There are things that are a blight on my past; dark smudges that keep my memories from having a pristine quality. Some of these smudges were made by my own reactions, but reactions are caused by actions of others. A decade ago, I would have taken on full responsibility for both the actions and reactions, but I’ve learned that responsibility and relationships are two-way streets. If it is ever a one-way street, it isn’t a relationship. Now, I eat my crow and grow, as well as forgive those who caused the hurtful actions. (Usually forgiveness has to be done without them being sorry. I’ve learned through much frustration, that most people aren’t as honest with themselves as I am. It’s a two-edged sword. I change for the better, but my easy-ish admittance puts a target on my back.)
Like I said, there were a lot of dark smudges on my past that, since 2006, God has been cleaning off. It was stressful. It was tense. It was dramatic. I looked like a fool.
But I changed.
Even if it was a little at a time, I did. I didn’t have a great start in “social norms”, and some of those social norms I think are nonsense. But I do look back at my past and at my ancestors’ lives. They were rarely a peaceful people. There were a few individuals that were, but most of us were rebels. Most of us do stupid, mouthy things that make people dislike us. Oh, well. Our family line continues.
And this is REALLY what I want to talk about. My family moved to the city when I was 10. From that time on, I dreamed often about returning to country living. In 2008, we were able to. Due to dealing with the past’s smudges and one particularly emotional hardship at that time, as well as herds of deer constantly eating our garden and orchard, life in the country was far from idyllic. In fact, it was really tough. Luckily, we aren’t pioneers, and my husband has a job outside the home. And life was rough on my family too.
But then we moved to our current home in 2016. It has been like a haven for us. The house seemed like home almost immediately, and little-by-little, we’ve added touches that make it even more so. It has been my goal to provide a peaceful setting for my family, free from critical attitudes. I will say that we will get into theological discussions that I get passionate about, but we’ve made huge steps towards peace in our home. It sounds terrible to some, but we’ve had to eliminate friends and family that create negativity in our space. We’ve simplified many things about our lives, because complexity is stressful.
We still work hard in our garden and home. We make living out the Great Commission our goal in life. We place value in being a part of our small-town/farming community. We will be making music together, and talking theology inside of a family ministry we are starting. We are putting pieces of homesteading life back into function, because they fell to the wayside during the difficult decade, plus two, that 2006-2018 was.
And I know that things are getting better, because a situation that was reminiscent of our past happened, and we bounced back fairly quickly. Our lessons learned from the past, although dark and smudgy, taught us that nothing is entirely our fault, and to not beat ourselves up over small mistakes. And to not let other people beat us up for our small mistakes. That’s not their right. We all will be accountable someday. I’d rather get my crap together this side of eternity.
My old heritage was tinged with abusive people. It created a toxic environment for my family. But our new heritage is one that we’ve been fighting for. That new heritage is a strong familial bond between our children and us, and our children with each other, and us with us. It is one that looks like grandkids coming to the farm to play in the orchard, swing on a swing, help Grandpa in the barn, while Grandma chats with Mom over tea or coffee on the porch. It is Sunday dinners filled with laughter and good memories. It is Christmastime where the floor is littered with colorful paper and the atmosphere tinkling with lights and excited voices. It is heads bowed, giving thanks to the Lord for all He has brought us through, and strengthened us by. It is obedience to His will. A life dependent on Him is one that we’ve found is much more peaceful, even in chaos that life throws. Our new heritage with be tinged with the love that we have for our children, and the love that we have for our God.