Early in the morning, a soft blanket of snow rested gently over the sleepy farm. The glow of the barn light revealed the only footprints, long stretches separated each stride. As I sipped my coffee nearly an hour later, I could almost hear the smoosh and squish of the earth under my father’s boots.
Along with baby chicks, we’re nursing a new, crippled kitten. She’s a parking lot find that most certainly should’ve been named Mercy or Charity, but little boys are silly and the cat used all her luck when Wade agreed that I could keep her. Cheeto Fluff is happy to hobble everywhere we go or snooze under the extra chicken lamp.
Over the past year, there’s been so much noise about who or what is essential. While there has been no doubt that the farmer is always necessary, moving to the country has solidified my appreciation for all in agricultural community. I’ve always thought how hard it would be to tend to livestock or acres upon acres of crops when it was bitter cold and snowy. Now, I know how conditions like “pretty cold and super muddy” are actually much worse.
Though we’ll probably never be more than small-scale hobby farmers, we’ve vowed to not spend frugally on animals that don’t earn their keep (my banker-husband had an influence on this). Dogs will protect the farm. A cow will feed our family. Chickens will lay eggs or be nuggets. Bees will make honey, or… Goodness, I don’t know. It’s hard to make a bunch of bugs do anything…
Then there’s Cheeto Fluff, the crippled kitten.
One of my favorite names for Jesus is the Good Shepherd. Images of Him tenderly carrying a lamb and stories of Him leaving the 99 to find and save the one lost sheep paint a piece of my limited understanding of our big, loving God. Looking out and seeing the devoted early-riser’s steps in the snow teach me about God, as well. In God’s eyes, everyone—business men, farmhands, liberals, conservatives, rich, poor, even casserole-cookin’ church ladies to prostitutes—we’re all essential souls created by God. We’re also all a little broken, like Cheeto, in need of the tending that can only come from the Shepherd.
I’m praying we all see glimpses of God’s greatness and love in our day-to-day. I’m also praying for His healing on this world which just keeps limping along. Let the Good Shepherd carry you home.