"Release brings with it the gift of peace. When we release in peace, we signal we're now ready to receive. Receive what's next. Receive what's best. Receive what's meant for this season, right now."
~ Lysa Terkeurst // The Best Yes
God really gave me a gift by leading us, releasing us, to move from Dallas to the rolling hills of Tennessee. So, this is what it means to have a "gentle and quiet spirit." My soul feels quiet within me. I can only explain it as true presence.
The biggest gifts have been those of time and less distractions. When we first arrived here in mid-November, it felt like my heart was soaring everyday with excitement and possibility. After the initial giddy excitement wore off and we finally settled into our home south of Nashville, I hit the wall about 2 months later feeling isolated and regretful, like I needed to scramble to fill my time with activities and friends old and new and that maybe, just maybe, this whole thing was a big mistake. Although I have so many dear, close friends here, it was still difficult starting over in a new place and living in a rural setting for the first time in my life. This social introvert wanted to know, How would I fill our days? Who would be our everyday "people"? But through much seeking to hear the Lord's voice, He spoke loudly and clearly: my real purpose right now is here under my roof - this little 1200 square foot rental house roof. I've always seen it as a gift (and my choice) to be able to be home with my daughters. Now, I see the difference in being truly present vs. just being around. Time to myself and connecting with friends are still greatly needed, of course, and I drink them up. But those things are bonuses now, not distractions.
After this clear word, I felt such peace. And I started to cry. Because the gift was in front of me the entire time since we've moved, but I didn't see it.
We may not own a home right now, and this one may not look exactly like the one we dearly loved and sold in Dallas, but this little home surrounded by stunning woods and meadows will always be where Norah was two and spirited and hilarious. This home will always be where Luci Belle was 5-going-on-6 and becoming a "bigger little girl" every day. There's already a spot on the kitchen floor where they love to show me their made up dances to vintage Disney songs on the record player. And because of the smallness and closeness of this home, I can hear and see their imaginations take flight - playing "family" or restaurant or making a fort and cafe in my closet. They'll only be 2 and 5 once, and good gracious, I get to be a part of it. These really are the days.
Things change in the light of a new perspective: loneliness becomes the gift of time and presence with my husband and daughters. Isolation becomes space to breathe, to move more slowly and savor my surroundings. He's so gracious! Even when I complained and doubted, He kept bestowing these good gifts. He didn't give up on me.
At this moment, I'm perched in my new favorite spot for solitude - in the living room chair reading by the twinkle-lighted branches I found in our backyard woods. The intimacy of our home allows me to hear all three of my people breathing in their sleep about 10 feet away.
This - the true simple life - is what I always wanted, everything I've asked God for...and I thought I had it in Dallas. I didn't realize - until now - how by uprooting our lives and moving to this place, He was giving me everything I've asked for.
So here we are in the simple life, and we are content. For now, we're living in a season of abundance that's not about money or things but gifts much more difficult to measure. We explore our yard and drive the rolling hills. We homeschool and fly kites. We draw and bake and pretend. We're in closer quarters than ever, and sometimes we don't know what to do with ourselves when Steven arrives home from his new farming job at 3:30pm.
Don't be mistaken in thinking we're living a charmed life, though. There are daily sacrifices required to live on a cash system, to be frugal with our purchases, to figure out how to feed our family healthy food on a tight budget when we no longer own a produce co-op, and to say "no" to things we wish we could do in order to say "yes" to the ultimate life we want. Many people want to live more simply but don't want to give up what it takes to get there. We knew we were going to have to give up a lot, and as scary as it was, we did it - we sold our family business and beloved home of 9 years and said tearful goodbyes to dear friends in Dallas. Those things were so hard, but the release has indeed brought peace.
Yes, it was a series of difficult decisions that have led us to this place, and now it's time to just abide.