Friday, March 20, 2015

Lent journey: PLACE

For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come. Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to His name. And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God. Hebrews 13:14-16 (NLT)

Personal reflections:  Blaine and I live a semi-nomadic life with Christ.  We once had a pastor tell us that our life was similar to Abraham's in that God "showed us where to go and we would go."  

As a child, I grew up in the Air Force.  Every 2-3 years (it seemed), my Dad would get 'orders' to go to a new base and we would move again and again....  England, Tacoma (WA), Sacramento (CA), Fairbanks (AK),  Goldsboro (NC), Spokane (WA), Tucson (AZ), Fairchild (WA) and finally retiring in the Spokane Valley, (WA). 

I was determined not to live that lifestyle while raising children and decided I would not marry someone who was in the military.  Blaine definitely did not want to go into the military.  I was safe!  Yet, as an adult, Blaine and I ended up continuing the same pattern (just all in WA state); and with him mostly working for the same company! Spokane Valley, Federal Way, Crown Hill, between homes for several months, Crown Hill, Lynnwood, Bothell, Marysville, Burien, Greenwood/Phinney, and now.... Enumclaw.  I don't know how many times I searched (and continue searching) for "our farm" without ever being able to secure a place....  In high school, I told Blaine that I wanted to "run away and live off the land."  I wanted a place to be rooted and stay for many seasons ~ you know ~ generations of our family establishing in a place; being active members in a community.  The children grew up and are now scattered across the U.S. with two in the midwest and one remaining in Seattle.  But then, we did commit then to God from birth and prayed that He would enable them to spread their wings and fly for His glory and purpose for their lives.  And, I have prayed over and over, "Here I am, Lord.  Take and use me.  Where You go, Lord, I will follow."  You'd think I'd learn by now....  And, I have prayed for years and years and years for 'our farm.'  Our urban farm in Burien (for 7 years) is the closest we've come to reaching our dream.  Oh, to have a PLACE to call home; permanently.

Just this week, God reminded me of my calling:  Encouraging others!  Yes, Lord, I know - but my passion is farming; specifically biodynamic farming and wanting to share Joy Bell Farm with others.  That is my heart's desire!  And, You bless us so that we may bless others.  Right?!

Yesterday afternoon, Blaine and I talked outside in the area where the new garden is to be established.  While talking, I said that I realize my calling in this life is to 'encourage others,' but my personal passion/heart's desire is farming.  What God has created me to do though, is ENCOURAGE.  So, I've asked God's forgiveness in being distracted for so many years chasing a dream instead of making Him my #1 priority and focusing on my gift/calling.  Now, I realize what an incredible blessing it would be for God to provide Joy Bell Farm for us ~ but more importantly I desire to do His will for my life and be available to ENCOURAGE others whenever He desires me to do so, for He leads me to people, to places ~ with what I need to say or share or bless others with.  And, I am so thankful for the privilege of doing so, as He works through me and my life.

Today, I am taking the first step in walking a new path; the path of encouragement.  There have been so many times over the years when I have told God I don't want to encourage others, that I need encouragement too and that I'm worn out and tired and just done with it all.  But, even when I don't want to share encouragement, it just flows through me and I am compelled to share with others.  Now, I am finally fully embracing it and giving thanks to God for His amazing grace and patience with me.  I say anew, "Here I am, Lord.  Take and use me."  Be glorified today, Lord.  Blaine and I will continue to live our "Joy Bell Farm" lifestyle, but will not actively search for property moving forward.  If it is to be, God will bring the farm to us - if not, we will make wherever we are our Joy Bell Farm; even if it only is alive in our hearts.  It's not that we are giving up our dream, because we're not.  We are choosing to focus on God's calling for our lives for we have much to learn still!

Blaine and I may stay in Enumclaw the rest of our lives or God may move us on to a new place when He is finished working through me/us here.  I am so thankful for the beauty of this place where we live right now.  And, I'm thankful for the ways in which God is also showing us and enabling us to bless others.  Even as we create a garden at the rental property, we will enjoy the blessing now with the likelihood that others will follow....

This place where we are is our home, but our permanent home for all eternity is with God.  Wherever God desires for us to be, that is where we also desire to be.

God is good.  All the time.  

Please know ~ you are so loved.  May our amazing Lord bless you and keep you and make His face shine upon you; providing for your every need today and always....

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Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts! Abundant blessings on your day... Joanie