As I thought about how to write today’s blog post, I scrolled through our previous blog posts over the past month. On my March 8th post, I asked some provocative questions which I believe, over the past few weeks, we have gained some clarity; one of which I wish to explore today.
First, like I said on March 8th- “Our family believes that everything happens for a reason and that our lives gain meaning and purpose as we seek God’s direction and obey His leading.” I also asked the question, “Why do we feel compelled to be right here, right now?” “Is there a greater purpose for us being here right now?”
As I re-examine these thoughts, given the current state of the nation, I can’t help but conclude that we have been lead by the Divine voice speaking to our hearts to be here right now. That we have been lead here, during this season of distress, to be in a place that fosters peace and joy within us.
To begin, I am more than grateful to be living on a two-acre piece of land during this time. This has been the first time in my life, as an adult, that I have lived in the country and on a piece of land larger than 1/6 of an acre. Given the social distancing and sheltering in place guidelines, it has been a blessing that our family of six has the opportunity to stretch out our wings and explore life in ways we never have before; things such as raising six chickens. This week we collected about two dozen eggs, averaging about 3 eggs a day.
Caleb and I also made improvements on our chicken nesting area using all reclaimed or scrap wood that we found on the property.
We have cultivated another three of our garden beds and have planted cucumbers, garlic and onions, all given to us by friends in the community.
I also created my first ever compost pile.
We have also begun growing plants from seed including tomatoes, onions, lettuce, carrots, bell peppers and watermelons.
Secondly, though our interactions with people in the community have been greatly reduced, we have still had the privilege of some interactions. Last weekend, we had an outdoor picnic dinner including singing with two guitars and an electric keyboard. Later in the week, two young men from the community came to our house with a lawn mower, weed wacker, shovel, and a rake to help us with our yard. We served them dinner outdoors on our 9ft. X 15ft. front porch. On Wednesday, Mel had some scheduled dental work done (which was considered urgent) and our friends from the community made us dinner and delivered it to our door. Included in the dinner was homemade chocolate donuts.
Then one of the master gardeners in the community came to our land and helped us plant and gave us tips on how to best care for our garden (including advice on covering our garden beds with straw).
Even shopping at the Homestead Market is a social experience (especially on Friday afternoon) as I bump into friends and acquaintances there and catch up on how everyone is doing. I have also continued to work at the woodworking shop a few days a week. We have been working on a 3ft. X 8ft. counter top and milling wood. I also, for the first time in my life, got to drive a skid steer. I look forward to doing it again.
Thirdly, we are having a great time spending time with each other as a family. We have been exploring new cooking recipes, including homemade mac and cheese.
With all the extra time to be together, we have been playing board games, popping popcorn on the stove top, playing with legos, working on a puzzle, and just being silly.
So, to get back to my main theme for this post, I believe we have been lead to this place for a reason. I believe that we have been lead away from the big city, during this season of distress, to be in an environment that cultivates unity, peace and love. It gives us a space and a place to practice activities that produce life. I believe that we had been lead to home-school our children two years ago for such a time as this. I see all the questions that I had asked last month beginning to come into focus and showing us the tangible evidence of a gracious heavenly Father.
I could, of course, focus on other things that I could become consumed by. I could focus on how my electrical business was down 30% last month and the future for the coming week looks even less promising. I could focus on the increasingly growing statistics given by the news stations 24 hours a day. I could become gripped with fear and uncertainty about what is to come. But if I did, I would miss the entire reason we have been lead to this point thus far.
The leading our family has experienced to this place and this time, I believe, is the purpose. Not to arrive at a place that will shelter us from all trouble (such a place, I hope you all know, does not exist) but, to be engaged in the process of following the leadings that are whispered to our hearts; and to trust that the path is good and leads to abundant life, even in the face of pain and suffering. Like the famous saying, “The road is better than the inn,” the purpose is not to arrive at a place as much as it is to be engaged in a life-giving process. I believe, at this present moment, we are engaged in this practice. My prayer is that we will never become comfortable in the places we find ourselves, but instead, continue to hunger and thirst for engagement with this way of being. My prayer for everyone reading this is that you too may succeed in following the deep promptings whispered to your heart and discover places that you never dreamed you could be.
Speaking of prayer, we are entering into the Easter week and Mel and I often fast and pray during this week. We will be praying for the health and safety of all our family, friends, and loved ones. If you have any specific prayer requests you would like either one of us to pray for, please let us know and we will remember you this week. We love you all.