Chasing Joy

"I am guiding you on the way of wisdom and I am leading you on the right path." Proverbs 4:11

Category: 31 days (page 1 of 10)

October’s lessons

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October, with all her glory in the leaves a changing and writing for 31 days straight has taught me a few things.

  1.  the leaves will change and beauty will appear whether i’m ready for it or not.  i can not press pause until i’ve time to take a walk or take a picture.  so i need to press pause on something else and take that walk or that picture.
  2. i am not able to publish everyday and run.  i didn’t get out for a run or walk the entire month.  the topic i chose didn’t lend itself to simple words or brief posts.  writing everyday was exactly what i needed, i’ve known that for some time and the challenge to post gave me the motivation to make it happen.  but in dedicating time for writing i let exercise slip away.  i’m entering into November with eyes looking for what it looks like to do both.
  3. i’ve more loyalty to everyone else around me than i have to myself.  i pushed myself every day to publish because i said i would, even if it meant neglecting my home, family, or self.  i already knew this-remember this summer how i wouldn’t quit on my daughter, but if she hadn’t been in the equation, i would’ve quit on myself.  entering the 40’s a few years ago i realized how much more effective it was to work with myself instead of against myself.  since i know this loyalty thing to be true, i’m praying over how i can work within it to both write and exercise-two things that are specifically for me.
  4. reading good authors can usher in fear and super strong temptation to quit writing.  reading good authors also ushers in inspiration and strong courage to write.  it is a real battle for me. sometimes i have to abstain from reading until after i’ve written.  other times i need to read so that i have courage to write.  i can’t predict one from the other, except that i’ve grown in my ability to sense the stirring of either fear or courage and respond accordingly.

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linking up with Crystal Stine for write31days and Emily Freeman for things we learned in october.

chasing joy | final words

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But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.

You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

The king rejoices in your strength, Lord. How great is his joy in the victories you give!

Surely you have granted him unending blessings and made him glad with the joy of your presence.

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.

Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.

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Unless the Lord had given me help,
    I would soon have dwelt in the silence of death.
When I said, “My foot is slipping,”
    your unfailing love, Lord, supported me.
When anxiety was great within me,
    your consolation brought me joy.

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Thank you for reading along these past 31 days, may you go forth in Joy!


to draw further in:  Psalms of Joy; listed above are 5:11, 16:11, 21:1, 21:6, 28:7, 90:14, and 94:17-19

chasing joy | where it can be found

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so i tell you this….that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking….

there’s this saying in AA that goes something like; “this is where my best thinking got me.”   as a Romans 8 woman, it’s become a freedom cry of sorts for me.  an acknowledging that on my own i only travel so far.  i need someone else to intervene.  my best thinking puts limits on who God is and how He loves.  my best thinking is futile and ignorant and darkened. But God who is rich in mercy steps in and invites; ‘come, enter into the Ocean of Who I Am.’

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15 years ago i hadn’t made it far from shore in my understanding of this God i love, and thus my understanding of Him was shallow.  it’s where i started, it’s where we all start. all along He’s been inviting me bit by bit to move deeper into understanding the ‘remarkable wonders of His Person more completely.’  this has been the chase of joy.

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As He approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “if you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace….

Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing…”

Christ brings peace, Immanuel brings joy that cannot be taken, and He longs for us to be willing to receive it.  the vessels through which it comes have been so different than what i thought they’d be.  it has looked like a small yard and a small house in the city.  it has looked like forgiving the unforgivable.  it has looked like a cabin built through wind and fire and flood (yes, there was also a flood).  it has looked like a child needing help to simply wear a pair of socks.  it has looked like sharing the fellowship of Christ in His sufferings, it has looked like basking in the wonder of a life made new.   He asks me to be willing to trust Him and when i do i grow in understanding and find my footing in deeper waters.

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I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection: [experientially, becoming more thoroughly acquainted with Him, understanding the remarkable wonders of His Person more completely] and [in that same way experience] the power of His resurrection [which overflows and is active in believers],

I want to know the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him: by being continually conformed [inwardly into His likeness even] to His death and so somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but i press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.

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Rembrandt’s The Storm on the Sea of Galilee

i still chase after joy.  every single day.  lets press on together, shall we?

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to draw further in:  Ephesians 4, Philippians 3 (above i quoted from the Amplified), Luke 19: 41-42; Matthew 23: 37-38; Hebrews 12

 

chasing joy | a cabin story: all things new

I am the LORD, and there is no other.
I form the light and create darkness,
I bring prosperity and create disaster;
I, the LORD, do all these things.

I will not yield my glory to another.

Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light,
trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God.

He has sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted….
to comfort all who mourn…..
to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise instead of despair.

for Joni and Zeke, mere inches made all the difference.  for our cabin, it was the direction and speed of the wind….every time.  13 families lost their homes in this fire and i can’t speak about their grief. we sat on the outskirts of it all a bit, because we still had our home and our belongings in town.

in town.

He’d been building a life for us in town.  there was a community we were made for and we had come to know it.  i had lost complete control of my days-never knowing when a knock on my door would change my afternoon.  He provided a church family and a place for us among them.  we knew this was where we belonged, we understood that we were not meant to abide in the mountains, still we never felt His leading to sell.  we still believed we needed to finish what we started, though we couldn’t explain why.  there was a community in those mountains that we visited, and we were welcomed in every time-but we didn’t fully belong there, only part of us did.  but the part that did, wholeheartedly did.

and that part was now ashes.  and we were already so worn out from all the other traumas we’d been facing over the past year.  and we were so worn out from all the traumas we’d endured thus far on that mountain.

come let us reason together…..

if not a sparrow falls to the ground outside of His will, if he has called the stars by name and not one of them is missing, if all of psalm 139 is true, than He is a God who is sovereignly involved in all of the details.  and that gives me such comfort.  if He has placed the sand as the boundary for the sea, if the waves and the billows roar but cannot pass, if He commands the wind and it obeys Him, then He sovereignly reigns over His earth.   and that makes me tremble.

inches.  is He the God of inches?  is He only in control when the details go my way?

I know Him as the God who wrestles with His people.  who invites His people into His intimate presence, naked and unashamed.

and so yet again i answered His invitation to come and reason.  I poured out all of my grief. i pounded my fists against His chest.  i didn’t understand His choice of inches.  but this couldn’t rip the rug of His love out from under me because He is a Shepherd who keeps what is His.  i was walking in the dark in a myriad of ways, but i knew my God could be trusted, so i relied on Him to give me a garment of praise instead of despair and to bring beauty out of these ashes.

and then through a series of details of things that aren’t supposed to happen, this untamable Sovereign God gave us this:

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to draw further in:  Jeremiah 5:22; Isaiah 45; 61; Matthew 6:25-34; 10:29-31, psalm 139, John 10

chasing joy | a cabin story: through the flames

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life had been chugging along full speed.  From fall of 2010 to Spring of 2011;  Jeremy had collided with another player while playing softball, requiring emergency surgery and 8 weeks with his jaw wired shut.  i’d taken a trip to Uganda, there had been visits from friends and family from out of town and out of the country.  my dad had had heart surgery out of state and i’d traveled to support him and my mom. we were heavily involved with a homeless ministry through our church, in leadership with Bible Study Fellowship, i was homeschooling the two boys (5 and 3) while Hannah (9) was off at our neighborhood public school. plus there were the weekly sessions with Zeke’s OT where wonderful progress was being made, but not without persevering work.

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on the tail end of all of that, i wrote in my journal:

April-Friday the first-quiet day-mel cleans classroom, kids play.

Saturday the 2nd we go to Property for a day with the Hansons, take Janet her bench we purchased for birthday/memory of the sudden passing of Ames’ (their dog) the previous week. We walk together, look at our logs, map out Jeremy’s Frisbee golf course, the kids play all day, we visit about life, spiritual things, real and deep.  It is a beautiful day.  we leave around 10.

amidst the crazy, we’d carved out a Saturday to spend the day up on the property.  we checked on our logs adjusting the tarps where needed, walked inside our foundation and talked a little about when we’d ever get to start building again.  then we walked on up the hill to visit our dear friends who’d built their house on the property next to ours.  it was always a treat to get to visit and let the kids play and hike and catch up on things.  we laughed together, grieved losses together and broke bread together.  we stayed up way to late, and drove back to town in the dark satisfied and filled.

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my journal continues:

at midnight Adonai wakes Janet-they have 15 minutes to evacuate-due to sudden fire.  Jon calls us at 12:30am to let us know.

while we were driving home a fire that had been burning miles away intersected with that hurricane wind creating a giant blow torch.  we’d just laid down our heads when we received the call. the next day we spend with our dear friends.  waiting and waiting and waiting to be given permission to drive up to see-to know what has happened to our property; their house and our land.

finally we are granted access.  we drive up together with them and their oldest son.  we read the psalms.  i just open my bible and start reading -its psalm 116.  i get to verse 7 before i realize this is my ‘property psalm’ but the One who is ever present knew that.  unable to read now through my tears, i hand my bible over to Jeremy and he flips the pages and resumes reading.  psalm 16.  this is Janet’s ‘property psalm’.  Jeremy of course didn’t know that.  but the One who comforts as no one else knew.  His nearness is deeply felt.

We arrive just barely in time to see the damage before dark.  The entire hill destroyed by fire.  our logs evaporated in thin air.  Hanson’s house dust and ashes.

it’s snowing-which is bizarre to see white flakes falling on black ashes.  we stand in silence and awe as the darkness of night moves in.  in the days that follow  we will return as a family and walk our now barren land.

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I love the Lord, because He hears [and continues to hear]
My voice and my supplications (my pleas, my cries, my specific needs).

Because He has inclined His ear to me,
Therefore I will call on Him as long as I live.

The cords and sorrows of death encompassed me,
And the terrors of Sheol came upon me;
I found distress and sorrow.

Then I called on the name of the Lord:
“O Lord, please save my life!”

Gracious is the Lord, and [consistently] righteous;
Yes, our God is compassionate.

The Lord protects the simple (childlike);
I was brought low [humbled and discouraged], and He saved me.

Return to your rest, O my soul,
For the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.

For You have rescued my life from death,
My eyes from tears,
And my feet from stumbling and falling.

I will walk [in submissive wonder] before the Lord
In the land of the living.

I believed [and clung to my God] when I said,
“I am greatly afflicted.”

I said in my alarm,
“All men are liars.”

What will I give to the Lord [in return]
For all His benefits toward me?
[How can I repay Him for His precious blessings?]

I will lift up the cup of salvation
And call on the name of the Lord.

I will pay my vows to the Lord,
Yes, in the presence of all His people.

Precious [and of great consequence] in the sight of the Lord
Is the death of His godly ones [so He watches over them].

O Lord, truly I am Your servant;
I am Your servant, the son of Your handmaid;
You have unfastened my chains.

I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving,
And will call on the name of the Lord.

I will pay my vows to the Lord,
Yes, in the presence of all His people,

In the courts of the Lord’s house (temple)—
In the midst of you, O Jerusalem.
Praise the Lord! (Hallelujah!)

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Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me.

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to draw further in:  Psalm 116, 51:12 (quoted above,) 117, 118; Psalm 16; and various verses throughout chapters 30-60 of the book of Isaiah-there were many that were personally and specifically life giving to me during that season.

chasing joy | a cabin story: willing

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be at rest O my soul, God has been good to you

i wrote this where the yurt once stood to remind myself that this was true regardless of what my circumstances were.  a reminder to hold both His sovereignty and goodness in my hands.

…and He determined…the exact places where [man] should live.  God did this so that men would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.

our experience with the Yurt and relocating also settled something sure within us: there was a place for us and the One who names the stars can be trusted where He leads.  where He takes us is so we would seek Him….with all of our hearts, and be willing to follow because of Who He Is, not what we understand.  reading about the story behind the hymn; Have Thine Own Way, i came upon a poem that became my inner plea.  not necessarily because i was willing, more that i wanted to be…..

i am willing

to receive what Thou givest
to lack what Thou withholdest
to relinquish what Thou takest.
to surrendor what Thou claimest.
to suffer what Thou ordainest.
to do what Thou commandest.
to wait, until Thou sayest go.

-author unknown

i’d  begun to hand over full control of our money to the owner of cattle on those thousand hills (rather than just ten percent).  i grew in my understanding of belonging wholly to this One who gave all for me.  and i began to realize His knowledge of me contained thoughts too wonderful for me to fully grasp.

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we were thick in the throws of identifying and treating a child with Sensory Processing Disorder, homeschooling our oldest, and working on rebuilding that foundation whenever we could, all with minimal funds.  occupational therapists and homeschooling materials and building materials are expensive.  and then there is the matter of needing to eat.  all  this continued my education in praying without ceasing.  so many times all i could muster was a small chirp; “help” and every time i prayed for help, every single time, the Lord helped me.  whether it was wisdom and self-control with an out of control child, or how to make the menu stretch, great oh so great is His faithfulness.

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in the midst of all of that He led us to send our oldest to our neighborhood school the following fall.  then we found ourselves needing yet again to move.  the market had shifted and rentals were now hard to come by, so we looked at what we could purchase.  at first there was not a single house in our city cheap enough. this perplexed us, since the Lord had made it clear where Hannah was to be attending 4th grade.  we looked in other towns, but never had the Lord’s peace.  i had also made it clear to both the Lord and my husband what type of house i was willing to live in.  then the market took a turn and 5 houses popped up in our city that we could afford.  there was this one only 2 blocks away from where we were.  we’d drive by often, but had never been willing to consider it, it was so run down and needing a ton of work to even inhabit.  it was slightly bigger (820 sq ft.) but still only 2 bedrooms.  we really wanted our daughter to have her own room.  we thought she needed her own room.  then one day i found myself walking over and looking in the windows.  and then one night i mentioned it to my husband.  “maybe when we go to look at those other 4 we should just add this one to the list?”  so we did.  and we prayed.  and the Lord led.  and He made us willing.

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the driveway and detached garage had dirt floors.  i contacted a guy who came over and gave me an estimate to concrete them.  on a whim, i mentioned to him our situation up on the mountains, those concrete block walls that needed filled, and our inability to get any concrete companies to drive up there.  he was willing and he’d work it out with the owners of the concrete and the trucks.

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this picture always makes me cry.   so much time and uncertainty and sacrifice and waiting we’d had to overcome to get here, so many details that only the One who tells the sun when to go down could work out.

even with a huge project of a house in town, this day was a day of celebration, of joy, of being satisfied in the things the Lord gave.

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to draw further in: psalm 139, psalm 104:19;

 

chasing joy | kind companions in the dark of winter

i just realized today that this is the last week of October.  saturday is it for this 31 days writer’s challenge-woah!  i know some people plan their writing out in advance and outline their posts and such-i always wanted to be like them.  it really is a wise and thoughtful approach, especially for the reader.  but while i am waiting for that change in me, i have to just keep writing anyway, and pray that you, the reader, will give me grace.  the next thoughts for the cabin story are needing more time to flesh out-so have to wait till tomorrow.  i did actually look at the calendar this morning (progress!) and hope that i can wrap up the cabin story in three posts, which will give me two days for final thoughts on this concept of chasing after that joy that cannot be taken.  

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The White Witch?  Who is she?

Why, it is she that has got Narnia under her thumb.  It’s she that makes it always winter.  Always winter and never Christmas; think of that!”

Lucy and Mr. Tumnus from C.S. Lewis’ The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe

it has felt like a long long winter, and i’m not talking about the weather.  it has been a long time since i’ve experienced the Lord’s presence in the way i used to.  like Mr. Tumnus, i can handle the winter as long as there is still Christmas.  there is so much depth in these few words Lewis penned, and if nothing else they bring the gift of a kind companion who understands the dark and hope-needy places.

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There was one who was not afraid of any evil tidings, for her heart stood fast believing in the Lord.  And her trust was in the tender mercy of God for ever and ever.
Often He had arisen as light in the darkness.
Often she had called upon Him in troubles and He had delivered her, and heard her what time the storm fell upon her.
He had been merciful, loving and righteous, and she had said, “Who is like unto the LORD our God…..

And now she found herself standing alone, looking into a great mist.

     Fold after fold the hills lay there before her, but always in mist.  She could see no path, except a little track in the valley below. She thought that she was quite alone, and for a while she stood looking, listening, and feeling this loneliness and uncertainty harder to bear than any acute distress had ever been.

     Then, softly, voices began to speak within her, now discouraged, now encouraging.

“My flesh and my heart faileth.”
“But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
“My lovers and my friends stand aloof from my soul: and my kinsmen stand afar off.”
“Nevertheless, I am continually with Thee:  Thou has holden me by my right hand.”
“My tears have been my meat day and night; while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God?”
“Thou shalt answer for me, O Lord my God.”
“My way is hidden from my God.”
“He knows the way that i take.  All my ways are before Him….They thirsted not when He led them through the deserts.  Will they faint when He leads them through the hills?”

     Then she looked again at the mist, and it was lightening, and she knew that she was not alone, for her God was her refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  He was about her path; He would make good His loving-kindness toward her,….He would not let her be disappointed of her hope.

    So it was enough for her to see only the next few steps, because He would go before her and make His footsteps a way to walk in.  And of this she was also sure: He whom she followed saw through the mist to the end of the way.  

    And in that hour a song was given to her.  She sang it as she walked……And as she walked thus and sang, others whom she did not see because of the mist that still lay on her way, heard her singing and were comforted and helped to follow on, even unto the end.

-Amy Carmichael Figures of the True

to read of another who found herself in a mist and then to be comforted by her song does two things for me.  it gives me the gift of being understood and it gives me the courage to sing the song given to me as i walk.  in a way that is why i write here.  i write out the ‘songs’ given in my hour of need.  those ‘songs’ are that living water that never runs dry, that joy that cannot be taken.

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I wanted to tell the book thief many things, about beauty and brutality. But what could I tell her about those things that she didn’t already know?  I wanted to explain that I am constantly overestimating and underestimating the human race-that rarely do I ever simply estimate it.  I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and its words and stories so damning and brilliant.

-Markus Zusak The Book Thief

i could go on and on about this story, and the real kind of pressing on hope and community that it bleeds throughout it’s pages.  i have often asked myself why it is that i am drawn to these types of stories.  my favorite movies to watch are in the genre of Life is Beautiful and Good Will Hunting.  my favorite types of books, Green Leaf in Drought Time, Things as They Are, the Book Thief, All The Light we Cannot See.  i read a lot of things, but these are the ones that resonate with the deep questions i wrestle with.  they so often seem too dark for my friends, too sad, too ugly, too brutal.  but like the Giver so eloquently illustrates, it brings the color back into my world as so much beauty and glory and brilliance shine through.  and for me this is the reality of the life on this earth where the enemy works to make it always winter and never Christmas.  these stories remind me that while it may be winter, Christmas will still come.  and that gives me hope, which ushers in a joy that cannot be taken.

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Christmas will always still come.

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chasing joy | freedom

more to come on the cabin story, but today i’ve been thinking on freedom…..
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there is a deep well of delight that fills my soul when i get to witness my kids and myself being who we really are in the presence of others.  especially when in the midst of events where a certain level of decorum is expected, something all the grown-ups fully know.  one example of this was my son playing in the sprinklers after his great grandfather’s funeral.  it would take pages to paint a picture of what it is like for this boy to get though things like weddings and funerals, the challenges for him and this mom of his because of his sensory processing disorder.  i will just say that at the point this picture was taken he’d already made it through the pre-funeral activities, the funeral itself, the ‘luncheon’ afterwards, and finally the graveside service.  i remembering looking around wondering where he’d disappeared to, and when i saw him i just smiled and delighted in his freedom.  it was such a beautiful picture of life in contrast to death. and the fact that i was able to enjoy this moment without any anxiety gave me such encouragement in how far i’d come.

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another example was this year’s homecoming dance.  my daughter was going with a group of friends and she approached the whole thing true to how she rolls.  we’d bought some dresses a couple of years ago at the ARC and she tried them on a few days before the dance to see what still fit. she chose one of my favorites, the one that just suits her. never mind that she’s worn it before to a school dance, she’s not one to need something new.  laughing with friends, she curled her hair, and pulled on the shoes that fit just right.  with a cold front moving in, she grabs her favorite sweater on the way out and with a skip in her step off we go.  we gather in a friends backyard for pictures, the boys playing on the tree swing while the girls talk among themselves.  it’s a beautiful thing to see how much joy they are able to have correlated to how much freedom in themselves they feel.


Art is what happens when you dare to be who you really are.

-emily p freeman

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chasing joy | a cabin story: re-grouping

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in your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.  And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons:

My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and do not lose heart when He rebukes you,
because the Lord disciplines those He loves,
and He punishes everyone He accepts as a son.

Endure hardship as discipline, God is treating you as sons….no discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

we’ve developed a habit lately, with two adolescents in the home, of talking though the messages being internalized upon rebuke.  over and over and over again we must repeat; “you are loved, you are wanted in this family, you belong, you are not a disappointment.”  can you ever think of a time when you were rebuked and the message you internalized from it was; “you are loved, you are wanted in this family, you belong, you are not a disappointment?”  i didn’t think so.  our default is to think the opposite-i wonder why that is.

the Lord knows this, and like us with our teens, He over and over and over again repeats;

I Am, I know. I love you.  Repent.*

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we were in the midst of hardship.  it was a season of stress; another trip to the ER with our older boy thanksgiving day, clean-up work up on the property, all that is involved with 3 little ones, packing for a move to an unknown location and what if Jeremy gets laid off?

the truth of being both loved and known gave me oxygen.  His word gave me strength.  Believing He had an ‘exact time and place for man to live’ gave me courage.  the challenge to endure hardship as discipline gave me hope.


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i previewed the rentals available w/in our limited budget, and then narrowed it down for jeremy and i to revisit on his days off.  this was challenging for me still in that state of fear of making decisions and doubt in hearing from God.  i had to cling with all my strength to the fact of God’s ability to direct us anyway.

HPIM1658i arrived at one particular rental before the property management lady did, but the tenant welcomed me in.  it was tiny, built sometime around 1900,  old wooden windows, but there were lots of them and they were tall.  the ceilings were high and light flooded in.  i felt like i could breathe for the first time in a long time.  the tenant showed me his favorite features and seemed to pick up on my emotions; “it’s small, yes, but it has a good feeling to it doesn’t it?”  he, of course, had no idea that there were 5 of us, to his 1.  logically, it didn’t make sense.  the 2 bedrooms were small, one might fit our bed in it, the other i wasn’t sure a twin bed would even fit.  plus, it was right downtown, a complete opposite to what we’d been immersed in over the past few years. even the basement we’d been renting was outside city limits with lots of space.  i dismissed it, and went along with the property management lady to the next place on the list.

but i couldn’t shake that house.  when Saturday came, this house made the cut.

HPIM0791this little house drew us all in and we had a hard time explaining why.  that office could hold the bunk bed, jeremy would build a platform and make it a triple-bunk.  a galley kitchen and sun porch for our ‘dining room’.  a stacked apt. sized washer/dryer was in the small and very pink bathroom. that would take a bit of adjusting for me, but i was willing.  the trees were big and the yard fenced with alley access and the library a few blocks away.  so much of this house looked just as crazy as the yurt, but we’d make it work.  with trembling hands, we signed a lease and prepared to move.

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i did panic and i drove by often asking the Lord to please please please tell us if this was a big mistake.  i packed and got rid of stuff and tended the kids, which was a nice distraction.  i was hopeful and excited and terrified all at the same time.
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looking back now, i can see so much discipline gained from living in that little house.  i can also see the joyful harvest that came as a result of being trained by it. we adjusted to this new normal, regrouped, and lived life.  we discovered our place and our passions and our selves.  we came to know our Father’s heart and our own hearts better.  that house served us well, and we were happy there.

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*to draw further in:  Revelation 1-3

chasing joy | a cabin story: again the wind

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had there been an ocean nearby it would have been a hurricane.  the wind speeds that year were well over 100 miles/hr.  we re-built the yurt, shoring it up and making it stronger.  we began framing in walls and adding cabinetry we’d found second hand.  we pressed on and kept at it-working to make the November 1st moving date we’d agreed upon.

another wind storm leading to another phone call and we found ourselves once again defeated.  i wrote in my journal:

Thursday morning i receive a call-the roof of our yurt is flapping around.  Jeremy and i head up to the property-there has been another serious wind storm-trees are down.  We get to the property-and half of the roof is off, ripped and flapping around in the wind.  Standing in the yurt is frightening-the pieces of roof whip around and slam into the rafters.  The dome is cracked and broken, but still hanging on.  The wood is secure-tho it has torqued a bit.  All the interior framing that Jeremy and his dad worked so hard on Tuesday and Wednesday evening-has shifted, some of the studs have fallen down.  We empty the yurt once again of our kitchen cabinets, camping stove and various tools and supplies.  We sit inside and we cry.  We are speechless to some degree.  On the drive up the radio offers up comfort; “I will sing of Your mercies that lead me through valleys of sorrow to rivers of joy….higher mountains have come down….hallelujah” (Jars of clay) Millions of thoughts run through my mind, so many things I don’t know.  I could list them; I don’t know why, I don’t know where we went wrong, I don’t know if we went wrong-I don’t know what we will do, I don’t know… on and on and on.  STOP! I cry out to myself, I focus on the only thing I do know.  I know my God loves me, I am written on the palm of His hand.  I know this for sure-and that’s it.  And it’s enough.

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this time it wasn’t just the yurt that was effected, the east wall of our foundation also blew down.  the re-bar that jeremy and the kids worked together to form and place in preparation for concrete-now bent and twisted.  concrete blocks crumbled.  i marvel at the power of the wind.

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pre-wind. i can’t find a photo of the after.

our gracious friends/landlords gave us time to re-group.  i pour over the numbers.  we are out of money, all of our savings having gone towards the yurt and supplies.  we both have a settling deep within that we are not to re-build the yurt or move up, still we need a place to live and we are already paying a mortgage. i crunch and squeeze and come up with a figure for what we could afford for rent and we begin the search.

of course opinions abound from all over the place.  there are those who never thought we should be living in the mountains in the first place and those who think we should keep at it.  making decisions while grieving and under stress isn’t easy anyways, but the yurt was my idea.  my idea has cost us a summer and all of our savings.  i found myself paralyzed and afraid, no longer trusting that i knew how to hear the Lord’s leading.  we’d go about visiting various apartments and houses in various cities nearby that we could afford.  we’d return home and weigh the choices before us and wonder.

From one man He made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live….

ok, we prayed.  where?

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