Day 1484: Shabbat Shalom

by andrew

From blessing to blessing, the seasons have changed and with them we have followed the pillar of cloud and fire into a new plunge of our journey. It was very hard to leave the amazing house upon which YHWH’s favor rested to provide our home for the winter months. How we enjoyed that place: the sunrise view of the river, the adventures in the woods, the cozy fireplace, the room to host friends and spread out, the dedicated and quiet office space, the trampoline, the in-house washer and dryer :), the forests of driftwood that formed Fort Superior, the large kitchen, the big table we could all fit at, the budding relationship with dear neighbors, and so much more.

A big part of me didn’t want to leave at all… wanted to plant and take root and grow more comfortable and stay forever. But a blessing can turn to bitterness if we disobediently refuse to let go of it, and a few weeks ago Father provided clarity to the question about which we had been seeking Him through prayer for many months: what next? Even in asking the question we were torn. We wanted the answer to be to stay right there in PA; and we wanted the answer to be Denver where my family and company Never Settle are; and we wanted the answer to be Winnipegosis which has also felt like home to us in so many ways. And honestly, I think I wanted those answers in that order – not that I wanted any of them more or less than any other, but each successive option presented additional layers of logistical challenges and complexities. In fact, in the moment YHWH made the answer clear in my heart I started asking all the “but what abouts” and He just said, “I will take care of all those – don’t worry about them.” The answer was Winnipegosis and independently confirmed to Renee and I both.

That eventually launched us into the crazy blur that was this past week as the first step towards making our next northward voyage was to move out of the house and back into the trailer. Renee and the kids, especially the oldest, performed a lion’s share of the packing, carrying everything back into the trailer, and cleaning the house. I had a typical over-full work week and took care of all the dad-jobs related to moving. We had planned to pull away on Wed and were pretty much at the point where we could have, but the day was so beautiful and perfect for taking our neighbors up on their standing boat ride invitation. So we decided to have a break and spend a couple hours taking turns on the river. What a glorious decision and the kids had an absolute blast!

So, we finally pulled away Thurs and made the long and arduous 🙂 15 minute drive over to our dear friends’ farm where we have quickly settled in for a month or so of transition before hitting the road again come June: dewinterizing the trailer, testing everything out, learning how to live in 250 square feet again now with 9 of us, working from my bed office, preparing meals with almost no counter space, making hard decisions about what to keep or throw out in attempt to limit overall weight, and so on.

If any of those items on my list of adjustments sound at all like complaining please don’t take it that way. These are glorious challenges and merely the very small costs involved in gaining the far more massive rewards of adventuring with our King into all His plans for us. And in our opinion the challenges of this mobile lifestyle are far outweighed by the benefits: being so close to the night sounds and patter of the spring rains, being free to roam wherever with everything we own (which still often feels like too much), getting confronted with tests that stretch and teach and refine us, spending time in so many different environments, eating fresh produce from our friend’s gardens like the amazing asparagus we had today, catching frogs, making dandelion root coffee, basking in the outdoors, and on and on.

(clean zone decontamination sector before re-entry into the living quarters)

(dandelion root coffee)

Even so, we’ve been slowing down and have spent a lot longer in each place. In fact we have spent the last two years in primarily 3 places – the same places that were on our heart in our question about what (really where to) next. And it isn’t 100% certain as YHWH’s spirit is constantly flowing, but perhaps out next destination will usher in a much longer season of planting and growing and extending roots and contributing to an expression of our Messiah Yahushua’s Kingdom community in the beautiful north.

We will discover what He provides as we go and how He directs along the way.

I personally have come to terms with new profound glimpses of how Father uses and wants to use our large family. We are such unfit vessels but He seems to do amazing things around us when we just BE (doing our best to live in His ways and obey his loving instructions to us). It is humbling and sobering at the same time. A great example of this happened several weeks ago. On the sunday after Renee’s birthday we went out for a rare family celebration meal. Sitting down at a restaurant as a family can be an epic undertaking and we talked to the kids ahead of time about shining our lights and being a witness with our behavior. Well, they were all amazing and did a fantastic job, and several people came up in rounds to compliment our family as they were leaving, which led to a few neat micro conversations. These encounters were quite unexpected, and I wished we had better words in the moment for turning each one in the direction of bringing the direct honor to our King.

But the most incredibly humbling aspect of the experience was yet to unfold. After we were done we divided and conquered as we often do – Renee taking most of the kids on ahead to the truck while I handle the checkout. I went up to pay and the manager said, “sir, it’s already been taken care of. A gentlemen said he was really impressed with you and your family and wanted to cover your meal.” Wow. That was not a cheap meal. And a flood of emotions immediately penetrated my heart. I knew on one hand it was a wink from YHWH reminding us how effortless it is for Him to provide for us under any circumstances. It also cut deeply into my soul because because it was such a big blessing for what felt like such a small thing. We were just being what we think of as normal with the added element of being out for a special sunday meal.

What I realized in that moment by the generosity of that anonymous gift was that our “normal” – that ideal for which we aspire in Scriptural obedience to our Creator – has become very abnormal in the world at large. Where it once used to be much more common it is now so rare that it shines brightly with a deep impact on people who find it very strange and unusual because they are inundated daily with mostly opposite cultural influences and messages. The new normal is darkness, and Renee touched on this in her last post in a different context. Our mission is to be bearers of the Old Normal – the Original Normal – the Creator’s Normal; to invade darkness as vessels of the King’s Light. How eye-opening and thought provoking that the darkness in our society is so pervasive and encompassing that it can be noticeably cracked by a simple large family peacefully eating a meal together at Perkins.

We rejoiced in the gift while grieving for what is being lost all around us all the time. But it also renewed our hope in what will be completely restored when our Messiah returns to the earth and inspired us to do more to testify to that coming restoration with our daily lives. This is a big piece of what we hope to carry with us wherever we go, knowing we have so much more to learn to fully walk in it. And we rest in how that fits into our answer – even as we rest in the delights of Shabbat on the exact same farm that provided a transition point between our old life in DC and our new life on the road exactly 4 years ago.

(Our amazing Elie Poof Ball)

(Reayah’s evening knitting)

17 Responses to “Day 1484: Shabbat Shalom”

  • Esther Haverluck Says:

    What a beautiful blog. I too had tears brought to my eyes when I read about meal provided. It just puts us in awe to know how Father takes care of us and blesses because we obey. What a treasure He is. I miss you guys.

  • Shawn Wiggins Says:

    YHWH has so much for us to do. By “to do” I mean relating to each other. Be strong, are carry on, you continue to inspire me! Thank-you!!!

  • andrew Says:

    thanks mom! miss you too!!! and yeah, I almost cried too standing there at the register – probably with a shocked look on my face. Father is so awesome!

  • andrew Says:

    right on, Shawn, totally agree. it’s a joy and encouragement to watch your journey as well and we love you guys and miss all up there. you be strong and carry on too!!!

  • Dad Says:

    Blessings on a new bon voyage.
    A beautiful post and most beautiful pictures. Neat events…the boat ride, and the breakfast to be long remembered for so many reasons. My mind went back to the conversation we shared in your trailer during one of your sojourns with us while parked next to GG’s garage regarding family, disciple, and communication. I too received that breakfast time as joyful fruit of our conversation. Keep up the good work and keep us updated. You are both to be commended. Thanks for the invitation to come to family camp up north. We’re already looking at a few contingencies and requests for people to come see us here this summer. So we already have our hearts before abba to direct us for that time. Not sure yet how abba will direct us. Also thinking about a trip to Portland to see Gretchen’s dad. She asked me to come with her this time.
    Hugs to all including the frogs. I’m up late tonight editing today’s webcast and getting it ready to post on YouTube. Yahweh’s breath is blowing even stronger and at an accelerated speed for those who have their sails unfurled to receive it.
    Kenn probably told you that we had another very good evening together here last week with Jonathan and Norm/Deborah. We had a helthty juice supper together here. (a first!)
    Love, dad

  • andrew Says:

    Thanks, dad! Another part of the story in all this transition is that we had a really blessed relationship with the owner of that lovely house and they were very sad to see us go. In the process of our departure, they also had many very kind things to say to us. Even though I feel like we didn’t do anything special to make an impression, they certainly noticed Father’s love and light in us (HalleluYah!). And if they read this since they have the link (Hi, Peggy! Thank you again for everything), I’d like to highlight that who we are is in very large part due to God’s role in the lives of you and mom – how you raised us and taught us to learn His ways and all your love and support over the years. We were able to catch the teaching part of the webcast today, and thought of you all! If the summer fills up (I’m not even completely sure we’ll make it out to the long Family Weekend in Saskatchewan) there’s always an open invitation for a visit up north any time. Late summer / early fall is always gorgeous (less mosquitoes 🙂 ) Or even Sukkot. Or whenever Father permits. I know everyone up there would love to meet you.

  • uncle d Says:

    Miss you guys. Love the pics and testimony. Ellie is darling!

  • Peggy Says:

    Andrew you are a true testament to God and your parents. You did do something special because you are such a special person. You, Renee and those beautiful children of yours with your love and honesty and spreading of God’s word add a joy to this world that is so sorely needed. I would like to thank you for the privlege of getting to know you and the privlege of your occupying my house and having your beautiful baby there. Please keep praying that I find someone to occupy my house but they could never be as wondertul as you and your family. I feel honored to have had you and your family in my life for this short period of time. The man in the restaurant just recognized what I already know, there was a very special family enjoying a meal in the same restaurant as him. It is very evident that God surrounds your family and world.


  • Dad Says:

    What a lovely reply from Peggy. May abba truly bless her in the days ahead.
    Yes, the adventure of traveling along and within His paths of righteousness never end. Psa. 23:6
    “Surely goodness and loving kindness will pursue me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the House of YWHW forever.”—written by a king, who found his delight in the instructions generously given by the KING of the universe to all men.

  • Leon Says:

    Wow awesome post and awesome replies. Praying for you guy’s and are looking forward to you coming back to our little village in the north.
    I read it to Sam and Hailey and they really enjoyed listening and they both say they miss you and loved the pictures of the kids and look forward to seeing ya all.

  • Liz Says:

    Love and miss you guys terribly.

  • andrew Says:

    Thanks, Leon – we’re excited too! Give everyone hugs for us!

  • andrew Says:

    Love and miss you guys too, Liz!!! Sky still randomly mentions John Ryan from time to time! Squeeze our cousins for us and keep a big one for yourself too!

  • Jeannie Says:

    What a joy just reading your blog! I’m glad Skip passed on your story.

  • ephraiyim Says:

    Hey Andrew. Reconnecting after reading your post on Skip Moen’s blog. So cool to see all that YHWH is doing.
    We are still in Newton, IA. i just am finishing recovering from two surgeries in which I developed MRSA infections. Ahava (Janelle) is hanging with me. We cried when we saw the pictures of little Ellie.
    We are still believing to have a child even in our 50’s and Daddy keeps confirming it through many sources. So blessed to watch what He is doing in your lives and grateful for all He continues to do in ours.

  • andrew Says:

    Thank you for letting us know, Jeannie! Praise Yah!

  • andrew Says:

    Great to hear from you, Ephraiyim! I get all your posts in my inbox and don’t have time to ready them all, but some certainly grab my attention and I appreciate them very much. We’ll be praying for you and Ahava! Sorry to hear about your surgery complications – yikes! But Abba is faithful! Many blessings!

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