While growing up I was always drawn to sheep and lambs. I’m not sure what started it, maybe the few pictures and books on sheep that my mother had around, or the fact that I enjoyed reading about the “olden days” when there were shepherds living with the sheep. Whatever it was though it stayed with me. From a simple liking it became a dream to one day have my own flock. We moved to the country when I was 12 years old and with that move my dream came closer. By the time I was 16 or 17 I had saved up some money and researched sheep enough that I was finally able to start my flock. Two bred Shetland ewes were purchased from a friend and the adventures began. There were joys, (lambing, getting them to trust me so that I could catch them, bringing them to grass and watching them enjoy all the fresh greens) and the sorrows, (a lice infestation, losing a lamb to an early birth) but I relished every learning curve.
After a few years I sold the Shetlands and bought a mix of sheep that could be used for meat as well as wool production. That brought a new level to the learning as I had to now have the sweet things butchered and eat them. But I came away with a new understanding of the “circle of life” and a love for lamb meat prepared correctly. Move forward a few more years and I was trying to figure out how to graze my sheep effectively. I read about rotational grazing, but no one around us was doing it that I could learn from. Joel Salatin’s name was re-mentioned to me and so I looked into Polyface. They weren’t raising sheep, but they were grazing the way I hoped to, so I contacted them and eventually came for my internship. My intention was to learn what I could about the grazing and return home to start an intense program with my sheep.
God had other plans. Grady and I met and started getting to know each other that summer and as our relationship progressed I had a feeling that I wasn’t going to be staying in Michigan when I returned home. And that’s what happened, the following spring we were married and I had moved to Grady’s home in Oklahoma with him. And guess what, his dad was running sheep!
I have been so blessed in all the lessons God has taught me through these years of raising sheep, not the least being how appropriately used the term sheep and lamb are used in the Bible, one of the most meaningful to me is that Christ is called the Lamb of God and that He died for me.
4 Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
But the best part of all is that He is not dead, but alive. Easter is special to me because we remember all that happened to Him for our sakes and yet rejoice because: “He is Risen”!
Do you have any sheep stories?