“Through it All”…

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Growing up gardening was just something that we did. When I was really little we planted mostly flowers. Once we started homeschooling we planted food; fruit trees, edible flowers, tomatoes, peppers, squash, etc.  We turned our little 1/4 acre city lot into a tiny homestead with three raised garden beds, 2 other garden beds made with landscaping bricks, and a few fruit trees wherever we could squish them in. We even talked about landscaping the front flower bed with fruit bushes.

Photo circa 2014

I always looked at it as a hobby. Something we did together to pass the time. Even once we moved to more land 4.5 years ago I just figured that all this gardening was an advanced hobby and made every excuse to stay inside. 

Until last year. When everything clicked. 

I saw and really began to understand Dad’s desire to grow our own food, raise chickens for fresh eggs, plant berry bushes and fruit trees in every nook and cranny of the yard, and heat with wood. (Granted ever since we’ve moved in God’s been showing me just how right Mom and Dad are in various ways…).

I saw food that not only tasted better but was better for you. I understood the satisfaction that comes with growing and caring for plants and preserving the fruit that they produce. And little by little God’s been growing in me the desire to do the same one day on my own piece of land with my own family. 

I honestly NEVER thought I’d end up feeling this way.

I always envisioned being a “Soccer Mom” in the Suburbs. Now, not so much. I want land, a garden, fruit trees and berry bushes in every nook and cranny, and a Walton-sized front porch with a swing. (I must admit that there was always a little part of me that wanted my Walton’s front porch). 

But to be completely honest, wanting to homestead is just one of the many things that have changed within the last year. Since March of 2020 God has really shifted so much of my life. Rearranging things, tearing down longstanding idols and beliefs, and showing me a better way.

My priorities have drastically changed. Granted, this particular area has been a thorn in my side for years. T.V., music, and movies often took the first-place seat in my life. Now I’m realizing how important spending time with family, reading the Bible, time in prayer, and gathering with our Church family really is.

I’m learning more about my personal boundaries and limitations and the importance of exercise and eating healthy food. I’ve learned how certain foods make me feel and have been more motivated to eat healthily and start exercising regularly. I’ve learned what my work needs to look like and am more confident than ever that I’m doing what I need to be doing–the right way this time. 😉

And lastly, I’m learning about the importance and necessity of learning the true history of our Nation. I’m learning more about what the role of our Government should be and how much power I have in what goes on in our Nation.

“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it.”
~2 Timothy 3:14

I don’t know why 2020 and 2021 have happened the way they have, and I can’t speculate. But what I do know is I’ve seen God’s hand. I’ve witnessed His provision and felt His peace more than at any other point in my life. Yes, I was shaken but what I found, as my “normal” crumbled to the ground, was a strong foundation (both Biblically and within my family) and a hope in the eternity that God promised me.

As we inch closer to the mandates and restrictions being fully lifted (🙌) I pray that I’m able to remember these valuable lessons. April 9th of last year I was particularly stressed about what was going on around me. I read 1 Peter 5:6-11 and wrote the following on a sticky note I placed in my Bible.

“After you have suffered a while…
God will perfect me, establish me (set up, achieve permanent acceptance or recognition for, show [Himself] to be true or certain by determining the facts), strengthen me, settle me (become calmer or quieter, silence sit or come to rest in a comfortable position, move or adjust something so that it rests securely.”

And I can say with certainty, He has done just that and more in the last year. I’m sure I’ve said before that it’s through the challenges that we grow and become more like Him. But after the last year, I can say with certainty that it is through the hard things in life, when our “normal” comes crashing down and our priorities come into focus that we can look back and be thankful for the hard things. Because it was through those hard things that our faith grew and we were changed more into His image.

Until next time,

Bailey Sue