When You Feel Like a Bit of a Loser

June 26, 2012 | 31 comments

The joy of this …

I am writing over at my dear friend Ann Voskamp’s place this morning.

Two farmers’ wives are talking about the ways that this world can make you feel like a loser. How it all gets turned upside down, and how it feels like there’s a scorecard for everything. And how before the day is through, you’ve put that big “L” on your forehead.

Take heart … There’s good news for us.

Will you pull up a chair with us, right there on the Voskamp front porch? I’ve got a story to share …

Photo: Our Daisy girl.


Have you come by for the God-Bumps & God-Incidences writing community? I’m telling my story over at Ann’s, but look forward to reading yours, to! The linky is below.

1 — Tell your story.

2 — Add a badge.

3 — Link below.


Take your pick …




 We write in community every Wednesday about the God-Things that make you go, “Hmmm…”

Some call them coincidences. We call them God-incidences. And those goosebumps you get sometimes when you know the Holy Spirit is at work? Yep. They’re God-Bumps.

by | June 26, 2012 | 31 comments


  1. ro.ellott

    What a sweet surprise to see you at Ann’s this morning…great job…I am rejoicing…I hear God’s heart everywhere…setting us woman free…freedom from earning our worth…freedom from not measuring up to the invisible bar…bringing freedom to know how much we are loved…freedom to receive this unconditional gift…and a freedom to live out His love in this world.
    If anyone gives a cup of cold water…thanks for the drink…it works for cows too:)

    • dukeslee

      Ann is such a gracious hostess, isn’t she?

      Reading those words of yours here in the comment box … “the invisible bar.” And just when women think they’ve reached it, the elusive bar raises just a bit higher, always and ever out of reach.

      Jesus woos us to stop the climbing. And return to the holy places, the low places, right at His feet.

      Thank you friend for being here, and over at the Voskamp farm, too! xo

  2. Laura

    A beautiful post today full of images that will remain and churn in my brain for the week. Thank you. And I didn’t realize you lived in Iowa. I love Iowa. Grew up going to my grandparent’s farm near Spencer, spending summers at lake Okoboji and then spent 10 years in Des Moines at Drake and beyond. I love little connections.

    • dukeslee

      Hi Laura~

      I can’t believe we haven’t made this Iowa connection. I’m from far northwest Iowa. I grew up very close to Spencer, in a little town called Marathon. I, too, was a Boji Baby. When’s the last time you dared the wooden rollercoaster at Arnolds Park? Or had a nutty bar?

      And Drake? What years? Scott graduated from law school at Drake in 1996.

  3. tonia

    Oh my this was an encouragement. I didn’t even realize all those voices were clamoring in my head this morning until you helped me quiet them. Thank you. I’d love to actually sit on Ann’s porch together…that would be a joy, wouldn’t it? Much love.

    • dukeslee


      I would love that. Very much. Your essay yesterday was so stirring, and it hasn’t stopped stirring in me. A good friend of mine and I had a conversation about it last night, right here in Iowa. So blessed by you… How I appreciate YOU.

    • dukeslee

      Lydia! You are so sweet. Thank you so much.

  4. Rebecca

    I can’t say it enough, every time I read your words, they’re just what I needed to hear at the time. I struggle so much with feeling “not enough”, with comparing myself to others, with feeling “less than”. I know no one else is comparing me…it’s all me doing it. Thank you for the reminder that this life is not a performance. That the only judgement I need worry about is His. Now, if I could just have that reminder tattooed on my hand so I’d see it before I slap myself on the forehead for being “inadequate” for the nth time in a day! 🙂 Thanks, as always, for being here and bringing His word to life. One of these days on my way to visit my sister in Minnesota, I’m going to find your farm and give you a great big ol’ Missouri hug! Think I’m kidding? 😉

    • dukeslee

      Shall we go to the tattoo shop together? 🙂

      So glad to “do life,” with you out here on the Internet. Isn’t it a blessing to walk with someone, to know we’re not alone, that others struggle with those same niggling insecurities? Let’s keep reminding each other of the truth … all the way Home.

      And yes! I’d love a Missouri hug! xo

  5. S. Etole

    Excellent, just excellent! Looking forward to your book.

    • dukeslee

      Thank you, Susan. I so appreciate you.

  6. michelle derusha

    That was beautiful, Jennifer. And just perfectly what I needed today – kind of a lay-on-your-face-on-the-floor day.

    • dukeslee

      I am well-acquainted with that post. I’ve the carpet burns to prove it. Much love to you … Hope to see you very soon.

  7. Jillie

    Jennifer…Just been to Ann Voskamp’s site and read your post for today. I thought it was very, very good. It touched my heart deeply. “FOCUS ON THE FATHER, NOT MY FLAWS. LOOK TO THE SAVIOR, NOT THE SELF. THE MESSIAH, NOT THE MIRROR.” I’ve never heard this before, but I like it so much, I’m going to post it in my kitchen, my bathroom AND my prayer journal. I so look forward to your posts every morning. God bless you Jennifer.

  8. Lynn Morrissey

    Jennifer, I live in the Midwest, too, in Missouri, but *not* on a farm. I’m a city girl who can’t imagine the rustic life. All that you are able to do on the farm seems to me impossible–and anything but inadequate! When I became a forty-year-old mom, I barely knew how to feed a baby, much less a calf!!! But still, I get the drift of your lovely essay and empathize, especially, from the standpoint of a writer. Oh, will I ever have enough words? Will they ever have enough depth? Will I ever say anything that God might convey through me with any creativity? Originality? Why should I write again when others already are and so extraordinarily? I loved and understand all you are saying–especially about focusing on the Father and drinking what He provides. Then you need not worry if you are enough, because *He* is more than enough, and you are coming to Him to drink His life-giving, word-welling water. Jennifer, your breathtaking writing is always so multi-layered that I saw something else. (I always see new things when you write!) We must come to drink. And at other times, we must cup our empty hands and thrust them out and ask *Him* to fill them. I think of several jar-filling stories in the Bible. When the jars were set out, the oil did not stop flowing. There was no oil, there is no water, until we put out our jars, our cupped hands, and ask Him to fill them. So whether we drink or He fills, it is ALL of Him. And with Him there is boundless supply. I’m glad you cup your humble hands and then let the overflow spill onto others. We are thereby refreshed.

  9. Megan Willome

    I liked the “they’ll wean eventually” because it reminded me of my teens. I keep thinking they should be farther along. Sometimes they still need a little hand-feeding.

  10. Shelly Miller

    Loved this story Jennifer. But mostly, I’m thankful for your honest authenticity about how you struggle with the same insecurities and frailty common to us all. There is great comfort in knowing that somehow. It’s just easy to think as your title says so well that everyone else is winning and I am a bit of a loser.

  11. Linda

    It would seem we are all the same under the skin. You write and my heart nods in agreement. Your words encourage and bless Jennifer. I’m one of those who needed to hear this today. Those voices seem to be so loud it is often difficult to hear the gentle whisper. It is an act of faith to simply listen.

  12. elaine @ peace for the journey

    Great words of encouragement, Jennifer. The well-watered hands win the day every time. Thanks for sharing.


  13. emily wierenga

    oh jennifer! what a wonderful post! you are a kindred spirit, friend.

  14. Annette Skarin

    I lifted the corner of your post to take a peek around. I’m working on a blog memoir called, Out of the Fishbowl~Into the Ocean. I’m beginning to feel comfortable enough to share my own, pain covered by grace story, with the world. I can imagine Jesus holding out cupped hands for all of us who are afraid of getting too close. I read a post about some hummingbirds in Alaska who learned to drink out of people’s cupped hands! Amazing! I’m looking forward to more encouragement!

  15. Robert Moon

    Awesome Post – yes that is how we also teach others to drink from God’s word. Just hold out our hand filled with a bit of that living water – – –

  16. Susan

    Loved that post, Jennifer, and my self-imposed standards have made me feel like a loser more times than I care to admit. I loved that you taught your calf to drink from your hands. Girl, that’ll PREACH!

    Hugs from VA,

  17. Dayna DeLaVergne

    Jennifer, you described so well the inner voice we all deal with–the nagging doubts, the comparing ourselves to others, the feeling of not quite measuring up. Encouraging to be reminded we’re not alone in these struggles. Thanks…again!

  18. Jamie @ Six Bricks High

    Coming by for the first time ever today — discovered you by way of Ann’s place. And I’m so glad I did – so glad. These words of yours? I can so relate. I could have written it all the same, well except the part about feeding calves and the being a farmer’s wife. But this comparison stuff is what has been on my heart lately.

    Looking forward to coming back here to visit 🙂

  19. Lyli@3dLessons4Life

    Girl time is the best. I hope you are both refreshed from the time you spent together.

  20. Diane Bailey

    I love reading about your days together. Somehow I live vicaiously with you working with the calves. Give each other a hug from me. You are pretty special!

  21. Kathleen

    Oh my gosh… Does this ever bring back memories. I married a farmer, a Nebraska farmer so right next door. I remember feeding a few calves over the years… I remember when a neighbor gave me a calf. I told him I would make sure the calf would NOT die until it was ready for … Well, you know. It’s a farmer thing. So enjoyed this. Great lesson today. Have a wonderful day 🙂

  22. Laurie Collett

    If we listen to the world’s standards, we may feel like losers. But, Praise God, we are daughters of the King, and He has won the victory!
    Thanks for the great post & for hosting the linkup!
    God bless,


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