I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Monday, December 10, 2012

Pray ‘til the Cows Come Home

by Delores Topliff

Praying ‘til the cows come has fresh meaning for me. The Sunday before Thanksgiving we planned Thanksgiving early so my older son’s children could join us. At 4 a.m. I put the turkey in the oven, planning to eat around Noon. Everything was nearly table-ready when Thanksgiving exploded.
Last spring I’d ordered three July-born Scottish Highland calves. Their delivery date repeatedly got delayed until this very Sunday. They initially bonded beautifully with my two bigger heifers, their sisters one-year older. But the older heifers turned unpleasant when sharing corn treat, horning the new ones aside until all three young ones bolted through numerous 5-wire electric fences. They skedaddled fast, disappearing into wide open spaces where we knew only three of many neighbors. We don’t own a quad or horse to chase animals. Even when tracked, we couldn’t catch, contain, and drag 200+ lb. beasties home, though son & oldest grand-daughter dashed after them, scraping bellies under fences to avoid 10,000 volts.
The animals’ loss meant huge disappointment for all of us and represented lost sizeable investment. After chasing, we drove around our one mile perimeter, alerting neighbors. 
We prayed for cows to come home, although they didn't know "home" yet. We postponed Thanksgiving. Hearing no word, discouraged and disheartened, we learned again we can’t always solve problems ourselves. We called in reinforcements, contacting radio station, police, distributing notes with our name and phone to neighbors in 1-mile circumference, and then beyond. In the process, we met dozens more neighbors, all helpful and concerned, saying, “We’ve all had animal problems. We’ll phone when yours turn up.”
And they did! One calf turned up at a farmer’s one-mile away that Monday. On Tuesday a second appeared further. On Wednesday, the third joined our neighboring dairy farmer’s herd. Thanksgiving was Thursday and Friday had a blizzard with howling winds. On Saturday our tractor pulled the last calf 2.3 miles home. Now all calves are back in the barn but we’re now richer knowing many neighbors who help each other and won’t take pay because, “When ours get out, you’ll help us.”
Next Thanksgiving, we’re planning a quieter day.
What about you? What have you learned through hardship that’s provided lasting treasure?


  1. Wow Dee, adventure finds you, doesn't it? I love your perspective--finding the beauty in new relationships rather than focusing on what your cows did, or the inconvenience they caused. Thanks for your lovely example. I need to practice that today with the young 'uns who live in my home. :)

  2. I've learned to wait on God. So many times I want to run ahead of Him and guess what? I always make it worse. lol Great post, Dee. Love the way you found a silver lining in this trial!

  3. I love the beauty in your words, Dee. I grew up on my grandparents' dairy farm, so I remember my grandma standing on her front porch, calling out to the barn, "Charles, the cows are out." An even better memory is seeing this 4'11" barrel-shaped woman standing in the middle of the road waving her arms and yelling, "HYAH!" to get the cows back in the fence. Good times. :D

    I'm so thankful you prayed until the cows came home. Your faith is a testimony to your family, and now you know your neighbors even better! What an adventurous way to come together.

    My hardship was when Hubby lost his job and seeing God's daily provision. A wonderful lesson that God is always in control.

  4. I love each comment. Jeanne, I know you're enjoying those boys--they grow up so fast.
    Pat, I think sometimes some of us are like escaping calves--they even left tufts of hair on fencewires in their hurry to bolt.
    Lisa--I love that picture and want to hear more. I'm sure your grandparents belong in a book (or are they already there?) They obviously planted great things in you. So thankful your hubby found good work--they are the richer for hiring him. I'm believing for similar great outcomes in my grandkids and am seeing some promising sprouts.
    Thanks, each one :)

  5. Dee,
    I love this adventure...even better the memories they created! I thought about you as my husband brought in more tomatoes from his garden this weekend.

    When I come through a hardship I have a new knowledge of the faithfulness of the God I serve. Amazing.

    Alena T.

  6. Dee, I smiled at the title of this post. I've never owned cows, but I've had chickens and goats. All those sayings about "chickens coming home to roost", the low price of "chicken feed", "not counting your chickens until they're hatched" and finding their "pecking order" are true. Unfortunately, one of our goats was ornery and I spent many a morning chasing a goat, once I was five-months pregnant and another time I was only wearing my nightgown.

    I love the way you turned a distressing event into an adventure and pulled out a hidden silver lining into the rain on your Thanksgiving celebration. Thanks for sharing such a positive post. We should all have your attitude.

  7. Alena, w/ 12+ beautiful inches of snow outside, and 17 at our farm where oldest son is snowed in, I'm delightfully envious of your husband bringing in fresh tomatoes--I do have lots in our freezer.
    Roxanne, I love the picture of a few farm situations getting your goat. Did you ever see the old Marjorie Main & Percy Kilbride movies like the Egg and I and many more? Some of my all-time favorites, and now I'm close to living it.
    How's Peter? Sending love.

  8. Wow! What an amazing answer to prayer! So thankful they came home. I do indeed hope you have a quieter Thanksgiving next year. I have an uncle who owns cows so I understand a bit of the investment involved here! At least it made a memory!

  9. Thanks. Yes, quite a memory. Excited about your new home in progress.