Today, I have a beautiful story I've been waiting a long time to share.
Last April (2017), my husband and I spent a Saturday working our tails off getting the garden ready for planting. We spread mulch, smoothed beds, set up garden stakes and basically worked like dogs all. day. long.
On Sunday morning, I woke up to searing pain my right shoulder. The slightest movement left me gasping. I was concerned, but figured I had just overextended myself the day before and needed to take it easy.
Within 48 hours, the arm was swollen and my hand was numb. I couldn't dress myself, wash my own hair, or help around the house.
That is when I started to panic.
I had thousands of vegetable and flower plants that needed to be potted up or transplanted. I had so much work to do outside in the gardens that I didn't even know where to begin... and now I was a one-armed farmer until who-knows-when.
Long story short, after a trip the doctor, the hospital for testing and 6 weeks of physical therapy 3x a week, I was able to use my arm for limited movements again (and I never did find out what was "wrong" with my shoulder. I was officially diagnosed with "Severe Pain in the Right Shoulder". HA!!!! I could have told you that!).
I learned to adapt and I must say that I did pretty well as a one-armed farmer.
But I was desperately behind in my planting bed preparation, not to mention the BAZILLION other tasks that needed to be attended to on the farm. In sheer desperation, I sent out a plea for help to my Three Acre Farm Email Subscriber List.
I didn't know what else to do. It was so humbling to admit I needed help, but I swallowed my pride and did it.
And one person responded. It was a friend from church and the message went something like this:
"Hi Lori, our church group is looking for a place to volunteer in our community and we saw that you need help. There are 9-10 of us, including 5 men who are more than willing to do heavy lifting and dirty work. We can come for 3 hours and help with whatever you need."
I read the message in the hospital parking lot after a particularly painful physical therapy session... and just starting sobbing in the car. What an answer to prayers!
The big day finally rolled around and when they arrived, I gave the work crew a quick tour around the farm.
As we walked past the bee hive, I told them that our honeybee colony that had survived the past two Michigan winters had finally died and we were SO bummed out because it had been such a strong colony. I explained that we had resigned ourselves to the fact that Three Acre Farm would not have honeybees this year. We simply could not afford to buy a new colony, since money was so tight.
The crew got right to work and within 3 hours, they had:
- Mucked out the entire goat pen (a whole year's worth of bedding and manure that will be transformed into incredible compost for our gardens!)
- Painted 1/2 of the U-Pick Flower Garden fence
- Painted the U-Pick Flower Garden playhouse
- Weeded my vegetable garden
Cleaned out goat pen!
Look at all that great goat poop and straw that will make awesome compost!
I was in shock and so thrilled I could hardly contain myself. That work would have taken me 2-3 weeks to finish by myself.
Before the work crew left for the day, we gathered in a circle and they prayed over Three Acre Farm.
Oh, friends, I wish I could remember exactly what words were said... but I felt chills as they boldly asked God to bless the farm beyond our wildest dreams, to pour out goodness and hope and life on all who stepped foot on this farm.
It was a holy, sacred moment and it left me trembling.
That evening, as my daughter and I were going to collect eggs from the barn, I heard a familiar sound. I turned around and saw it... and my jaw dropped.
A GIANT SWARM OF HONEYBEES was descending on our abandoned hive and making it their new home.
I whooped. I yelled. I cried. I sobbed. I scared my poor daughter. I threw my arms in the air and praised the Lord.
Friends, this was no coincidence. There is no way the bees just happened to show up right when I was walking by. There is no way they just happened to arrive the very same day that powerful prayers were uttered on this farm.
It was a sign of God's faithfulness and provision. A sign of hope.
The honeybees worked tirelessly in our gardens all summer long and every time I saw one, I would smile and remember the miracle of the bees. We had a record tomato and pepper harvest, thanks to the bee's pollination services.
Because of the bees, our farm thrived and we were able to bless and serve our community.
In the fall, we harvested honey... and collected more than we ever have in the last 6 years. What a gift!
Miracles still happen today, if you just keep your eyes, ears and heart open.
But the REAL miracle? Admitting I need help. Admitting I need community and support, that I can't do it all myself.
The more I let go and accepted help, the more blessed I felt. It was humbling and almost humiliating at times to face the reality of my limitations, but it's been one of the most valuable lessons of my life.
Our vision for this farm has always been one of community and belonging, of making our farm a place for like-minded people to gather, connect and share life.
It's a beautiful thing, friends.
With that in mind, I'm working on planning a few Volunteer Days on the farm over the summer. If you are at all interested and want more information, be sure send me a quick email at:
Thanks for reading and I hope to see you this summer!