We made it.
It was a wild ride wasn’t it?!
So I’m sure you see these people who choose a word to focus on for their year. Last year my word was completion. That’s a nice word that fit my chaotic state of mind at the end of 2019. I was moved into a still not finished farmhouse with a husband who was still in school and I just figured “completion, yeah, complete my house and complete school”. Easy, right? Straight forward even.
Nope. Not so much.
God had this whole road that was hidden behind the butterflies and dandelions that I had to take which brought me right back to where I was 7 years ago. You know, 7. Like the year of completion in the Bible. You see where I am going with this?!
7 years ago we decided we were wanting to start a farm. We searched for property for a while and couldn’t find any so we decided to build a house. A beautiful house with 1/3 an acre on a culdesac. Our kids were happy, we were happy-it seemed like a great decision. We even built and planted a huge garden of raised beds in the backyard. Then I lost my job and financially it just really didn’t make sense to stay in this huge house. Some of you were around here for that. It was a struggle. We moved in with friends, then our schoolie, then a rent house for another year and then another gracious friend had us move in for about a year before we moved out to our property.
We had finally made it out to our future farm. Of course, at the time it was a swamp. We had worked hard to build it up, put in a road, build a house (though unfinished) and we had settled into our forever space. We put in raised beds and planted trees, built a treehouse with a zipline and dug a pond, built a chicken coop and raised chicks, raised kittens and goats…the list goes on with our blood, sweat and tears that were poured into our little farm. Dreams were envisioned and flourished, friends celebrated our efforts and we really thought we were working in the right direction.
All throughout this time though we were experiencing changes in a lot of other heavy areas. I had started working at the church and things just weren’t going well there. A church home that we were married in, our children were dedicated and some baptized in, a church that we called family – God was moving big things in our lives and it was stirring us up and getting uncomfortable. Like a pebble in our shoe, it was festering and pestering. He led us to a new church and healed our hearts with a great new church family. This was a completion I didn’t even know I needed it 2020. I thought I had a church family, but He had something greater for us. And so I am complete in that.
We were also experiencing difficulty financially with some of the major parts of our farm. How do we just come up with 20k for electricity? Another couple thousand for water and septic? It’s ok to be off grid, right? It’s encouraged isn’t it? Not in our county. The county received a complaint (they don’t investigate otherwise) about us living off-grid and we needed to come up with the cash to make the changes or vacate. Ouch. Well, we can sell our rent house in town and have a cash influx to complete these things. So we decide to come back into town and fix up our rent house and sell it. This is our ticket.
Dangerous words, folks.
Around this time I was emotionally tolled. That’s the kind way of putting it. I was tapped out. We ended up starting a lot of renovations in our rent house and realized that we need to really put a plan together. We had a dream, many dreams, but our plan hadn’t quite come together. Don’t get me wrong, we thought it had every loose end tied up in a pretty bow. But we were wrong. Ryan was finishing his Nurse Practitioner Program and working. I was going to cultivate the farm and continue working on curriculum writing. That’s a plan, right? We toyed with the idea of starting a Christmas tree farm. Ok, I can do this. We built a plan, did our research. Nope, not looking like that’s what we need to do. Went through the same planning for starting small in an online shop with our local honey, eggs, meat, and other homemade items. Sounds great right? That was the dream! The dreams flourished to big, beautiful, colorful dreams! But guys. Ryan is a nurse. So who am I doing this farming with? Would he be helping? Absolutely! But could I do it in all the times I would be on my own (while still homeschooling 6 kids and the regular everyday tasks of mom and wife!).
The answer is no. A resounding no. It wasn’t a dream for me. It was a dream for both of us. But Ryan’s dream to be a nurse and help people, guess what guys, it superseded my dream. And guess what, that’s ok. Because without him in it, it’s not really that great of a dream. And him doing it halfheartedly and taking away from his true gift of helping others was not my dream. So it was time to visit the drawing board again.
I sat down after having my epiphany and I asked Ryan, “Are we renovating this house to sell or to be our home?” He smiled and we started a conversation that we walked away from in perfect peace. The peace that we really hadn’t felt in any of our ventures over the last 7 years. A peace that put our family first instead of adapting our family to the dream. A peace that we sighed in relief because the journey God took us on for 7 years was complete.
Do we regret the last 7 years? Absolutely not. Because without every step of the last 7 years, we would not have come to this place of peace. God is sovereign guys. And we have free will to take ourselves in whatever circle we want-with or without Him. But I’m so thankful that He doesn’t just leave us there. I don’t know that we went in a circle, I think it was just the path we needed to go on. We live 5 blocks from our old home church: a church that God needed us to move on from that I never would have left because it was too hard. But to think that I would not have the church that I have now because of my stubbornness (which is exactly what would have held me back) God moved us out to the farm and we went to a church that was closer to us. Then God laughed when He moved us back this close! I’m sure of that part. Because He created me this stubborn and He laughs at that a lot! Do I wish He would have just made it happen. Believe it or not, no. Would it have been easier? Probably. Are there other ways He could have done it? For sure. But He knows me. He knows Ryan. And He knew what we needed. And I’m so thankful that He knows me that well. And I 100% understand that for some of you, that may not make a lick of sense. It may sound like I’m an actual lunatic even. And that’s ok too. Because I’ve never felt more complete. I’ve never felt at peace in such a chaotic world as I do sitting here typing this.
So, if you are still here reading this…first off, thank you. Second, congratulations because you stuck around through a mess and I hope the ending isn’t disappointing. Because, the story doesn’t wrap up in a perfect bow. It’s still continuing.
We have had a wild ride over the last seven years and I hope to share the next few years with this same peace. 2020 was hard for a lot of people, and I left out so much of the tiny confirmations that happened along the way for us in our own chaos. 2020 was a year of completion for us. Completion of good, bad and ugly but also a year of completely opening our eyes to hope, goodness, and fullness. What did you walk away from 2020 with?