WELCOME TO THE FARM
I know that as you're reading this, you aren't actually at our farm. But if I had my way, we would be sitting on my farmhouse front porch, watching a beautiful Kansas sun set. We would skip the small talk, and we would get down to the good stuff. We would talk about life, motherhood, faith, and so much more.
As we sipped our coffee and watched the cattle graze in the pasture and the sun dip behind the trees, I would share my story with you. I would bare a vulnerable heart in the hope that you might relate and feel less alone and that you'd be encouraged to step into the person you were created to be. But since we aren't actually on the front porch, I'll share my heart with you here in these pages and pretend we are.
I'm Caitlin, but most people around here call me Mom or honey. I'll let you choose. I grew up in rural America but was still a town girl. I fell in love with a farm boy named Jake, so I took his last name, and we now have three little farm kids running around. Our two boys are Grady and Porter, and our little girl is Finley.
This way of life didn't come easily for me, and as I looked back on my years on the farm, I realized something beautiful. I could see clearly how God had taken many experiences from our farm and used them to mold me. I saw how He brought lessons out of each moment and used them to guide me. I believe He does that for you, too, even if your stories involve significantly less dirt and fewer tractors.
Often we live life in a daze. We go through the same motions and jam-pack our schedules, and something tragic happens. We are so busy getting through life, we forget to stop and savor the simple beauty right in front of us. The joy that comes from the simplest of life's moments is passed by as we keep pushing forward at full steam. It can be so easy to forge ahead and miss the lessons that were ingrained deep within these moments. We don't stop to look back and see the way God has woven all things together. We forget to pause and notice God's redemption in the chapters of our stories and the ways He has woven Himself into each page. But what if we dared to no longer settle for missing out on the simple beauty of life? What if we looked back in awe as we saw what God has done?
It took marrying a farm boy from Kansas and raising a family in rural America for me to realize all I was missing by trying to keep up with the unrealistic expectations society has set for us. God used simple yet valuable lessons from my life on the farm to show me there is more to life right here in this moment. Whether you are in the middle of a wheat field or in the heart of a city, together we can grab hold of these moments.
In these pages, I'm bringing you into my rural way of life. The big moments, the small moments, and everything in between. Each chapter creates a picture of how God can use the most ordinary things—even life on a farm—to show His character and goodness. The chapters reveal that no matter who we are or how we struggle, God wants us and He wants to use us.
I hope that as you read these pages, you'll realize the beauty of life right in front of you and find the hope, drive, and encouragement to take the next step—even if it's your first step—into bravely going where God is calling you.
I pray that as you begin to feel a desire to draw closer to God, you'll give up good in exchange for great and be able to savor the abundant joy that comes when we step into all God has for us.
I hope that this book is our conversation on the porch. That you picture yourself next to me on a porch swing as you tell me the dreams God has placed in the deepest corners of your heart. That your eyes open to the lessons you've learned throughout life and the ways your story has been written. And as you bravely share your vulnerable heart, I pray that you'll hear me say, "Go for it, sister! You can do it! I believe in you."
Shark Week Has Nothing on Cows
Learning to Face Your Fears
I just knew this was the day I was going to be killed. I stood paralyzed in fear, rationalizing my terror with a statistic—There are more people killed by cows every year than by sharks--and I knew I was going to be one of those people. As the moos grew louder, so did the pounding of my heart.
One day early in our marriage, my husband, Jake, ended up in bed with the flu. I don't mean the "man flu," where he really just had some sniffles but thought he was dying. No, this time he was extremely sick, the sickest I had ever seen him. I looked out our bedroom window at the frost on the branches and the clouds moving in with a winter storm. And I looked at my husband huddled under the covers and knew there was no chance he could get out of bed.