March 24, 2015

God's Tender Mercies

Every life is precious. God knows and numbers even the sparrows in the sky. That's why when I went out to check cows Monday morning I was so sad when I came upon a first calf heifer standing faithfully alongside a dead bull calf. It was a big calf for a first timer. It's head was swollen from being in the birth canal too long. It was obvious to me this calf needed pulled and I wasn't there. That was my job. I know ranchers lose calves all the time and that's part of it, but I guess I take it personally. At least this time I did because had I been more aware, I would've pulled that calf and it would be running around with all the other cute little buggers around here.

That day after I picked up the kids from school we set up a make shift calving lot with electric fence. Then we proceeded to bring in all the first calving heifers with our horses. I was so proud of my kids, we worked together and got the job done.  No more calves would be lost on my watch. They were now within walking distance from the house and I could easily check them before turning in for the night, in the middle of the night, and early the next morning. I started doing this the very next day. As the week wore on I became utterly exhausted. It reminded me of having a newborn baby! But not only was I calving heifers on my own, but I have four kids and a household and lots of other responsibilities on the ranch. After a week of this I felt I was on a downhill slide and I told the Ranch Hand I just couldn't do it anymore. For those of you who don't know, the Ranch Hand is my husband, and he has a full time job away from home to support our dream ranch that was quickly turning in to my nightmare. After the weekend I felt like I was going to have a mental break down, thinking of what the coming week would bring. I just couldn't do it. Despair was setting in and I told the Ranch Hand something had to change. I couldn't handle four kids, a household, cooking, cleaning, homework, getting up in the middle of the night checking heifers and over 100 cows most of them still left to calve. I was too tired.  He gave a suggestion. "Then don't check them in the night." I couldn't do that! What if I lost another one that simply needed pulled and I didn't do it? Then he said something that showed me where his faith was. "Check them before bed. Then get down on your knees and pray they won't calve in the night. Get up early and check them." Could I have that much faith? Almost everyone checks their heifers in the night.

The new lights from our barn have been so helpful shining light right into my heifer calving lot I'd created. I checked them around 10 pm, shining my flashlight on each individual heifer, making sure they were nowhere near labor. I came inside, tucked the little ones in and knelt at my bedside. "I am so tired. I just can't get up tonight to check the heifers. Please bless them to not calve in the night, and if they do please help them have it on their own. I am just one person with a lot on me, I can't do it all now. I promise to do my part, please help me." I went to sleep that night hoping my faith was strong enough. 
At 5:55 am the alarm went off. Surprisingly I wasn't as tired as regular school mornings and I usually get up at 6:30. I went out and everything was quiet. Instead of coming in and going about the morning as usual, I had planned extra time to study my scriptures and pray. This was my part. Early morning prayer and scripture study can work miracles in your life. On the way out the door for school, right there with steam rising off him was a little calf fresh to this life.  David A. Bednar said, "The Lord's tender mercies are the very personal and individualized blessing, strength, protection, assurances, guidance, loving-kindnesses, consolation, support, and spiritual gifts which we receive from and because of and through the Lord Jesus Christ. Truly, the Lord suits his tender mercies according to the conditions of the children of men."

This was most definitely a tender mercy given specifically for me, tailored to my needs. God knows us all. He blesses us each in ways only we need. He loves us and wants to bless us. I look around me and I remember experiences I have on a daily basis and can honestly say that little tender mercies happen all the time. They happen to me, and they happen to you. When you start labeling them as such, you will see God's hand in your life. Then you need to do your part, whatever it is. He will continue to bless you, we can never catch up or make things even with Him. He gives way more than we do. That's how it is with parents.

I will continue to show my faith by praying for His help every night, and thanking Him every morning. I will sleep peacefully knowing everything is in His hands, and that's better than anything I could ever do.

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