A Tree of Life
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
But desire fulfilled is a tree of life.”
We are starting on an adventure! And it’s been a long time coming.
I’ve been dreaming of exploring the world with my children. Even before I had any children (and before I knew WHO I would marry), I had intended to raise my children in another country.
However, that didn’t line up with my husband’s picture of family life. He had a more traditional view – get a job, buy a house, have kids, support a family, including a wife (me) who would stay home with his children – emphasis on “support a family.” I dreamed of getting married, having kids and staying home with them, too, but I never felt a burden for how provision for this family would happen. Supporting my dream of traveling with our kids was risky, and besides, I had lots of dreams (having a bunch of kids, home birthing, homeschooling, living in the country, raising our own food, having a milk cow, etc.), and he made those dreams come true as much as possible, including moving somewhere totally different.
So, although, we didn’t leave the country, we did move across this one, eight months after we married, bringing our 2 dogs and my cat, and all we owned in a truck and a little 8 ft enclosed trailer, driving from our native southern California to central Virginia, where my mother-in-law had grown up, and my husband had spent many summers as a child. In some ways, it was like moving to a foreign country, but MOST people spoke a form of English I could understand.
We started small – 700+ square foot house in the suburbs, had 3 little girls; we moved to a little bigger place – 1200 sq. ft. house in a semi-rural neighborhood, had 3 more kids (a boy and 2 girls) dreaming of living in the country (with another dream often bubbling up from the bottom of the pot); we had what seemed like a setback when our family of 8 moved into my husband’s grandfather’s home in a suburban neighborhood, bringing our menagerie of farm animals with us, to care for him in what would turn out to be his last days; not long after that, we found our place in the country, 45 acres with a spring-fed pond that was actually cool in the summer. It was away from any neighbors, almost half a mile off of a country road, and our kids (we added 3 more, a girl and 2 boys) could be wild and free there.
So, there was a catch, though. The place we moved to was an hour and a half away from my husband’s work. We did that on purpose. That was so that it would suck for him to work so far away, and would force him to start his own business so he could spend more time with us (is that how that even works?). However, it turned about to be enjoyable enough working there, despite the commute, and there was enough uncertainty about starting a business that things stayed as they were.
I tried to check my dreams at the door, go ahead and live like everyone else, but it never felt right. I felt like the Lord was asking me to fan the flames of my dreams instead of trying to just preserve coals. This didn’t make sense to me, since I thought that I would have to wait until my kids were grown before I could experience other cultures and people, satisfying my desire to know and understand people who are different than me, and find out in what ways they aren’t.
Then, I watched some movies.
And I listened to some songs.
And I started to pray.
(More on all of that in a different post.)
So, to bring this all to what I’m trying to tell you so I can finally post this… our family has made the decision to go on a journey together. Come February 10, 2018, we will be getting in our van, packed up with all we will take with us, and heading toward the Mexican border to learn what we will learn, disconnect from all the things that have been demanding our attention, reconnect as a family and reconnect with ourselves. We’re planning to be gone for 6 months to a year. The time is right, with our oldest child in her senior year of high school, and our youngest old enough to remember this adventure, our parents still able to care for themselves, and Jonathan and I able-bodied enough to have a great time doing this!
Obviously, there is a whole lot behind all that we are doing, how we’ve come to decide, and what we are doing to prepare. Rest assured, we will let you know in future posts.