Mark and I have always had a heart for ministry and we have had a passion and desire to share with others the freedom we have found within our relationship with Jesus Christ. We have not found religon and we have not found tradition, we have found a real live relationship with Jesus Christ. A relationship that deepens every day we are alive and with every breath we breathe. Mark and I met at Camp Redcloud, I was the head wrangler, helping to run the horse program. Mark came on as the photographer/videographer/other camp stuff that needed doing. We met, we clicked, we became friends, then began dating, then got engaged, and then got married. After our honeymoon we drove to Minnesota to spend time with my family for a while and then we were going to head off into the while blue yonder, where ever the wind happen to take us. However, six months after we got married we got pregnant with our oldest daughter Maddie, getting pregnant stopped us in our tracks, and completely rearranged any plans we had conceived. We were crushed, our dreams of the wild blue yonder had not only been put on hold, it had been completely squashed and mashed. Our dreams died and in a way we died emotionally and mentally, which lead to struggling spiritually, and end in physical ailments as well. What God had really done in giving us our beautiful, amazing, oldest daughter was begin to teach Mark and I that which we would need to know when it was time for us to go back out into ministry. We would need the skills it takes to be a parent, it would take the patience it takes for parenting, and it would take eight years of training (that’s how long we’ve been married). What we perceived as torture and God’s slap to our face, was in actuality, God training and teaching Mark and I. Our kid’s are our greatest testimony to God’s goodness, peace, and joy. He would raise us up as a family and he would send us out as a family!
The first four years of our marriage we were in literal survival mode! Mark was working full time, going to school full time, doing homework, and trying to minister as a husband and a father. Maddie was a colicky baby, the twins were not hard individually, but there were two babies who had huge needs at one time. I was often acting as a single parent, because Mark was out providing or learning to provide for us. Mark and I also had so many needs ourselves and we were working so hard individually for the good of our family that we were often left with nothing left to give each other. But, we needed emotional support from each other and we had none to give. Thankfully, at these low points God was faithful to intercede and bring us times of renewel both for our marriage and as individuals. We also have the blessing of living near family who circled their wagons around us and loved on us, giving us the much needed rest and refuge we needed to heal and to prepare us for when we would be sent back out.
Working at camp in the horse program was one of the sweetest times in my life. I was able to work with my hands, work with creation, and get my hands dirty. I am happiest when in a barn getting dirty or working in a garden. Over the course of this last year God has really begun to place on my heart the desire to farm, raising our own chickens, having our own eggs, raising a few cows for their beef and having a few to milk. I desire to have a big herb garden and a big veggie garden. Having fresh organic good for us food is the culmination, the literal fruit of living the life that brings me the greatest joy. The food is not the end goal, the joy I receive in the work is the purpose, what we get from the work is the blessing! This winter I began praying that God would begin to prepare our land, that he would begin working all the details out of how it would happen, I began praying for everything to fall into place. I wanted to not only work the land, but I wanted to use it for God’s glory, I wanted to some how use it as a place of refuge and rest for those who needed it. I desire to grow food that is nutritious and delicious, but doesn’t cost someones arm in payment. I wanted God to be able to heal hearts and bodies through whatever land he is to give us. I don’t know what this looks like, but I do know God does not give us desires, dreams, and visions for no reason. I do also know it will take hard work, but that’s ok, because loving life, having anything worth while takes prayer, God involvement, hard work, and sometimes tears in the waiting process.
I do also know that Mark was not on board when I first began dreaming. He was comfy in our life as it is, but recently God has even begun to stir Mark’s heart towards the vision of farming and growing. Mark has not only begun to get on board with my crazy farm dream, but has begun to add his own visions and dreams! Mark and I being on the same page is as big of a miracle as Peter walking on water! We still have no answers, we still do not have any direction as to when, where, and how, but we know God has his own timing, we know even now he is working. We are excited at how God is moving in our lives, it is fun to hear our kiddo’s talking and dreaming along with us. It is fun to hear them get excited at being in nature, growing yummy food, raising animals, and sharing our dream together.
When Mark and I got married we went a completely different direction than I thought we would go and we fought against it! We kicked and screamed in an adult fashioned tantrum, we were certain our dreams were dashed. God did not dash our dreams, he simply pulled us aside for further instruction before sending us out on a greater adventure than we could have ever hoped or dreamed. It has been a painful process because we did not trust the Father with the direction he sent us, we did not trust his hand upon us. We have begun to seek our Heavenly father for forgiveness in our distrust of him. Our Abba is beginning to give back to us more than we could ever have fathomed. The waiting is amazingly hard because we want what he has to give us right now, we are ready for the command to go, but we do not even know where it is we would go. We do not know if the ministry he has for us is in our own backyard or if it’s in the backyard of a farm. We do not know if the ministry our Heavenly Father has us to do is in southern Minnesota or northern Minnesota. We don’t know, but God knows, and we can rest assured and be at peace that Abba knows exactly where we are going and that he has our best in mind! His plans are not to harm me or frustrate me, but to give me a hope and a future! We wait upon the Lord, he is our strong tower, and we wait watchfully for the steps he would have us take next. It’s an exciting time to watch God at work in our lives, the waiting period is just as much about training and teaching as other moments in our lives. It is easy to let fear and anxiety creep in, it is easy to freak out, because God is not moving or helping RIGHT NOW! It is easy to get antsy and move in freak out mode and be about the Lord’s business in going to the next step, but if we move literal or figuratively before God is ready for us, then we will only make the situation more frustrating than it needs to be. It is also a very real fear that we will be rejected, looked down upon, and scorned for stepping out in faith and pursuing ministry opportunities. It seems people have a mindset of what and when it is ok and is not ok to step out in faith. We want it to look safe, profitable, and stable, and if it looks like anything else definitely must not be the Lord. But, God does not always ask when it’s safe, profitable, or stable. It is often the opposite, he often asks us to jump and leap before the safety or stable happen, and even the profitable doesn’t always happen even after God has caught us. Stability and safety will only happen when we cross over from earth to heaven, only then will safety be found! So let us trust the Lord, let us wait and watch with great expectation when someone dares to step out and trust the Lord. Let’s send them out with prayers and support, trusting them to Abba.
So, we don’t know where we are going, when we are going, or if we will go, but we know God is stirring our hearts, we do know that he has begun to heal and answer prayers we have been seeking answers to for a couple of years. Answers to everything from Mark’s gut, to wanting to farm, to which direction do we go now. We do know when he calls, we are ready. I pray that when God calls you whether it’s calling your heart to salvation, calling you to trust him when fear wants to rule, or calling you to that which seems strange but you know it’s the right path, I pray that when Abba calls you, with joy you will answer and obey! Shalom!