Waiting to Move:
We married in 1991. Soon after, we began talking about moving. You see, we lived in SW Florida, right on the coast. The days of cattle fields and orange groves in this area were long gone. As a native Floridian (a Florida Cracker, as they are affectionately called), my Honey grew up dreaming of farming, in a time when farming opportunities still existed in this part of Florida. He remembers quite well times spent riding dune buggies on the beach, camping there all weekend, and loving every minute of it. He fully expected to be able to live a rural life when he grew up.
However, as he grew up, this sleepy little fishing village was discovered by visiting Northerners. Slowly but surely, the beach access went away, the cattle fields became condominiums, and the area was not conducive to his dream.
I was raised on a dairy farm in upstate New York. Funny, I swore when we left there to move to Florida when I was 14, that I’d never live on a farm again. Be careful what you claim! As I grew up, I wanted a more quiet life and yearned for a farm life. I also yearned for a change of seasons again.
As we spoke of moving, we thought we’d move to northern Florida. We would spend long weekends exploring Live Oak, Lake City, and the surrounding areas. We didn’t know if God was leading us there, but we liked the area. There was still farming going on in this area, and it was still Florida.
Time went on, we were blessed with more children, and still our home did not sell. We even listed it with a realtor, instead of trying to sell it on our own. In this area of Florida, most are looking for small places to tend to. We had 5 acres of land, much more than the average homeowner wanted to own. Oh, we could have sold it for much less than it was worth, but we held out.
As the years progressed, we became weary in the waiting. For you see, that’s what we were doing. Waiting. Not really living. Yes, we had children, Honey had a full-time job (that he hated), we began homeschooling, we lived. But, we didn’t pursue dreams for “we are going to move.” We didn’t want to invest time and money into turning our 5 acres into a pastured poultry farm because “we are going to move.” We didn’t want to learn more about gardening on a grander scale because “we are going to move.” We didn’t want to develop new friendships because “we are going to move.”
See a pattern here? Yes, we put things off because we just knew that we’d be moving soon. Instead of moving soon, we waited TWELVE long years for our big move.
During this time of waiting, we changed our desired location. After much prayer and talking, we decided that if we were going to move, we were really going to move. We didn’t want to live in a state with a coast (too many hurricane scares for us already), and we didn’t want to go too farth north (my Honey was not interested in extreme cold weather). Tennessee became our focal point. It felt like the direction God was moving us. Except we weren’t ready to move yet, apparently!
We made a trip to East Tennessee in 2002. While we loved the area, the land prices were far outside of our budget. We went back home with the knowledge that we liked Tennessee, but not knowing where in the state we’d move to.
Our move happened quickly when it finally happened. My Honey had long admired Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms. He wanted to farm in much the same manner. Joel’s idea is to let the animals do the work, and express their animal-ness. It seemed to make the most sense to us. In February, 2003, I saw that Joel was hosting an intensive training weekend in July. Without asking Honey, I sent the money to reserve his spot. It was a large investment for us as a single-income family. But, it was one that I knew God wanted him to have.
We had ended our listing with the realtor and were back to a large sign out front advertising our home as for sale by owner. We’d received a few phone calls and even had one couple make an offer, which we’d accepted, but they could not get financing. Back to the waiting game.
When July arrived, we made a trip to Virginia to visit Polyface Farms. Honey went for his weekend, while our children and I camped with my folks (they were full-time RV’ers at the time and met us there, we camped in a tent, next to their RV.)
Honey was ready to get started after this wonderful weekend. But, still we waited.
September, 2003 arrived and a life-long friend of Honey’s decided he’d like to buy our home!! Yay!! Finally a buyer. We were able to work out an equitable offer that pleased both parties. We signed the papers and sold our home the next month! Now what?! Since buying our home was an investment for our friend, he didn’t need for us to vacate right away. In our contract, we had one year to live there.
It became time to decide where to move. It was an exciting time! We still felt God leading us to Tennessee. One day while online, I found a homeschool group in southern, middle Tennessee. I joined this group and started communicating with the members. We decided to make another trip to see if we could find the area we wanted to move to. When we got to the welcome center in Chattanooga, we looked at each other and asked where we should head. This area with the homeschool group sounded good, so we headed that direction.
We then spent two weeks of driving around all day long looking for a farm that was both pleasing and within our price range. Our children were troopers at ages 10, 8, 4, and 10 months, and never complained about the long days. But, each day ended with the same story. No new home. Honey was hoping to just narrow down the area, and I was praying that we would go home with our new home picked out. I’m a bit more on the optimistic side than he. 😉
Our last night in this town before heading home, we received a call from our realtor. He had just seen a new listing in the paper and thought we should check it out. We agreed to meet him the next morning.
As we drove up to this farm, we saw the home and figured we’d be driving past since we had seen so very many quaint farmhouses that were simply outside of our price range. We joked that we passed the perfect farms to look at the junky ones that we could afford. How surprised we were when our realtor turned into this farm’s driveway!
We looked at the house. We looked at the land. We sat on the front porch. We dreamed and envisioned ourselves living here. We made an offer and waited. We decided that, if it was rejected, we’d just head home and not counter-offer. We were feeling a bit overwhelmed by all of the zeros on the number! It was the first time we’d ever bought a home of our own. It was a bit scary!
Our offer was rejected. We were sad, but decided to head home and make another trip in the near future. Our son, 8 years old at the time, was heart-broken. We were both relieved and sad at the same time.
On the way back to Florida, we had time to really talk. Talking is something that we do a lot of, but was hard to do in a Burb driving around with four children day in and day out. We realized that we had just walked away from what we felt was to be our new home for a measly amount of money. An amount that we surely would have spent in traveling around for another two weeks looking again for a home.
After praying together in Tampa, Florida, we called the realtor and asked if we could make a full price offer. Funny thing was that our realtor was out of town for the weekend, and so was the listing realtor. It was another time of waiting for us!
That was a long weekend! Nothing like the twelve years of waiting for our home to sell, but nerve-wracking just the same. And, in our waiting, we found that it was time to ask for God’s help yet again. For patience, for favor, and for peace, not matter the outcome.
In His mercy, He allowed us to make that full price offer and sign a contract to buy our farm. We closed on that sale in February, 2004. Yes, after deciding to move in the first year of marriage, 1991, we finally had both sold our home and bought a new one 13 years later.
I’d like to tell you that we “learned our lesson” about waiting, patience, and prayer. But, we, like so many, have to learn the same lessons time and again. We still wait. And we still get impatient. And we still wonder what’s taking God so long. You know, because we are so all-knowing and all. 😉
There is a peace that comes from God while we wait. The biggest lesson we learned was to not be idle while we wait. We could have learned so much about farming while still in Florida. We could have raised pastured poultry there. It wouldn’t have been wasted. But, we just knew it was going to happen at any time and didn’t want to “not be ready.” As it turned out, we had plenty of time, twelve years’ worth!
Seek God while you’re waiting and put aside your desires to do nothing while He makes it happen. Being idle just makes the waiting longer.
Be in the business of living while waiting.
Growing up, Laurie’s dream was to become a wife and Mama. That dream came true over 24 years ago when she became the wife of Toby, her Honey. Thankfully, Laurie’s dream to become a Mama has also been fulfilled as they have been blessed with 5 children, aged 22 down to 11, with one already with Jesus. They have always been a homeschooling, homesteading family, and love being together. Currently, they reside in Tennessee on a small (very small) grass-finished beef farm, where they also are joined by 5 Miniature Dachshunds, 3 ducks, and 25 chickens. You can visit Laurie at Successful Homemakers, on Facebook, pinning on Pinterest, tweeting on Twitter, and photo sharing on Instagram.