A Skinny Cow… and Love Somehow

To me, there’s nothing more fascinating than people. What makes them laugh and cry? The other night our son’s girlfriend Brittany and I had a good time talking. She’s an animal lover and told me all about her cows. Toward the end of our conversation, we had quite a moment. When Brittany was younger, she went to cow auctions with her daddy and brother. “We’d look at all the cows for sale, probably a hundred of them, and I could only choose one. I’d always pick the skinniest most pitiful looking cow.” “Why?” “Because I knew what she could become. Like with Strawberry. When I saw her, I told Daddy, ‘That’s the one I want.’ He just laughed. ‘What for, Brittany? Look at her.'” “Her coat was dull and she was skinny, but I fell in love with her. I wanted to rescue her. Same thing with Texas.”   “And Colorado.” “And Gypsy.” “When you brought them home what happened?” I leaned forward, could hardly wait to hear. It took her a few second to speak. Her eyes brimmed with happy tears. “They became the beautiful cows I knew they could be.” Her words stirred my heart. I thought about hurting people, friends and family, myself–my faults. “What’s your secret with cows?” “We put them out in the pasture to graze. I gave them sweet feed and loved on them. Before long, they’d get fat and pretty and happy. And they’d have babies.” Strawberry a few months later… And Texas. And Gypsy. And Colorado. Seeing the miraculous change in Brittany’s cows, holy goose bumps covered me. “The same thing happens to people,” I said. “God sees us as we are and rescues us.” She nodded, her brown eyes shining. “He knows who we can become.” If you and I were  sitting at my kitchen table, what would we talk about? What stirs your heart? Love, Julie


  1. Wowser, I got the holy goose bumps too. So thankful that Brittany took the before and after pics and I pray we record the testimonies God has given us too. He knows and we can give and receive the food and love to help others and us be who He sees we can be. Thank you Julie and Brittany for sharing!!

  2. Thank you so much, Tom. Nothing more encouraging to a writer (as you probably know!) than seeing a comment come up a few minutes after you post a blog. 🙂

    Thank you, thank you. Brittany is SUCH a sweetheart. We love her!

  3. I’m a skinny cow in need of a good pasture…and a good shepherd. Thanks for sharing.

  4. What a beautiful heart your son’s girlfriend has!

  5. Patricia Martin says:

    I am so glad Brittany saved those cows! She reminds me of Fern when Fern saves Wilbur’s life- even though no one sees the beauty in Wilbur, Fern and his spider friend do.(; I think if I were visiting you, Julie, in Georgia, we would talk about the people in our lives who remind us of God’s redeeming love.(;

    • OHhhh, Patricia~~ what precious thoughts. You’re right about the spider. Wouldn’t it be wonderful just to sit and rock and talk on my porch.

  6. She’s a girl after my own heart! I am a animal lover too and cows are especially close to my heart. When we rent our pasture out and we have a heard of cows, I am always going out and giving them scraps of salad greens and potato peelings. Soon they are coming to the fence and eating right out of my hand.

    Thanks so much for this post, Julie. It touched my heart and reminded me of how much God takes care of us and shapes us into who He knows we can can become.

    Hugs, Eileen

    • Eileen, I feel so out of touch. Even though I’m a country girl, I didn’t know the splendor of cows and what they have to teach us. Maybe there’s a God-lesson in everything. 🙂

      Thank you, thank you for writing. Will have to ask Brittany if she’s ever fed them scraps.

  7. “He knows WHO we can become.”

    Wise words from a young girl and they gave me duck bumps when I read them. Yes, He knows. He molds. He leads. He encourages. He supports. And He gives us fabulous teachers, like you Julie, to instruct us in His ways.

    Love you!

    • I know, B.J. He knows WHO we can become. Love that you put it in all caps. Such a sweet moment Britt and I shared. Thanks for reading and understanding.

      Love you always.

  8. Beautiful analogy, Julie. What a precious girl with a tender heart! Like someone else said, I’m glad she had before and after pictures. I wish I had before and after pictures of me–before Christ and after. I hope my growth would be as visible as the cows’. 🙂

    • Ooooooooooooooooh, what a good point, Vonda. The before and after pictures of us–our hearts, our lives–before and after Christ. Beautiful, my friend.

  9. Anna Haney says:

    “God sees us as we are and rescues us.”

    She nodded, her brown shining. “He knows who we can become.”
    I have worked in some aspect of education all my adult life. And it wasn’t until I read these lines that I realized this is what I and my colleagues do each day. WOW. I have always tried to take my responsibility as an educator seriously, but this really hit home with me.
    I spent most of Sunday and Monday nights reading the copies of the Jefferson County paper my dad had been saving up for me. I like to keep up with what is going on. I was so pleased to see that former first graders I had who are now in middle and high school are making the honor rolls and excelling in athletics. Even those who are not, I keep up with on Facebook and I find myself crying with joy at the choices they have made. So Brittany is right.
    Thanks to both of you for this!
    Love you

    • Yes, Yes, Yes, Anna! And guess what? Brittany’s planning to become a teacher. 🙂 🙂 You all have such a high calling and make such a difference in soooo many lives. And look, your little first graders–and every child you teach, you’ll always be in their hearts.

      Thank you. Love you too. Hugging you from here.

  10. Julie Gilleand says:

    Beautiful story Julie. I too am always about the underdog, probably because I always thought of myself as one. I was raised by two parents who had extreme social anxiety and so kept to themselves, never had company and because of that I never learned many social graces. That made me awkward with people. Always speaking out of turn, laughing at the wrong times, forgetting my manners, never dressing in style or having any cute hairstyle. Never feeling a part of anything. To this day I have a hard time fitting in. But probably all of that is what gave me the readiness and hunger I needed to give myself to a God who loved me just as I am. And because I understand being the oddball and what it feels like to not measure up to others’ standards, a heart for other people like that grew in me. And more than that, just like the cows that were fed and loved on, because of God’s love and care I became healthier and happier and whole. I don’t know if I just called myself a cow or not (!) but so be it! Thanks again for sharing Brittany’s story.

    Your faithful leaf sister,

    Other Julie G 🙂

    • Leaf Sister, I’m tearing up with your precious words. Straight from your heart. So honest and true. I just love how He uses those yucky parts of our growing up to Grow Us Up in Him.

      It comes full circle, doesn’t it. Not quickly, but in time.


  11. marci says:

    Wow, what a great lesson! What Love Can Do…. There is a lesson there for all of us. I guess there are a lot of us who root for the underdogs.. Cows or people. Cows are one animal we have never had, though that was my daughters first job- working with cattle, How great that Brittany took the before and after pictures. She is certainly a very special young person. I also like the names she picked for the cows. Thanks for sharing her story with us. May we always look for what is hidden in the “skinny cow” . Far too often in the world it is the skinny cow that gets over looked.- Brittany has such good vision– to see all the potential.
    God Bless,

    • Thank you, Marci. This is really touching my heart–something you and other readers are picking up on….the fact that I root for the underdog. I had a dear writing friend tell me the same thing about my writing. I never really saw that in my own life, but I think I do.

      My heart just goes to the one (not the hundreds) but the one who is struggling.

      Your comment meant so much to me. Thank you. THank you. I love it that your daughter’s first job was working with cattle. And I had no idea how much we can learn from cows. From everything around us, really.

  12. This post. These words. That girl. Those cows! Oh, I have a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. So much stirs my hear, Miss Julie, we’d just talk about so much.

    • I know, Vicky. I’d love to meet you. Would be so much fun to get together with you, Robin, other blog sisters who share the same heart. xoxoxo

      Thank you.

  13. Ruth says:

    Wow Julie – another awesome blog! Tears in my eyes too. I grew up on a farm, milking cows, so this post is especially dear to my heart. Another great life lesson – keep them coming. I’ve heard that the most unlovable people, need love the most. I really needed this reminder. There is an unlovable person in our family that has caused a lot of pain by her actions. She will soon be coming to live near me. Our family has tried to treat her kindly & lovingly year after year, so far she has not plumped up and become loveable like Brittany’s cows. This was very timely! Bless you Julie for sharing.

    • Ruth, I just never knew about cows. 🙁 At least I’m learning now.

      The things is—these life lesson type blogs, I’m just so relieved when they go live and people actually read them. Blows me away. I always have that fear (it’s getting smaller, it’s no longer TERROR) that no one will understand what in the heck I’m talking about. 🙂

      Your comment about your family member just makes me smile from my heart. Love His tender heart and how He works through all of us.


  14. Melinda F says:

    Obviously this one struck a chord in me as well. Such wise words from a sweet young lady. You have done a good job raising your son if he picked this one out. I’m still praying for God to raise up two God fearing boys for my girls and a godly young lady for my son as a spouse. There is no telling what all we could talk about, Julie. Probably have to start with SGHS but then I know it would evolve into our families and our lives. I would love to sit on your front porch one day and chat. Love your blog. Thanks for sharing..

    • Melinda, it’s just so good to connect with you again. And boy, do I understand your prayers. I’ve been praying those type prayers for years for my children.

      You should come see me one day! We might rock and talk all day long. 🙂 I have so many dear SGHS friends I haven’t seen in years. So many sweet memories.


  15. I love this! To have eyes to see, a heart that hopes and the desire to do! I love, love, love this!

  16. I read your post title and thought you were going to write about ice cream treats! LOL!


    I like this post much better.

  17. Sandra Walker says:

    I am not good at writing down what I am feeling. I’ll just say: all of the above! Your writing is AMAZING. Love, love, love every post! So speaks to me!

    • Sandra, I think you just did a beautiful job of writing down what you’re feeling. 🙂 🙂

      I got your point beautifully. It went straight to my heart.


  18. This is AMAZING! What a powerful lesson and Brittany took pictures! I’m a visual learner and I’ll never ever forget the message behind the those sweet cows…xo

    • I know! Me too, Robin. Now I turn around backwards as we drive past cows–just am so fascinated with them!

  19. Jo Ann Thomason says:

    This was so sweet. and I also loved reading most of the comments and your response. Thank you!!


    • Thank you so much, Jo Ann, for reading my blog–and letting me know!!

      Love you, my friend. You are so precious to me~~

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