Sunday, February 17, 2013

Beyonce, Football, God and Farmers

In all the hoopla that went with the Super Bowl this year, one of the most surprising things that stood out was a single ad that got people talking about their faith and the power of work. Oh sure, Beyonce danced and sang and there was a football game interrupted by a power outage, but afterward, in the hours and days that followed the spectacle, a single ad captivated us. It got us to talk about our upbringings and grandparents and how God has made a difference in our lives.

The ad: God Made a Farmer.

God Made a Farmer - An Inspiring Super Bowl Commercial with Paul Harvey from joylights on GodTube.

What was it about this ad that was so different? Well today you certainly don't see a lot of ads (especially during the Super Bowl) that talk about God. You don't see an ad that is understated, with no mention of the product except subtly in the background, and then a single image that flashes across the screen at the very end:

You don't hear silence in an ad. But just as we do when we bow our heads to pray, the ad started with a pause. You don't see churches and real people and advertisements about a hard life, the farmer's life. You don't see an ad that makes you tear up and think of your ancestry and give thanks for your grandparents.

This ad stood out.

In the days that followed the Super Bowl, I was interested to see what people would say about the ad. As a former marketing girl myself, I'm someone that actually watches the Super Bowl for the ads. I talked about it with people in "the business," and friends on Facebook, and family and acquaintances, and one common sentiment that emerged again and again was that this ad made you take notice.

Many people said the ad made them cry. It certainly did for me. I instantly thought of my grandma, who told me stories about her life coming to this country from Europe with her family and making a living as a farmer in Northern Wisconsin, when the winters were cold and there wasn't much money, and yet through it all she looked back with fondness.

Despite the hard work, she remembered those days as meaningful. These were days when people didn't stop to think about being happy because they saw God's blessing in the sunrise each morning and felt His grace in the food they grew and raised. They understand the Christian life not from books but from helping their family and their neighbors.

My grandma's farm life influenced her when it came to dealing with her kids and grandkids. She didn't understand whininess or crying over nothing. You shed a few tears, dusted yourself off, and tried again, and that was true no matter if you fell down from the swing set or got beat out of the promotion you'd so hoped for. Nothing was worth wallowing in, because there was work to be done. Couldn't find some work? She'd find some for you.

As I look at this picture of me with her and my grandpa, I can't help thinking how young they both looked.

God made her a farmer, and as a result she instilled in me a sense of purpose. My grandma took pride in everything she did, from making the Thanksgiving turkey to cleaning a toilet. She tackled projects with determination and then sat back satisfied at the end of the day, tired but content.

I think of her often, even now as a writer when I'm not out plowing fields or raising livestock. I think of her as I sit down to write and do my job. I'm not philosophical about writing. It's a job and I work hard at it and rely on God every single day.

One of my favorite pictures of my grandma is this one:

My grandma, with that cigarette in her mouth, strong arms, and determined look on her face are all the inspiration I need to work hard and embrace my faith. She'd stand back and admire her work, no matter what it was, and as a result taught me that no job is too big or small and that God was present in all of it.


  1. May we all roll up our sleeves and get on witht he business of fulfilling God's plan for our lives. I do think we tned to be over sentimental because we think happiness is promised us.

  2. love hearing about your Grama. As a farm wife I wrote a companion to the So God Made a Farmer, you might enjoy this:


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