After the beautiful discovery of Firefly Crossing, we decided to go back in the daytime to view the property. We went back again and again and again, until I said we could not go back anymore because everyone was getting too attached. The kids had picked out spots for a fort and a koi pond, we loved the land, and already knew that we would be devastated if it didn’t work out. So, we decided to put in an offer. The owners of the land live in Canada and I felt like God had laid it on my heart to send in a letter with the offer.
In the letter, I told them that I am a photographer, my husband is an appliance repair technician, we have 5 kids, we homeschool. I told them all about Lacey starting her rabbitry last year when she was only 8 years old and the backstory behind that (if you don’t already know it, the super brief version is that she sold $1,339 in cinnamon rolls in one week and homemade by herself 64 dozen in ONE week to raise the money to start her business). I told them these kids were born to live on a farm! Lacey would like to be chief farmhand over all the animals, Eli would like to raise bees and be head gardener, Luke would like to be in charge of machinery and tools, and the youngest two, Maddie and Levi would be in charge of mischief and mayhem. I explained that we desire for our children to grow up with deep roots in faith, family, love of nature, an appreciation for hard work, and lots of outdoor time….not tethered to devices. I said that we believed with all our hearts that their land was the next chapter of our story and asked if they would please consider our offer.
We received the most beautiful, unexpected, exciting response. Their family had moved from Canada to Wilmington in 2004 to start a ministry home for men coming out of prison, called Gracefalls. They purchased the property back then, thinking they would stay in the area, but felt like God called them back to Canada. They put the property up for sale and he said over the years it had gone under contract time and time again, for way more money than they were asking now, but the contracts always fell through. They did not understand why this kept happening, because it is such a treasure of a property, but believed it was for a spiritual reason and one day they would know.
After some discussion, he and his wife truly felt that all these years God had reserved that property for our family.
He offered to sell it to us for less than he paid for it, with two stipulations. One, we must promise to teach our children about what God is doing in their lives, why He kept that land for them, and what they can give God in return. The second stipulation was that after we build the farmhouse, they would like to make a trip down from Canada to meet us. We obviously agreed wholeheartedly and signed the paperwork to go under contract on Father’s Day after church. What a gift on Father’s Day from our Father in Heaven, showering blessings on His children, like the good, loving Father He is.
Friends, don’t ever doubt that He has a plan for your life. This plan for us was YEARS in the making. He was orchestrating it long before I ever met my husband, before we had these 5 precious children, long before we had this dream of land and a farm. Still, He was weaving our story, working in the intimate details of our lives. Luke 12:7 says “Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”
In fact, when I looked at the dates that the property was bought and then listed for sale all those years ago, I realized that He was weaving this into our story while I was in the midst of the lowest point in my life, incredibly lost in sin. When I was at my absolute worst, when He was knocking on the door of my heart and I was still turning Him away, when I was running 100 mph in the wrong direction, He sat lovingly and began working out plans to pour out blessings in my life. If you knew the full extent of my depravity, you might understand my complete, overwhelming thankfulness. He could have been planning my punishment for my despicable behavior, but instead, He was planning my future. I can almost picture Him saying, “I already know what choices Beth will make. She won’t stay here, in this place in her life where she has given away so much. One day she will choose me. I am already preparing a new life for her. I am molding Steve to become her husband and I can’t wait for them to meet these beautiful children I have wonderfully made just for them. And that farm they will wish for 15 years from now….I am already working on it.”
I have tears in my eyes thinking about it, because it is mercy I cannot fully comprehend and kindness I did not deserve. If you do not know Him like this, I would LOVE to share Him with you. There is nothing on earth that can compare. So, because of that, there is nothing on earth that will satisfy like a real relationship with Him. He loves you more than you can fathom.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
This also made me really reflect on the parenting choices that we make when our kids are at their absolute worst. How do I respond when they turn away from instruction, act out in a rebellious spirit, and don’t show the love and kindness that I know their sweet hearts are capable of? Do I plan what their punishment should be? Or do I make big plans for their future? Lord, help me to find ways to show them incredible love, how to balance necessary guidance and instruction with grace and mercy in these little years, where our patience is so often tested. Help me to remember the patience You had with me, when I was old enough to know better. “Love is patient, love is kind……it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” 1 Cor 13: 4,5
We were finally under contract, but there was so much to be done before we could make this property our own. I will share with you soon how it almost didn’t happen. It is so important, friends, to trust God when things go how you want as well as when your plans fall spectacularly apart. Following His plans for your life will always yield the best outcome. He already knows how your story ends, why not let Him lead you through the paths of your life, lean on Him through the valleys, and hold tight when you reach a hard-earned summit? Never let go. Never lose hope. He will NEVER leave you or forsake you. “Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you.” (Joshua 1:5). Y’all know what He did with Moses, right? Miracle after miracle after miracle. You’ve heard about that Red Sea parting? He said JUST as He was with Moses, He will also be with YOU. That alone is worth an “amen!” God is so good.