In the spirit of adventure, openness, and life learning, we ventured out of our comfort zone this past spring, opening our arms to the potential of a whole new way of doing life as a family, in a whole new place.
We literally moved most of our belongings out of our home, and put it up for sale. We had a work crew of friends come and help us clean the space from top to bottom in order to make it sparkle. We were up for it!
Our goal was to downsize our life and take time away in a small lakeside village, where we could gain some quiet/retreat time in order to hear from God what our direction for the future would be.
As the story unfolded, it turned out that no one wanted our home, regardless of how clean it was, or how devoid of thrift store furniture.
After four months of essentially no interest, we came full circle and decided our home was worth more to us than the financial value we had been assured it was worth.
We moved back.
It has been exhausting. Physically, it has felt like moving dirt around, first here, then there, then over there, then back again; our arms are a bit weary from all the motion. Emotionally, it has worn me out, as in a fleshly sense, I feel embarrassed at my own rushing impulses that gets my family caught in such dynamic and exhausting ‘adventures’. Socially, it has meant I’ve been too wearied to host or connect with much of anyone, as any extra energy this summer was spent making something more than nachos and salsa for dinner.
Yet, spiritually, we have had a significantly impacting heart awakening. This whole ‘circus’ has opened my heart to some deeper things I have needed to understand, but have been resistant to. It has been like a giant ‘reset’ for my heart and for our life together, and I am anticipating so much more now that we have been through the grit of a season so seemingly ‘pointless’ and draining.
Some brief reflections:
Contentment and simplicity are matters of the heart. The world is often focused on ordering things primarily in the natural realm, and I bought into it completely. What I failed to acknowledge was that judging and planning by appearances is a sure way to get caught up in worldly strategies and miss entirely what God is wanting to do in this season with our family.
Within one week, at the end of the summer, I had a number of people speak to me this verse:
“Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. For you will spread out to the right and to the left…” (Is. 54:2)
I was willfully contracting our life, even as we are still in a season of obvious expansion (baby number 11 is on the way!), where the Lord wants to bring us into a place of trusting in him completely for everything – especially big things (and not just a financial balance sheet, or a simple-living meme, or an organizational strategy).
I have awakened to the power of being present. It’s taken a circus like this to lead me to the still waters that reside within me because of the presence of Jesus! Serenity is not a cottage by a lake, though that is lovely, serenity is a person; peace comes from abiding with and resting in the God who loves me and has carved out a path for me and my family unlike any other trail cut into the earth. This awareness has fundamentally shifted my heart and is changing me powerfully in an experiential way. I thank the Father for this revelation!
A vision has been born. Where my heart has often felt sick with feelings of missing out on God’s call on my life, I have awakened to a renewed sense of purpose and passion that is exciting to me, even as I continue to learn to listen to His voice (and still miss His nudging many times). He is tireless in pursuing us to lead us into our deepest life in Him and will stop at nothing to awaken us to our call.
One of my favourite speakers says that God is always giving a green light to His children, until He gives an obvious red light. So often, as a Christian, I have been slow to act, hesitant to try something, because “what if it’s not God’s will”? Ben and I have changed tack in the last couple of years and have just decided to “go for it” till God closes the door. Well, through various other indications we have received a clear door closing on selling our home, and so, have decided to wait on God’s strategies for moving forward, instead of our own.
This summer has carried a number of other unique burdens that have been unusual for us, but it has been such a blessing to take on only the yoke of Jesus, and find there the rest our souls have been longing for. With eyes on Him, we are not measuring by appearances in the natural realm, but are desiring to -step by step- follow His lead.
Somehow, all the work of this last season, all the goodbyes and hellos, all the nuttiness, and all the tears have been worth it. I feel like we have gained so much: we have grown closer as a family, tasted a new intimacy with the Father, and are again moving deeper into a freedom that years ago I only dreamed of.
So there you have – in the tiniest nutshell – an update on why we find ourselves where we do, right in the heart of the Father, still nestled in between cornfields in a lovely space that we are filling with children and love.
The future is bright, and I am at rest.