The night before our ten year wedding anniversary, I asked my farmer, “Did you ever think you’d made a mistake?”
Without missing a beat he replied, “No.” Then looked at me with raised eyebrows and said, “Did you?”
I looked sideways,looked backed at him and said, “Yes. I did.”
But let me explain.
The first growing season.
I remember being a new farm wife, and landing abruptly in the midst of those seasons - planting and harvest - and being so completely overwhelmed. Completely. Overwhelmed.
I didn’t grow up on a farm. I didn’t understand the cost of farming - time and sweat and money. And I hadn’t been around long enough to witness any of the rewards.
All I felt was the heavy, unrelenting costs of this crazy lifestyle sitting on my shoulders. I wasn’t alone in carrying the costs, I just seemed to be the only one in our world being shoved into the ground from the weight.
The other farm women around me were so strong. They laughed about the hours and joked about the costs. They went on with daily life - driving tractors or working their off-farm jobs, changing light bulbs and carrying out garbage- without a hint of the weight they were carrying.
I would look at them and think, “I am not the right woman. I am not strong enough for farming.”
I thought farm life would be romantic, he thought his new farm wife would be strong. It wasn’t and I wasn’t either.
I had fooled him, he had fallen for it, and now it would sink us both.
I don’t remember why I waited. Maybe the pull of a farmer is just that strong. Maybe the stubborn gene God knitted into me. Maybe it was because all around us, on both sides of the family, people didn’t give up on marriage.
Likely it was because each time I was at a breaking point the heavens opened up and it rained. Literally. And rain sent my farmer home to me.
Whatever it was, I stuck it out. I waited. And what now feels like overnight even though I know it wasn’t, something changed. I woke up one morning, harvest was over and we had made it through the entire planting and harvest season without missing a beat. Then all the sudden we had made it through another. Prices were up, prices were down, droughts dried us up, floods soaked us, but we just kept on - together.
When we said “I do”, ten years ago, I wasn’t strong enough to be a farmer’s wife. I had no idea what I was signing up for and I wasn’t anywhere near the woman I would need to be.
But I waited. He waited. And eventually, like it always does with time, this farm turned me into what I needed to be. What God had really destined me to be - a farmer’s wife.
Kate Lambert grew up in northern Illinois, not on a farm but active in FFA and showing livestock.
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