This is a story of a dream come true.
I suppose it began a long time ago when I was just a little girl. You see, I grew up in a little red brick house that sat on an acre of land. It wasn’t the house or the land that made it particularly special – it was the way my parents created a home out of love for our family and faith in God. And yet even though a sacred home can be created in any location, this little spot was heaven to me. The sloping hill with shady maple trees, the springtime blossoms, the summertime apples and sweet cherries, the old red barn, the pasture that stretched on for what seemed like miles…these are the things I treasured. This was home to me.
So I guess it shouldn’t have surprised me that when I grew up and moved away, all I ever really wanted to do was move back home. Maybe not literally, but figuratively I had this dream to create for my own family what my parents created for me.
Since Patrick and I have been married, we have lived in eight different abodes and have brought our “home” with us wherever we’ve gone. And yet, even so, there’s been this yearning in my heart to find a spot of land in this great big world where the location, the surroundings, and the area feel similar to the home I had as a child.
When we built our house where we now live, it was so close to perfection. We built our cozy cottage perched on a hill with splendid valley views. It has a large yard and sits in a quiet neighborhood. And to everyone else’s standards, it’s perfection indeed. But even before we started building, Patrick and I had been looking for land. It was our shared dream to build a home on a few acres somewhere in the countryside, but that dream was not yet to be. We did not have sufficient funds for acres of land, so we decided to purchase our 1/3 acre lot and make an untamed rocky hillside into a haven of sunshine for our children. But we promised each other that one day the farmland would come. And I always knew in my heart that it would.
For three years we settled into this bright little cottage, creating a home and taming the wilderness. With generous help from family, friends, and neighbors, and through our blood, sweat, and tears, we hauled boulders, raked rocks, spread ten dump trucks of fill dirt, bordered gardens, brought in truckloads of compost, built a sandbox, laid pallets of sod, planted six fruit trees, and dozens of flowers and bushes. It was truly a labor of love and our yard seems to smile at me every time I look at it.
During this time, I kept my “Farmhouse Dream” alive in my heart. I told only a few close friends and family members because most people just didn’t understand why I would ever want to move. So I prayed for contentment with what the Lord had given me and I worked for it every day. With time, I fell so in love with this “Sunhaven Cottage” and it’s outdoor eden that I thought maybe my childhood dream was not meant to come true. I tucked this dream on a shelf in my heart and decided to come alive in the home I was in. So we lived and laughed and cried and played and made so many memories that I will cherish forever. But every so often, I would take out my little Farmhouse Dream and feel this twinge of “what if?” What if this dream could still come true? But was it selfish? Should I just give it up and stay here forever?
I took my questions to the Lord and He answered with a host of feelings and assurances that now take up pages in my journal. And through it all, He whispered so gently that there would be a farmhouse someday and my Farmland Dream would indeed come true. His whispers reassured me that my dream was not selfish but intrinsically connected to who I am and my purpose in life. The answers from on high calmed my fears and gave me the courage to live joyfully in the present while at the same time nurturing a hope for the future.
So last summer I began land searching. Not in any desperate, need-to-escape kind of way, but just so I could get a feel for the county we live in and where I would someday like to be. Many summer days after swimming lessons the children and I would go for a drive through the countryside and find plots of land for sale. It was a lovely pastime, but I never found anything I loved. I knew that when I saw it, I would know. It would be right and it would feel like home.
After a year of driving and dreaming, I decided that when our family outgrew the current bedroom situation in our cottage, it would be time to either move or finish the basement and settle in for the long haul. When I found I was expecting our fourth child at Christmas, we made plans to turn our daughter’s room into a shared bedroom for her and the new baby. With four children, we would still easily fit in our house, so I told the Lord that maybe in a year or two I would consider moving.
Then one day as I was vacuuming I noticed several damaged areas of the carpet and thought we would definitely need to redo the floors if we ever moved. I filed the idea in my long-term to-do list, but no more than a few days later, our son accidentally flooded the toilet with too much toilet paper and we had a small-scale flood on our hands. Two minutes of damage turned into two miserable months of repair and insurance calls and workers in and out of our home every waking minute while I was extremely morning sick. All the carpet was torn out and replaced with wood flooring that I had always wanted. I was grateful that this trial brought about such a fortuitous blessing. Because little did I know, that in the midst of the flood repairs, we would find our farmland…
It was a cold and snowy Sunday evening, just before dusk. We were on our way home from my parent’s Sunday dinner and I was feeling morning sick as usual. As we neared closer to home, I thought maybe a drive through the snowy countryside would do me good. So I asked Patrick if we could take the long way home, but I didn’t tell him where to go. I was hoping he would make a certain turn into a little town I love. It’s not on our way home–it’s a bit out of the way. But to my surprise, without a word, Patrick turned at the exact spot I had hoped. Just a little coincidence, but it didn’t stop there.
As we drove down the quiet country road, I remarked to my husband, “Why can’t there ever be any land for sale out here? I love this countryside! I wish there was just a little spot of land for sale!” I grew silent for a moment and reminisced on the evening a few years back when we had come out here to a sweet man’s homemade ice skating rink. We skated for hours and I had wished I could stay there forever.
Suddenly, pulling me out of my reverie, I noticed a little sign up ahead. “Is that a for sale sign?!” I exclaimed. We slowed down and pulled over to the side. Sure enough, the sign read “FOR SALE” and I got this overpowering feeling of warmth in my heart. This was it. I could feel it.
The next few days offered hope and momentary disappointment as we found out the land was already sold. But then we found out that there was another plot of land for sale in the very same field, but it was already under contract. But maybe, possibly, if the buyer fell through, the farmland could be ours. I felt so much peace throughout the whole process. When I prayed about it, I felt peace, like everything would work out exactly as it should. And work out it did. After a month of waiting, we were offered a piece of the farmland and we made an offer.
We still didn’t know how it would all work out. Now we’d have to sell our house right after we made it so beautiful. And how could I leave our friends and neighbors? We had grown so close to our church family here. I was still sick and we weren’t sure this was the right time to be moving and building – with a baby on the way. But each day, we put our trust in Heavenly Father and He guided us step by step – lighting the path in front of us.
The timing was definitely not my own. But the Lord knows best. He knows when we need to settle and when we need to move. And for some reason, this is our season to move. The house sold in less than a week. I didn’t even have time to put a for sale sign in the yard. And we have to be out now in just nine days.
There is still so much uncertainty that lies ahead. We hope to have our Farmhouse built by Autumn, but we will see how it goes. The Lord keeps opening doors and windows and little crawl spaces. So we follow where His Spirit leads and put our faith and trust in Him forever. He cradles our lives in His hands and is ever so involved in every detail. This is my faith.
So as we embark on this journey, I hope to share with you the adventure that lies in nurturing and growing a dream. I hope that deep in your heart you have special tucked-away dreams that are intrinsically connected to who you are and why you came to earth. As we follow the nudges of the Holy Ghost, we can sort out which dreams are God-given and when to plant and nurture them. May you have the courage to examine your seed-like dreams and surrender them to the Gardener. He will help them grow and bloom in His own due time. Of this you can be sure.