Have you ever worried about following God into the unknown? Maybe you still feel hesitant to move forward even after much prayer over a dream, situation, or a purchase? I’ll raise my hand to those questions! As with all of my blog testimony, by His grace, God still showed up. He took my families hands and guided us to new places we wouldn’t have traveled had He not affirmed our steps.
Initially, I didn’t want to trade my fear for faith when it came to purchasing and caring for a run down farm. I was comfortable and content at home with my routine. Even though things weren’t perfect, it was mostly predictable. But God…He affirmed otherwise and now five years later, I’m waking on the other side of our dream. Today, I’m feeling a weird mix of sadness, relief, hope, and a tad bit of joy. Our stint as hobby farmers has come to an end. The cows, the horse, the fruit and nut trees, the hillside views, the waft of manure on a breezy spring day, the flies, the ticks, the remodeling, the introduction to retreat ministry, the moments our children got into both creative and dangerous fixes–has ended. I have bid it a most fond farewell.
What was God thinking? I thought like that when our dream opportunity presented itself. What was He thinking by piling a hobby farm on to my already very full life as a mother to a few with emotional special needs, home educator of six, managing a remodel, or the intensity of caring for a large family? Well, let me see. As His daughter, I believe He knew in all His wisdom, that the stress, relationship strains, physical discomforts, and financial sacrifices wouldn’t take us down. With His help, we would survive. We would grow. We would mature. We would overcome.
In truth, we made quite a few mistakes along the way. As hobby farm enthusiasts, we did call the fire department once over an out of control burn. We lost a few cows in a neighbor’s field more than once and our horse ran down the road. Our younger children thought the farm’s lagoons were both fishing and wading ponds a few times. Maybe we did get in over our heads as often as our trucks got stuck in the mud. Maybe our family had a few temper tantrums along the way and shed a few overwhelming tears.
After all that, I know I’ve grown. Maybe I’ve become a more well rounded mother, a wife, a helper to my husband, and a manager of our home and property. Maybe we’ve all grown in a little more wisdom and understanding amongst the farming culture we live in. I know the fear over creepy crawling things that used to panic me, has lessened. (Although, I still won’t touch a full mousetrap.) God filled our lungs with fresh country air and our evenings with memorable starry nights around the campfire. He taught our children to value life, to acknowledge its fragility, and that living things die early if you are careless. Through it all, God taught us how to count the cost and set more boundaries upon our imaginations, dreams, and moments. He taught us how to go to bed as soon as we grow tired and wake before the sunrise to fit everything into one day. However, with all that being said, there’s more. After a few good hard falls to our knees in prayer, I think He meant to use the hobby farm dream to tear us down and build us up into new people. Maybe He wanted us in over our heads–how else would we have humbly reached our limits and tapped into God’s limitless grace instead? We needed His help and just needed to ask Him.
So, have you embraced a dream of your own, only to give it up a little while later? Maybe your health, time, finances, or endurance couldn’t prop it up any longer? Our dream of hobby farming took too much, sapping more energy, time, and money than we had to give a few years after we began. Yet, now rather than focusing on what we let go–we are now choosing to focus on the joyful memories we made together. We now thank God for all He shared with us in His grace, and we praise Him for a more simple life. My husband and I are grateful for more time to connect with our sons and daughters while they are still young. We are welcoming more time to converse at our dinner table as a family. We are celebrating less distraction and more peaceful moments watching our kids play outside. With all the extra time, my husband and I have even enjoyed a few extra dates this month. (Thank you God for uninterrupted conversation! ;)) These are the living dreams we hold now. They are the simple ones we lost sight of along the way, in all our striving.
So, do you have a dream? Have you taken steps forward and bathed it in prayer? Has God affirmed it in any way? Or are you holding so tight to a dream, that it’s now causing some problems? I’ve learned that dreams are great, but if they aren’t in line with God’s word they are indeed mirages that will never satisfy. For us, when our dream began to rob the unchangeable God given things in our life, we knew our season was ending.
If you find yourself where we’ve been, I must ask you today–
- Are you pushing and striving to accomplish a dream?
- Are you neglecting those around you God has blessed you to love?
- Has your dream become an idol or will you let God change and shape it?
- Are you proceeding in obedience first with God’s leading and His help?
- What will you need to sacrifice to achieve this dream?
- When God completes the dream and the season you’ve longed for, will you willingly give it up?
Those are some challenging questions, I know. We will all have to eventually count the cost of our dreams. Let’s commit to being still before God to ask for His help. As we seek His will, let’s guard our hearts from the things that may deafen us to the Holy Spirit’s leading. But, with all that being said, if God affirms your leap of faith often–go for it! Do not fear! He will close the door sooner than later if He wants to. May we as the Church continue to knock on God’s door in prayer over every single dream and consistently give up our dreams to Him.
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:…” Ecclesiastes 3:1
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord…” Jeremiah 29:11-14a