My brother and sister-in-law live on the farm where my sister-in-law grew up. This year they decided to teach their children, ages 6 and 9 how to raise pigs. Suzy was excited to share this part of her childhood with her children. My family has enjoyed watching the process and laughing as they chase their pigs through the barn or yard when they decide to make a break for freedom. I’m thinking there must have been a spider in that barn explaining to them what bacon was!
At the end of August for the past 40 years, our town has held an annual fair to bring the community together and offer a platform for our largely agricultural community to showcase their efforts. From veggies and flowers, baked goods and quilts to cows, pigs, goats and rabbits, this is the place to be the week before school starts each August. I love the fair. It speaks small town America to me. We live 3 blocks from the fairgrounds, so my children have enjoyed spending a good bit of time walking up and looking at the exhibits, riding rides and eating some amazing food.
This year however, we had the privilege of watching our niece and nephew show their pigs. At the ages of 6 and 9, they went into the ring with their 250 pound pink pigs named Pork Chop and Flower Petal to show how well they could handle the animals and how much they knew about them. The most adorable sight was to watch my little 6 year old niece who is all of 3 1/2 feet tall walk next to this huge pig, occasionally tapping it with a stick to guide it around the ring. Her pig was very cooperative that day, she was one of the lucky ones. Others, like my nephew’s pig were not too interested in being shown or making my nephew look good for this contest. His pig ran full speed ahead through the ring, decided to burrow in the soft shavings and lay down, among other antics. Although comical, it frustrated my nephew. He did a great job corralling his pig as best he could, but at 250 pounds, well, you know who’s going to win!
I got to thinking that life is a lot like a big pig. Sometimes it’s cooperative and sometimes not. We walk through our days with our proverbial stick trying to control our circumstances, and come out the “winner”. But just like my little niece is no match for her 250 pound pig, we are no match for what life brings to us in the ring. I’m a control freak. I obsessively plan and make lists in order to maintain a sense of order in our home and, kept in balance, this is a good thing. But I know that I have a hard time maintaining that balance, and that isn’t good for me emotionally or spiritually. I move try to replace my trust in God with trust in myself to keep all the plates spinning. I think that if I beat life hard enough with my stick, then it will do what I want it to, and that’s just not true.
God has a plan for each of my days, weeks, months and years. My problem is that I often think, what if? Each day brings new fears and worries that, left unchecked, will grow into anxieties that make my nieces 250 pound pig look like a 2 pound guinea pig. So, as I watched that adorable little girl do her best to wrangle her pig around the ring, I was reminded that my stick is the word of God, that I must consistently apply it to my life, and trust God with the outcome. Because I am no match for the pig called life. The sweetest thing is, that just as my niece came out of the ring and ran into the arms of her adoring parents, so do I run to my adoring Heavenly Father, who tells me that he’s proud of me, and hands me a ribbon that says “Dearly Loved Daughter.” And that is the most valuable prize in the world to me!