When Naughty first came to live with us we had a home outside of town up in "The Hollow". Our house was constructed right in the middle of a grove of hemlock trees. Wayne and I had bought the land and with the help of many family and friends we cleared the trees and planned out how the house would sit on the property. Over the years, with the continued help of family and friends, we designed and constructed landscaping, a storage shed, our garage, porches and decks. Naughty Dog particularly preferred the back porch overlooking the lawn and thick woods. She could perch herself high on the rail to over see the lawn or doze for hours at the top of the steps and still not miss any critter passing through the property. She had to be tied to a long run while she sun worshiped on the stoop as the temptation of the various smells lingering in the trees was just too over powering for her nose. If not tied, she could easily find herself off on a rabbit somewhere miles from home. Naughty, along with all of us, grew very comfortable with our life on the hollow. We all had a groove-- a rhythm…a way of doing things. Every morning I would slide open the big glass door and Naughty would take her spot on the porch. Bella also. Daisy--well--she usually did what she wanted. Her days were spent on our porch, on the neighbor's porch, or sometimes visiting houses as far as a half a mile a way.
My favorite time on the hollow were the years the boys were young--between their birth and 4-ish. Those were THE years. The ones I miss…the ones I will treasure. The years of little boys half naked (wearing just undies and barn boots!) in the muddy ditch behind the house…the years of smelly fish and squishy worms. These were the years of frogs jumping through our living room (in the middle of a Bible study!)…the years of playing with LEGOS and play dough, riding down the hill in Tonka trucks (without helmets--yes--I am that mom.) These were the years of the never ending giggles.
As time went on and life happened, the trials came. The storms rolled in. My faith in the Lord was tested. Events occurred in our lives I never thought I'd see. I'd like to say through these years Wayne and I stood strong and did not waiver. But--we didn't. Honestly--we didn't do well at all. My husband struggled with being a leader/helper in our home. I too struggled-- with anger, with being alone for days while he worked up and down the East Coast. I struggled with letting him "take the wheel" when he was home. (I'm a bit of a control freak.) Through a series of events, we found ourselves in a spot I never could have imagined. Our marriage in shambles. Our family a mess. Financially ruined. Our home--lost. At this "place"-- the bottom of the bottom, Wayne and I, after 18 years of marriage, were complete strangers to one another. We prayed…and came to the realization we had two choices: Walk away--or give it to God. Thankfully, through many tears, confessing, and forgiving that night, we let go. We took a tight hold to each other and clung to God--and we let go of all the "stuff"-- everything we were "used to"--everything we had become accustomed to. We released the home we had constructed, our routines, our expectations, the way we had always done things. One of the most difficult things for me was moving to town. This girl has ran barefoot and wild through the fields and woods her entire 40 years--I wasn’t sure how this "town life" would work! But very clearly, God lead us to Maple Street.
The move went fairly well. We saw a new excitement with our boys--and soon the giggles filled our new home. Naughty, on the other hand, was not so enthusiastic with the move…the change. Life in the village was very different. It was loud. There were more people and a lot more things moving. She couldn’t find a quiet place to snooze. At the time, there weren't any rabbits. No critters. The smells filling the air were stinky and unfamiliar. The back lawn seemed quite bland here in town. The hardest change for Naughty was the back porch. Here at the new house there wasn't one. No place to lay her head. No place to sun worship. She would have to lay in the grass. IN THE GRASS? Yes…this was beyond her. She would spend hours "revolting" against a trip outside. Naughty would hide under a table or plant herself in the couch unmovable. It really was an earth shattering experience for her.
While going through all this change, life was not comfortable. It was one of the most difficult periods in our lives. Some days the "not knowing" could send me into a state of shear panic. There were times when following God was a mental choice--a physical action. And honestly, there were periods of time I just didn't "feel like it". I did what God would want me to do out of obedience to Him. Through the change I had to put aside my wants and desires and think about what was best for our entire family. Oh, how I fought living in town. That was not who I wanted to be. As time went on God revealed to me-- As the wife of a husband that is gone so many hours…as the mom of two young boys…financially--the move to town just made sense. I had had such a tight grip on everything in the Hollow. Our home. Our way of life. That "grip" was what clouded Wayne's and my vision. We couldn't see what God saw. We couldn’t see what He knew would be best for us.
"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?" Isaiah 43:18-19
Through this process, God stripped us of our worldly focus and brought us to a point of relying only on Him. It was a harsh experience, but I am so thankful for the opportunity. Life in the village is quite different for a country girl--and her hound dog. I have adjusted--and, fortunately, so have my neighbors. They have grown quite accustomed to stumbling upon me in my back lawn wearing bathrobe and barn boots caring for my 16 chickens. (Yes. I lost another one. Nasty ole owl anyways!) Naughty has adjusted also. She has found village life serene and comfortable. She loves all the kids and people that wander in and out. She also found a way around having to lay in the grass: She has taken up residence in my sun worshipping chair! It also doubles as a nice "perch" to watch over the rabbits and squirrels that are drawn to our lawn by the garden and brush piles.
"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 hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
Change is uncomfortable. Change is exciting. In our situation, the change was emotionally painful, yet in the end, God revealed all the good. His good. Years down the road, I can now look back and see all of it. His hand worked in a mighty way to get a mortgage approved. (When your finances looked like ours--THAT was only GOD!) I saw His hands work through the many hearts that came here to help paint, fix holes in floors, and settle our belongings. I saw His love through the friends and family that "showed up". They loved on our broken family through picnics, paint brushes, cups of coffee, and even blinds for our windows (window treatments were also an adjustment for a country girl!). God knew who and what we needed and how it all had to play out in order for His good to come from it, for His Glory to be seen. His way is always right. So even when I'm not "feeling it", I turn to His Word and am reminded of His promises…
"And we know in that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. " Romans 8:28