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  • Virginia Brown

Abide 2023

I’ve been farming for years, but slowly over time had come to find my value and worth in my work, specifically in my ability to grow my operation in acres and size. I had great success in 2022, as I had an envious amount of sunflowers. Man, did I think I was special! Then the prices of sunflowers tanked in the spring of 2023. With grain buyers no longer taking flowers, this meant that I still had my flowers in a grain bag, rotting.

Rather than turn to God after this gut-wrenching experience, I doubled down. “I can do this,” I thought. A little while later, after a long day trying to get fertilizer applied, my spreader broke down. In trying to fix it, I made a stupid mistake. I welded my spreader without a face shield, trying to rush the process before some rain hit. I got welders flash. The pain was excruciating. I couldn’t see. It was terrifying and painful. I was so angry at God. I was completely broken, stripped of my financial, emotional, and now physical ability to farm.

In the depths of despair, God began His work of pruning. He humbled me and revealed the emptiness of my self-reliance. In my broken prayers, the words “abide in Me” began my healing process. I came to understand that God’s pruning was not punishment but a loving act of refinement, calling me to surrender every aspect of my life to Him and refocus on Him. Christ loves us too much to allow our vines to grow stagnant (John 15:2).

Today, as I continue to farm, I do so with a newfound perspective. My eyes are fixed not on the size of my operation but on Christ, who sustains me through every trial. In humility, I offer Him my heart, my mind, and every fiber of my being, trusting in His promise to exalt those who submit to His will (James 4:10).

Graham Schuetzle

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