It basically comes down to this: I cannot explain my life.
I’m beginning to realize, in hindsight, that this is why I blog: these posts are an attempt to find meaning. To rationalize my fight against the weight of our culture’s materialistic expectations. To maintain the courage to live an unexplainable life. To live simply. To live with purpose. To take risks.
Blogging helps to remind me why I keep trying to do all these things.
Yet as my own life continues, I find myself often afraid of that very calling. Or at least confused by it. Or full of doubt, wondering if I’m too conceited or self-obsessed – maybe I need to conform, to sit down, to stop speaking. What if, after encouraging people to live an adventurous life, my own journey comes to an untimely end? The last thing I want to be is yet another example of how taking risks is just another form of irresponsible living.
Or even worse: what if I reach the point where I’m no longer willing to live the life I am endorsing?
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In June we returned from our trip, weary and uncertain, financially poor and full of doubts. We were aglow from the burn of new adventures. During that time, and after much consideration, we decided that moving to the city was the right thing to do. Since we homeschool our children and do not get the easy interaction that comes with having children in public school, we believed that living in close proximity to people would better allow us to contribute to a community.
It was with much excitement that we began looking to purchase a house in the city of Lancaster. I still didn’t have work lined up, so we started slowly, patiently, unwilling to commit to purchasing a house until a new project came through. During that time, we lost out on multiple houses we would have loved, simply because we felt a still, small voice whispering, “Wait.”
Then, a new project, and we felt the reins loosen a bit. We got more serious about buying. Still, each place we looked at, and liked, fell through for one reason or another. The ones we liked the most sold to other buyers almost immediately. We shifted our search to a small town south of the city. We found a place. We put in an offer. They countered.
Maile and I prayed. We prayed hard. Is this where you want us, God? Is this what we’re supposed to do? Is this where you want our family? Maile even told me later that on the morning we needed to submit our signed offer, she prayed, God, if you have something else for us, you’d better make it happen quickly.
Before signing the counter-offer, I happened to talk to a friend.
“I can’t believe I didn’t think of this before,” he said. “And you’re free to move forward with the house if you’d like. But I’ve got a cabin on 40 acres in southern Lancaster County. You’re welcome to stay there for one year if you’d like. It’s up to you.”
The picture at the top of the post is of my dad helping me clear the yard where we’ll be living for the next year.
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There is a peace that comes when I do not hold tightly on to my own desires. When I allow the Spirit to move me and nudge me. When my prayerful wife and I submit to one another, knowing that we are both seeking with all of our hearts. It is with great peace that we accepted his offer, and it is with great excitement that we look forward to November, when we will move, once again, into the middle of nowhere.
And this is where my not understanding comes into play. This is when I cannot explain things. Because, logically, I agree with Christians who say we should live in cities. We should live among people, where we can help the poor and the sick and be good neighbors. I understand that. I agree with it. What I don’t understand is why God continually leads us, as a family, in a different direction, into remote places of peace.
Could it be that God believes I am a more productive writer in that environment? Could it be the best place for our family at this point? Could it be that life is full of seasons, and that some day we will be the outwardly missional family I envision, but that right now, for some reason unbeknownst to us, we are supposed to live in a 40-acre wood at the end of a half-mile lane?
I don’t know. I don’t always understand. I cannot always explain my life. But I know this: as Maile and I struggled to remain patient, God was there for us. When we don’t understand, he is there for us. When bad things happen, he is there for us. When we ran out of money this summer, he was there for us. And, when unexpected grace after grace falls from the sky, he is there with us.
This is why I blog.
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When’s the last time you were confused by God?