By Wendi Kitsteiner
When I was twenty-one, I married my high school sweetheart. Like him, I had been born and raised in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I had grown up in suburbia, felt comfortable with “city life,” and never thought about doing anything but what I knew. I assumed my husband would feel the same way about our life once he left the military.
At some point during the next twenty years of our marriage, however, my husband’s desires morphed before my eyes. He picked up a book on farming and permaculture at a local library and was hooked. He never looked back or wavered. He was focused.
He wanted to own a farm.
I knew nothing about farming other than what I’d learned during a few days on my great-aunt’s farm outside of Chicago when I was a young girl. I never did anything else remotely rural with my family. We weren’t campers. We weren’t hikers. We were city people who played sports and stayed in hotels and kept ourselves relatively clean.
My husband began breaking me in (very) slowly to the idea of being farmers and living a rural life. I took baby steps. I attended a class on goats with him. I read articles. I visited websites. I began praying and thinking (and hoping) I could do it
Fast forward to 2015. Out of the military at last, we settled on our dream farm with our four young children. Nearly one hundred acres of beautiful, rolling, eastern Tennessee hills surround us.
So does reality.
We are thirty minutes from a decent-sized town—and by this I mean a town with a population of 15,000. We own pigs, sheep, ducks, geese, chickens, and turkeys. We have mud and dirt and a lot more flies than I’m used to. No grocery store waits down the street. Going to the post office is not a quick outing. Fast food is not on every corner.
I could give you example after example of how unfit I was (and sometimes still am) for this life. I could tell you about the time I was the only one home when I found my puppies had nearly killed one of our guinea fowl. Or about the chickens and turkeys we processed outside our garage. Or the small fire that got out of control on a hillside. I trudged up to defeat it with a shovel. You can’t make up this stuff.
The point of writing this post, however, is to share how I have pushed myself little by little, and how I realized just today how much this parallels my walk with Christ.
One long day on the farm culminated with nearly two dozen mice trapped in a feed container our farm volunteer graciously told me he would dispose of. I knew I could just let him take care of it, but I also knew that would not help in future battles I might face alone on the farm. Would the mice win? I decided to stay. I did close my eyes some and I covered my ears once or twice. I turned my back a couple of times. But I stayed. I battled through it. I knew it was for the greater good. And I realized I was proud of myself.
If a year ago you had told me what my job was going to be as we processed a hundred and fifty chickens, I would have said you were out of your mind. But here I was—“helping” temporarily eradicate a mouse problem. I had to make myself uncomfortable to grow, to step out of my comfort zone.
But I couldn’t do it all at once. And today I realized this is how it’s been as I’ve grown as a child of God. If in my early days as a Christian you had told me I would be speaking to groups of women and writing articles about my faith, I would have been overwhelmed. But when we move forward slowly and in God’s timing, allowing him to gently nudge us, growing is not as hard as we think.
Maybe you feel this way as a Christian. If you do, I encourage you to take baby steps forward as the Lord leads you.
Who knows? Maybe at the end you’ll be a farmer’s wife like me!
Wendi Kitsteiner is a former city girl now living on a farm in the middle of nowhere, Tennessee with her husband and four young children. She is passionate about the causes of infertility, adoption, and keeping it real as a mom. You can follow her at flakymn.blogspot.com or becauseofisaac.org.
Photograph © Stephen Radford, used with permission