When Blessings Pour Down

The air was saturated as the old rancher carried another bale to the livestock he so selflessly cares for. He wondered, would there be enough hay to make the winter? He sold off as much of his herd he could to survive the long drought and anticipated drier than normal winter. How am I going to make it Lord? Of course, with Your help Father.

As he moves into the west pasture, he peers out over the large round bale to survey God’s handiwork before him. Even through the fog, he could see the puddle-laden pasture teaming with new growth. With a mixture of sunshine, cool temperatures, and ample rainfall, the ryegrass was sprouting forth. A green hue was taking over the once brown and bare pastures. Glancing to see what effect four inches of rain had on the depleted pond, he pondered, what happens if the grass doesn’t last and the water runs out. He realized that without the winter forage and more rain, he would not survive another year as a rancher. A salty mixture seeped into the corners of his mouth, jolting him back to the present.

God was here with him on this wet, foggy morning. The heavy air was permeated by tears of joy and celebration as God displayed His blessings before the old rancher. God was refilling his parched soul to overflowing.

Yes friends, that “old rancher” was me the day after Thanksgiving. I suspect we all have times when the trials of this life begin to weigh us down and our joy level dwindles. After struggling to survive a long drought that began more than a year earlier, its wear on my soul was starting to show. As rampant inflation has impacted every American adult, the agricultural community has been hit especially hard. A 35 percent increase in costs without any income increase is hard to absorb for retirees. I was realizing that I had much bigger worries than financial ones. My Faith Tank, which runs on the joy, hope, and love of God, was emptying out a bit more with each challenge faced.

Does your “faith tank” ever get low? How do you refill it? #FaithOfAFarmer #GrowingInFaith #CrossDubya Click To Tweet

Oh, I continue to stand on God’s promises that He will provide what I need. My problem is that sometimes what I think I need and what God thinks I need are not the same.

That’s when the Holy Spirit prompts me to take a step outside myself and look at the situation through His eyes. As I did that while sitting atop the tractor, He showed me all the ways He is providing for me, my family, and the ranch we love. Yes, the Cross-Dubya was dedicated to Christ, and we continue endeavoring to put Him first in everything we do. With the rains coming in October and November, God prepared the ground to be fertile enough to germinate seed for winter forage. And while our pond is still well below its normal depth, the amount of water stored there has almost doubled from its previous level in two months.

Looking out at the bounty of blessings before me, I felt that familiar heart hug as God showed me how He is caring for His child. As I basked in the glory of His presence with me in this field, the cup of my soul was being over-filled yet again. This happens whenever I spend intimate time with my Creator God. I’m always amazed at how my thought of praise towards Him becomes an open invitation for Him to come sit with me. I think it’s because He’s already there inside me, waiting for me to turn my thoughts to Him instead of the world I’m too often immersed in.

God always stands ready to meet with us when we invite Him with praise. #PraisingGod #AlwaysThereGod #HeartHugs Click To Tweet

As so often it does, when I am in God’s presence and wrapped tightly in one of His heart hugs, tears flow. Are they the overflow of joy as He refills my cup? Perhaps they’re the release of sorrow and lament as He redeems my life. I prefer to think of these tears as God is squeezing the world out of me. My prayers for you are that you too enjoy the elation and joy that comes from being in the midst of God’s loving embrace as you spend time in His presence.

God’s blessings,

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70 thoughts on “When Blessings Pour Down

  1. I believe praise and worship are the keys that open us to thankfulness to our God. When we praise and worship Him, we are concentrating on His blessings and gifts to us, not on the circumstances we face. Thankfulness is an attitude changer!

  2. What a beautiful post, J. D.! You had tears of blessing flowing down my face, as my spiritual eyes beheld the rye grass beginning to show that green shade of hope and the pond’s increase in life-givingand life-sustaining water. I beheld your cattle approaching the pond, eyes upurned toward heaven with gratefulness. (Who knows? But I believe His animals may just have awareness of the God who lovingly created them.)

    As I look out on our rye grass this winter, it will be a reminder to me to pray for “an old rancher” and his sweet wife, Diane.

    1. Thank you Ms. Evelyn. I too am convinced that animals recognize God’s presence. I think because they reflect so much about Him, so much better than a great many of us do. Thank you for all your kind words sweet friend.

  3. I love your statement “My problem is that sometimes what I think I need and what God thinks I need are not the same.” True, true! God always knows best. Even when the ground is dry and our hearts are aching, God is with us in every moment. This morning, we have rain in the Lowcountry of South Carolina. I am thinking of you all and praying for God to provide what is needed. God bless you all.

    1. Thank you Ms. Mimi. God IS always there with us, we have to recognize Him though, don’t we ma’am. Thank you for the kind prayers. When I’m out there with the livestock, it’s easy to remember Who is in charge here at the Cross-Dubya. 🙂 And it sure ain’t me!

  4. J.D., a most beautiful post in so many ways. “He’s already there inside me, waiting for me to turn my thoughts to Him instead of the world I’m too often immersed in.” My one word this year has been “wait” and this sentence just added to its meaning. How precious to think – He is in me, waiting for me. Praying for you, for your family, and for Cross-Dubya. May our God pour out all that is needed and more!

  5. Sometimes, we need to be reminded, gently but firmly, that God is right there with us in every moment of our joys and our sorrows. He will never let us go, and He will provide for all our needs in ways we cannot even begin to imagine.
    May winter at the ranch be a blessed one, J. D.!
    Blessings!

  6. Excellent article! And it brought tears to my heart also. I also loved the imagery of God squeezing the world out of us. Farming teaches us to be dependent on God’s sovereignty and His faithfulness–no matter what. I’ve learned some valuable lessons over the years and have witnessed God’s provision is so many ways. This article conjured up all kinds of memories. Thank you, JD.

    1. Awww… thank you Ms. Laura Lee. Another time that my heart was touched to the point of tears was after speaking with a precious friend who offered their pasture to me to graze my cattle in the midst of the summer drought. Oh, how that touched this old farmer’s heart; and brought him to his knees in prayer and praise. God’s blessings dear friend.

  7. God’s door is always open, and He waits patiently for us to enter. I think our times of melancholy serve a higher purpose. The feelings propel us to Him so He can refine us once again by “squeezing the world out of us.”

    1. Absolutely Ms. Diana. Like Job, we have to learn to rely upon Him in the difficult times too. So many folks these days only seem to want to connect to God when the worship music makes them feel good or when good things are happening in their lives. It’s when they’re not, and we don’t feel like praise, that we need to run to Him even faster, isn’t it my friend?

    1. So glad things are looking better JD. The Lord knows just what we need and when! And how good our Father is to put us in spots where the world gets out – making more room for him!

      I guess the drough has hit a lot of places. Farmers have been worried here too. In some places they’ve risked losing centuries old olive trees, which would have been sad.

      1. He does indeed Sra. Thank you so much for reminding us all of how much we need Him. I remember walking among the olive groves near Barbarino Val D’Elsa and how I would get lost in my thoughts and I listened for and to Him during those times. I remember lining up a handful of olives, each in a different stage of maturity and sharing the lesson God had given me about discipleship and spiritual maturity with my wife, who had not yet become a Christian.

    2. Me too Ms. LuAnn. To reflect upon how the ranch looked with you and Mr. Kenn came to visit, and then seeing it through the drought is such a stark difference. I’ve been asking myself, “It’s the same place, but am I the one that’s changed?” Our vision can change sometimes. Thank you so much for all your kind words ma’am.

  8. It has been a blessing to follow with you as you faced the drought and now see God faithfully providing in spite of it. What a wonderful God we serve. May God continue to bless you my friend.

  9. Oh yes, we all can relate to the “drought” times, whether it’s because of relationship disappointments, physical ailments, or even misinterpreting God’s will. Praise God He is so patient with us. Your posts always inspire me, J.D. Thank you.

    1. Absolutely Ms. Kathy. Droughts in our lives isn’t always in the outside are they ma’am? What a great point! Thank you so much for adding your wisdom to our conversation. Praying you and Mr. Larry are doing well as you prepare for Winter #2 in Idaho.

  10. What I love most about the book of psalms is the way David poured out his heart to God – raw emotions that didn’t always sound so poetic – but by the end of the psalm, he bowed the knee, declaring God as good and sovereign. I’m thankful for the ways God continues to refresh you, J.D. And in turn, the way you refresh us.

      1. He absolutely is Ms. Barbara. Thank you ma’am. So excited as I realized that my next blog post will reach you in your home in GA and not in South Korea. Answered prayers ma’am. Thank you!

  11. God is so faithful and yes we all have those moments when our faith tank is running a bit low. I know I do – but He never fails me, even when He provides differently than what I thought was needed. Your posts always help me refill my faith tank.

    1. How kind Ms. Ann. Isn’t it wonderful how God uses His children to do that (refill) His other children. We forget how vitally important fellowship is to our Christian walk sometimes. Thank you for that important reminder to us all.

  12. JD, I just love those “heart hugs” from the Lord. Yes, indeed, He always provides exactly what His children need.
    Thanks for another post that made my heart smile.
    Blessings to you and Diane!

    1. Me too Ms. Beckie. I’m certain that I’ve become addicted to them, because I find I crave them more and more with each passing year. So great to picture your heart smiling sweet sister-in-Christ. Thank you for reading and for all your encouraging words.

  13. I’m running a bit behind again today, but so inspired by the way you delivered not just the message, but the heart behind it. It’s one thing to read a verbal description of a scene and an academic report of its effect, but it’s quite another when the writer’s words bring all of it to life. What a blessing it was to feel the moment with you. I recall the many times we prayed for you and Diane and the ranch during the drought. Diane and I felt offered praise along with you when we heard that rain had finally come.

    It’s appropriate to read your account on the heels of Thanksgiving and as we begin celebrate that amazing event when the Living God became one of us. As we looked at the new grass through your eyes and saw the water beginning to fill the pond, it triggered a song of grateful praise for what He’s already done and flooded our hearts with a sense of celebration for what we believe He’s going to do. Thanks again, my friend, and may the God whose unfailing grace sustained you through the last drought be just as faithful in providing what each of us needs and may He keep our faith tanks from running dry when the next challenge comes our way.

    1. Yessir. I thought it was interesting how in less than 12 hours after our Thanksgiving Dinner, God showed me all I’m thankful for. I love how He is constantly looking to fill our tanks. And thank you and Ms. Diane so much for your continued prayers. They are felt, and appreciated, my friends. God’s blessings.

    1. Amen Ms. Jackie. We forget sometimes that God promises to bring good from ALL of it, don’t we ma’am. As I dear preaching friend of mine is fond of saying, “All means all, and that’s all all means.” 🙂 God’s blessings to you and Mr. Lynn ma’am.

  14. J. D., thank you for sharing your struggles which we all have in some form. I’ve prayed for you and Diane through the drought and rejoiced when you reported even quick showers that fell onto the soil at the Cross Dubya. Thank you for reminding us to count our blessing to see what God has provided. He recently led me to journal at each day’s end and list the ways He’d provided that day. As you so beautifully wrote, praising Him and counting our blessings sets our focus.

    1. And we’ve felt those prayers, and continue to be encouraged by them Ms. Jeannie. Thank you ma’am. Our greatest honor is being able to return those precious gifts to our prayerful friends. How much your encouragement and support have meant this past year ma’am. God’s blessings.

  15. Thank you for reminding us how God’s blessings lay right before our eyes. Sometimes, I need to stop and look around too. Praying for your ranch in the coming season and for you and your family

  16. I’m familiar with those God hugs, the deep knowing he is there and present. Isn’t it a joy to know He delights to be with his children, that he opens our eyes to see the goodness of his hand we all too easily miss.
    Loved this thought: “God is squeezing the world out of me.” When I’ve inhaled too much of the secular, I experience these spiritual squeezes regularly!

    1. Thank you Ms. Karen. Me too. 🙂 I suspect that as long as we continue to keep Him at the forefront, He’ll continue to guide and bless us as we follow His leading. I’ve realized that perhaps one day, God will call me to something else, but until He does, I want to endeavor to serve Him with my best. I think He’s still waiting for my best to come.

  17. I love the idea of “heart hugs” from God. When I look at “What ifs?” my “faith tank” is depleted. But like you, when I look at how God has always taken care of me, how He is currently providing for me, and how He promises to do so in the future, my tank is filled again. I love how these things invite us into intimacy with Him. And intimacy with Him assures us of His care. So it’s a beauitful continuous cycle.

    1. Oh, yes ma’am. Those “what ifs” can trip all of us up my friend. God’s word reminds us that we should not worry about tomorrow, but I think all of us do from time to time. Learning to walk with Him, at His pace, is a lifelong pursuit I think. God’s blessings ma’am, and thank you so much for all your encouragement.

  18. J.D., so many times God has provided, but at first I didn’t see it because it wasn’t in the way I pictured. Like He did for the children of Israel, He made appliances last longer, or had a gifted friend show up with a skill to take care of a problem. Thanks for sharing your walk with Him and reminding me to pray for our farmers.

    1. Thank you Ms. Debbie. How true ma’am; we don’t always see God at work in our lives; and I’ve asked myself many times if it’s because I wasn’t looking for His presence in my life. He does always work for us, doesn’t He my friend?

  19. My friend, you always seem to know the lesson I need. Like you, I sometimes misalign with God about what I think I need. I know He has the plan for my life, but I’ve always been such a “get it done” type of person that I’m not good at waiting. But I’m trying! Your faith in the face of adversity encourages me, J.D. Thank you for sharing. Praying for that winter forage and for you all at the Cross-Dubya.

    1. Right there with you Ms. Katherine. It’s when I forget that God is always right there with me that I fall into the trap of thinking I’m in control of my life. LOL I’m sure glad I’m not. Now, if I can only remember that. As always, your prayers are both welcomed and returned ma’am. God’s blessings.

  20. So moving and soul-stirring, J.D. You have a way with words and descriptions that touch our hearts as you relay your own circumstances. Even those hard details life often throws our way. Thankful our Lord gives us those heart hugs just when we need them.

    1. Me too Ms. Karen. They (those heart hugs) become addictive, don’t they ma’am. I come to crave and want them more and more with each passing day. When I suddenly realize I haven’t felt one, I recognize my need to reach out to Him. He’s always faithful to come near and sit with us, but He insists on being invited.

  21. God is speaking to me through you and this poignant post, J.D. I was lamenting that I was a bit late in getting around to reading it this week, but I got to it on the day I needed it the most. Thank you for reminding me of the beauty and peace that I always find in Father’s presence.

    1. He is a “just in time” God isn’t He Ms. Annie? Giving us what we need, when we need it most. What has always amazed me is how He knows what we need long before we even realize we have a need, and He has already been working on the solution. I’m often floored when I see how He uses others (like you and your posts) to meet my needs, and humbled when I see that He’s used me to help another. That’s always a prompt for praise. God’s blessings ma’am.

  22. Beautifully written with lovely imagery, dear friend. The struggles, the prayers, and the tears are real, and God’s faithfulness always saves the day and brings encouragement. If we don’t suffer, we don’t see His hand of provision and faithfulness either. If the pastures were always watered and the ponds full, what need would there be for fervent prayer? I’m blessed by your story and praising God for answered prayer. The Lord will never leave us nor forsake us. God will see you through another year, brother. Keep the faith and keep believing. You’re right on track.

    1. Such truth Ms. Karen. It’s often the adversity of life that shows our dependence and reliance upon Him. I’m so glad I need God to walk with me and guide me in this life. Thank you for your encouraging words ma’am.

  23. Indeed, the tears often flow just because — because He’s awesome and merciful and kind and understanding and forgiving and loving and …, …, …, …, …

    Wonderful message, J.D. Thanks.

  24. Loved this reminder: ” I’m always amazed at how my thought of praise towards Him becomes an open invitation for Him to come sit with me.” This is so true, especially when our faith tanks are running low. When I am growing weary, I find taking that time to sit with my Lord, without rushing, is exactly what I need.
    Also, loved how you penned how tears are a result of “God squeezing the world out.” I hope I’ll always remember that.

    1. Awww… thank you Ms. Sally. I’m glad never tires of squeezing the world out of me; I just wish He didn’t have to do it so often. If you’ve never read my poem, “My Father’s Arms”, I’ll have to share it with you. I’m so glad we have His arms to hold us. God’s blessings ma’am.

  25. Thanks J.D. Your post was uplifting and a good reminder to praise. There is so much to be grateful for, and I so readily complain rather than praise. Appreciate your words which brought me to consider the many ways God is caring for me. Thank you.

    1. Thank you Ms. Sylvia. Isn’t it amazing how we humans are so much more quick to complain than to praise? I wonder if that is part of the curse from the fall of man? Perhaps that is part of the enmity that God placed between us, where we see and sense the negative in our presence more than we recognize God and the positive presence He brings.

  26. “God squeezing the world out of you” What a wonderful way to describe those moments when God comes and refreshes and renews our faith after challenges that wear us down. I’m so thankful, too, that He is also renewing the Cross Dubya!

    1. I had that thought several years ago Ms. Kathy, as it seems that each time I connect with God and He shows and teaches me things, He is molding me (ala another turn on the Potter’s wheel) as He re-casts me in His image. It is in those moments that my tears flow freely. I think them worldliness leaving me as I’m making more room for Him in my heart.

  27. I love that …. “God is squeezing the world out of me.” What a great vision statement.
    Yes, you have had to deal with a crisis of faith all year. I felt your sorrow, your frustration, your pain and suffering, and the strain of your faith. Your hope never wavered. You mimic Paul in some ways learning how to find contentment in all circumstances and being a good steward with what you have. Your faith was noticed and continues to be. Thank you, good and faithful servant.

    1. Oh my. How humbled I am by your words and your characterization. When I think of how much I’ve complained to God through this difficult year, I am certain I’m nothing like Paul. However, I am certain that God still loves me through it all because He continues to bless me with wonderful friends like you ma’am.

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