I grew up in a rural town in Missouri. My dad delivered me at home, surrounded by over 200 acres of pure country farmland. The closest house was a quarter of a mile away. I grew up running through the fields — the long grass scratching my legs, my skin covered with chigger bites, eyes red and watery from diving in the hay, shoes covered in manure. There was no sense of time, just an old antique dinner bell my mom would ring when we needed to come in for meals. If we were too far away to hear it, it meant we had gone too far. There were no other parameters.
It was in these fields that I learned how to catch lightning bugs, kill snakes without getting bit, slip through barbed wire fences, hopscotch across hay bales, hang by my knees high in trees, kiss and be kissed, and identify constellations. It was also where I decided to follow Jesus. At age 5, I was out in the field with my 16-year-old brother. He explained what it meant to believe in Jesus asked me if I wanted to follow Him. I said yes and my answer has never wavered despite the pain and shame of adolescence and young adulthood.
Even though most of my life is now lived in the city, I get back to that farm pretty regularly. And now my boy gets to experience it all. When he comes in after hearing the bell with scratches all over his legs, rashes from the hay, and smelling like manure, I grab him and pull him close and take in the smell of childhood and adventure. It takes me back to the beginning of my own love story.
There’s a song* I’ve been singing over and over that says:
So, take me back/Back to the beginning/When I was young/Running through the fields with you…
I love going back to the beginning. Because it was in those fields that I learned how to hear the voice of the Shepherd. He would call my name in the morning and I would run out to be with Him when the ground was still wet with dew and grass would cake to my bare feet. He would comfort me at night when I laid out under the stars and threw my poetry at the moon.
Sometimes in order to raise up the age old foundations, we have to go back to the beginning and remember how our stories started, where our dreams were birthed and what made our soul sing. We have to remember where He found us when He told us we were at the time for love**.
He found me in the fields.
And He still does.
*United Pursuit, “Let it Happen”