We have been living in Northern California for just over 7 years now. Though we deeply miss our family and friends from Minnesota, it has been a season of incredible growth and opportunity for our family of 6.
We sold everything we owned in Minnesota, except what could fit in the back of a pick-up, small trailer and minivan. Then we headed west. Who knew that such an adventure would be waiting for us in that mid-size town of Redding, California? What we thought would be “next level” and just adding a fabulous layer on top of what we already had built ended up being a season of foundational rebuilding and learning what surrender and trust looks like.
I went back to being a travel RN and working the night shift full-time. Sleeping little during the day and hustling for 12+ hour night shifts. My husband homeschooled our 4 kiddos that first year, so I was the "sugar-mama" which didn't feel so sweet pretty quick. I was exhausted. I missed my family, my friends, my community.
I thought I would step into new friendships immediately. And we did. And they moved. Then we did again. And THEY moved. And then we asked the Lord if WE should move. He said no. So, we kept reaching out and trying to connect. Though after sometime, I realized I was tired. I was tired of being the “drive-thru” and I started deciding to be intentional with just a few. So we were. We kept our circles small and we built our friendships deep. So we thought.
Since moving here, my husband applied and was registered to go to Grad School and Ministry School. Our plan was to leave the “construction world” behind. After several VERY clear God interventions we learned that Matt's heart was to stay in the building field. True North Builders Inc. was born.
I transitioned from the night shift, to a management position. After sometime, I decided to pursue a real estate license. Soon after starting as a Real Estate Agent I quickly felt the tug at my heart, and a question…”What if?”
What if I could pursue the thing that burns on my heart? What if it was time?
I quickly brushed the thought away and started adding up the numbers as to how many houses I was going to need to sell to stay current on our bills.
But that voice came again, “What if?”
Soon I was feeling anxiety and unrest and I couldn’t help but heed the prompting to "Come away." So I met with my new business partner and explained that I may be losing my mind, but I needed to pull way back. She looked at me kindly, but confused. We were in the middle of our busiest time! We were getting new leads daily, our marketing efforts were paying off. We were selling houses. We were starting to ramp up and make money. Pull back now?! Yup. Now.
After this bold move my expectation levels were high. I’ll never forget that first morning sitting with the Lord, my Bible open and my journal on my lap. Okay, God. Here I am. Now what? What are we gonna do now? I’m listening! I’m ready! Give me the order- you say GO and I’m on it! I sat there and NOTHING. The scripture for the day I was reading in my Bible-in-a-Year was out of Leviticus and the New Testament verse was all the names of the lineage of Jesus. I’m sure there is profound meaning in there, it just wasn’t speaking to me at all that day.
The next day was the same thing. And the next. It was so quiet and SO BORING. I remember looking at Matt one morning as texts and calls were coming in and being jealous of the activity around him. And there I sat. Utterly bored.
Not only was I bored, I was very lonely. Remember all those "deep intentional" friendships I mentioned from the first few years in California? They didn't remain the deep connection we had thought. Deep Hurt. Lots of pain.
Than one morning, in the space between being asleep and awake I heard the Lord speak. He said, “Known. Your retreats will be called Known.” I bolted out of bed and finally had something to journal about! As I was writing, I felt a nudge in my spirit to order t-shirts that said “Known.” It was prophetic act. He wanted to partner with me in this.
The next day, I had a divine conversation with a new friend from church who quickly confirmed that, yes, this was the season for Known Retreats.
Wahoo! This was going to be amazing, I started dreaming and planning who would be on my leadership team, where we have them, what we would do. This was going to just be so great!
And then it started to crumble, or maybe I did. One comment here, one discouraging action over there...the quiet lie, “Do you really think this matters? Who do you think you are? How dare you think you can pull this off…” The lies got louder and my heart got heavier.
He came and whispered to me, “Will you trust me? Will you trust this is My idea?”
All I could mutter was a quiet “Yes.”
So I started to lean into Him. I asked Him to show me. But I was still very much alone in my process. Now, granted, my husband was very supportive and at times held my arms up for me. But where was my team?
My best friends from Minnesota decided to make a trip to visit. To mutually encourage each other. It was like a deep drink to a weary soul. The whole weekend was off the charts. We laughed, we cried, we drove around in my “ministry convertible.” We hollered at the top of our lungs, belted out worship songs and pulled over to dance at the side of the road if the spirit, sunset, or song on the radio moved us to. We were free, we were on-fire, we were unstoppable. We named those few days together “The Epic Weekend.” We made a slideshow to never forget.
Then they left. Just like that. It was over and they were 2000+ miles away once again. Back to our busy lives. Back to the 2 hour time difference. The convertible didn’t feel the same without them. All of a sudden I didn’t feel like I was unstoppable anymore.
The morning after they left I felt something on my leg...weird. A bug bite? I took a picture. It was a hive. That began a 3 month struggle with severe hives.
I had hives 2 other times in my life. This was the third. The first time was when I was in jr high starting a new school. The second was when I was a new RN and starting my first job. And now? What was going on? What was I doing?
I had well meaning friends tell me I was eating the wrong things or using the wrong detergent. But I knew this was bigger. I knew this was an “inside job” It was stress, trauma, unbelief and an invitation for more all at the same time. It was a wrestling season for me. The only clarity I had is that it was something I had to “walk thru” and that God was doing a work in me. I had asked many for prayer, and those around me loved me well and were supportive. But I knew this was something Jesus and I had to walk out together.
He wanted my “YES” and I wanted to read the contract first. I kept pushing back and struggling. At one time He asked me if I would walk alone. Alone? As in no one with me? Nope. Not that. I will eat porridge and live in a shack and wear the same shoes 365 days a year, but I will NOT be alone. I told Him I NEED people. That’s just how I’m made. And He would gently respond with, “Give me your yes.”
Many days I would have to lock myself up and clear my calendar because the hives would overtake my face, lips and eyes and I looked quite “monsterish.” I remember one day dropping the kids off at school with a big scarf covering my chin, and sunglasses and a hat low on my forehead. But it was those days I had clarity like none other. I felt weak and would just rest in the Lord’s arms. He spoke to me and reassured me that this would pass. Soon I started to love my times with the Lord. I desired what before I called “boring.” I would long for the silence, for the space between the musings of my heart and the whispers of His.
I meditated on the verse where Paul says,
“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” Phillipians 4:12 NIV
This to me was in regard to my friendships, my community, my sense of belonging. I was learning how to be content in Him. To be at peace with the quiet. I had in past seasons learned to find peace in the hustle and bustle, but the silence? This was new.
And so I would press into the quiet. I would find delight in the stillness. I would feel contentment instead of angst or anxiety when there was nothing or no one in front of me. I was finding my Yes.
Then one day I went for an overnight with the Lord, just the two of us. I found a new song in my heart, a deep new well that sprung up.
“Even when their paths wind through the dark valley of tears, they dig deep to find a pleasant pool where others find only pain. He gives to them a brook of blessing filled from the rain of an outpouring. They grow stronger and stronger with every step forward, And the God of all gods will appear before them...God of Jacob, listen to my loving prayer.” Psalm 84:6-7 TPT
I love that the sons of Korah that wrote this Psalm dig deep and find a pleasant pool. I was digging deep and I was finding the Lord’s refreshment and it was pleasant. I love that this Psalm mentions Jacob. He was the one who truly wrestled with God. The one who walked away with a limp. But He found God and it made that limp so worth it.
And then the hives started to slowly go away. When I woke January 1, 2019 they were totally gone. I haven’t had one since.
I gave God my Yes.
I will trust Him that I am Known.
Even if I do walk with a limp, He is worth it.