This homestead, family business, life we are living right now can only be described in one way. It goes like this…
This farm was born out of a dream of mine. When I say ‘dream,‘ I mean thoughts that pass back and forth from my heart to my mind and then return back to my heart, to lie there quietly until the hand of God touches them and revives them, and brings them forth for me to pray about. Then the cycle from the heart to the mind and back begins again. I call these my ’dreams dreamt in the Lord,’ because they are for his purposes.’ (Servant of God, Catherine Doherty in Apostolic Farming)
In many ways, lacking the spiritual depth and nuance of Catherine Doherty, I could have written this paragraph to describe how our current homestead came to be. It started early with a deep desire to do as much as we could ourselves. To have a forever home filled with family and memories.
Our first home with an acre of land where we planted a large garden and fruit trees we never saw to maturity.
Our second home with a tiny yard where I hung cloth diapers on the chainlink fence. More perennials we never saw the fruits of. Heidi working from home, speaking and writing. Beginning to dream of the day that Tim could do it with her. Those little desires that would grow and then recede as life seemed to ask something different of us. Until one day we drove by a house. The exact model we dreamed of owning, on 20 acres with beautiful photogenic outbuildings and that wistful, “what if” rose again. And Tim made a few phone calls and ran a few numbers and told Heidi it might be time to buy that forever home. Except not the one she saw. Or the next one, or the next ten or so we toured.
Until Heidi was done and, discouraged, asked Tim to stop looking. She didn’t want to have her dreams crushed yet again. It was less painful not to dream. But being a good husband, and a smart man, he ignored her. And we bought our “dream” homestead. Only it didn’t look much like the dream. We worked long, hard hours to remodel and start from scratch.
We cried tears of defeat and exhaustion.
Yet, the fruits began showing themselves. And one day the dream of our family home started to mix itself with dreams of a life of family lived together. Surely that would be too much to ask? Or would it…
The dreams started to grow and be refined and so long as we kept moving one God question at a time, those dreams never died no matter how impossible they felt.
”What do you want us to do next, Lord?”
Until what he wanted us to do was start working full time from home together.
Sooner than what we could ever have dreamed. The checklist of things to do first, as yet unfinished.
The guarantee of an income or place to sell, absent. And we did it anyway.
Our first summer, in all honesty, did not look like what we expected. In a beautiful and good way, the yes was simpler than we thought it would be.
It was trusting in the great unknown and continuing to live outside of what people understand as “normal” that was hard. It is challenging to say no to things to say yes to his things…but only after prayerfully seeking what that actually is. But we are learning.
The Lord has not stopped bringing our dream from heart to head and back again. We are learning it is not about the Lord asking us to be successful farmers (whatever that means anyway), but opening ourselves to the graces he wants to give us (and you) through the farming. A new understanding of feeding people and healthy families. A new understanding of simplicity, generosity, and joy. Even those three little words, received through prayer over the past few years, refining the dream in a way we couldn’t have anticipated.
Asking, “Have we gone to far?” And him responding, “No, do more.” or ”I’ve not asked you for that right now.” Again and again, people tell us they wish they could do what we do. We want that too, but we don’t (didn’t) do what you think.
All we did was let God dream with us for twenty years or so all while asking, “What do you want us to do next?”
What is he asking you? Have you asked?
Dream with God. It’s a pretty radical life changer in all the best ways.