I was a vegetarian for a short period of time during my college years. Instead of thinking I had gone off the deep end, my sweet mother experimented with tofu and veggies and we still make some of the dishes discovered in those days.
Then I met Travis, and well...let's just say it never would have worked for him to have married a vegetarian. I willingly began to eat meat again, but I had come to terms with the fact that an animal has to die for me to gain that nourishment.
That was an important step for me. The Lord knew I would be bearing many sons who,like their father, would embrace the outdoor world in all its capacities: hunting, fishing, trapping, crabbing...Imagine if I had never come to terms with what has to happen when I choose to eat a hamburger!
It's interesting how the same people who will sit and eat a steak will think it's wrong to hunt. An animal still has to die to provide that steak...and I have accepted that.
Coming to terms with raising my own animals for food has taken that acceptance to a whole new level. Chestnut, Penny's calf, was born a year and a half ago. I knew when he was born that we would be raising him for food. But I still found myself thinking that I would not be able to eat the meat that his life afforded.
Even a week ago, as I drove to pick up hundreds of pounds of beef to fill our freezer, I didn't think I would be able to eat that meat. Then Oliver said something to me that changed my whole perception. "Mom," he said, "The people who say we shouldn't eat meat aren't thinkning right, because God provided animals for us to feed us and give us protein. It says that right in the Bible."
Gulp. yes....God did do that. Suddenly I realized that I needed to be filled with thanksgiving, not hesitation, for what God has generously provided for us! I am not making a statement against vegetarianism; rather I am reaffirming the rightness and goodness of allowing God to provide for my family.
There is a profound thanks and appreciation that comes from nurturing and sustaining that which God provides. Whether it is the tomato swelling ripe in the garden, or the calf nursing in the pasture,it is evident that God has given us a share in his Dominion (ref Genesis 1:26), a part in his creative process.
Not all of us can raise our own animals (or would want to), and many of us can't even have our own gardens. However, we can still acknowledge God as the provider of all and thank Him for allowing us to take part in nourishing the very food that sustains our existence.