I suppose that's the way all true adventures start.
We said yes to a summer of "church in the woods" where we spent Sunday morning out in nature. We'd hike for a mile or so, plant ourselves by a stream or waterfall and read God's Word and pray together. It was different, but it was good.
We used the theme of "learn to follow God's trail" and expanded on that every week. We had planned to explore lots of different areas but we got hooked on the Columbia Gorge. It was breathtakingly beautiful. We took many amazing hikes there and saw many incredible waterfalls and had lots of time to talk about walking with the Lord.
On our last Sunday, as we walked away from Bridal Veil Falls, one of the boys asked me a question.
"Mom can we take this trail down to the water to play?"
I shrugged and said, "Sure, lets go."
Another little voice replied, "But Mom, you told us to always stay on the path."
Hmmm...I looked at the wide, well traveled path stretched out before us."Well, I told you to always stay on God's path. Sometimes, God's path may look a little different then we think it should. Just because the path isn't what you expected, don't assume it's not God's path."
We traipsed down the side trail and I had no idea that we were about to live the words I had just spoken.
On Dave's birthday in August we decided to go up to Mt. Hood. We thought, while we were up there we'd take a look at some property. Dave and I are house people. We love looking at houses, exploring houses, redecorating houses. We had looked for a year or so at houses on Mt. Hood but hadn't seen anything we liked. So we thought maybe we should look at property that we could someday build on. We contacted a realtor and gave him our requirements: at least 5 acres, stream, mountain view. I think he might have laughed.
Dave asked me what kind of a house I would like to build if we decided to go that route.
I thought for a bit and then said, "I'd like to build an English cottage. With rock around the bottom of it. Something in the way of a Thomas Kincade painting." I think he might have laughed.
So we went and it was a weekend full of magic. The realtor showed us the land and we weren't even vaguely interested. But he had something else to show us. A farm. A pear orchard to be exact. We pulled in the driveway and saw this.
Then we saw this.
We also walked down to a creek. A lovely curvy murmuring thing of beauty.
I walked around the property in a daze. I was overwhelmed by a feeling of peace and silence like almost nothing I'd ever known. A feeling of being right where I was supposed to be.
We came home from that weekend and held a pow wow. We put numbers down on paper and Dave looked at me sadly and shook his head.
"There's absolutely no way we can afford it. I'm sorry."
"If we're supposed to have it, it'll happen. If not, then that's that."
Dave called the next day full of excitement. "We can refinance. We can get a lower interest rate and use the money we'll save to pay for the house as a second home. God just put this in my mind. We can do it!"
We didn't, but He did.
It was a long six weeks of working on it. But we moved in on Saturday. And the peace was stifling.
We met our neighbors. Christians.
We met the tenants who will be farming the pears for us. Christians.
We explored and marveled and praised.
Last week we were reading in Acts for school. We read the story of how God had to show Peter the vision of the clean/unclean animals three times before he understood that salvation was to be offered to the gentiles as well as the Jews. Cornelius the gentile, had a vision and right away obeyed.
Avonlea looked at me and said, "I love that. It seems in the Bible that the people who think they know God best are most surprised by what He does. It's the people that don't know Him that just do what He says."
I scribbled it down like this in my open prayer journal, "It's those of us who think we know what God is doing who are the most surprised by what He does."
We are still on His path it just looks completely different than we thought it was going to look.
We are following and we are right where we are supposed to be.
We are laughing at grace.