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Life on the family farm under an open heaven: A most wonderful Christmas gift

Tom Heck for Progressive Dairyman Published on 12 December 2016

Christmas 1988 is a Christmas I’ll never forget. It certainly is one of the best ones I’ve ever had. It is such a unique one that every time I think back to it, I can’t help smiling and thanking God for His great goodness to me. This is not your typical Christmas story.

It all started back in the summer of 1988, very unexpectedly. I was 26 years old and I had never, up to that time, dated young women much. As a matter of fact, in the last few years, I hadn’t dated a one. But that summer, I started to get an extremely strong desire down on the inside of me to have a godly wife.

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At first, I tried to brush it off, but it grew stronger and stronger. I came to realize God was putting this desire in me so that He could bless me with a godly wife.

So as I was working on my parents’ farm, and this desire would come strongly upon me, I would pray, “Father, you can give me a wife if you want to.” And then I would go on with my work.

This all came to an end one day though; I was on the back end of the farm watering the youngstock. We had pastureland back there with some drainage ditches in it that were fenced off from the cattle. The ditches had some natural springs in them that put out a lot of water.

We had a small gas engine with a water pump on it I would use to fill two water tanks in the pasture for the cattle. As I was filling the tanks on this particular day, the strong desire for a wife came upon me again, so I prayed the prayer I had prayed earlier: “Father, you can give me a wife if you want to.”

It was the last time I ever prayed that prayer. For right after I prayed it, the Holy Spirit came upon me in a powerful way. He let me know that I was sinning because I wasn’t praying in faith, asking Him for a wife. The Bible says we are to “ask in faith, nothing wavering.” I wasn’t asking in faith at all. I was just telling God that He could do it if He wanted to.

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There was no faith or trusting God there at all. And then He said something else to me that shocked me, and that I’ve never forgotten all these years. He said, “I don’t give my daughters away lightly!”

With that, I broke down and started crying. I told the Lord that I was sorry I had sinned against Him so and asked Him to forgive me, and He did right there. I fully realized right there that God was not playing around, and that I had better not either. I finished watering the cattle there that day and knew what I had to do.

For the next few days, when I was done with my farm work, I would retire to my bedroom and start digging around in my Bible to see what God had to say about a good, godly wife. When I would find a really good verse, I would write it down on a piece of paper.

One of the verses was Proverbs 18:22, “Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing and obtaineth favour of the Lord.” Another one was Psalms 84:11, “No good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly.”

The following Sunday afternoon, I knelt down by my bed, with my Bible and piece of paper, and prayed to my heavenly Father. I prayed out the verses I had on my paper from my Bible, and then I asked God to choose for me the daughter that He had for me, and that she be beautiful in my eyes.

I also said in my prayer to God that it was His responsibility to guide me since I was His son and I was asking Him to do it. Finally, I asked Him to tell me where to take her on our first date, and then I thanked Him. When I got off of my knees that day, I knew God had heard me and that I would have a wife down the road. There was no doubt in my heart whatsoever.

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What happened next really surprised me. I was expecting God to tell me what woman to ask out and to where. But it didn’t happen that way. Shortly thereafter, I was back in the heifer pasture again watering the cattle, and the Holy Spirit came on me strongly about something in my life I really needed to change.

This happened a number of times over the next few months, and each time I would repent and ask God to forgive me and help me to change. He did forgive me and helped me to change. I’m so thankful that He did, for if He hadn’t, I would have been a terrible husband, and I would have really hurt my wife.

Having not been raised in a good, godly home, I didn’t know much about one. But God is so good, and He knows how to correct us and change us for His glory and our own good.

Sunday, Dec. 4, 1988, came, a day I will never forget. I got up early and did the farm chores and then went to church. As the pastor was telling the congregation the upcoming announcements, the Lord spoke loud and clear down in my spirit and said, “You can ask Joanne out to the Christmas Candlelight Banquet.”

I looked across the church and saw Joanne in a bright yellow dress and I said back to my Heavenly Father, “Joanne, Lord? She’s beautiful.” So, after the church service that day, I went up to Joanne and started talking to her, and I asked her out to the Christmas Candlelight Banquet that the church did every year. She said, “Yes.”

The banquet was on Sunday evening, Dec. 18, and how I was so anticipating it. I met Joanne at church that evening, and she was so beautiful and radiant. The church was decorated in the splendor of the Christmas season.

The church catered in a special meal and after that, the choir did a special Christmas musical that was outstanding. I got to start to know my special date that evening and was very impressed with her. I had never dated a young woman like her ever before.

She was very special, and I knew that on our very first date. God chose perfectly for me; she was by far the best Christmas gift I received that year. I don’t remember any of the other Christmas gifts I received that year, but I most certainly remember my Heavenly Father picking out Joanne for me.

I dated her a lot after that and, eventually, we were married. Now I’ve had the privilege of having her as my wife these many years. I never knew that marriage could be so good. And God? He is absolutely wonderful.  end mark

Tom Heck, his wife, Joanne, and their two children own and operate a 35-cow dairy farm in Wisconsin. Email Tom Heck. Order his book at Life on the family farm under an open heaven.

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