A front porch on a farm will do many things to you—one is lead to more conversations and recollecting memories. The beau and I sat rocking—talking about where we started. Almost 15 years ago…with small dreams that we thought were big.
He was raised in Atlanta. Near Chastain Park. Some how this Alabama country girl and this city boy found each other. Hearing his stories of growing up near Buckhead–Saturdays spent at the golf club…and Sundays at a church just up the street–made me want to recreate those same memories for our children.
And I tried.
We were living in an apartment near the city when we found out we’d be parents. Thirteen years ago and so much has changed. We thought we needed this and that to bring home a baby–and before we knew it we were moving in our first home. Parker came in August–and just 14 months later our daughter Laney came. Growing up with a sister just 14 months older than me–I thought this was even more perfect. A boy. A girl. Life near the city…a church up the street–and we just needed to add the white picket fence to complete it.
It makes me laugh now. Wishing I could get inside that mind of mine in my first days of motherhood. Pouring over books trying to figure out how to do it all right. Scheduling naps like my life–and their futures–depended on it. Sitting at the poolside at the club making more friends with nannies than young moms. Playdates and music class–and standing in line for registration at the best preschool–and we’d move at the perfect time for the perfect school just a year before kindergarden. I thought…I really though–that was the stuff that mattered. Oh we had plans alright. Perfect ones.
For us–Africa…changed everything. Parker was 2 years old and Laney was just 1 when we took our first trip. I stood before those precious children and my life–flashes of my perfect world…intermingled with the reality of theirs. Now that we knew we couldn’t unforget–and now that we knew…we were responsible. I came home that summer in 2007 a different person…and I different mom. Sure I had traveled overseas before and even lived in a 3rd world country in my 20’s doing mission work. But going as a mom…a young mom…trying so hard to have everything in my own world “just right”–going this time…changed everything.
I was divinely ruined.
I thanked Him for nap time…when and however it happened. My children had a safe place to lay their heads. I cracked my organize homemade food from their ice cubes–overwhelmed how blessed we really were…thankful we even had snacks in between meals. I stood in preschool pick up line with blurred thoughts…that quickly helped me see that for too long…even as a believer–I had been living for myself rather than seeking, asking and following what Jesus REALLY wanted for my days as a mom and as His daughter who would do anything for Him.
Almost 15 years later–we rock on this front porch and watch them play and think about…how we got HERE.
I think if you would have asked me what my “real dreams” were back in those first years of mothering–I might have actually said THIS.
But. But I think I was scared. I think I was scared that I’d have to give up too much to have it. I believe the Lord has given us all desires that actually line up with His will for our lives–but some times we get so confused by the world around us and so afraid that if we take risks and choose to follow Him and what’s in our hearts…that we stand to lose more than what we could gain by living by the world’s standards or playing it safe.
As we began to take leaps of faith and make Wiphan Zambia a big part of our lives–we saw more and more things differently. Not only were our hearts changed…but so was our thinking. I’d call it the transforming of our minds. I think about the changes we made then…bit by bit—they felt SO big then. Instead of private school…we’d do this. We’d let those club costs go…and we’d do that. It didn’t all happen at once…but like the Velveteen Rabbit–bit by bit…our pretty fur fell off and we learned what it meant for US to really live.
As we rocked on this front porch watching them play…we shook our heads remembering how we talked of being done after 2 children. I have Africa to thank for growing our hearts to be open to whatever the LORD chooses for our family…far better than what we could plan for ourselves…
How will we send them all to college they ask? Wow–you have your hands full they say. But fuller our heart hearts. No–maybe not in the same preschool or schools we once started in…but they are growing up learning about what it means to really love and live for His dreams for us rather than ours…and the crazy thing is–watching their small dreams become big ones as they serve along side us…and even prepare to see their daddy off this Friday morning–not sad that he’s going but rather cheering him on and asking when it will be their turn to go with him…
These kids..have shaped these kids…
In ways I never knew possible. For us–they really changed everything. They don’t life without one another across the world–and to me…it’s so much better than the days I once dreamed for them to have. We started out with these perfect plans to find His instead…and what truth there is that His plans for us are GOOD, PLEASING and PERFECT.
Be encouraged that no matter how impossible following Him to the ends of the Earth in your current situation might seem–it’s not impossible…and if you follow–your life will change…maybe radically…but it will be so beautiful and even more than perfect if you follow His plans instead of your own.
And believe it or not–He will still give you sprinkles on your cake…more than you can imagine. Never in a million years did I think we’d be adding to our family the same year Richard and I turn 40…almost 15 years after starting to walk forever together. Now I rock in this nursery (once a living room beside our room…we are packing out this farmhouse!)…just amazed at how He has written our story. So many beautiful parts…3 children biologically…an adoption…hosting a most precious girl from Ukraine whose family would become our family…a miscarriage…another adoption…a farm and now a princess. Truly all more than I could have ever imagined or hoped for. And so we wait…again—for His most perfect plans in our lives to be filled…
After a sweet season of two Created for Care retreats…oh yes–the Lord asked us to more crazy in the middle of it all…and these two mommas to walk that road of loving and encouraging other mommas with I couldn’t be more thankful for…
And now we wait…for more…
So thankful how He leads and provides. And so thankful we didn’t settle for our own plans or add that white picket fence to our once perfect. Because this crazy–is so much better.
Truly. He writes the best stories. And this Sunday–I just had to remember…and relish…in His goodness in how He leads us…and what sweetness He gives and wants for us as we follow Him.
Celebrating all the Yes’s…no matter how crazy each one felt…and cheering you on as you say YES in this season to whatever He is calling you to.
Much love from the farm,