Sorry for the longest blog title in history, but I felt that not one or the other really captured the essence of this post. Although I should probably change it to “I’m Learning” instead of “I’ve Learned” because I’m totally not done learning. I don’t think I ever will be. But, alas... this is what I’ve learned so far...
A house is just a house.
The bigger, the more expensive, the better view, the most updated... it’s just a house. Or maybe we’re talking about a small house with weird colored walls and old countertops, not the prettiest or stylish... it’s also just a house.
This last year and a half was the first time I ever owned a home. It was also the most my husband had to be gone for work. So I learned very quickly that no matter how beautiful or perfect the house we’re living in is, if the family can’t really enjoy it together then who really cares how nice it is. To be honest I had a lot of people comment on our home saying how beautiful and nice it was and how blessed we were, and don’t get me wrong of course I know how blessed we’ve been, but it was hard for me to hear most of the time. I would think things like, “well you’re so blessed because your husband is home all the time.” I feel bad even admitting that, but hey, blogging is about honesty and real life, right?
I love our home and will be sad to walk away from it. But the reality is that the home aspect of the house will be going with us while the house is all we’ll be separating from. We made some awesome memories in the short 15 months of living there, and I will hold onto them tightly and look back on them fondly.
You make the most of where you go.
Sometimes where you’re called to go isn’t all that exciting at first but grows on you, and sometimes you’re excited for so many things and down the road find out it’s not quite what you expected. And sometimes the excitement is never really there but you obey anyways because you know His plans are always greater than yours... No matter the situation, make the best of it. Not just for yourself and your own sanity but for your marriage and your kids. View everything as if it’s an adventure, a new experience to behold with your loving family by your side. And everything is an adventure. If you let it be.
At first, the thought of moving back to North Dakota brought out a little bit of anger in me. I said, “then why did we even move back here? I’m NOT moving back to North Dakota.” I was pretty firm in that at first, but as usual I felt God knocking on my heart. “Why not?” He asked. “Well, we bought a house here. Started a business here. Thought we were finally putting down some roots!” Even when I protested I knew my answer was weak. Of course, I did legitimately think those things, but I knew there was some deeper stuff going on. I was mad that I dreamt of certain things happening that I felt really were going to happen only to find out it wouldn’t because we were leaving again. I was mad that we invested so much in living there only to move so suddenly. I felt cheated, like I was somehow getting the short end of the stick. We didn’t officially consider moving until after we went on our vacation at the end of the year. And thank God we went on that trip because I got a whole new perspective...
Prayerfully seek His guidance. (it's always the best option)
We felt His leading and instead of being confused or letting it just sit in the air until something happened we sought him together. And we got answers. Fast. I’m talking immediate confirmation...
I don't need to go into detail here, but let's just say that when you have a house unlikely to sell for months or possibly even years, and you decide to take it to the Lord and trust His leading, it becomes pretty clear when that house sells right away without you even having to put it on the market...
Prayerfully seeking His guidance is always the way to go! It may not end up how you think it will - it usually doesn't, He is usually pretty good at surprising us - but it will always, always be the best choice. Making decisions out of feelings or emotions can only prolong the good plans He has for us, and who wants that? Not me!
There has been many times in the short 3+ years my husband and I have been married where we've faced decisions and life choices that were difficult for us to make on our own. But our hearts were aligned with God's and we wanted to make the best choice for what He had for our family and everyone involved, and He made it clear to us as time went on. He never left us hanging nor do I believe He ever will. He's a good, good Father!
Everything is temporary.
Or as our dear friend said while we were visiting, “it’s just a house, man, it’s all going to burn up one day anyway!” I actually loved hearing that and felt a lot of freedom in it.
Of course I am not saying to treat your possessions poorly because it's all going to be gone one day anyway, so don't hear me wrong on that. I am saying that your possessions are not more important than your family, your life, or your relationships. So be careful what you are prioritizing.
And: see everything as an adventure.
My husband and I have been nomads since our coming together, but we’ve loved it. Everywhere we’ve been has been unique and holds a special place in our hearts. So why stop that mindset now? We’ve embraced every new season with excitement and open arms so we’re not about to go backwards in our growth.
At first, North Dakota sounds dreary and lonely. But as our attitudes have changed so have our eyes and we look forward to all the new possibilities in this time. We know we will be richly blessed for trusting and following the Lord, and that’s always exciting. But ultimately, our family will be together, and that’s the richest blessing of all.
And last thing I’ve learned (so far) in all this moving... it’s okay to dream.
What is life if you don’t have dreams? Dreaming has helped get me through many phases of life, including this last one. This last phase that we were so sure would be our time to get rooted, to plant ourselves in the community and stay for a long time. We saw so many things happening. I dreamed and planned and prayed for over two years while living here about a business I was sure to start in that small town. But guess what? It wasn’t all for nothing. Nothing was wasted, NOTHING.
It may be easy at first to say, “I failed because I didn’t do what I thought I was called to do,” but then I think about if I had done it in that short time. I would’ve missed out in very special and crucial times in my babies’ lives, I wouldn’t have been able to travel back and forth while my husband was away working a lot, and I’d probably be pretty tied down and stressed out in this time where we’ve decided to move again.
I learned a lot while dreaming. I learned that no matter what the outside sees or says, it is YOUR dream and nobody can take it away from you. Nobody can tell you what you can and can’t dream about or work towards. Is it good to listen to insightful wisdom and seek the council of people you respect? Yes. But it is not good to listen to the naysayers just because they don’t agree. At least, don’t let it defer you from your dream. Instead, let it fuel you. Because in some ways they might be right... your dream might be ridiculous, unheard of, crazy, far-fetched or improbable, but you can show them that that doesn’t matter. Not in an “I told you so” way or because you need to prove anything to anyone - trust me that will get old quick - but in an inspiring way. One that says, “you were right- this was hard... but I did it. I am proof that anything is possible.”
Imagine the life you will build for your kids if they grow up believing and knowing that anything is possible. That they are free to dream whatever dream is in their hearts. That hard work does pay off. And giving up isn’t an option.
And I don’t think of our family moving back to North Dakota as “giving up” just because I didn’t accomplish the specific dream I had for that small town. Who knows, maybe I inspired someone to dream the same dream and to take action on it. Or maybe we’ll be back someday to fulfill it. The thing is I don’t know and I’m not going to worry about it because we know where God is leading us in this moment and His plans are always good. And I decided a while back to live in the moment and to really enjoy it. I spent too long living in the future because I wanted the fulfilling of my dreams to fulfill me. But I realized something... I am fulfilled. I’m not just content but I’m fulfilled! Overjoyed, excited, filled with hope and positivity. I have a wonderful marriage with my best friend and I get to raise the two best little humans I ever could have imagined. Everything else is just highlights and lowlights ;) our surroundings and circumstances are temporary, even the house we live in and the things we buy, the people we live near, our dreams and desires... all temporary, passing with the seasons. Our family is what lasts forever. Marriage is forever - it’s supposed to be anyway - and our kids are forever. And how wonderful that we get to do all the temporary things together?