It seems that this Autumn has been the season of new arrivals here. Timothy’s birth started the ball rolling and just a couple of weeks later we had another birth here on our little farm.

Our cows, Mary and Martha, were visited earlier this year by a friendly bull called Ginger. Ginger was with us for 6 months, enough time we hoped, for our cows to become pregnant. Months passed and we had the cows checked by a vet, she said that she thought Martha was pregnant and due in May.

May came and went, June, July still no calf , August, still no calf. We assumed the vet was mistaken, as cows are pregnant for 9 months, not nearly a year! Then one day a vet came to do the regular TB tests and we asked her to check to see if Martha was pregnant. After a less than dignified procedure, somewhat reminiscent of ‘All Creature Great and Small’ she discovered two legs, confirmation that Martha was indeed in calf. We were told that potentially the calf was mummified, as it may have been in there too long, something which happens sometimes, it doesn’t harm the cow but eventually the cow is induced to bring the dead calf out. We would just have to wait and see.

The story culminated early one cool October morning when my friend came to visit. She nonchalantly asked when our calf had been born? The next half an hour was filled with a flurry of excited squeals, as child after child donned a coat and wellies over their pyjamas and charged out to field, to meet the new arrival.

There before us stood, what to us was, the most miraculous sight. We had genuinely given up on any hopes of calves and had accepted that our sweet ginger bull had just not quite been up to the job. Well Ginger, we are sorry, we were wrong, it seems he simply needed time to get to know Martha first, what a gentlemanly bull.

We didn’t think long about a name for this little bull. With a mum called Martha, a grandma called Mary, Lazarus seemed the perfect name, especially as the vet had thought he may be dead.

The story of our new arrivals wasn’t quite complete though. A few weeks later we woke up to another surprise. This time it was Mary’s turn. We had no idea she was even pregnant! Again, without batting an eyelid , she gave birth to a beautiful pale brown calf. This one’s called Surprise.

Seeing another mother and baby pair made me think back to Timothy’s recent birth. Honestly, this calf had just arrived and mum was up on her feet munching the grass and looking entirely unperturbed by the whole event. I on the other hand, couldn’t really move for several hours after birth and I felt wobbly walking for days. What was it that made my birth so hard and Martha’s so easy? Many might suggest that my anatomy is a compromise because I stand on 2 legs and therefore my pelvis is shaped accordingly. I believe that what I witnessed was proof of The Fall. Eve’s curse in the Garden of Eden, was that she would have pain in childbearing. We don’t see animals having period cramps or struggling with agonising labours, but we do see women suffer.

Is that what God wants, women to suffer? My experience of God is not of a vengeful man sitting on His throne smiting womankind. My experience is a God of compassion who meets us in our suffering. He’s a God who, through the sufferings of Christ, understands our pain. He’s the God who sent His Son to suffer and die in our place to save us from eternal suffering.

I have never felt closer to God than I did at the moments of greatest pain during Timothy’s birth. It was then that I knew I couldn’t go on without His help. Jesus is the answer to all suffering. Jesus will meet you in your suffering, it’s there that He shines brightest, it’s there that He’ll carry you, you just have to ask.

I didn’t expect a post about cows to lead me down the route of salvation, but there you go, Jesus is intertwined with every aspect of our lives. If we stop and look we can see his hand everywhere, we just need to pause long enough to see it.