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Legacy

There is no distance
That cannot be covered
Over and over
You’re not defenseless
I’ll be your shelter
I’ll be your armor
I hear you whisper underneath your breath
I hear your SOS, your SOS
I will send out an army
To find You in the middle of the darkest night
It’s true, I will rescue you
I will never stop marching
To reach you in the middle of the hardest fight
It’s true, I will rescue you
“Rescue” by Lauren Daigle

Years ago before Tom and I were even married he had this dream to gut his family’s old farmhouse nestled on an overgrown, unkempt 160 acres, move to the country, take over the farming, expand the cattle business, and attempt to restore the legacy his family had started.  If you know me well then you know this was not my dream at all.  But I guess you can say love conquers all so I jumped on the bandwagon and we began the process, pouring out an endless amount of blood, sweat, finances and tears into the dream.  And we weren’t on the bandwagon alone, we were joined by so many friends and family members who  envisioned the dream as well, piece by piece, board by board.

I was naive to think gutting an entire house and undertaking a majority of the work ourselves would be a quick process.  I traded in words like Kate Spade, Calvin Klein, Coach, and Ralph Lauren for words like floor joists, headers, nail gun, scaffolding, dry wall mud, sanding, drilling, screwing, insulation, tape measure, primer, trim,….ok, the things I learned was endless.  The list is never ending.  If you’ve gutted a house, an entire house you feel me here and are probably shaking your head yes.

The land became our fortress.  We camped out with friends on the weekend, grilled out in huge quantities, ate together, learned together, sat around endless campfires, slept under the stars.  We instilled a strong work ethic in ourselves and our children.  We laughed, we had frustrations, we celebrated the small victories, we cleaned up the mess after a kid ran a tractor into the newly built kitchen addition, we argued over only one closet in the entire house ever.  We worked endless hours, some how fit in a wedding in Vegas, slept on air mattresses, put one of our dogs to sleep, sat on the old porch and looked at everything surrounding us that would take years to accomplish. 

It wasn’t just a project we were trying to conquer and check off a list.  We were building a home from the inside out, hoping to have a slice of land we could be proud of some day, creating a family in the process, making lasting memories, carrying on a legacy with tired backs, crippled hands and aching bodies.  I have hundreds and hundreds of pictures from those years.  I’m so thankful I documented every single moment.  One’s man trash became our treasure.  

We made the house livable, began the process of cleaning and tearing down buildings, hacked back overgrowth in the woods, trimmed hedgerows, installed a new septic system, continued to fight water in the basement, bought the farm across the street to expand the cattle herds, put in new gravel driveways, added livestock, buried livestock, went back to church, built endless fences, bought a couple chickens, started a garden, landscaped, built sidewalks, added an orchard, home-schooled, farm-schooled, bible-schooled, fought a drought, went on a mission trip, pulled calves, added concrete cattle lots, raised pigs, added more equipment, hauled water, lost our favorite dog to cancer, chased cows, bucked hay, lost tons of sleep, learned how to process our own food, survived teenagers, loaned money to friends, loaned money to strangers, begged the bank to loan us money, had the buildings painted, fought mud, fought a second drought, fought black locust trees, fought manure, fought equipment, fought frozen pipes, fought animals, fought the sun, fought the bone chilling cold, fought ourselves, fought the devil.  Kept farming, kept raising cattle, kept the hay business going, kept giving away food, kept giving ourselves and time to those in need, kept the faith, kept praying, kept hoping, kept believing, kept beating back the fires that would unexpectedly rise.  Kept holding onto that dream.

This little slice of heaven has become our war room over time.  We once sat in an empty, half gutted living room and had a soul wrenching conversation over whether to have our own children together.  We have confronted teens over a multitude of uncomfortable topics and some years ourselves and our friends too.  We have fretted over bills, crops, mother nature, animals, humans and the demise of the world.  We have opened our doors to friends, enemies and strangers.  Our kitchen has provided meals for many with no notice needed.  Our porch has held deep dark secrets, silent tears, cries of anger and despair providing peace for people trying to flee the darkness.  We have sat in our bathroom shedding countless tears as we discuss the pains, fears, and turmoil brewing in our human hearts.  We have slept on the couch, broken promises, thrown out the word divorce in heated times, screamed in anger, we have left, we have come back.   We have extended mercy, grace, and forgiveness.  We have walked beside each other, carried each other, dredged countless miles hand in hand and lifted up millions of prayers.

I have battled depression and won here.  I have had voluminous chats with Jesus during coffee on the porch.  I have connected with my Father above in the pastures full of cows, calves and dancing butterflies.  I have sung songs of joy, sorrow and thanksgiving while working the soil with my hands.  I have cried in desperation for rain.  I have cried tears of joy when drops fell from the sky like manna. I have collapsed to my knees, screaming out The Name above all names in the yard, in the kitchen, next to our bed.  I have laid in the bottom of my tub, naked and exposed at His feet begging for forgiveness, guidance, answered prayers, understanding for the unanswered ones.  Pleaded for healing, grace, mercy and joy.  I have sought out and found solace here.  I have been enveloped by peace in gorgeous sunrises and breathtaking sunsets. 

My faith was restored here.  

Due to a death in the family earlier this year the fate of the farm has been on a gut-sickening roller coaster.  We have recently been given the gift of approximately one year to try and save it, to keep the dream alive, to continue the legacy.  Just typing those words makes the lump in my throat almost impossible to swallow.  The factors at play are plentiful and seem to change on a whim and unexpectedly.  And once again for the dream to continue we will be relying heavily on our family and friends as sounding boards, comfort, words of wisdom, labor, blood, sweat and wiping a few tears. But more importantly we will be putting our Faith into action as we grasp it tightly with both hands walking into an unknown future.

On the days when putting on the full armor of God seems next to impossible lately I have been relying heavily on the assurances that my God will be our shelter and He will be our armor when we are too weak.  He hears me whispering SOS.  He will send out His army.  He will never stop being my rescuer even in the middle of the darkest night.

And in the end it’s really not about saving the legacy of the farm.  At least to me it’s not.  It’s about carrying on the legacy of God’s Kingdom here on earth whether that be here where our dreams started together or wherever He leads us next. 

I have Faith He is writing another incredible story.

Take my life and let it be yours Lord.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 New International Version (NIV)

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships,in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Old picture of the Johnson Farm

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