So I am trying to write a bit every day or other day…. toward “the book” ….here is what will be a chapter from that book. I do not have a title for it just a lot of stories, some funny, some introspective, and some just realizations. But here is a bit of it….. (covers eyes and freaks out)….
One recent morning I was up extra early to run into the grocery store to grab some sugar. I have never been to the grocery store at 6:30 in the morning, and let me tell you that is optimal grocery shopping time. The store was so quiet and clean, if I were more awake I may have enjoyed it more. I actually carried my coffee in with me, even though it was going to be a quick trip. Anyway, as I left I waited at a red light. A red light where there were no cars coming from either of the other directions. Then as it turned green a suburban flew through the red light. It was one of those instances where you just think, “Oh my gosh that was close, good thing I’m still half asleep and took forever to put my foot on the gas pedal.” It could have been, just as easily, “Oh my gosh I’m half asleep and took off and got hit by this nut running a red light.” How many times has this happened to you? Near misses in your car? I feel like there are always these other things going on that end up saving you, and this is always when people say, “Someone up there must like you” or “your guardian Angel must be on it today”. I believe that is true. God is always putting up red lights in our life to help direct us on our path. Whether it be an actual red light encounter like I had this morning, that causes you to reflect or another type of red light which is also known as un-answered prayers.
As I look back on my life I see so many of these “red lights” that took me to where I am today. Especially during our marriage are these so evident. The first one that comes to mind is when we lived in Hendersonville, Tennessee. Rodney was with a publishing company and I was teaching so we were both gainfully employed, newly wed and starry eyed. We moved into a rent house in the cutest little neighborhood that was next to a rich neighborhood where many stars lived including Johnny Cash at one time. We loved the area, but our house was small and we were thinking about buying a house. I spent a lot of time looking at real estate until I found something that was adorable and I thought we can’t pass this up! We went and looked and decided it was perfect. The area was being “gentrified”, and the agent insured us that the value of the home was destined to skyrocket as this was the next “cool” area of Nashville to move to. Nevermind that the street over looked like the trash had not been picked up in a month, there were piles of trash at every curb. The houses had not been repaired in years. It was a situation that would have taken years for the rest of the area to catch up to that one street. Also why this house was in our price range. But we were optimistic and you could see the Nashville skyline from the yard. We were standing in the office about to sign papers and put in our offer and something made us take a quick break outside. We walked outside and could still see the people inside the office through the window. It was in the evening. Rodney and I were both wondering why we were feeling such hesitation for something we were praying for. But it was enough hesitation that we listened. Something just didn’t feel right. We backed out and left. Once home we began to look up information on the neighborhood (probably should have done that all beforehand but remember that part about newly wed and starry eyed?) and realized it was a hotbed of various crimes. Including but not limited to armed robbery and homicide. Not a good place to leave your new bride when you have to leave on tour for a month or more. Not that I am incapable of taking care of myself, but I’m sure you get the idea.
In this instance we were so excited and ready to hear only what we wanted to hear about this house. We could see ourselves in the living room putting up the first Christmas tree. But thankfully, God put it on our hearts to leave that office. At the time we didn’t see it that way. Hindsight is 20/20 they say and they are right. We were upset after this house debacle that we couldn’t find another house that was right. It was so unfair. (Insert giant eyeroll here). Little did we know we were not meant to stay in Nashville. Rodney was growing increasingly restless writing in a cubical, writing songs he didn’t care for and I was growing weary of cleaning up poop off the floor in the preschool class I was co-teaching. This was not the life we saw for ourselves and more importantly it was not the life God saw for us either. In fact, I know this was the first stop light we experienced that put us on the path toward where we are now.
We decided it was time to move back to Texas and we were going to take control of Rodney’s music career, together. It took us a whopping two weeks from decision to move out. Little did we realize we had set a precedent for ourselves, when we hear the call, we make the move. We have never had trouble with faith. Excellent leap takers we are.
We would end up with many more stop lights in our lives up to this point. We have had many real estate stop lights! Buying our own house was always high on my list, however we were also happy living in different cities or different parts of giant San Antonio. Everytime we came close to purchasing a home, something would fall through. I know now that this was divine intervention and not happenstance. Had we actually bought a home, I would have been complacent with staying at my job (which was a great one, that I loved even) and staying put. But it was the flexibility of the fact we didn’t own a home and that we were new parents that gave us the final push toward our current freedom.
The initial red light that started our journey to our year of travel was the rent house we were living in went up for sale. Of course, we put in an offer. It was an adorable house and in a pretty good neighborhood very close to my job. We were haggling over thousands of dollars when it came about that our house had a mold problem. Then a sink hole of sorts opened up in the side yard to reveal major foundation repairs (that we were not told about). Then several leaks in the ceiling. And if those things were not enough I started to find little tiny snakes in the kitchen. After some research and consulting with friends who know lots about reptiles we figured out these were Texas Blind snakes, who like to eat termites and ant larvae. So that probably meant that since I was finding on average one a day for a few weeks, meant there was probably some sort of termite or ant problem that we were not seeing. Do you see all of the red lights here?
My parents had also just retired, picked up and moved to Colorado. Which was brave after you have lived in Texas all your life. Rodney, Wyatt and I were on our way back to Texas from a visit and it hit us. I think it started as a conversation about how expensive rent was in San Antonio and how we needed to buy a house to save money, then we thought, what if I quit my job and we go on the road. Rodney was planning a tour and we could go along and make it a year long cross country tour!
So, we did. We made the decision in July. We moved out of our rent house turned nightmare in September, and my last day at work was in October. We were on the road by the end of December 2016. I know now, looking back at the year, that this was God’s way of refocusing us for our talents. I would have never started writing otherwise. I have a lot in here to get out! I’m not sure how else we would have ended up on this farm otherwise. I am meant to have my hands in the dirt, caring for plants and animals, something I have known forever but have not been able to do. Now our path has sent us here.
As I look back I see so many instances where I was so sad or depressed because something I thought I wanted so badly did not work out only to be sent something else in its place. You may know the Garth Brooks song, “Unanswered Prayers” he sings, “Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers” and as cheese ball as it sounds this could not be more true. These red lights and unanswered prayers have shaped us and led us to this life we are living now where we have never been happier. Once we started to listen to God’s direction things just got easier. When we actually trusted that He was going to take care of us and put us where we were supposed to go, it all fell into place. Sometimes you have to take your foot off the gas pedal and maybe even get out of the car all together.