One of the last things our son wanted to do as a family, before leaving for bootcamp, was watch Master and Commander. I’m not generally a fan of Russell Crowe, but that movie is phenomenal. Many times over, it’s clear: it’s not human cunning, nor the battle plan, but providence, that guides one’s path along the waters.
So he headed off 8 days ago. 8 days of quarantine down. 6 more to go. Then his bootcamp adventure will begin.
And the very next day, we moved into nearly-full-time packing mode. Packing up kids’ books (a-GAIN). Sorting and discarding unnecessary possessions (a-GAIN). Making final decisions before we move (a-GAIN).
This move has had me thinking- I must become smaller.
But that’s hard to do when there’s 11 people in the family. You can downsize to a degree, but there’s no real option of Marie-Kondo-ing your whole life when you have a massive amount of people and not a massive amount of money.
This has come to mind:
“He must become greater and I must become less.”John 3:30
And by that, I mean everything needs to become less. My physical footprint. My digital/social media footprint. My “influence” footprint. At this juncture in life, I am not interested in “platform” and “reach” and “followers.” That stuff skeeves me out. It’s all I can do to just follow the Lord for me, myself, and I.
So as I’ve been packing up our home, I’ve been contemplating, how, and what to cut.
The decisions feel surgical. How much can be cut away? How much must be cut away? If I cut too much, I can’t easily replace it, and maybe never can replace it. But nonetheless… it’s been a brain refrain:
My footprint must be smaller.
You see, we have a change ahead. And for those of you who know us, that probably won’t be surprising to you.
Except it has surprised me. I keep wishing I could slow down. I keep wanting the changes to stop, and yet they don’t.
See, it’s like I’m headed downriver in a kayak. But in years past, when I saw a dicey part of the river coming up around the bend, I could (in my strength and with great zeal!) paddle to one side for a smidgey bit and take time to assess—
- how am I gonna ride this one out?
- which part looks the most passable?
- how can we do this?
But now, as I bob down the river, my kayak looks unimpressive. And there’s no paddle in my hand. Somehow I lost it a few rapids ago. I’m tired and older, and I lack strength. What used to feel adventurous now just feels… tiring.
And from my current spot, I can’t yet see what’s around the bend. I mean, we think we got a glimpse, but there’s no certainty. We have an opportunity to buy a business, and have been pursuing it for a few months now.
What we didn’t fully foresee was my husband’s lay-off due to Covid. In a way, it confirmed our path, but in a different way, it has put us (yet again) in a position of not being able to KNOW FOR CERTAIN what’s coming, before we are forced to go on and stick out our feet and take a step forward into the great unknown.
I don’t get it, why we have to stay on this path of Trusting God through Unknown Situations, and I don’t particularly like it. As I float closer and closer to the coming rapids, I’ve realized that it’s like I’m holding my breath waiting… for what? rescue? clarity? certainty?
But nothing comes.
And my kayak is getting older by the day.
And I still don’t have a paddle.
The only thing I know is that I know the Maker of the River.
- I don’t know that we won’t wash up on a shore we didn’t expect.
- I don’t know that we won’t drown, or nearly drown, along the way.
- I haven’t floated this river before, and I am not promised that there’s not a waterfall that’ll crash my boat to splinters.
- I am not promised to be able to run this boat aground on the beach that I think we’re headed for.
And I have all these little passengers in my boat, too. I didn’t mention them yet, but they’re here with me and the thing is, I know that the Maker of the River sees them and loves them. Yet I also have gone far enough downriver to know that I can’t bubble wrap them and keep them from experiencing the rapids of life.
I don’t know what His plans are but I know His plans for them are GOOD. Even if that plan includes many rapids.
Frozen In Our Tracks
So then, boy howdy, a few days into our pack-o-rama journey, here comes this Texas freeze. It’s a Texas freeze the likes of which us native-Texans who have lived more than half our lives in Texas have NEVER seen. No one we know has experienced a Texas freeze like this. It’s exposing all the cracks in our infrastructure, energy grid, habits, and skills– Texas isn’t built for this. Good gravy, it’s COLD.
It’s stopped us in our tracks.
- The water pump froze, so we don’t have showers, laundry, dish water, any of it.
- The electricity is on and off in cycles of anywhere from 12-30 minutes.
- Suddenly all our energy has gone to things like, hauling and chopping wood. Thinking up meals that don’t require appliances or consistent heat.
- The dishes pile is giving the laundry pile a run for its money, and it just might win in the end.
- And it seems like everything outside– snow, dirt, moss, splinters, and COLD– is all on the inside of my house. 🙂
So here we are, at this juncture of the river. Knowing there are rapids coming, but not really able to tell anyone what those rapids for sure look like.
I got Facebook messages asking, but the truth is, I can’t answer your question about, “where we’re moving” because I don’t really know for certain where this humble kayak will wash up next.
What we THINK is…
- we are buying a business in Colorado, and as long as everything goes forward (which it is right now)… then the finances would close in April, and we’d be moving there in May and running it over the summer.
- and then hopefully… we’d be renting or buying a home in Texas in the fall, to spend our fall/winter/spring near family and friends, and spending each summer in the mountains of Colorado.
Lord willing, this is what we are stepping toward.
But we are not assured of this yet.
I’m just a girl without a paddle, and I think I know where the kayak is pointed but I’m honestly not 100% sure. And I won’t be until it runs aground.
That’s an uncomfortable truth to write. I wish I could write with more certainty. I wish I could give a respectable answer that makes sense to everyone– one that gets head-nods all around.
But that isn’t what I’ve got.
The only thing I know for sure is I know the Maker of the River.
And even when He lets us go paddle-less downriver, He’s GOOD. He really, really is.
For now, though, I need to get some things done because the power is back on.
5 thoughts on “I Can’t See Downriver”
It’s great to hear an update. May the Lord continue to bless you as you surrender to Him. I will say a prayer for you right now.
Also… what a great looking family.❤
What a great analogy, and thank you for reorienting me to the One who CAN see downriver! We’re in a time of a lot of uncertainty (for us! Not nearly as much as you have!) and while the last few weeks have brought a lot of clarity (we made church and school related decisions), we still don’t see very far downriver, which is a new feeling for us, with my husband having been in the military and us always being told where to go!
Thank you for sharing, and for the update.
Love hearing your update even if it isn’t an easy one for your family.
Praying for clarity and peace as you trust the maker of the river
I’m always inspired and/or encouraged when I read your blogs! I Watched the vlog about the pigs/chickens earlier today, did they get sold? I’m praying for the boys who’ll miss their “friends”!! I’m also praying for everything to go well with Ethan and for him to excel at bootcamp! I’m praying for Baxter just because he was “mine” for a few hours every weekday for 7 weeks and my heart still has a special place for those kids! I’ll be praying for this “trip downriver” that you’re taking and giVing praise for all that will happen because y’all Do Know THE MAKER OF THE RIVER!!