It’s funny how you can look back on your life and see the hand of Yahweh (God) working. It seems the times I felt the most alone was when He was there quietly standing beside me, holding my hand through it all. Glancing out my window at the beauty that surrounds this home, I marvel at the circumstances which brought me where I am in life. And I’m reminded of His continuous guidance.
I was eleven or so when my father bought the 34 acres we’re on now. At that time, I lived with my mother, sister, step-father and step-brother in California. But even though I was thousands of miles away and there wasn’t really any reason for him to expect this to change, my dad held to a dream that perhaps I might live with him on this land one day.
Several years later I experienced one of those moments that forever change the direction of your life. I was fifteen. Rebellious. Angry. Headed for disaster. And very hungover.
I was sitting on the couch of the apartment I shared with my mom and my sister, when the two of them came back home from running an errand. At first I was confused when my mom walked in the door with tears in her eyes and regret written all over her face. She looked at me and said, “I love you, Ken.” Then an unexpected presence stepped into the room and it was all made clear. It was my dad. He’d come to take me away.
From that moment on my world changed. The next few years were extremely difficult for me. Life was hard. And I felt very alone.
I spent a lot of time daydreaming about my future. I couldn’t wait to be “free”, and to start a family of my own one day. I had no model to follow, no example to look to, but I was determined to have the family I always longed for during the troubled years of my childhood.
Often, when I just wanted to get out of the little trailer my dad and I shared, I’d take a walk to my favorite place on our property. Beyond the pond, at the top of the highest ridge on our land was a thicket of pine trees, and a clearing overlooking green hills as far as the eye could see. This was my place. Quiet. Peaceful. My place to dream, and talk to God.
Four years later I was married and on my own. A lot had changed though. I was no longer the hard-hearted teenager I once was, but had given myself to the Lord. I was finally happy. I was finally beginning my life.
Fast forward eight wonderful years. Still very happily married, I was now a mother of two precious children. The Lord had answered my tearful prayers from so many years earlier. I was loving life and the new family Jerry and I were making together.
And then, one sunny afternoon, I had another one of those forever life changing moments. I met Ms. Addy, the woman at the Farmer’s Market who would teach me a whole new way of living. Through her patience and kind mentoring, a spark was ignited in me, the very spark which has now fully flamed into a passion for simple living. It was this initial spark which led us to where we are now.
That very year, we found a home we would never have dreamed would be possible for us to afford. And my father blessed us with an acre of his land to move that home to.
An acre of land, beyond the pond, at the top of the highest ridge on our land where there was a thicket of pine trees, and a clearing overlooking green hills as far as the eye could see.
It was now my own. That very place that was my peace and my refuge so many years earlier. It would now be my refuge once more, and a place for my children to grow up, happy and free. Two years into living on this land, and two more beautiful children later, I am happier than I ever thought possible.
And I still sit outside sometimes as I did what seems a lifetime ago, and look out over the distant hills, and I daydream and pray. Only now my soul is filled with joy. And my tears are those of gratefulness. My daydreams are now of a different kind of “freedom”, and my prayers are full of thanks for all that the Lord has given me. Especially my family.
It’s funny how you can look back on your life and see the hand of Yahweh working.