My Early Marriage Years
We were so excited to be leaving the stress of corporate America and going into business for ourselves. We were leaving Omaha, NE and moving to an acreage in Logan, IA. There were a lot of things to consider and we were making many changes all at one time. Our 2nd child was born 6 weeks early, with major medical considerations. His doctors and the hospital would be a longer drive. And we would no longer have insurance coverage. The home we were buying on an acreage needed a LOT of work before we could live there, and we were leaving our support system in our church.
My husband, Harry, had already been doing some lawn mower repairs part time while he also worked as a traveling salesman, often out of town. When home, you would find him working in the shop in the backyard. We seldom saw him. It was time for a change. Harry hated working for someone else. He wanted to be his own boss and he wanted to work with his hands.
Our one employee
A retired farmer became our only employee. Leroy was a delightful Christian man with a great sense of humor and a ton of patience! He taught Harry about repairing mowers and snow blowers and chain saws, etc. AND he also taught us how to maintain the crops, the grapevines, apple trees, asparagus and gardens. We would have drowned in our ignorance without his help!
We had a pasture so we could have a cow. We had it butchered. We sold 1/2 of it which paid for the butchering. Harry built a fenced-in hen house, so we could have fresh eggs. We had a huge underground pantry that we filled with our own home-processed canned goods. We also had 2 large freezers full of chicken & beef and our garden food.
Things were going along well.
The small engine business was great and we were supplying much of our own food off our own land. So, that part of the move was very cool!
What part was not cool?
Unbelievably, we had NOT counted the higher cost of leaving our church family and our pastor. Looking back, it was too great a price to pay for these two baby Christians. We simply were not ready to launch out on our own quite then.
So what about leaving all and following Jesus?
Luke 14:26 “Anyone who wants to be a follower must love Me far more than he does his own” (family members) and “more than his own life.” We had done that! But…
Counting the cost
Luke 14:27, 28 (he must also) “carry his own cross and follow” Jesus…”But don’t begin until you count the cost.” We thought we were doing that too. We had counted SOME of the cost…the PHYSICAL cost and BUSINESS cost, but NOT the cost of leaving the teaching we were receiving from our pastor and the members of our church in Omaha.
(If you are a builder, you make a sketch, and you do a cost analysis, and an employee evaluation to determine if the cost is worth the outcome. And also to determine if you can finish what you start. We did NOT finish our spiritual training from the place God had provided. We were NOT ready to begin our time alone. The evidence is the ending of our marriage in divorce years later. We just continued to grow APART. We did not have all the tools in our tool box before we left on our own.)
Luke 14:33 “No one can become my disciple unless he first sits down and counts his blessings and then renounces them for me.” I think we got confused about which part was blessings. We thought all was well since everything was falling into place so we could be independent! But I think looking back many years later, perhaps we were to count the cost of those “blessings” and walk away from them.
Baby Christians need parenting
Because THAT is where we, as baby Christians, began to grow apart without the teaching of our Jesus-loving pastor, and the accountability of those deeply devoted MATURE Christian mentors in Omaha. We were still wet behind the ears, eager to unplug from the “world”. Not realizing our pastor and mentors were teaching us how to live IN that very world to the Glory of God.
Luke 14:34-35 “What good is salt that has lost its saltiness? Flavorless salt is fit for nothing…and must be thrown out.” For many years after we left Omaha and especially after the divorce, I felt worthless. I thought I had nothing to offer. I believed I was a failure and no longer of any use to God.
God restores the locust eaten years
No more. I can’t change any of the past. But I can look onward toward “what now?” Joel 2:25 promises that God will restore the locust-eaten years. When we ask Him, He redeems into something good, that which was lost. Our God is the God of mercy! He forgives. And every day He lets us start over. For THAT I am grateful!
“Because the bottom has a bottom, the heights are boundless.” (Eugene Peterson)
“I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
(Michael Jordan) His point is simple: “before you find the right road, you may need to eliminate the wrong roads.” (Encounter with God devotional)
Until next time…Thank you for all you do!