Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Surprised by Love

I wasn't fixin' to fall in love.

In fact, I was already in a committed relationship.

We'd been together for almost six years and had finally arrived at that place where, having worked through lots of our stuff, we were really getting along.

Not only were we comfortable, we understood each other, we served each other well, and we complimented each other.

There was plenty of grace for each other's quirks and neither of us demanded too much of the other.
We worked well together, played together even better, and had learned how to offer each other rest.
Of all the relationships I'd had, this one was the best.

I was pretty sure we would be together for the rest of our lives.

And then, Weekend Farmer Husband said, "It's time."

Time for what?

Time to get out of what I had thought was a long term relationship and establish a new one.

Unlike the previous relationships I'd sought, this time I had very few requirements.

I was looking for something that wouldn't cost too much, couldn't be long distance, and wouldn't for a time be too jealous that it was going to take awhile to disentangle from the relationship I was already in.

Probably something that needed a rescue.
I could anticipate years of quirks that might remain unresolved, either unresponsive to whatever fixes I  might offer or too costly to engage.
And, unlike ever before, this time I was faced with physical undesirability- bad smells, over all unsightliness - I was looking for something the world would not esteem.

It wasn't love at first sight.
As anticipated, the smells were overwhelming and the ugly I encountered was daunting.
Although initially "affordable", this relationship was going to require a whole lot of fixin'- time, money, patience, and sacrifice.
And, for me, perhaps the most frightening was the requirement to quite literally move into a region and a lifestyle that I'd never aspired to.
Not only was I going to have to physically, mentally, and creatively labor to nurture and grow this new relationship, I was going to have to make unanticipated heart sacrifices of hopes for a kind of future that had no place where I was headed.

I gave up finished.
I gave up spacious.
I gave up comforts.
I gave up perks.
I gave up (to some degree) perceived status.

And I gained the world.
Not the "worldly" kind of world, but the expansive, beautiful, giving, life nurturing kind of world that one encounters in the creation account of scriptures.
I found my place.
The kind of world that leads to being "emplaced" - understanding that where you are and what you're doing in that place has a profoundly deep significance not only to you, but to those you serve and the generations to come.

A place of wide open sky, waving grass, gentle dawn, and passionate sunset.
Seasons bless my heart and mind and I experience exhilaration as nature declares its intent and I rejoice in mud, blistering heat, dancing leaves, and wave after wave of lake effect snow.
Formerly indifferent to animals, (at best), I've been enlarged by creatures of the air that traverse our fields, make their homes in rotted fence posts, and chirp into the calm or cry alarm to the winds. Beasts of the field have become a thing of beauty and I'm astonished at their intelligence, charm, and at the end their sacrifice.  Symbiotic relationship abounds and now separated from the commitments of subdivision, street lamps, and sidewalks I see how I need the earth and it needs me to steward, bless, and as long as God tarries, preserve it.

I understand that I'm in love in a way I've never experienced before.
It was so uncertain at first and so hard to trust.
How could this possibly work out?
It was going to be so hard, and although on the outside I appeared confident and committed, I doubted myself.

But, I entered into the brokenness and the need.
I embraced the imperfection.
I forgave the ongoing quirks, and I still do.
Smells notwithstanding, I overlooked the ugly and sought the beauty that I knew lay underneath years of bad choices, neglect, and being overlooked.
In short, understanding that I would be taking on a multitude of shortcomings, limitations, and enduring marks of the past, I decided to love and redeem.

I wasn't setting out to be a savior.
And, since I had no glorified sense of self, I suspect that I've been more open to seeing the parallels to my own salvation.
As I (we) sacrifice ourselves over and over again for this new life I am overcome with gratitude for Christ who at once through His perfect life, ministry, death, and resurrection redeemed my broken life.
He, because of His unending grace, covers over my bad smells, is merciful about choices I've made, and with gentle strength requires that I yield to him and His perfect design for this life and eternity.
I, who was once dead in my sins, have been given new life.
The old has passed away and the new has come.

As we seemingly lay down our lives again and again to raise our family well, and to establish and preserve this "emplaced" vision I am generously and gently reminded of how my broken life has been made beautiful by the love of a perfect Savior.

"This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us."
I John 3:16a

I'm thrilled to be linking up over at life{in}grace where Edie has cultivated a thoughtful, generous, and loving community to share in:


  1. Such a beautiful post! Embracing imperfection is so hard for me- a lovely reminder to do just that :)

    1. Tricia-how wonderful you stopped by! I'm so glad we met each other through Edie's link up. Imperfection is everywhere in our lives isn't it? I try not to manage it too tightly...

  2. I love this post and these words, especially: "I entered into the brokenness and the need. I embraced the imperfection." No matter the situation it's that simple, isn't it? Embrace the imperfection and there we find joy that knows no bounds. We're the ones who limit the possibilities. Thank you for inspiring me today! Jennifer@

    1. Jennifer, Thanks for coming back for a visit. I've been over to your place too, you know! :-)
      Glad you're inspired, and I'm thankful we have fellow bloggers and life sojourners to walk life's path with, be encouraged, and be convicted or reminded when it really seems to matter.

  3. Beautiful post. I want to keep reading it over and over because it speaks volumes to my heart. Things have gone tipsy turvey here and I find myself needing to embrace numerous imperfections that I was not prepared to handle at this time.

    1. Oh, Ruth- I ache to hear of the unpreparedness you find yourself in and the imbalance that's been thrust on your life. I wish I had the perfect words of comfort or solution. I don't, of course. But, I offer words of companionship and care.

  4. i love your story, laura, and wish i could visit that farm of yours.
    have you read, The Dirty Life? it's a memoir of a big city journalist turned small town organic farmer. awesome read. reminds me of you.
    so glad our paths have crossed.
    you are a blessing!

    1. Always so glad to know you've stopped by- and, you know, don't you, my real door is always open should you find your way north? ;-) This farm would love a visit from you as would my heart.
      Yes, I've read The Dirty Life. There are several parallels and I found myself breathing relief many times reading Kristin's words thinking, "I'm not the only one who thinks/experiences this!".
      Thanks for hosting the link up-

  5. Beautiful and poetic post. Thank you so much for enriched my day.

    1. Welcome Jeannine- thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. Your words are a gift!

  6. Beautiful post. The photographs are stunning and the farm looks like a dream! Glad to meet you. ~ Elizabeth

    1. Elizabeth-I chuckled when I saw your comment here...I well remember my visit to your blog a month ago and my desire to have more mastery of my time, my response to your link up. February fell apart here at the farm and illness rather than routine and productivity ruled. Ah well- we'll try again!
      Thanks for the visit and the encouraging words.
      Come back?