How Now, Purple Cow?

How Now, Purple Cow?

The familiar phrase, “How now, brown cow” has been used to teach how vowels are rounded out in elocution (the study of formal speaking) since at least 1926.

I like cows. Brown cows are OK, but the black-and-white ones are my favorites. We have a farm near our house that reminds Mary and I every now and then that cows DEFINITELY live there – especially when the wind blows in our direction on a stiflingly hot summer day! Cows can really stink, but I still like ‘em.

Now, if I was a brown cow, I’d probably spend my life envying my black-and-white brothers of the bovine herd. Most of us could probably fill a legal pad with things we wish were different about ourselves. I remember once complaining to a friend when I was on a TV show a few decades back about how fat I looked. He said, “Oh, don’t worry about that, Gene, the camera adds 150 pounds.” Thanks, bro!

I laughed at a story that Christian author Shana Schutte once wrote about three brown cows who desperately wanted to change color. They were tired of being dirt-colored.

So, “they decided that purple would impress the neighbors and gain them notoriety. So, after much planning, the herd’s leader pushed a large can of purple paint out of the nearest farmer’s garage and onto the driveway where it spilled for each Holstein to roll in it. Their plan worked. A short time later a farmer passed by. He couldn’t believe his eyes! He’d never seen a purple cow! He’d never even hoped to see one. But one thing was certain: he was enthralled with their pastel beauty so he herded them home. They were proud, and he was impressed—just like they hoped.

And then it rained.

The downpour washed away the paint, and with it, the cows’ posturing and posing. What they’d pretended to be was gone—and all that was left was a purple puddle.”

It’s a great story, right? Truth is though, we all put on layers of paint from time to time. We may have one color for church, another for friends, another for family, etc.

And you know what God often uses to wash it away? Yupper, rain! The rains of suffering, rains of doubt, rains of epiphany, rains of sickness, rains of loss, etc.

I LOVE the rain! I love it when it beats against my window – I never sleep better than I do to that sound. I can remember specific times and places in my life where I fell asleep to the sound of the rain.

But I want to love these rains too – the rains of discomfort. The rains that bring floods along with the comforting sounds!

You’ve heard the old saying that everything comes out in the wash? Well, more accurately, everything comes out in the rain – and thank God for it!


For consideration . . .

  • Which ‘rains’ has God used in your past to wash away the paint you’ve applied to gussy yourself up for other?
  • What are some of the things you’re disguising or covering up now that God wants to deal with in you?
  • Would you have the courage to ask someone you trust how they see you in some of these areas? I realize that that means making yourself vulnerable, but it could be a very insightful spiritual exercise.
  • Are you essentially the same person at home that you are at work? At church? With Christians? With non-Christians? Why do you think this is?
  • Are there areas of your life that you feel you need to present to others differently than they truly are? Is it possible that in these areas you’ve refused to accept the uniqueness that God has created in you?
  • Finally, take a moment to be thankful. Take some time and THANK GOD for the rains He’s sent into your life to wash away pretense and posturing! It’s truly liberating to be comfortable with who God has made you while you’re becoming who He wants you to be!

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  1. Today’s blog was both funny and spot on for me. What is interesting to me is how I hate the pretense I sometimes see in other people but I do not always see the pretense in my own life. I have been sober for 28 years and one of the things we do in Alcoholics Anonymous to stay sober is invite someone to be our sponsor. A sponsor helps the newcomer navigate the pitfalls of early sobriety but also is available for coaching and mentoring. For many years I have had sponsors who were able to distinguish areas in my life where I wasn’t being honest with myself or others and help me to see the pretense and then drop it. But this does take Honesty, Open Mindedness and Willingness. I would also like to mention a recent rain storm that I went through and God washed the pretending that I was involved in right out of my life. It wasn’t easy when I was going through it but now that I’ve come out the other side, it is awesome!

    • I love that testimony brother that s awesome 28 years because I have been sober for 24 years God is so good I know of it wasn’t for Jesus Christ coming in my life I really think I wouldn’t be here before I got sober the church was praying for me for 10 years that’s amazing if we keep walking with Jesus We’re going to be fine thanks for that testimony your brother in Christ Marc

    • Kathryn Boisvert : November 1, 2017 at 8:45 pm

      Thx for ur transparency Brother! I’m sure it wasn’t easy to share. I was not an alcoholic but I am “third generation alcoholic .” I learned the dysfunctional behaviors that my mother passed on to me. They were not pretty they were ugly. I take comfort in knowing as 1 Cor.5:17 says ” I am a new creature in Christ. The old has gone the new has come”, praise his name!!

  2. I often wonder why I feel as though it has taken me FOREVER to “get it”. I mean I believe that I first heard God calling to me when I was only 8 years old and here I am 55 years later STILL struggling to put it all together and trying to receive what the Lord has for me. There are days when I feel as though I am just the old me and will never feel all the grace and mercy I read about and study about. I often wonder if there is anyone else out there who feels like that? I would rather die sometimes than have someone figure that out about me. I am so thankful for brothers and sisters who offer encouragement and mentoring to help me see myself as God sees me. He has known me and will continue to know me and grow me!

    • Kathryn Boisvert : November 1, 2017 at 9:02 pm

      Don’t lose heart, Anne! Remember just like in baseball we are all on the “same playing field.”‘We are all sinners, have fallen short of God’s glory. (Romans 3:23) None of us is perfect. We are all fallen, we all make mistakes, we all have ugly places we would rather others not see inside our hearts. Don’t let shame define you. I have been tempted to keep beating myself up over and over again over my failures! It’s truly a conscious effort to remind myself that once God has ttossed my sin away as far as the east is from the west he has removed it from me that I am NOT to go fishing there anymore! Remember your Heavenly Dad is patient with you. He loves the unique you that he has created. He adores you, never forget that!! ❤️

  3. Funny thanking God for the Rain…Boy did it rain last night and due to the rain we lost power and still don’t have it. It caused a no school day and a day of missing all the comforts of home like morning coffee..lights…etc… On another note…we all hide from something…I like chips when stress arrives…which is often..
    I admire those that can eat healthy and exercise and I need to get that in check…
    On a positive note my dr’s apt. was good today.

  4. Struggling..I like sweets…I have really been trying to cut back..Not easy but I am trying…

  5. Rain brings life, especially in sun parched Israel. Spiritual rain can wash away pride and arrogance, giving spiritual life and humility.

  6. I knew this week was going to be difficult and indeed it is. My good sister in the Lord and coworker many years ago suggested I do a study/book “Changes that heal” which I started to but have never really got where I should be. This book examines and explains where a serious trauma or event happened age wise is how you deal with things – I discovered mine was 13 and acted like a hurt teenager whenever I felt left out – uninvited – or stepped over – though over the past 10 years I have had some growth I still am that rejected 13 year old left behind. I see that this has affected many things as offshoots including my up/down food addiction. God wants us to be who He designed us to be – we are each so different and supply exactly what is needed for each unique situation- if He has given you the gift of mercy then use it to help and give that mercy freely, or helps or teaching or etc etc etc. Don’t let the enemy take you out of commission by neutralizing your walk because you are so blinded by your own hurts/scars/wounds – you have gone through the trial and if Jesus has carried you to the other side share that with a brother or sister dealing with the similar issue – He wants you to show your scars/battle wounds and show that God uses EVERYTHING – and if you are in a battle right now don’t run and hide – we tend to isolate ourselves and hide (that’s me) but we need more then anything then to be strong together. Of course I hear a song by Casting Crowns called City on a Hill-
    Did you hear of the city on a hill said one old man to another
    It once shone bright and would be shining still till they all started turning on each other
    Umm hmmmmm
    Each one thought that they knew better but they were different by design
    Instead of standing strong together they let their differences divide
    And one by one they ran away with their made up minds to leave it all behind
    And the light began to fade in the city on a hill. City on a hill

    You see the poets thought the dancers were shallow and the soldiers thought the poets were weak
    And the elders saw the young ones as foolish and the rich man never heard the poor man speak

    But it was the rhythm of the dancers that gave the poets life
    It was the spirit of the poets that gave the soldiers strength to fight
    It was the Fire of the young ones it was the wisdom of the old
    It was the story of the poor man that needed to be told


    Do we want to be a city on a hill to a lost and dying world ?

    • Fear of rejection is a powerful weapon that is often used to drive us to agree to do things we don’t want to do. We falsely believe that we are on this planet to perform in order to retain our position in relationships we believe are necessary. We forget there is only one relationship that stands above all the others and the one that genuinely affirms who we are and what our purpose is. You are valued in that relationship as well as in those who truly know you joy!

    • Kathryn Boisvert : November 1, 2017 at 8:50 pm

      YES! YES! But ONLY if we allow others to see our scars. Joy if only u could SEE WHAT OTHERS SEE IN YOU!! I’m 🙏🏻 You do; a cherished daughter of the Most High God! U r LOVED! ❤️

  7. Michele von Hein : November 1, 2017 at 8:14 am

    I’m not sure how or when the idea took root for me. I guess we want to have some part in earning our salvation…I thought if I did everything right, well, God would owe me a good outcome. My relationship with God was more of a quid pro quo–this for that. If I spent time in the word and prayed, God owed me a good day, didn’t He? After all, I put in the time, right? (Just wow, right?) And I parented that way, too. Did everything “right.” Homeschooled–later Christian school, surrounded with only friends of believers, checked every box. This was to ensure a good outcome. It took me a long time–and some hard knock earned maturity–to see the error of my thinking. Sometimes I find myself slipping back there. In an earlier post, I shared that I am task oriented rather than relationally oriented. I guess that bent in my personality led me down the rabbit hole I found myself in. Everything does come out in the wash, though. When the outcome was bad–when your heart breaks over a child that you poured into for 18 years–the cold shower of rain revealed the error in my thinking! TODAY I will delight in His presence–not because I should–not because God owes me if I do–but because it is a beautiful place to dwell. The rain showers of humility over the years have drawn me from legalism into grace. What a relief!! (I still have a long way to go…)

    • Kathryn Boisvert : November 1, 2017 at 8:56 pm

      I love that last part- The rain showers of humility over the years have drawn me from legalism into Grace! I encourage you to be patient with yourself Michele! It sounds like you are on the right track. Just remember habits are difficult to let go of. But that is what the grace of God is all about. He is patient with us he’s kind he’s tender heated, he is loving. he waits for us to change and to grow. Just like we show patience to our children to say their 1st words,to learn their first steps etc. Our heavenly father is perfect and he knows how to parent us!

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