With every transition, be it a new job, a new baby or otherwise, we have to manage our expectations. When our first daughter was born Caleb and I had to work through what we subconsciously and/or consciously expected of one another and of ourselves. Who was going to change the diapers? Who was going to wake in the night when she cried? When he left for a deployment a whole new set of questions would surface- who is responsible for paying the bills? How often are you going to call? Do you want to receive care packages? And so on.
Our transition to farming has been no different. The questions this time have been- How much work can we reasonably handle? How much can I (Betsy) contribute? How do we function as a family when you (Caleb) work from home? How much do/should our kids contribute? Our second season on the farm has brought about more questions and a greater reality that we cannot do it all. I am pregnant with our fourth, which largely takes me out of the equation. Caleb has taken on 3 more ventures than last year, making his time in shorter supply and his energy depleted. We are both grateful for the opportunity to try new things and get a feel for what is doable. We have had to let go of a few things, some of which are harder than others. We realized that maintaining a substantial garden was not a good choice this year as I would not have the energy to spend time weeding, watering, tending, and harvesting so late in my pregnancy. Caleb has had to let go of a number of projects that he would love to attend to. In the end it came down to our (sometimes conflicting) expectations and finding an approach that worked best for our family. We have hopes of a bountiful garden in the future and a bit more spare time to tinker in the shop, but for now we are enjoying what the Lord has placed in our laps.
And at the end of the day, we pray that our priorities and expectations line up with God’s call on our life and the life of our family. In a culture that is consumed with more more more, it is hard to diverge from that busy road and say, “No,” I am going to do less. I am going to spend less time working so I can spend more time enjoying. Slowing down, really seeing, truly listening . . . these are the things we are practicing.