He is our rock, our fortress, our deliverer.
This winter was beyond tough. The week McKenzie was born, the same week of the Polar Vortex, we lost 500 chickens and six goats due to the extreme cold. We were devastated. The emotional heartbreak of the loss…there just aren’t words. Then the spring waters came. Our property sits like a sieve of a funnel. Hills of neighboring properties surround us. Which, diverted all the rain and spring run-off right into our coops… we lost another 50 chickens and have months of work ahead of us to repair damage from the amount of rushing water that flowed through our property. After the heartbreak of losing life, we began to calculate the financial loss. Over $69,000! The kicker is that we are small farmers. According to the state of Nebraska and Washington County, we don’t even come close to being recognizable based on Animal Units (A.U.). Last October, when we bought the property, we inquired about farm insurance to cover the loss of crops and animals. We were told we were too small to qualify. So… as small farmers, the loss comes out of our pockets. There is no government or state assistance for small/beginning farmers.
Then, we heard that President Trump was extending relief to farmers affected by the blizzard and flooding. There was a glimmer of hope, maybe we did qualify! But… again, after multiple calls, we found out that since we didn’t take pictures of all the dead animals, we aren’t eligible for any assistance. We aren’t upset. I mean, that totally makes sense! Anyone could claim loss.
Honestly… as beginning farmers, how were we supposed to know that? There isn’t a class you take when you begin farming on risk management techniques.
No one tells you to set all emotions aside and take pictures of your frozen baby goats, dying mamas who are crying out in pain, or chickens that are drowned and frozen solid. So again, heart break.
Last year we won an amazing prize through PayPal’s Regional Business Makeover, that most importantly included a year long mentorship program. I absolutely love my monthly meetings with Fiona. Even the need to get up at 5am for the meetings because she lives in France, motivate me. However, this last meeting caused my mind to question. As Fiona was trying to help, getting me to look at how I was going to make numbers in the program work, Satan began to throw thoughts of doubt.
Part of the mentor-ship includes using a program that helps calculate and track sales. At the beginning of the year we were running strong with our goals and numbers. Calculating out what we needed to meet all bills and put money aside into the business for next year. Then all these losses hit. 500 chickens equates (conservatively) into a loss of over $63,000. This includes the 168,000 eggs they won’t lay for two years, as well as the cost of the actual birds. The loss of the goats equates to over $6,000, both in cost if we sold them, as well as the loss of milk we now don’t have to sell. Conservatively… our $69,000 loss… is huge and affects us for two years, as we will have to wait for new animals to grow and mature enough to produce. So satan began to throw thoughts.
…Is this really what we were called to do? …How are we going to pay bills? …How are we going to supply customers with product? …Are we ready to disappoint people? …See those “real” (big) farmers are right, you are nothing …You can’t tithe, you are broke …How are you going to pay bills? …You better really keep your money tight to make this work.
I was pissed! I’m not sure if you are allowed to yell at satan but I did. ENOUGH!! Then the verses started to flow.
God is my rock, my deliverer, my fortress, my strength.
God is my provider.
We are the head, not the tail. Our fields and flocks are blessed!
We are blessed, exceedingly, abundantly, OVERFLOWING!
God makes a way where there is now way.
On and on and on. We are so blessed to be in a Word filled church. We are so blessed to have parents and church family who stand alongside of us with Life filled scripture. And, I’m a bit sassy. So when it came time to tithe and satan again stirred up fear of not having enough, I told him he was a liar (John 10:10), my Jehovah supplies ALL our needs (Philippians 4:19)!!
I wanted to slap satan’s face (is that allowed?) So we did!… we not only tithed, but we decided to hook up with another ministry and give more!!
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you sue, it will be measured to you.
So, I don’t have answers for Fiona when she asks how we are going to meet our numbers. We don’t know how. But, what we do know is that our Jehovah is our provider. We are being faithful to put Him first in all we do. So… we rejoice (Philippians 4:4, Psalm 32:11, Zephaniah 3:14, Psalm 100:1) and are excitingly waiting to see how he is going to move. I hope this encourages you. Don’t feed into the thoughts satan throws your way. Feed your spirit the truth and life of His word. He is faithful to bring all his promises to pass in your life, just like He does in ours.
Wait on the Lord, be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
**Update: I’ve been working on this post for a few weeks amidst farm clean up and our older two boys being gone for almost two weeks on a mission trip to Mexico. Almost two weeks ago our church surprised us with asking to come out and help with water clean up. There were two main projects we really needed help with because the mucky nasty mud could cause hoof/foot rot problems if areas weren’t able to dry. They came, a whole slew of awesome men and women in the church came! They knocked out the two projects and asked for more. They fixed fences, cut wood, put up new fences, mucked the barns, brought food, watched babies, and more. It was… a blessing beyond words. Not just the physical help, but the amazing fellowship.
Be encouraged! Be blessed! Wait and watch with us in great expectation!
Love, Anthony & Mariel