I want to talk to you from the mountaintop. From a peak that is so high, at the end of a trail that has come so far that the place where you started is just a speck in the distance, too small and too fuzzy to clearly make out. But the reality is that on a lot of days I feel like I’m still in the valley. Still trudging through, still trying to find the clearly marked path and the way forward.
A little more than three months ago my husband and I decided we needed a fresh start, a new place, a clean(er) slate. Burdened by debt that enslaved us and a place that had started to feel less and less like home we decided to leave the desert of Arizona for the mountains of far Northern California. In so many ways it was a coming home and in others just the first step on a road we feel God is calling us to take.
Quite literally we came “home” to my childhood home, to live with my parents on their cattle ranch outside of Yreka, California. I remember calling my parents on a Saturday morning in early June, asking if they would be willing to have “house guests” for the next 9-12 months. Their immediate and resounding “yes” was followed by my immediate removal all of the pictures from the walls of our house in Gilbert. I think it startled my husband just a little, but something in me knew that we would be tempted to stay and it was better to rip the bandaid off and get going. I was both overwhelmed and exhilarated and over the course of the next seven days we prepped, packed and ultimately listed our 3,200+ square foot house for sale.
It was a whirlwind and a marathon all wrapped into one. Days that seemed to drag on forever, but weeks that flew by at the speed of light. Just two weeks after deciding to move we packed a one-way rented RV and took Lily (7 years) and Katie (the Jack Russel Terrier, age unknown – a story for another day) to the ranch. Week after week we worked to minimize what we packed for our move and maximize what we gave away. In the end we brought my desk, a few chairs I love (I have a thing for chairs), a dining hutch I secretly loved (and no one else wanted) and a couple of other small pieces of furniture. We took 8+ loads of home goods and clothing to Goodwill and gave away everything else. Couches, tables, bedroom sets, mattresses, lamps, curtains. “Almost everything must go” became a mantra.
I was reminded over and over again the feelings I had when I read Robert Morris’ book The Blessed Life years earlier. I had sat at my kitchen table reading that book and had looked around and thought to myself, “one day, we’ll give this away and we’ll leave.” It was one of those crazy thoughts you keep to yourself, for fear your family and friends will start to hide the scissors from you and whisper about your sanity in corners of the kitchen at Thanksgiving. And to many people it might seem crazy. For us, it seemed ordained. Years before we reached the tipping point. Years before we made that phone call asking my parents for refuge. Years before God had laid it on my heart and had begun to prepare me to let it go. To lay it down. To set it aside and free my hands for something else.
And it was freeing. It was like a huge weight had been lifted off of us. You know how good it feels to purge your closet? This was like that, but on steroids. Now we only have the items we truly enjoy and even then it can feel like we have way too much stuff. Of course that might be because we’ve traded 3,200+ square feet of house for a room that is maybe 600 square feet at most. If you had told me on the day of my 11th birthday party (that was held in my parent’s pool house because March in Siskiyou County tends to be incredibly rainy), that one day I would be living in that same pool house with my husband and our daughter I would have called you crazy and said that will never happen. But if I’ve learned one thing from this crazy adventure called life, it’s to never say never.
Some days feel like mountaintop days. Some days are spent in the valley. This week the sale of our house in Gilbert will be finalized; that will be a mountaintop day. In less than ten days we’ll be paying off our all of our credit card debt; that will be a mountaintop day. On the days I worry that we don’t own our own home anymore. On the days I worry what other people might think. Those days are spent in the valley. But when I stop worrying about the world and instead focus and wonder what God has in store for us, all I have to do is look up and realize no matter where I am, no matter where we “live”, God is meeting us right where we’re at.
On the mountaintop, in the valley. In the highest of highs and the lowest of lows we are choosing to live in His will and choosing to have faith, to trust fully and to marvel at the beauty of His plans. We’re taking a reset year and He’s fulfilling His always better, always perfect, full of love plan.