We tried to sell the land. It didn’t work. We tried working with a realtor, but no one was willing to list it for what we wanted, or even at a bare minimum, what we owed. We sold our rabbits and chickens. (Except for my oldest son’s favorite rabbit. We kept her. More on that story in a future post.) We gave away countless things so we could leave the most important things we needed in storage. We were in the process of trying to figure out finances and how to do the next step when my husband had to take an unpaid leave of absence from work. There were regulations he was unwilling to comply with any longer because it was part of what was causing him so many problems with his mental health. We didn’t know how any of this was going to work. How would we have the money to do anything?
We let our friends know what was going on and that we were going to be moving soon, so they had their RV transported back to them. And then we left to go on a trip to visit family, see some things that the kids had on their bucket lists, and take time to rest. It was bittersweet. Walking away from the land I loved so much and trusting God to restore our marriage and our family without knowing the exact next step was hard. And still having a land payment meant that a lot of our finances were tied up in it.
But we left. While we were with family, we found out that the company we had mortgaged the land through was willing to cancel our contract and take back the land. We would make no extra money for the improvements we had made on the land, but we got to walk away free and clear. Was I willing to let it go? Honestly, it was still hard to say yes. I wanted to hold onto it or wait for a time when we could make money from it. I had invested blood, sweat, and tears into the land, and letting it go meant that all of that amounted to nothing.
But we said yes to their offer. We let it go, handed it back, and said, “goodbye.” It felt like so many of my dreams died. And that the 3.5 years we spent in VA had been all for nothing. Truthfully, I’m still processing all of this, but right now I feel such a sense of peace about it all.
The land was a safe haven for our family. It was a safe place to be during the pandemic. It was somewhere my kids were free to roam without hindrance or restriction. No one put any barriers in place for them to just be kids. They were safe from the regulations and restrictions that plagued our state. They could experience childhood through adventure and curiosity and it was beautiful. They still talk about how much they miss the land. I tried so hard to keep my struggles from them. To show them the good in the challenging situation we were in. I kept my pain and disappointments private so that all they would remember about living on the land was good.
We learned so much about growth and loss and animal husbandry. We farmed and had an abundant crop of banana peppers, onions, sage, basil, aloe, cucumbers, and sunflowers. They got to explore the forest and have daily adventures with the cats and dog and chasing chickens. We got to see fireflies ascend from the ground as the daylight went behind the trees and watch the full moon move across the sky. We experienced so many things good and bad.
But if we had hung onto the land and tried to keep it afloat, we would’ve sacrificed our more important dream. Our dream to have a thriving, Godly marriage and a stable home for our children to grow up in. Our dream to have children who know for certain that they are loved by both their father and mother. If we had forced ourselves to stay on the land, when the Lord was releasing us to go, everything my heart truly desired would’ve been destroyed. The Lord showed me that we couldn’t let the little dream destroy the bigger, more important one.
I know many of you are pursuing dreams. I know how to push through trials and how to overcome. But I am also learning that overcoming doesn’t mean hanging onto everything the way you thought the dream should play out. Pursuing the dream sometimes requires letting it go, putting it back in God’s hands, and allowing Him time to do something new.
It’s critical to learn to discern that some obstacles are a sign to point you in a new direction instead of a barricade in the middle of the path you think you should stay on.
“Behold, I do a new thing, shall it not spring forth?”
Outside of my relationship with the Lord, the most important relationship in my life is the one I have with my husband. My kids come after that. The pursuit of a dream should never be to the detriment of those relationships. I talk a lot about not doing all the things, but to do the things that matter the most.
In my anguish, I remember praying many times for the Lord to help. I wanted Him to take away the hard season we were in. Drop a million dollars in our bank account so that my husband would no longer feel compelled to work so far away. So, I could have a second car where we could make friends and go places during the day.
The Lord allowed us to walk through that very dark season. I would never wish what we went through on anyone. But it strengthened our faith and our resolve to guard our family more diligently. It caused us to see things from a perspective we never could have without it. It made us more compassionate toward people in need. We experienced life in ways that will mark me forever.
And now, as I sit in my bedroom finishing this post, I look back at the goodness of God and my heart is humbled and filled with such gratitude. We spent longer with my husband’s family than we had planned, waiting for the next step. And then we spent some time with my mom while she healed from sickness, and met an amazing couple who love Jesus and showed us what generosity to strangers looks like. And then the Lord finally led us into a home of our own. It’s a rental. It’s in Texas. But it’s beautiful.
And there is peace here. For the first time in a long time, we can both breathe. Our relationship is healing. We are healing from hurts we didn’t know we needed to heal from. We are building better relationships with our children. All the pain from the previous season is being woven into the fabric of our story. I can see the Lord’s hand over all of it.
As I look back, I can see how the challenges with building a home on the land were His protection over us. We were never meant to stay there. It was a stepping stone. A valley. A place of learning, leaning on Him, and trusting even in the midst of the hardest challenges we had ever faced. It was a place of refining. It was a place of testing. And everything was tested. Our faithfulness, our values, our trust in God, all of it was laid bare and tested in the fire. We walked away with the most important things outside of our relationship with God, and that was each other. If you are pursuing a dream, and it’s killing everything you love, then maybe it’s time to ask the Lord what He wants you to do with that dream. It might mean answering a hard question like the one I was asked, “Are you ready to let it go?” so that you can pursue a more important dream.