Recently my family decided to take on a big project of renovating an abandoned farm. The following is a Facebook post from my wife, Tammy, about our journey and adventure ahead. So Blessed that she is my soulmate and best friend.
My husband loves me wildly. It is my favorite thing about him. He has loved me since he was 14 years young. We met in high school and dated six years before getting married June 18, 1994.
Together we traveled the world with his professional basketball career, living in Italy, Russia, and Boise, Idaho. There were also stops in Chicago, Salt Lake City, and Hartford, Connecticut -16 addresses in 9 years. Intermittently, while jet setting, we were blessed with three sweet little boys and a precious girl.
Our lives were overflowing with the beautiful chaos that comes with parenting. We learned to trust and believe that God was guiding our steps and lighting our path. My husband retired from playing in 2004 and took a job as athletic director and coach at a private school. I was home schooling our children, and they were training me to be a parent. It was such a precious time of growing in the knowledge of our Creator and His creation, while my husband was thriving and fulfilled in his work.
Then we got a little restless. March Madness is a fun time for our basketball-loving family. Every year we fill out the bracket and enjoy watching the Cinderella teams advance. It was during this time that my husband announced he wanted to try coaching at the college level. And there just happened to be an open position at his alma mater. He applied and got the job.
The following five years would prove to be the most challenging of our marriage. Coaching at a D1 university is a tough gig. The hours are hard to imagine. It was not uncommon for him to work 60 hours during the week, then spend the weekend recruiting. His cell phone was always in hand, and often attached to his ear. All day, every day, he had to be available in case the prized recruit called.
We bought the t-shirts, the bumper stickers, hats, bags, shoes - you name it, we had our team logo emblazoned on everything. Happily attending every game, our family was all in. We would be elated after a victory and crushed after a loss. And we lost a lot - often by 20 points or more. During his second year on staff, he was a part of the worst team in school history. 8 wins, 24 losses. Devastating.
I developed an eye twitch and an unhealthy love for sleep. I started talking to the girl in my wedding photo. "Oh honey, don't be so naive. Did you really think marriage and motherhood would be all fun and games? Come on. Wipe that smile off your face and step over here into reality."
What I did not comprehend at the time was that we had created an idol for our family. College sports is so intense, so all-consuming, it is hard for non-sports people to understand. You can get very wrapped up in the rivalries and the hoopla. We unwittingly became so entrenched in the successes and failures of our university; it became the fulcrum of our lives.
Idols demand sacrifices. Peace, joy, balance between work and play, family time, healthy relationships - our idol was greedy. They take everything and give nothing of real value. In the end, they always disappoint.
In April of 2014, after four losing seasons, my husband lost his job. It was not unexpected, but the aftermath was painful. When an idol is ripped from your life, it hurts. There is a period of anger and disbelief, followed by numbness, then grief, then hope.
Fast forward to October 2014. Hope looks like a rundown farm. Hope looks like vine-covered silos and forgotten fences. Hope looks like a dumping ground for junk. Hope looks like a lot of elbow grease and heavy equipment. Hope looks like 15 acres of rolling hills with a pond.
We bought the farm.
It has always been a dream of ours to own land. A year ago, we looked at a 15-acre farm in foreclosure and tried to make an offer. The property was pulled at the last minute and did not go to auction. But this year, we made an offer and got it.
The farmhouse has been on the property over a century now. It is in extreme disrepair, but we want to remodel and restore it. The land is strewn with trash and litter (and by litter, I mean TVs and toilets and tires), but we know it will be lovely some day. We are excited about all the beauty that lies under the surface.
Oh, and Jesus is there.
When I walk the land, He teaches me things like while we were yet sinners, He died for us. He didn't wait for us to be cleaned up and refined - He saw what we could be. God takes our ashes and turns them into beauty. He is not turned off by our state of disrepair.
I believe we will see something special on this land some day. Under the vines and trash and discarded junk, something glorious is waiting. We plan to restore the farm, but by God's grace, it just might restore us.