Plowing Through Discouragement Unearths Building Stones

Ploughing through discouragement you may unearth what you think are obstacles that are in fact building stones.

Although I did not grow up on a farm, I spent many a day in the summer visiting my parent’s farming friends in Southern Alberta. I remember my family driving along dusty country roads with nothing to see but acres and acres of wide-open spaces. You always knew a farmhouse or barn was coming up by the tree line leading up from the main road. Other than that, you could see for miles. Unless you looked carefully, it was hard to discern where one field ended and the next one began. The thin barbed-wire fences that separated them blended into the landscape.

While homesteaders in Southern Alberta faced tremendous challenges with harsh winter weather and summer droughts, farmers in Central Canada faced their own obstacles. I realised the battle those farmers faced as a group of friends and I took a road trip through Rural Ontario one day. I was charmed by the picturesque stone fences divided lush crop fields and lined gravel roads up to farmhouses and barns. Farmers also made most of the walls and foundations of those barns from stone. As a prairie girl, it all fascinated me. Most houses and barns in Alberta were wood framed or brick. A stone house was something out of storybooks!

“I wonder where all those stones came from? Did they have to haul them in?” One of my fellow travellers chuckled at my innocent comment. She kindly pointed out that this farmland was on the southern edge of the Canadian Shield, a geological rock shelf that is one of the world’s leading sources of iron, nickel, and copper. Thick forests once covered much of the region, and the topsoil was considered to be too shallow and rocky for farming. And yet, early immigrants to Canada cut through those forests. They tilled the land, digging up stone after stone, piling them on the borders of their property, creating those picturesque fences. Up to this present day as the ground thaws in Spring, rocks push their way up through the thin topsoil and farmers must move them before they can plant their crops. The crops I saw that day with my friends were lush and green. The farmyards, houses, and barns were well-kept. It was clear the region’s prosperity was due to the labour of previous generations.

If the field God gave you appears to be full of rocks and obstacles, use them to create safe borders and clear paths for others.

I’ve been in a hard season, these last couple of years. Case in point, last week. I accidentally erased all the email addresses from my mailing list, and have had to start over. My sphere of influence shrank dramatically with one accidental click of the delete button. Those email addresses are not recoverable. Facebook is throttling back the number of people who see what I share on Facebook from outside sources such as this blog or YouTube. It feels like that old adage, “When a tree falls in the forest, and no one is around to hear it fall, will it still make a noise?”

It is tempting to throw my hands up in the air and say, “I’m done. What difference am I making in the world? I don’t have a slick media department, I don’t have a lot of connections, I’m just a small squeaky mouse in a corner. There are a lot of powerful lions out there roaring and making a positive impact on their world. Do I need to add my voice to the mix? Will it even be heard? Does it even need to be heard?”

Galatians 6:9-10 – “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”

Yesterday, a friend felt led to share this Bible verse with me when I admitted how discouraged, isolated, and alone I was feeling. He urged me to keep going. God reminded me of this truth. My success or lack of success is not measured by numbers, it is measured by my obedience to his call. Even if no one hears this squeaky little mouse, I will continue to serve my King and reach out to his people. I’ll keep pulling those rocks out of the ground. I’ll continue to set them in their rightful place; creating secure borders and sound habitations while preparing the land for a future crop.

Personal Application

If this at all resonates with you, keep your hand on the plough. Keep your focus on your calling. If the stones in your field become too heavy for you to move on your own, recruit help. Most important of all, pray to the Lord of the harvest so he may bring workers to the field to haul in the abundant crops that will spring forth in the right season.

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All Bible verses attributed to the ESV version unless otherwise indicated.

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Until Next Week,

©2019 Katherine Walden

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