Won Without Words
winning the marriage you desire through wisdom

Shari Popejoy


May 26, 2011

Tip #93 Ever Feel Like An Old Cow?

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Written by: Shari Popejoy
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Tip #93 Stubbornness repels loving care; dependence attracts loving care.

When I was pregnant with our first child, someone asked my husband what he would do if we couldn’t make it the hospital in time.  He just drawled, “Don’t worry.  I’ve helped lots of cows have babies.” Don’t you just love country boys? He’s learned a lot over the years, but one especially important lesson he’s learned about women: never mention the word cow around a pregnant woman!

So, I hope I’m not making a similar mistake here. . . but since a picture is worth a thousand words. . . I’m going to paint a word picture that will hopefully give you something to ruminate on :).  Let’s begin with a verse to get us in a Biblical mood!

The Israelites are stubborn, like a stubborn heifer.  How then can the LORD pasture them like lambs in a meadow?”  Hosea 4:16

I decided to ask the farm boy to describe a stubborn heifer for me. Turns out they called cows who had just had their first calf, first-calf heifers, and getting them trained to come into the dairy barn was a real challenge.  The first-calf heifers were stubborn, willful, touch-me-nots, who thought they could toss their horns and get their way.  He described one willful heifer who refused to come into the milk barn. He tied a rope around her horns, attached it to a come-along, and ratcheted her into the stall.

By the time some heifers got into their stall, they were so worked up that they couldn’t even eat, but after a few days of this kind of ‘encouragement’, they settled down and realized that the dairy man was their friend.  He fed them, he milked them, and he provided them with ‘spa’ treatment twice a day! In time, they became so conditioned to the milking that he claims the first five cows into the barn every morning, were always the same five cows in the same order.  The cows actually enjoyed the predictability, the routine, the rhythmic, relaxing, constant swish of the pumps of the dairy barn — who knew?

He had several heifer tales, but basically he surmised that heifers are hard to work with, because of their youth, immaturity, exuberance, — stubbornness! But, they mature with time, experience, and motherhood to become gentle, docile, obedient bovine. The farmer just wants to feed and care for them, to pasture them in lush green meadows, but the heifers make it difficult with their willful ways, choosing rather to balk, and run, and bolt instead of cooperate.

I kinda remember my wild heifer days. . . I kicked up my heels, and tossed my horns, and petulantly declared my independence, stubbornly fighting for my way. . . just for the sake of principle and justice.  And perhaps I’ve been worn down by life. . . or maybe I just enjoy eating. . . but very rarely will I engage in an argument these days just for the stimulating conversation!

I’ve matured into a . . . docile old cow. . . oops — did I just say that? I can actually hear you inwardly cringing. . . the sound is coming across the internet, and it sounds . . . like fingers on a chalkboard! Nah. . . I still have a few good years before they take me to the slaughterhouse, but truthfully, you learn over the years that stubborn independence proves nothing. There is no reward in it. It’s kinda lonely. It’s no fun to have the farmer mad at you. . . you might get in a few kicks, but he’s got the silo! Here’s something else the farmer wants for you:

“He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul; he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; thou anointest my head with oil; my cup Runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23

Take it from an old cow — it’s a lot more fun to have the tender loving care of the farmer, than to flaunt your freedom in the field! So put that in your cud and chew it! (That’s a farm boy variation on a popular Ozarks exclamation ;)

So, get along little dogies, and maybe in time you’ll be acowstomed to the routine, and enjoy being ‘put out to pasture’, too!!

Love you girls!!


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About the Author

Shari Popejoy
Shari Popejoy is the author of the book Won Without Words, and the blog Won Without Words, encouragement to wives. She writes the Livingstone Library, an adventure series for young people, and the blog Oh Joy!, (injoyinc.com/oh/) for busy moms. She is a frequent contributor to Christian print and online magazines, and writes from the quiet country of the Ozarks, where she lives with her husband, Marc, and their three children. You can find out all about her at sharipopejoy.com!


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