I've got three similar posts in mind that I think I'll be breaking into a three-part series looking back on these last several years of journeying with God. They are years that have made me who I am and brought me to the place I am today.
One year ago today, I saw two blue lines on a pregnancy test, confirming what I already knew in my heart: that God was continuing to bless us with children. This would make six. Half a dozen. Yikes/Yay/Wow/Seriously/Awesome/I'm so thrilled/No joke!?! were some of my thoughts. :) I remember sitting at the kitchen table in our old house on Valley View Terrace, and penning the words, "Thank You Father!!!" in my journal in the wee small hours of the morning, before the sun or the hubs or the kids were up. I looked out the window as the sun was beginning to peek, turning the sky a deep pink, and seeing the For Sale sign in the yard and wondering if this baby would be born at 516 Valley View Terrace, the place we brought Maggie, Penelope, Rosemary and Samuel home to, or if we would have found the farm of our dreams by then and be living somewhere else. We had fallen in love with a teeny little log cabin on 10 acres, but God had closed those doors. Then we had come close to buying a horse farm in Ardmore with another teeny tiny house but rich, fertile soil and lots of outdoor living space, but that had fallen through too. Was God just closing all the doors to farm life for us? Was it just a dream we would have to have tucked away but never see come to fruition?
One year ago today we were praying about church. Something just didn't feel right, although we couldn't put our finger on it exactly. Were we feeling the Spirit moving us away from the church we had known and loved for five years, or were we just having discontented spirits?
One year ago today I was also dealing with the new knowledge that Samuel had lots and lots of allergies. After a hives reaction to what I thought was peanut butter, we decided to see my friend Linda's homeopathic doctor, whom we had jokingly called "The Witch Doctor" for years out of ignorance. We laughed that Linda was doing some sort of voodoo, magic potion, strange kind of healing stuff, but I was desperate for answers and to my surprise, Dr. Jarvis diagnosed my baby Sam and put him on a road to recovery without even so much as a hint of voodoo. She quickly became one of my favorite people in the world and today I don't know what I would do without her. But like I said, a year ago today I was a nervous wreck about dealing with all these allergies and how in the world I should feed a child who's allergic to milk, wheat, soy, chicken, cantaloupe, high fructose corn syrup, oatmeal, chocolate, and everything else that was in his typical daily diet.
But it's neat how God works all of that out. Like Romans 8:28, God working all things together for our good. I heard Charles Stanley talk about that verse recently, and he said the word there for "work" really means that He "synergizes" everything to get us where He wants us to go. He works this and that and puts it together and voila! there's where He wants us.
I put out a desperate blog about Sam's allergies to all milk except goat milk, and my friend Marci put me in touch with her friend Caroline out in someplace called Union Grove who sold goat milk. :) I met Caroline, and for several months she met me in town with fresh goat milk for my son. It was like meeting a healer for a magical tincture or something. A few months later, when we moved to Somerville, which is very near Union Grove, Caroline showed us how to milk and care for our own goats. She came over the day our first momma goat had her baby, helping us make sure we were doing it right. She also invited us to her church and homeschool group in Arab, where I met some amazing families. One of those amazing families was the Calaguire family, a homeschooling family of 9 with whom our souls connected. We started talking a lot about spiritual things and what we want for our families and how we feel about church. . .
I was seeing a midwife in Tennessee, who happened to have goats and chickens for sale right when we needed them for the new farm we just bought in Somerville. :) She sold us our first goats, two pregnant females, April and Aries, and 6 egg-laying hens. Going to her clinic was like a field trip for my kids. We loved her much. When I had a dangerous blood clot in the last trimester of this pregnancy and decided it best to give birth in a hospital setting, I was lamenting the fact that I would SO MISS Linda the Midwife to my oldest daughter Allie. My extremely amazing 12 year old wisely said, "Momma, everybody comes into your life for a reason. The midwife has taught us a lot. About goats, about chickens, about birth, about pregnancy, about life. God knew that her purpose was more than just someone to give birth with." Indeed.
. . . During the blood clot incident, we connected more deeply with the Calaguires, introducing them to our friends the Nelsons because we all just seemed to be very like-minded. Then one morning, the men met for breakfast, and Brian came home and said, "What do you think about a home church with the Calaguires and the Nelsons?" The idea actually seemed to be the logical next step, so without hesitation I said a very enthusiastic, "YES!" The first "meeting" was maybe two weeks before giving birth to Bethany. At that meeting, my dear friends anointed me with oil, laid hands on me and prayed that God would protect Bethany and me during her birth. Our next meeting was the Sunday after she was born. She and I were there, healthy and whole. During the meeting I looked down at my healthy newborn baby, over at my God-sent friends, and out the window at the farm God had blessed us with. And there was joy in my heart. The following Sunday, we prayed for a friend of the Calaguires, whom had met Dave Nelson in an auto parts store, whom I had "met" over Facebook, none of us knowing that we all knew each other. Of course, God knew, and that sweet family who had been praying for a church family, joined us. A few weeks later, a friend told me about a lady she had met who lived on a farm in Somerville, and homeschooled, and wanted to find a home church. We met at the farmer's market and became instant friends. God has brought her family to our fellowship too. The neat thing about all of that is, if I had tried to list out families that I thought "should" join our church or that I really wanted to join our church, it would have been a flop. I would have tried to manipulate something to happen that just wasn't supposed to happen. Instead, God has gradually led people into our fellowship that He wants there, and it is perfect. I love just sitting back and watching God work. Who knows what He has in store next? I won't even try to guess.
In an effort to support local commerce, we started patronizing Graves Grocery in Lacey's Spring, a 100 year old building that has recently been restored to be the coolest little restaurant/store in the area. The owner mentioned to us at the beginning of summer that she was having a farmer's market, and would we be interested in participating? That gave us the drive to finally make some soap out of that extra goat milk we had stored in the freezer. So over the summer we have made a few batches of soap, created some labels, and began selling it. In another post I will tell you truly just how awesome this stuff is- I will never buy soap from a store again if I can help it- but for now I'm just marveling at how cool it is to have had soap making sort of find us. We weren't looking for a soap-making business, but we are loving it. I feel like God did it, not me. We are now making Freedom Farm soap because my son has allergies, so we bought some goats to milk, then my friend asked if we could sell anything at a farmer's market. Voila. Synergy. Working all things for our good. Bringing people and circumstances and places and ideas into our lives. For our good.
Tomorrow morning, Lord willing, I will sit at the same table, but on Turney Ridge Road, looking out on a completely different landscape, holding the baby that the two lines represented, then going out to milk the goats because of my boy Sam. Tomorrow evening I will fellowship with the amazing church family that God has brought right into my home. And I will wonder, what will life look like by this time next year??