Friday, April 24, 2015

Life Lessons From the Calf Pen

You wouldn't think it maybe, but I am pretty sure that some of life's greatest lessons can be learned living on a farm. Its a simple country life...but there are such rich truths that come out in just the everyday nitty gritty of living on a farm + working with animals.

One of my first farm chores as a child was feeding our baby calves with my younger brother. We were just big enough to manage the bottles and I remember such feelings of satisfaction knowing that because of our work, those little calves had full tummies. At the tender ages of seven and six, we had such a sense of accomplishment and achievement knowing that we were doing our part to make this farm run.

In the recent years, I haven't been involved as much with the animals on our farm. But I still love filling in for my brothers occasionally with the calf chores. Last fall I took over for a month so they could spend every possible minute preparing for the national Bible Bee. It was such fun to do again...I loved it. 
It just so happened that over this time we had quite a few new baby calves that were born. For those of you farmers reading this, you know about this!
But for everyone else I will explain. 
Getting a newborn baby calf to latch on to the bottle can be a pretty difficult job. Every calf is different, some more stubborn than others, but most will fight this new thing that is being forced into their little mouths. 
There was one particular morning that I was dealing with an exceptionally stubborn baby calf. Try as I might, I could just not convince this calf to take the bottle. It just wanted nothing to do with me or the bottle. 
Now, I knew it was starving hungry, and that it both needed and wanted the milk. The problem was, it didn't realize that the source for its comfort was in this strange contraption I was trying to force into its mouth.
I took the nipple and squirted some warm milk towards the calf's mouth. The poor little baby about went crazy---jerking its head this way and that, trying to find the source of that delicious nourishment. But every time i would bring the nipple up to its mouth, it would shove away, as if determined to find the milk source on its own.
We had a full-fledged battle, baby calf + I. You would think I would have been the easy winner, but this little calf was fully as stubborn as I was and bent on doing everything BUT what I was trying to make it do---drink that milk!
After quite the little battle, I was the winner and the calf finally latched on and started drinking. 

And this all made me think....
You know, I am such a baby calf sometimes. Sometimes I am just so sure that I know what I need to grow. I am the calf, and God is holding the "bottle" of my life. The bottle is that lesson, or character quality, or that something particular that He knows I need to learn in order to GROW. And the only way for me to grow + get the milk, is to latch on to His bottle! He knows that I need this milk in order to grow in life. He has my best interests at heart + He knows that learning this milk is vital to my spiritual growth.

And me? Oh yes, I am definitely wanting the milk. Absolutely! I want spiritual growth in my life. I want God's blessings + instruction. But too often I don't realize that the milk is coming from the bottle. I am so sure that I can find the source for the milk on my own. Even though He is so gently and surely trying to guide + show me, I resist, wanting to find the "milk" my way. 

And so I shove away, and try to make my own way, my own plan. 
And every single time, I just end up hungry, and frustrated, and unhappy, because my way wasn't best, after all, and His was. All along He was there waiting for me, and I was pushing + shoving trying to run my life how I thought it should be, instead of trusting that even though it didn't make sense, His way was the best choice.
What about you? Can you identify with this? Do you struggle too at times with living life like this baby calf?

Next time you + I are tempted to go with our own agenda, may we will remember this baby calf, and its little story of struggle, and be reminded that God's way is best, after all!



  1. That was so fantastic. VERY GOOD! Thank you for those encouraging words. >>MARY<<

  2. Hi Chelsea! I love this post and appreciate the thoughts and insight.....what good reminders! I loved the pictures and made me miss my dairy days and teaching new calves how to drink from that big old bottle. :) There's nothing quite like a dairy farm! Love your posts....keep up the good work.
    Mary Landis

  3. Chels - this post is ah-may-zing! It was what God needed me to read this morning! So many times I'm like a stubborn baby calf when it comes to the Father putting in front of me something I truly need! Thank you again for this post!

    Blessings & much love to you,

  4. Awe such a cute lil calf an its own cute lil story yes an I feel that we are all like that baby stubborn as can be an I can relate to this for sure I feel that i am just pushing that yummy warm bottle of away of shoved it away an I just feeling even thou I have saved an prayed to get rid of my IDOL WOSHOP that I don't like of how many times that I have been saved that I don't feel that I didt lauch on to that bottle of Gods life for me eough an this post I love how talked about of RUNNING AWAY FROM GODS BOTTLE OF LIFE FOR U+I this post is so cute an yet touching as well all at the time thank u chelsy so much u really hit it hard for me thanks so much for ur post we all love them so much but this really touched me :) hugs lov u an God bless u :)

  5. So encouraging! Thank you Chels. -Katrina-

  6. Thank you so much, this is just what I needed! I am currently sick in bed, nothing serious, but I had so many plans and ideas for the weekend. I think I got sick because I was working so much these previous weeks, and in my heart I knew I should be with my family more, and bless them, as much as I need that extra income. So I feel as though this is a gentle reminder to slow down... You are such an inspiration!
    Dina (long time reader, but I rarely comment :) from Europe)

    1. Dina, thanks for that comment. I too just had some really awesome plans for the next couple weeks cancelled (at least put off) due to sickness. In my heart I know that God is doing something, but its hard to see any potential good from this.
      And Chelsy, I love how you saw an analogy there. :)

    2. Hope y'all are feeling well soon!!

    3. Thanks so much!

  7. Chelsy

    A lovely post - I didn't realise that you occasionally carried out farm chores such as this. It must be very rewarding when all goes well in the end and the animal thrives.

    It is strange to see you in a baseball cap and jeans. I can't see myself in jeans as I don't like the image but I do wear smarter pants quite often now after having been a skirts only person



    1. That wasn't a very kind thing to say... she's doing farm chores, obviously pants would be the more modest option.

    2. Normally I would go for more professional type slacks too but when feeing calves I have found that simple denim jeans are the best way to go. And a baseball cap keeps the hair cleaner + out of the way. =)

  8. Such a good lesson! I, too, have been there! Thanks for sharing this. It was very encouraging!
    The pictures are ADORABLE!! I love baby calves!! Right now, we have two Jersey calves and are bottle feeding them. :)

  9. Amen! Yes, I too struggle with the same thing, and can identify 100%!:) What you were talking about getting Spiritual milk in order to grow brought to mind part of a passage that I memorized last year for Bible Bee. It was 1 Peter 2:2-3: "As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious."
    Keep growing in the Lord, Chelsy! Thank you so much for doing this Ten day Tandem- it brings me such daily encouragement!
    ~ Morgan R. 1 Thessalonians 5:11

  10. I totally agree that life on a farm can teach us sooo much! I have experienced the same situation with all the baby goats that our family raises, but never really thought of the comparison to our own lives! What a wonderful illustration! Thanks for the reminder to live our lives God's way!

    Sarah F.

  11. Thank you Chelsy!

  12. Ah, yes, Chels, thank you so very much! I can totally relate to many times have I been stubborn and not listened to the Lord? Or heeded Godly instruction? I never really thought about using this analogy before, but now that you brought it up, I know exactly what you mean! I have trained calves to drink before...and they are exactly how you said=)

    And yes, I totally agree! Many life lessons can be learned with farm life:)

  13. Thank you so much, Chelsy, for this post! Wow, such a needed, convicting reminder. :)

  14. I ADORE the pictures! They're so sweet. Thanks for sharing part of your life. We don't hear much about the farm, but I enjoy every tidbit we get! :-)

  15. Wow, I can relate to this so much! I grew up on a farm and loved every minute of it, and even though I was thriving in agriculture, as soon as I graduated high school I ran to my college town to find a "better" life, a more modern one. It took two years for me to finally accept that my "milk" was farming all along. I'm now working alongside my dad everyday, thriving once again and in my element. I'm so glad that I finally accepted the help to find this joy a different way than my own!


Comments containing profanity and/or hateful language will not be published. I will not be posting comments with questions regarding either John's or my extended family. If you have questions about them, please go ask them on their blogs. =)
Also, anyone with a question related to a post must provide their full name. Feel free to email me with questions on topics not pertinent to the post. Thanks y'all!