A John Deere Tractor, A Wheelrake, My Dad and A Whole Lotta Grace!!

This is Day 2 of 31 in my Write 31 Days series: 31 Stories of God’s Grace. I also am linking up for the Five Minute Friday. The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung on her blog Heading Home. Today’s prompt is “Family.” Write for five minutes; unedited.

My family has taught me a lot about grace through my life. Our Dad especially has gotten really good at showing grace to my sister and I.

I remember one summer in particular, when Dad had taught me how to drive the tractor and wheel rake and entrusted me with the responsibility of raking one of our fields. One sunny North Dakota afternoon, my sister and I were raking a field. Ann was riding on the tractor with me. At one point, I turned the corner too sharp and totally didn’t quite make the corner. The wheel rake was entangled with the fence that marked the boundary for the field. I looked at Ann and Ann looked at me.

For a few minutes, I am pretty sure neither of us showed grace to each other. We argued over why this calamity had happened in the first place. I am pretty sure that I blamed her for being in my line of sight and she probably blamed me for not paying attention to where I was going. After arguing, we jumped down off the tractor and tried to figure out how to get the wheel rake unstuck.

We decided it was a lost cause. We had to admit defeat. Ann and I walked back to find Dad who then came over to find our conundrum. He just shook his head and asked “How in the world did you get the rake that stuck?” As he tried to figure out the best way to untangle the rake from the fence, he was not at all gracious with either of us as he was disappointed in our actions.

But once the rake was unstuck and Dad had a minute to reflect on the situation, he offered us grace; grace that came in his forgiveness to us. I remember that day well. I remember totally turning that corner too sharp and tangling that wheel rake in the fence. I remember my sister and I arguing over what happened. But most of all, I remember that grace that we were offered through forgiveness by Dad and the rest of our family.

It is one of those stories that definitely changed me and did not leave me where it found me. For you will never see me turning a tractor too sharp again…instead I will turn the tractor much wider so I have lots of room to swing that wheel rake around.

Dear Grief….

I will be linking up with Kate Motaung on her blog this coming Monday. In conjunction with the release of her E-book Letters to Grief, Kate is asking us to blog on, “If you were to write a letter to grief, what would you say?” So here is my letter….

Dear grief,

You find a way into my head and my heart especially during this holiday season. I am reminded of all the wonderful Christmases we had at Grandma and Grandpas, but now they are both gone. My heart aches as I want to talk to my Grandpa and bend his ear as he was such a wise man. I want to hug them both so tightly again. It has been 8-10 years since they have passed but I miss them each and every day!

But the reality, grief, is that I don’t just experience you through the death of a loved one. I experience you through the loss and grief of a parent who lives each day with a mental illness. I love spending time with Momma, but there are so many things that you try to take away from me. You make me angry when I wonder who will hold my hand and go with me wedding dress shopping when I find that Mr. Right. You make me angry as I yearn for the days that I can carry on a longer conversation with her. You try to take away my hope; my hope of sharing grandchildren with her. You also have a way of taking away all of the sparkle I feel when I am with her. I cannot even begin to tell you how many tears you have made me cry; tears that are so heavy; so heavy that you take my breath away.

And as I think about these things, grief, I realize that you are the one who is in control most of the time. And I don’t want you to be in control. No, I need you not to be in control! I want to treasure all the time I have with my Mom. I want to talk to her about boys even if she maybe won’t be able to go wedding dress shop with me. And I realize that one way or another, I will have someone special with me to share in those precious moments with me. I want her to become a Grandma because I know that is something she dreams of and yearns for so deeply.

Grief, yes, most of the time, you are the one who is control because you fill me with such anger. But today I am choosing not to let you diminish my hope. Because grief; my old friend, I am not going to let you have the final word. But rather am going to let God have the final word.

“Weeping may come for the night, but joy comes with the morning!”–Psalm 30:5

The Farmer in All of Us

It’s Super Bowl Sunday. The Ravens and the 49ers are playing. However I’m not much of a sports fan–except for my Nebraska Cornhuskers, I really just watch the Super Bowl for the commercials. When I was a Communications student at U-Mary, one year our assignment was to watch the Super Bowl for the commercials. We then discussed the commercials in the class. One commercial I remember from that year was a Fed-Ex commercial that did a spoof on the Wizard of Oz.

Tonight I’m once again watching the game mostly for the commercials. There have been a few that I would totally classify as raunchy and gross. But then there have been some that have completely tugged at my heartstrings. Tonight it was this commercial from Ram trucks.

Every morning my dad gets up and heads to the farm where my uncle, grandpa, and him continue to farm the family farm. I’ve seen years when the crops haven’t been great. I have seen years when the crops have been wonderful. I have watched my dad drive a bailer up and down rows of freshly mown hay to make hay bales for the cows. I have taken my share of turns helping to move cattle from one pasture to another. I watch as my grandfather who has had two hip replacements still has to spend time on the farm. I see the wear it has had on all of their bodies.

Yet they are farmers…and they continue to farm. I know that the farmer is every part of my grandfather, uncle, and father! The farmer lifestyle runs through their veins and is in their blood. They have shown me and our family what it means to be good stewards of the land God has given us.

So tonight as we reflect “On the Farmer in All of us,” I want to say ‘thank you’ to my Dad, Grandpa and Uncle and to every farmer out there!