If you’ve spent much time with me, chances are you’ve joined me on a hike. You might even be one of the lucky ones who trekked to see a water fall and ended up sharing a dramatic helicopter rescue, saved a frostbitten dog in a wolf trap, hiked to the top of a Hawaiian volcano and gazed at a neighboring volcano covered in snow, rescued a heat stroke victim, frantically dodged wild cows, discovered the mother lode of blueberry patches or enjoyed one of the hundreds of amazing experiences I’ve had while hiking. I’m a nature fanatic and can’t think of many things I enjoy more than trekking out in the middle of it!
Three years ago a couple of trail masters invited us to join them on an epic hike. They were enthusiastic and experienced and we were honored to join them. They carefully studied the trail and planned the expedition; we came alongside to help carry the load of supplies necessary for such a journey. We had just completed our first breathtaking pass when one of our partners terribly twisted his ankle. He could have tried to continue on, but the strain and weight on the rest of the team would have been detrimental to the mission, and the continued damage to his body could have rendered it irreparable. So he made the difficult choice to turn back and seek medical care. Come to find out, his ankle was weak because of a chronic infection, and if he had not wisely sought treatment he may have lost his leg or possibly his life.
We were not angry, nor did we take the unexpected turn of events personally; we were grateful that his health was restored, and we saw God’s hand in the timing- a little while later his family suffered tremendous tragedy and his renewed strength was vital to carry them. Nevertheless, we found ourselves feeling rather alone in unfamiliar territory, not knowing if we should also pack up and return home or continue on. As we cleared the trail and kept camp, praying and waiting on God for an answer, dozens of fellow sojourners passed through, many of them needing a dry tent and warm food for a few days, weeks or months as they recovered from trail weariness and injuries. We had purchased more provisions then we needed for ourselves, so we freely shared.
Priceless lessons were learned and precious relationships formed during this season, but the question has remained: is this how we are to use our resources of time, money and energy? We no longer need all these tents and equipment; the journey planned for has been cancelled. This was a surprise to us, but not to God. As we have faithfully kept camp, the burden has increased-Scott is traveling further and longer foraging, fewer travelers have needed respite and I am weary of the required upkeep by myself. After a long season of waiting, we feel it’s time to pack up and continue pursuing the pilgrimage we began six years when we physically and theoretically left home- the amazing tundra town where I was born and raised and where we abundantly lived life the first twenty years of our marriage. Our people, our past, our comfort zone. There are several paths before us and they each have obstacles to overcome, but we are full of peace because we have learned to stay close to the Trail Maker- He has always faithfully illuminated our steps. I’m a Jesus fanatic and I can’t think of a better way to live then trekking alongside Him!
I have struggled for months trying to figure out how to share my story with you without over burdening you with details and emotion. I hope these five-hundred-ninety-nine words sufficed. There are many factors that have made sharing this news very difficult, mostly because the whole idea of leaving this beautiful farm and the dreams it represents is painful. And my pride flinches at the criticism I know some may have towards our zig zag life- but I have come to see that God rarely leads His people on a straight path. Mountains are usually traveled via switchbacks; flat, straight paths are for the cozy and complacent- I am no longer satisfied there.
It’s been a challenge and a privilege to share my experiences and open my heart to you the last few years. Thank you for reading and the encouragement, prayers and friendship you have graciously extended to me and my family. I am feeling led to begin writing about some of the deeper lessons that have been cultivated during this Thirsty Goose Farm season of life. I have needed the perspective and wisdom that required time, distance from the experiences and sitting quietly with Jesus. This will be an important part of my next season- wherever that happens to be. I’m excited and nervous and covet your prayers for my family. And if you know of anyone who needs a seven bedroom “tent” with fruit trees, berry bushes, nut trees, grape vines, herbs, flowers, oodles of developed garden beds and silly, spoiled birds to entertain them, please send them our way!