celebrations that come with having an extended family.
May He give you the desires of your heart
and make all your plans succeed
When I pray, I thank God for the house and property which He has already chosen for us. I pray that He give us patience and direction in being lead in His time to find the property/house that He has chosen for us. I believe with all of my heart that there is a house that is meant to be our home.
I used to think "it will be an old fixer' upper" or limit what God would provide for us. One day I took a step back and I thanked Him again for the house HE HAS CHOSEN for us and I thanked Him for reminding me that I am not to limit His desires for me. I am to pray for the desires of my heart. And I am to trust in Him as I truly believe that HE IS CLEARING THE WAY!
** SIDENOTE: The photo: My desire is a large dinning room so that I may have a 14' long table to host family gatherings. My husband often says "What if" you don't get that dinning room? And reminds me that I may not get ALL the desires of my heart, but that there is always a way to fill the desires. He has shared a time or ten that he will build me that large family table and that one way or another on that property we are blessed with I will be able to host those family meals and celebrations that I so desire. Yes! I am abundantly blessed