Have you ever read the book of Job in the Bible? His story is of trials and blessings. He suffered greatly with one trial, then another, then another, then another, then… you get the drift. It was the devil’s attempt to get him to turn his heart from and blame God for all his problems. It didn’t work and The Lord sent him blessings more bountiful than he had before. My husband Matt’s story was similar to Job’s; full of trials and blessings. Please read along and be encouraged…
Trials and Blessings
- He walked to get the cows and found one dead from bloat (too much clover) and a baby calf had been born.
- For a person who cares for animals it is always demoralizing too see them dead. You feel like a failure.
- Now, he was delayed but still had to milk, going back and forth to attend to customers in the store.
But our friend Randy came over as soon as he could to help Matt manage all these tasks. (Praise God!)
With the heavier than normal workload and short sleep the week prior, Matt’s body was pretty tuckered out.
- By Saturday evening when I got home he had a fever and some kind of a head cold so he went to bed early (9 pm).
- When he work up Sunday morning he was too sick to leave bed. He made himself get up anyway to get the milking done. By the time he had breakfast he was climbing back into bed. Fever and sick.
- He traveled back and forth between bed and the couch trying to find comfort. He appetite was low and a migraine was approaching but he was so nauseaus he couldn’t eat or drink anything to stop it and by ten pm had vomited quite a few times.
Sunday evening late, I asked if our young friend Brady (who works Saturdays on the farm) could come over and get Matt caught up with chores on Monday morning. It worked out. His mother Elizabeth rearranged her schedule and came prepared to work as well. (Thank you Jesus!)
They feed and watered the baby chicks, laying hens, broilers, pigs, calves, and cows then headed over to bring the momma and her new calf to the milk barn from the far field.
- When they got there the momma cow was down with milk fever so they called Matt to bring the IV
- During the IV, momma tries to get up kicking Matt’s bad knee in the process (the unstable one with osteoarthritis and no cartilage).
- Matt is stunned but keeps moving on. During lunch it swells up to the size of a cantaloup and becomes so stiff he struggles to get around. We wonder if this is a set back or the end of his farming career. We slather his knee in essential oils.
- The IV wasn’t enough support for that cow; she doesn’t get up and Matt has to put her down. Now, Matt is very discouraged. He lost two cows under his care.
- We just lost two good milk producers and we wonder how we will meet our customers needs, pay our bills and get by. We wonder if this is the beginning of the end of the farm.
- Matt very obviously can not walk anymore. He is using his cane is doing the best he can but it wipes him out. He goes in the house to ice his knee and slather it again in essential oils.
Brady, Elizabeth and I are able to get the majority of the other work done. Matt’s parents, Bernie and Nancy arrive and help get ready catching chickens, washing dishes, tidying in preparation for the next day. (Whew! It takes a lot of people to be Matt! So glad God provided.)
Tuesday morning, Bernie, Nancy, Matt, Darrell and I get the chickens butchered and on ice. Matt was careful to stand in one place and not have any twisting motion. Matt is wiped and needs to rest. We cover his knee in essential oils and an ice pack. He falls asleep on the lazy boy with his leg up.
- I wake him because it is time to milk and feel bad but he’s the only one who can do it. When I take the ice pack off his leg, I notice the ice pack had slid off the towel. When I removed the ice pack, the skin under it was bright white. We had given him frost bite!! He said it was ok; he couldn’t feel anything. Yikes! That means we damaged the nerves for sure! We slathered down his knee again with essential oils and also the damaged skin.
- Matt did the milking, Bernie carried the milk from the parlor to the bottling room. Remember, we didn’t milk on Sunday… well now the one of the first three cows had mastitis (an infection). We dump all that milk resterilize the equipment and start over.
- We continue milking but it was discouraging. Milk volume is down greatly. Last cow has a touch of mastitis too so we dump that milk as well.
We are all pretty wiped now and go in for lunch. A friend, Diana arrives to help in the house since I have been farming. Nancy and Diana whip the house into shape while Matt and I work on various farm projects. (Our blessings are many!)
We write up a post to our customers. Our life is full of trials and blessings. We just have no way to know how this will go… We are certain he needs surgery — that seems obvious. Is this injury going to be a three week, three month, three year or forever life-changing event? Facebook post goes out right away, emails go out in the early morning. Prayers are mulitpied as the story is shared. Last I checked over 5,000 people had read it.
- Either way we know we need to hire some help. Help costs money. Yikes!
During the store, our friend Erik, brings in comfrey for Matt to make a poultice. So now we are icing it carefully, slathering his knee in essential oils then applying a comfrey poultice while reading the many, many outpourings of love and support.
Many of you contacted us with love, suggestions and offers to help. We are wrapped in the sense of community and connectedness that comes from the relationships built over the last eleven years. We reflect on how much we are appreciated by our customers and how it would be so different if we didn’t know them.
We discuss how this is changing our lives and wonder how the work will get done, specifically milking. We wonder how long it takes to recover from surgery as the recommendations for surgeons come in. We discuss the options briefly. Mostly we are all too tired and need sleep. Matt’s shoes are hard to fill.
Wednesday, I wake up early to research total knee replacements as we have many questions… how long will it take to recover, how long will he be on pain killers, how long is rehabilitation, what are the negatives to placing foreign objects in your body… Oh! Suddenly I am appalled that we never looked at alternatives to total knee replacements. I get busy…
When I see Matt at breakfast, he thinks the swelling is down a little; I am not convinced. We slather him in essential oils, a comfrey poultice and ice before the days work. I have to go to St. Louis for the day to give essential oil classes so Matt’s parents, our son Darrell and friend Randy are here to help Matt get all the work done. Our friend Diana comes for half a day to keep the house running smoothly. We are ever so grateful for all the help. Occasionally, Matt leaves the cane nearby and hobbles where he needs to go. He is encouraged. (Our God is an awesome God!)
Feeling over confident, Matt walked up the hill to the chickens. It is a very uneven, wood chip surface the whole way. He knows that was too much and realizes he must take his activity down a notch. We call Brady to work the next day. We discuss hiring someone again. It is a big commitments and we never know how farm sales will go. We don’t want to worry but it is so painfully obvious Matt need a steady source of help. We trust God it will work out and decide we must go through with it. God has blessed us so far… We pray people will want to buy chickens, eggs and such all summer long to help us pay for it. Turns out, Brady is saving up to buy his first car and is looking for a summer job and he can start on Saturday! Perfect! (God is so good to work out the details!)
Matt and I talk about how this whole thing is more of a spiritual attack than anything else. To have so many things go wrong, one after the other… like Job in the Bible. We roll this idea around in our heads thinking of all the discouraging events, doubt in our calling to be farmers, indecision on what to do…
How did we react? I know we said things like, “How many more things could go wrong?” Did we show faith? Do we trust in Him to take care of us only in good times? Shouldn’t we praise God in the storms, too? Maybe this was to strengthen our faith. May be this whole thing wasn’t about us at all… maybe this suffering was for another person… to give them hope.
- Daughter Amanda calls. She says she is sorry to ruin my day. Oh! What an opening line! There was an accident with a rock and children messing around. The result was a broken window in the minivan she is borrowing from us.
Well now, just not a big deal. Let it go…
Thursday, even I can see the swelling is down. Matt does chores with assistance all day but doesn’t use the cane even once!!! Brady is now taking over the chicken chores so Matt doesn’t have to climb up the hill with the uneven surface.
We still have our son Darrell, Matt’s parents, Brady and Randy pitching in. We know Matt still can’t do everything. We are feeling amazed that God worked out all the schedules, skills and abilities of our friends. Everything gets done by 8 pm! It is a record for the week.
We are smiling from our head to our toes as we feel well cared for by God through all of this. He provided the knowledge of essential oils, how to make an ice pack, comfrey poultices as well as plenty of family and friends to get us through. It is clear to us now that Matt probably won’t NEED surgery though it may be beneficial still and we will continue to pray about it along with alternative options.
We feel confident God has called us to farm, benefiting many people with our nutrient dense foods. We will keep applying essential oils, the comfrey poultice and ice before the days work. We continue to wonder how it will go next week when so much of the help goes home but fully trust God has the details worked out already. We thank you for being part of the journey.
If you made it to the end of this very long post, please know it is our prayer that sharing our experiences may encourage you. We pray God will bless you even in the storms of life.
If you do not know Jesus to be your Savior…
If you have not experienced the Love of Christ…
If you do not feel the mercy of a Loving God…
PLEASE CALL US ASAP!!
Matt can be reached at (573)382-3845 or Rachel (573) 382-3844
If you want to grow in faith, Matt has a men’s Bible study here at the farm on Fridays at noon. A sandwich lunch is provided so you don’t lose out on work time.
If you want to learn about essential oils and using them to support your body’s healing process, Rachel has classes every week in Cape Girarde, St. Louis and online. You can sign up for her essential oil newsletter here.
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