Wednesday, April 18, 2012

What Number 8 Taught Me

This last week has been busy with field work in the tractor, homework, feeding cows and watching for calves to drop.  Last night between 11pm and 3 am number eight arrived.  I went out to check on the infamous Cocoa cow.  Cocoa is one of our original cows from California.  Her mother died when she was born and she was raised as a bucket calf.  Typically when this happens the cows is not fit for mothering herself.  Not Cocoa.  She has raised I think 6 calves now.  Cocoa likes her head scratched when you walk into the pasture. She is known as the boss cow in the heard.  That means she bosses all the other cows around, kinda like in a pecking order she is the matriarch.  This year her calf is number eight, a bull.

Number eight appeared fine at 3 am.  It's now after 8 am and the Vet says he hasn't nursed, so off to the squeeze chute we go.  I watch as the Vet carries the squirming 85 pound white-faced newborn.  It hollers and mama Cocoa keeps pace right behind.  We make it to the squeeze chute and begin trying to latch the calf on to the over-sized mama teats.  For some reason Cocoa is just not happy.  She is kicking and not allowing us to milk her teats and get this calf on.  It is intense.  Frustration and anger begin to swell.  Time is running out.  Other chores and a heard check at a dairy are waiting.  I take a deep breath, try to collect my thoughts and control my inside turmoil.  Like Cocoa I want to kick and holler loud.  Really I want to beat the cow up, but she is close to 1800 pounds of mama and well, I just don't stand a chance.

I find myself making mental notes as this movie plays out before me.  I whisper, "God help us."  I need the fruit of the Spirit now.  Now I am covered with sticky fresh cow milk, poop, pee and blood.  Somehow through the struggle I have now cut my hand up.  Life is messy.  This is not how I envisioned the morning playing out.  The Vet has no patience...mine is thinning.  I suggest he walk away, take a break, go do something else.  These animals can sense our level of frustration.  I take over trying to get the calf on.  During all of this, the young bull in the pen next to the squeeze chute is causing trouble.  He keeps knocking down the panel and stirring up Cocoa.  Distractions we don't need right now.  The calf is tired and needs his first meal. He is fighting us with every move.

That bull kept trying to sneak though the panel.  I had the calf on the teat twice but had to quit due to the bull.  Have you ever had to quit something good?  It's not the calf's fault, I must be patient and keep trying.
It becomes apparent that the calf has most likely tired to get on the mom but due to the kicking has given up.  We make the decision to collect the milk and feed a bottle.   Finally the calf took an entire bottle. 


We are not in control of circumstances.  I can't control how the animals will react.  I can only control my feelings and actions.  This morning I was reminded again of how desperate I am for the Holy Spirit to fill me daily -- moment to moment.  It is not enough to say I am Spirit filled -- I want to be Spirit filled.  I can't do that alone.  God allows difficulties in our everyday messy lives to give us opportunities to demonstrate the fruits.  An opportunity to show the outside world the changes that are being birthed in the garden of my heart.  I recognize that I don't always rise to the occasion.  I fail miserably.  At least for me I am becoming more keenly aware of my environment and I sense the nudge to pray more often and listen to the voice offering me tools to overcome my flesh.

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23

So this morning I have joy because a calf was helped and I learned from number eight.  I learned that in all circumstances we are to be joyful.

Who can't be joyful with a face like that!

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks,  for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.  
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful. And Messy. Isn't this the way it goes? Daily I strive to have integrity in my fruit...fruit when no one is watching...fruit when the blinds are closed and the proverbial milk is all over the floor. I have discovered it is in some ways harder to have integrity in my fruitfulness when I spend so much of my time with just my family (read, discipline to wait on the Spirit and be lead instead of just charging through life on my own whims). It was easier to be fruitful when I was constantly out in the workforce or serving publicly. I knew others were watching, that every moment counted, they needed my fruit. When it's just me and the kids at home somehow it's harder. Harder to remember. Harder to not just relax. Harder to be that polished proverbs 31 woman. It's also enlightening. Now that I actually have so much time where it's really only God watching I get to consider...who is my motivation? My God, redeemer, savior and friend...or those who are just watching. Before, it seemed there was ALWAYS someone I get to go deeper into the refiner's when I emerge others no longer see me, they see Him. Good post! :)


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