This weather has turned me thoughtful and has reminded me of our time living in Idaho.
I had a wonderful group of five friends. We would walk together in the mornings, talk to each other on the phone for hours, have play dates for our children, have lunch together once a month, cry on each other’s shoulders, laugh, commiserate, and spend the first Sunday of the month, with ALL of us – husbands and all of our children – at one of our houses for taco night. It was such a good time, even though I didn’t know it then.
We lived in Idaho for four years. My husband had a wonderful career, we had four crazy fun adorable young children that we were homeschooling, our dream home with fruit trees, a pond, massive gardens, and even berry beds all over the front yard. With all of that busy-ness and wonderful ness, I still felt like something was lacking. I finally realized it was that I had lost focus of taking care to tend my relationship with God.
I began working hard on it and quickly saw that space in my heart fill to overflowing. A little over a year later, I began to feel spiritually stagnant. I prayed and prayed about what else to do, but instead of a direct answer to my prayer, Father took our family on a grand, life changing journey. It was good that I was feeling particularly close and trusting to Him right then because I’m pretty sure I would have dug in and said “nope, not me, no way, I’m staying right here, find someone else to drag around the West coast.”
Turns out, it was a good thing and, had I not been prepared, I wouldn’t have been open to the possibilities. We lost our dream home to foreclosure because of the dimwits who were in the process of buying it, we were homeless, we traveled around in an old beat up truck with a giant camper on the back, and we wound up in Arizona – with no money (thanks to the dimwits I mentioned), no job, and the truck broke down. Thankfully, Dwayne’s parents had a home here that they generously let us stay in for several months. Writing it all down, it doesn’t really sound like a typical “adventure,” does it? I have to tell you, it was truly one of the highlights of our lives. I learned and grew and laughed and prayed and explored and cried and loved and lived fully, with my whole being, and with the five people I cherish more than anything. I love those memories!
All of this made me consider my focus. After we landed here nearly thirteen years ago, I began my earnest work of drawing and keeping close to Father. Looking back, I can see that, while my soul so badly wanted that relationship, I was focusing all in my head – facts, times, locations. I was missing the relationship because I was just focusing on the words.
Looking back, I see that, but at the time I had no idea I was just getting a tiny taste of what a close(r) relationship with God could be. I was dangling a “carrot” (Cadbury Fruit and Nut bar anyone?) just out of reach of myself and it felt awful.
It’s easy to look back and see stuff like that when you are in a different stage or learning cycle. It could make me feel bad, but, really, it gives me hope. Hope that there is more to learn, more to fill my heart, new ways to view this life and my place in it and, most importantly, hope for a different, deeper, more complete relationship with God.
Oh, what a happy thought!