The Next Chapter in Our Lives & Week In Photos Aug 5-Aug 12

We have only shared the beginning of this new chapter with a handful of family and friends.  However, we want anyone reading to be able to follow our story and see God’s faithfulness.  To do that I need to back up to last October when the Army told us we needed to PCS (move).

Normally we are stationed at a duty station between 18-24 months.  However, we were blessed with being here in Omaha, NE for over three years.  In October Anthony got his “list”.  The “list” is usually between 25-50ish options on where you can “choose” to be stationed next. Any seasoned Army family knows that the list is really just formality because the Army puts the solider where they are needed, not where they necessarily want to go.  In Anthony’s 18 years of service he has NEVER gotten any of his first picks and ONLY ONCE got one of his top five.  Normally he is given something not even on the “list”!

In October we were given a list of over 40 options. Our options included Poland, Spain, Fort Hood, D.C., and a variety of other places we did not want to go.  The list also included two openings at Fort Leavenworth, KS.  We had been stationed at Fort Leavenworth back in 2011 for a total of eleven months.

Fort Leavenworth, KS 2011

But then there was the farm….the business.

Starting a business is difficult.  There are huge amounts of outputs with little returns in the beginning.  Not just financially but also in the learning curve it takes to figure out the processes, build a customer base, understand marketing for the area, and hone a quality product.

Honestly, I felt like I was working so much (not just with the farm and homeschooling the boys but also with a full time job as Executive Director for a national nonprofit) that I wanted to QUIT EVERYTHING and just be “normal”! Normal: simple house, two stall garage, only dogs as pets, in a neighborhood where the largest chore would be mowing my small 1/8 of an acre yard.

But we wanted to farm, this was our dream, we had talked about it for years and years, and I felt like not wanting to do it was going to let my husband down.  I knew things were out of balance. We weren’t putting God first, we were working with misdirected drive and no true vision of His purpose.

Have you ever wondered what God’s purpose in your life is?  

I did, Anthony did.  We knew we had lost focus and we needed to get back on track. We had only two weeks before the list was due.

We have always prayed about our list of preferences for duty stations.  Always knowing that God directs our paths and puts us in the location and with the people that need us the most.  This however was the first time we had so much “stuff”.  The first time that we felt…unsure.  Not in God! But wondering if we had made a mistake in farming, or made a mistake in the timing of starting our farm.

So we quickly devoured 15 messages our pastor gave in 2013 on knowing God’s purpose for our life.

purpose

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.

It was a lot to consider.  Anthony and I decided that if we were going to keep farming we couldn’t just pack up and start again someplace else, temporarily, the cost to starting a farm was just too great to do it all over again.

So our options came down to

  1. Put KS as our #1 and #2 choice and if received he would PCS without us and we would remain in NE, for two years without him, to continue growing the farm.
  2. If God choose for us to go any place other than KS we would sell everything, go together as a family and concentrate on the families at the new duty station that would need us.

Two things played back and forth in my mind.  Shutting down the farm, seemed like a failure, but would allow me to rest and allow our family to stay together. On the other hand if we kept moving forward on the farm it would mean that we were choosing to live the next two years apart.  This was and still is a hard concept to grasp. Fear/worry/confusion/doubt, all horrible things.

We completely delved back into the Word. Amazing how the scripture is ALIVE (Hebrew 4:12)!  And not just with POWER and AUTHORITY but with PEACE and ORDER. In only two short weeks I went from being scared, to knowing/believing fully that God was in control.

So my prayer (I can’t speak of Anthony’s but mine) was this: Lord, I am tired. I know you have a great plan and purpose for our family.  If you want us to continue serving this area through farming than I know Anthony will get KS. If we are not on the right path, and you have a different plan for us, we will go with him should he get any other place.

Finally I had PEACE.  We knew the desires of our hearts; to please Him, to serve others, to show God’s love to the community, and to build a legacy for our children.  Knowing how, all this would work out was not important.  The how was all up to Jesus and finally we had peace in waiting for the answer.

In true Army fashion, it was hurry up and wait.  Submit your list in October, they would choose in December and let you know in January. Just more opportunity to develop faith and patience. Anytime worry or doubt came as a thought I would quote Jeremiah 29:11.  I only shared our situation with one dear friend in our church who stood in excited expectation with us.

In January, Anthony sent me a text…He got his very first pick.  I’m glad he was away on a mission because I was in shock.  My only response was to laugh in disbelief and lift my eyes to heaven chuckling, “Well, I guess we are farming.”

In March of this year I officially quit my job as Executive Director and was able to focus completely on our children and the farm.  There is renewed strength.

As of August 1st Anthony PCS’ed to KS.  Thankfully he has been able to come back each weekend to help us prep for the move.  It has been so much work as we have accumulated quite a bit more since we had with only four boys.

We don’t know the specifics on HOW Jesus is going to use us in Omaha or HOW He is going to surprise us with abundance of blessings. What we do know is that the how is not important for us to know.  We need to obey His Word, put Him first each and every day and He will make our paths straight.  We are excited and waiting!

Even with all the CRAZY of packing this past week we still got the turkeys out on pasture and took a break to celebrate our sweet Matthew’s 6th birthday!

Now to get back to packing to live in a 405 square foot space with seven kids, two dogs and two cats for the next undetermined amount of time….this will certainly be an adventure (but that will have to wait till next weeks post)!

Love, Mariel

Anthony, Mariel2

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