Thursday, June 19, 2014

Dream Saga Series: Your Dream Is Being Fulfilled....and Then You Freak Out




It's been quiet here lately.

I have thought many, many times about posting something. But I couldn't get myself to sit down and put my fingers to keys.

You see...my dream is coming true.

And I've been freaking out.

And not in the happy, click your heels kind of way.

Well...maybe more accurately, it's equal parts that and equal parts sheer terror.

My. Dream. Is. Coming. True.

I can hardly bear to type it. The weight of it crushes yet also expands my heart.

That thing that I've held in my hand and then released. The thing I've prayed over, wept over, petitioned God for and let go again.

It's here. It's before me and I have been not quite sure what to do with it.

If you have been following along with my Dream Saga Series, then you have read about a dream that I have had for my family to have breadth and space and peace and rest and critters and places to explore. We've almost sold our house -- we are merely days away from it being recorded as officially belonging to another family. The POD container has been ordered and boxes are being packed.

And....unlike two weeks ago, we actually have some place to go.

It's a country farmhouse on 2.25 acres. With a pool. And a cellar. An an outdoor drinking fountain. And fruit and nut trees. And grapevines. And a tower. And barns. And....

I'm overcome.

If all of that stuff sounds familiar, it's because it's the house that I fell in love with a few weeks ago and blogged about in my last post. I was in heaven. My husband was not. I did not push (it was really, really hard not to), but I prayed that whole week and literally seven days later after we looked at another house that looked like 20 others we had seen with the same "flipped" look of same old tiles and color-scheme, he looked at me and said, "let's offer on the farmhouse."

Wait...what? Huh? What?

Over that week, he had thought it through and written up a summary of his concerns and issues and asked me for my responses and then he worked through them. And came up with the logical solution -- making it a decision of the heart (mine) and also of the head (his).

So we submitted an offer the next day. And the next day....the owner accepted it. As is. No counter-offers.

And with the object of my affection, my dream of dreams looming before me...I did the next most logical thing.

I panicked.

Suddenly all that space became "vast".

The slightly longer commute for us into town became "long distance."

The quaint and charming old farmhouse became "old."

Everything that could possibly be wrong with this "dream property" seemed to rear its head and say, "look at me!"

Suddenly it was me who had "issues" and concerns. I would wake up elated one day and then terrified the next. I constantly asked my husband if we were making the right decision. He was sure that we were.

I didn't post about it because I honestly didn't know what to say. I was conflicted.

And yes, I was scared.

Somehow in all the dreaming and hoping, I never stopped to consider what I would feel when God gave me what I longed for.


Or maybe I just assumed I would feel rivers of peace. And when I didn't every moment of every day, I started to question.

I think it's an honest assessment to say that not everyone is as excited about this property.

Some are worried that it's too far away from our life now and our families.

Others are worried that we will be over our heads with the property maintenance and be overworked.

And some are worried we will be isolated and lonely.

So, I guess it's no surprise that I started taking on all of those things until I couldn't almost think of the property without anxiety.

Were we crazy to choose something that not many in our circle of family and friends have not chosen or might never choose?

I started to believe it. All of it.

I was sure the home inspection would come back with a lot of issues. That the appraisal wouldn't come in at the right number. That the well would be bad.

It all came back good. But my stomach still churned.

And then we went out for a visit to the farmhouse with my family last week. I mean...a whole bunch of my family who were visiting from out of state. There were so many of us that our realtor, took a separate group to tour the inside, while the other stayed on the outside and checked things out.

It was a long drive out. Maybe especially because I was conscious of the distance as an issue. It did seem to take forever. For.Ever.

But when we turned the corner and the farmhouse came into view, a collective cheer went up from the inhabitants of our vehicle (which were all girl cousins aged 14 and under). And at that sound, the knot in my stomach released.

And as my family spread out and picked fruit from the trees (with the owner's permission) and ate it and then made sounds of immense appreciation and went and found plastic sacks out of their vehicles to fill, that knot vanished.

Family picking mandarin oranges


Some of the bounty


It was peaceful. There was laughter. There was so much love there.

And that's really all that I have wanted.

Peace. Laughter. Love

And yes, maybe a great wooden porch for family photos



The honest truth is that I do value the opinions of others close to me. I absolutely do. But what I forgot in that week of freaking out is something I already knew.

We all have different dreams. And they are all as wild and different as there are people and personalities. 


God made it that way.

So, while I may want the approval and yes, blessing of people around me I don't necessarily need their complete understanding. Because if they understood it the way I do and felt it the way I feel it -- In. My. Gut. -- then we would have been outbid by a bunch of people and still be "homeless" and looking.

We all have different dreams and different realities.

The truth is that my soon-to-be front porch (ooh...just got a serious tingle of joy!) takes a great photo.

But, so does my sister's new country home.



They are both wonderful and they are both so "us." Different but with a lot of similarities. The ones that matter most.

Peace. Laughter. Love. 


And so I'm back to joy. And excitement. And dreaming of where to place furniture and how to get my hands on a claw foot bathtub for the downstairs Jack and Jill bathroom. And taking a sip out of our outdoor water fountain in between hanging loads of laundry on my outdoor line. And looking over to see the kids jump on the trampoline and eat peaches. And hearing the sounds of chickens and maybe a goat or two. And maybe...one day even...the bray (neigh?) of a horse.

Because if I've learned one thing (and I've learned a lot!), it's that there are no limits with God. Any limits I place on people or situations are of my own choosing.

If I know one thing, it is this....

"Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us,  to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think." 


Sunday, May 25, 2014

Dream Saga Series: Oh for Grace...

One of the most frustrating things about the "human condition" is our seeming inability at times to get out of a crazy cycle.

Sometimes we do things the same way for so long that it becomes ingrained.

I say this. He says that. Then I do this, and he does that. So, again, I say this.....

You see how it goes.

If we do this enough we create a whirlpool that starts to run on its own steam. And our very participation in that whirlpool keeps it going.

It takes extraordinary effort to either a.) swim against the current and go with other way, or b.) swim out of the whirpool altogether into the unchartered calm water of the vast unknown.

The truth is that it can be easier to just stay in the pattern we know when the ocean looms wild and deep.


But even though it may take less effort to just stay stuck and go with that crazy current, inside we die a bit more each day.

Because the truth is...we really don't want to be a slave to the whirlpool.

We want to be more. To be better. To rise above. To overcome.

This desire to be free and victorious is just as much of the human condition as going with the staying stuck in the flow.

But the two things don't go together. They are in constant tension.

I want to be better than I am now.  But being better can be so maddeningly, mind-bendingly hard.

--

I have failed yet again.

Yesterday, we drove 30 minutes out into the country and looked at an old farmhouse that was for sale. Built in the early 1900's, it has many charming features, and maybe a few not so charming ones. However, the fruit and nut trees, barns and an outbuildings made it an idyllic patch of land in my opinion. 

The price had just been lowered and I had worked my way through the longer commute and even got excited that it might be possible to move from our current house into that one without a container or renting an apartment or staying with family. 

Plus, the video series of "One Thousand Gifts" could have been shot on location there -- making it even more appealing.

As I was mentally moving our furniture into this house, I realized that I should probably ask my husband what he thought.

"Meh...it's okay."

"What do you mean 'okay'? Do you not see the built in window seat, the buffet and glass door knob? Obviously you didn't see the retractable clothes line or outdoor drinking fountain and patch of grass that would be the perfect place for the trampoline?"

"I dunno...it's not great."

"What's not great about it? Did you not see the pool or barns or bounty of fruit growing over there?"

"I'm just not excited about it."

"What would you be excited about, then???"

"Well, it's kinda far out, and I don't like all those ramshackle barns that we would have to tear down, and stuff might need to be fixed and I don't think the price is good for all of that."

"There is literally NOTHING else out there that has all of our qualifications. Shouldn't we start to think about making allowances for something that's not exactly what we want?"

(Shrug) "I just can't picture us living there."

--

I may still be learning about marriage after 15 years, but one thing I have learned is that I can't force or talk my husband into something. I mean...I can. I have. But it's never to a good outcome.

If he is not on board, then I have to consider that and accept it. 

Even if it feels a little like death.

So...just like that, the balloon of my hope deflated in a puddle around my heart.

I immediately went into my whirlpool -- an  internal funk, refuting all of his points in my head, going online and finding out how easy it would be to transfer our existing internet and satellite tv service out there (not always easy in the country, btw).

We talked about it later in the day. He still felt the same way.

And, so did I.

Crushed.

This process of leaving our house of 13 years and trusting God for something else is breaking me down.

And I know on some level...that's good. There is some stuff that needs to be broken down in me.


But it's so hard for me to let go and trust at times.

And then I get mad at myself for going back to old patterns: Fear, anxiety, depression, apathy rather than hope, trust, faith and peace.

I want to be better than this.


I want to be the wife that graciously submits to her husband's decisions. I want to not let my inner desire to "run the ship" to take over and steamroll over other people's opinions. I want to be the woman of faith who would accept that this is not the house for us and to move on and wait for something else.

But, instead, I feel like a small tantruming child who wants the candy in the grocery store.

Why God?

But, God?

What if...God?

It's not that I don't trust Him. I absolutely do. I think it's more that I don't trust Him...enough.

This morning at church we sang a familiar hymn,

"Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him

How I've proved Him o'er and o'er
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus
Oh for grace to trust Him more"

That last line really got me. I choked it out like a prayer.

I trust Him. And yes, He has proved Himself faithful over and over in my life. He is precious to me....

But....

...oh for that grace to trust Him...more.

"Lord, I believe....help my unbelief." (Mark 9:24)

In the midst of that exhausting internal turbulence, I thought about something a friend posted on my Facebook wall earlier this week. My Grammie used to say, "God is previous," and this is another example of how He can orchestrate things into being before we need them.

Yesterday (and today), I needed to be reminded of this.




I feel like that little girl clutching that bear. It's the best thing she can see at the moment. I dare say she would say, it's all she ever wanted. I know that she would bargain, plead, promise anything to keep it. 

But she doesn't know what she is missing.

I am that girl.


The difficult part for me is that my Jesus is SO BIG that he blocks the view of what He is holding onto for me. Because he wants me FIRST to give him my most precious thing: My trust.

Only after I surrender that which feels like is my treasure can he replace it with what He has for me instead. 

I have to give it without seeing what I'm trading it in for.

And if I'm honest, I don't like that...not one bit.

Because it all comes back to control -- my lack thereof and my reluctance to give it up.

But Jesus isn't disgusted by my childish ways. I feel His love. I feel His heart of tenderness for me. I feel Him waiting for me to let go -- to truly let it go. Even if it's something I do every day or every minute.

He's bent down. Impossibly, improbably the Savior of the world is crouched down in front of me extending His hand. Not because He wants to rip the last vestige of what I hold dear from me. Because He has something else.

I only need to find the courage and surrender to extend mine.