On The Journey, Judy Bowman

“Farming my soul”

I grew up on a farm. We raised vegetables to sell and to eat and we had cows and pigs and chickens. The land provided for us, so long as my family provided the work. We had the food and money we needed to buy most everything else. My parents worked very hard for us and spent a lot of time planning for next year. Farmers do that. They live in the future: the next harvest, next year, the weather tomorrow and next week. I grew up learning about fertilizer and soil conversation and what made cows sick. I watched my dad repair broken tractors and hay balers. We’d get up at night to help birth a litter of piglets or a baby calf. I knew better than to make pets of any of them because in a few months they’d be on our dinner table, or sold to pay bills. The land was everything to us. We completely depended on it for our lives. As the writer Dr. Ferrol Sams said, “In the beginning was the land.” The Georgia soil and rains never failed us. As I learned a little history and my worldview widened, I realized how blessed we were. We didn’t have devastating droughts or hurricanes to deal with. Locusts and disease passed us by. We were never brought low by price collapses or natural disasters. We depended on our farm and it met all our needs. It never failed.

We go through our lives looking for what we can depend on like my family depended on our farm. But we’re frequently disappointed in the things we find in this world. Relationships fall apart; we lose a job; our health fails. Even when we work hard and do all the “right” things, sometimes nothing seems to work out. It’s what we choose to do in those broken moments of our lives that reveals who we really are. Do we become bitter and blame others for our failings? Do we shake our fists at the sky, shouting at God? Do we turn to something like alcohol or pills to take away our pain? Or maybe we just give up, withdraw into ourselves and avoid giving our hearts away to anyone else or to any new pursuit or purpose. A spirit that is crushed by the world is a sad and hollow life. It becomes like barren earth that has been made lifeless through over use and lack of care and proper stewardship. Weeds have been allowed to creep in and deplete all the nutrients. Such a life bears little fruit. And a life like this rarely draws others into it.

Jesus often used images of farming and shepherding to describe the Christian life. He talks about pruning and being pruned, about tending the flock and feeding the sheep and heeding the voice of the Shepherd.

Anyone has farmed the land or tended stock knows how important humility is. You’re not really in control of very much on a farm. You’re at the mercy of the weather and wind, of plague and flood. You can’t will a crop into existence or demand the birth of a healthy animal. You do your best and live in hope. In that way, you are the co-creator of your crops and your flocks. It makes you appreciate the goodness of the earth and the bounty of her fields. When bad years come, and they inevitably will, you regroup and look with hope to next year’s harvest. You learn not to give up, but to trust and to keep trying. You help out your neighbor when he needs it and you count on him to help you out when times are rough.

I think back often on those years on our farm. The older I get, the more I value the lessons of living life close to the earth. We were poor, but we never lacked anything important. I witnessed the value of hard work and the rewards that come from it: a fresh tomato, a squirming pink piglet, the smell of fresh hay in the field and the long, slow evening spent reliving the day’s events. The rhythm of the farm is a lot like the rhythm of our spiritual walk. Times of harvest, followed by times of drought; planting seeds in the hope of bounty and quiet times of reflection and rest. It’s no wonder to me that the image of a perfect relationship with God is revealed to us as a beautiful Garden.

“My farm is not where I must soil

My hands in endless, dreary toil.

But where, through seed and swelling pod

I’ve learned to walk and talk with God.”

— From a Novena to St. Isidore, the patron Saint of farmers

Glenda Smiley, Pleasant Valley Baptist Church

God blessed revival meetings last week with Brother Dean McNeese. Brother McNeese brought messages from God concerning the ending of the church age and the rapture of the true church. Be sure to watch all of the messages, if you did not attend.

Pastor Flood brought wonderful morning message from Matthew 24 and 17. These days, in which we find ourselves,⁹ are signs of the return of Christ in the clouds to rapture, snatch away, all believers who have trusted Him by confessing sin, accepting His substitutionary death on the cross for your sin, and His bodily resurrection from the grave. The time is now, are you ready for the imminent return of Christ. “In a moment, a twinkle of the eye.” No time to waste, it will be too late when the trumpet sounds and he steps through the clouds to gather the redeemed. TODAY, today is the day of your salvation. Call on Him today before it is eternally too late. Pastor messages from today are on Facebook and YouTube

Pleasant Valley Baptist invites you to in-person Sunday morning and evening worship services. Please join us worshipping the Lord. Wednesday in-person services continue to be temporarily suspended.

Much to pray about. Remember our country with pandemic, economy, and social upheaval, our leaders, our citizens. Special request are family of Mike Cross, family of Jeep Mitchell, Richard Comer (missionary), Dianne Hullender , Debbie and Brian O’Neill, Betty Pitts, Denise Pitts, Larry Armstrong and his family , John Bryson and his family, Dot McAllister, Brian White, and for our pastor and his family. Pray for our shut-ins Carolyn Denton and Lula Petty and others with high risk situations shut-in. Pray for our churches, missionaries, and evangelists.

Pleasant Valley Baptist continues to livestream Facebook and YouTube Sunday morning/evening services 11 AM , evening 6 PM, and streaming mid-week Bible study. Visit or view our services for encouragement from God’s Word.

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