07 Jun City versus Country
I grew up in the heart of Dallas in a very urban environment. To this day, I still like city life. I am energized by the hustle and bustle of an urban lifestyle. I really enjoy going shopping, eating out in restaurants, and heading to the theatre, concerts, art shows and museums. I am definitely a city girl by birth and by nature.
My husband grew up very differently than I did. He was raised in a small town southwest of Fort Worth and roamed around on about 32 acres during his childhood. He was given his first gun at the age of 5 and spent many of his days with his dog hunting on his family’s land.
I met my husband when I was 25 years old. I was living and working in Dallas as a Financial Consultant. He was also living in Dallas at that time while attending Dental School. While we were dating, we often visited his parents on weekends in their home town of Granbury, Texas. There is truth to the saying that you can take the girl out of the city but you cannot take the city out of the girl.
One Saturday evening, a coyote was lurking around in my in-laws’ pasture and was threatening to kill some of my father-in-law’s prize sheep. I was casually reading a book and relaxing in their cozy living room. All of a sudden, my father-in-law comes running around the corner into the living room and heads out the door to the back porch. He had a large shot-gun loaded, cocked, and pointing at the ceiling. He told me to move out-of-the-way. I hit the ground like it was a tornado drill in elementary school. I covered the back of my neck with my hands as if that would actually save my life. Everyone else in the home went about their business as if this was a normal, daily occurrence. Where I grew up, if someone locked and loaded a gun, you better run or take cover. And this is how I have slowly been indoctrinated into life in the country…one adventure at a time.
Fast forward 16 years and my husband and I now live on about 8 acres just outside of the city limits of Fort Worth, Texas. It is a compromise. We are living in the country but we are very close to the highway and a short drive into the city center. My kids are now growing up completely different from how I did.
Our neighbors raise chickens, goats, and cattle. It is not uncommon for my children to climb a ladder made out of logs in order to climb over the fence to the neighbor’s back pasture. They like to go to their house to help with milking goats and gathering eggs from the chicken coop. I am not exactly outdoorsy by nature. I like to sit by the swimming pool and admire the beauty of nature. However, I can attest that I still do not milk anyone or anything, and I have not picked up any chicken eggs. However, I absolutely LOVE the fact that my children think these activities are fun and a normal part of life.
Another interesting part of life in the country is that we do not receive city services that I took for granted while growing up in a large, metropolitan city. We have our own water well, an underground propane take that we use to heat our home and our water, and an underground septic system to manage our plumbing needs. We receive electricity from the city, but other than that, we are off the grid. If the rain storms come too fast and furiously, our septic system cannot keep up with the demands of the heavy rain fall. As a result, we have to evacuate our home because we cannot use the in-door plumbing. We cannot bathe, flush, wash dishes, or do laundry. This past week was the worst experience I have had so far since I moved to this little ranch a couple of years ago. We had to move into a motel and literally wait out the storm. This was the view out my window of my front driveway.
I think God uses all of our trials to wake us up and remind us of who is really in control. I am most comfortable when I feel in control. What about you? Can you relate? I like to be well-prepared and very organized. I keep a calendar that is color coded for each family member’s schedule. I do not like my well thought out plans to be disrupted. Boy, was this last week a wake up call for me.
I was ducking in and out of a local motel in order to shower and use the restroom and take care of my children. I had to figure out where to get breakfast, lunch, and dinner for my kids since we were living in a motel. I also had to adjust my schedule in order to get my children to their various activities. I still had to run my business and I was preparing to leave town so I had a lot of extra errands to run. I had a long list of “TO DO’s.” After checking off a few items on my list at our local shopping mall on day 3 of living in the motel, I came out of the mall to find a note on my windshield. Someone had accidentally rear-ended my car while it was parked in the parking lot. They managed to remove my back bumper. My back tail light was literally in an envelope on my dashboard. Now my car needed to be repaired too. What was I going to do now? I was by no means in any danger but I was extremely inconvenienced and out of my element. At this point in the week, the tears began to stream down my cheeks. I could no longer hold all of the balls in the air. I felt very defeated.
I could not help but think how many single moms are living like this all the time. They are just trying to survive one day at a time, maybe even hour to hour. They cannot afford to pay their rent so they are living in an extended stay motel. They skips meals so they can use any food they can afford to buy to feed their children. As a mother, it is their innate nature to always put their children’s needs above their own wants and needs.
This past week, I found myself apologizing a lot to my kids and trying to spin what was happening to us into an adventure. I knew my kids were scared that this situation might be permanent. They did not understand all of the details. They just wanted to go home. However, I had to explain to them that we could not go home and I was not sure when we would be able to return to our house. We prayed for God to calm the storms and move the rain clouds far, far away.
I am happy to report after a very long week, we are home again. Praise the Lord. However, I do not want to forget what it was like to be in need and asking God for favor and provision for our daily needs. I do not want to return to my comfortable life “unchanged.”
These are my prayers today:
- Lord, when I am weary and tired of making school lunches and cooking dinner for my family yet again, let me practice gratitude for your provision. I want to remember to be grateful for food in my pantry and the ability to feed my children. Please let me not forget the many women that are unsure of where their next meal will come from and how they will feed their family.
- Lord, let me be grateful that I live in a home constructed out of bricks with a sturdy foundation and a roof over my head that does not leak. Please let me remain in a state of gratitude for your protection and for a home that is safe and comfortable. May I remember that I am blessed beyond what I deserve and to not take the abundance you have provided for me for granted.
- Lord, let me always remember to be hospitable and have an open door policy to friends and family in need of shelter or a warm, home cooked-meal. When friends and family are facing a crisis of their own, remind me to lean in to their suffering and be the hands and feed of Christ. May I never look the other way and pretend I do not see their suffering.
- Lord, thank you for the reminder of what a blessing and privilege it is to have a family to take care of. I often long for solitude because I am tired and weary from serving and giving and doing for my family. May I see serving my family as a privilege and a gift, rather than a burden or just an inconvenience. Lord, forgive me for my selfishness.
- Finally, Lord please show me how to live a life free from anxiety by looking up to you, rather than outward towards the chaos of my circumstances.
You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you.