It began in January.
My 19 year old son, who couldn’t hold a job or finish a semester in college due to challenges related to autism, announced he was moving in with a woman who had recently worked for me, and was 9 years older than him. Nothing about this major life transition felt honest, healthy or in his best interest. A few weeks later the leadership in the church I served informed me my job duties were changing. The thriving ministries I led would no longer be offered due to financial restraints.
I felt unmoored as two of the most meaningful pieces of my life pulled away like the tide.
But the storm calmed and a new normal set in.
I discovered the joy of weekly dinner visits with my son as we cooked new recipes together. At church I began reorienting my work around an approaching part-time schedule and realized I looked forward to the opportunity to spend more time at Tikkun Farm, nurturing the growing non-profit I had founded.
And then round two began.
My son announced he was moving 5 hours away, to his girlfriend’s small hometown in Illinois. No more weekly dinner visits. At church, the leadership asked me to reconsider working full time. By now I’d started dreaming about what I could create on my farm with more time to invest there. In the middle of discussions about how a part-time call might work for all of us, the church leadership surprised me. Thinking I was asking for more money – when what I really wanted was more time – they terminated my call.
And then came the biggest surprise….
This crooked path of heartbreak, loss and betrayal brought me exactly where God wanted me, and not somewhere I could have brought myself.
In the two months since the most recent turn in this crooked path I’ve done some of the most creative and meaningful ministry of my career. Tikkun Farm completed it’s first healing experiment: an all day summer camp for almost 80 children, many from refugee and foster care families, who know all too well what it means to grow up in environments that hurt. Thanks to generous donations, we offered campers healing experiences like yoga, meditation, nature, art, writing and drumming, and families that could not afford to send one child to camp were able to send all five.
And what about my son’s crooked path….?
I recently visited him in his new hometown. It’s quiet, peaceful, slow paced and beautiful… exactly the kind of place he’ll thrive. The girlfriend I didn’t like bought him a piano, and encourages his culinary creations. It’s clear he’s cared for, supported and happy. The crooked path led him home too.
In the midst of all this disruption I remembered God’s promise in Jeremiah 29:11… “I know the plans I have for you says the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” The assurance of Julian of Norwich also echoed in my heart. “All shall be well. All shall be well. All manner of things shall be well.”
Losses and heartbreaks disrupt every journey….cancer, car accidents, job loss, children’s struggles, bankruptcy, addiction, illness, deaths of loved ones… They can end life as we’ve known it. And God can use every crooked line, drawing us straight home to love, beauty, renewal, growth and goodness… if we don’t fight the flow, and instead let the path carry us.
These kind of detours slow us down, and sometimes change our direction all together. We had not even tallied the income from Tikkun Farm’s amazing fundraiser to “Raise the Roof”, when the news about my job, changed my focus and direction. Rather than finish this amazing community effort with thank-you’s and celebration, I found myself thrust into figuring out what came next for me professionally. This disruption, though, also made the summer camp project possible as I had time to serve as a full time camp director.
My detour has led me back to a path that has both changed and feels familiar. My ministry from within the walls of the traditional church lies behind me, at least for now. My ministry grows now on the farm alongside the beautiful garden tended by the Nepali farmers and the ongoing repair of our buildings.
We raised enough to raise the roof!!
Thanks to generous donations from folks who believe in Tikkun Farm’s vision and the generous offer of Celtic Electric & Remodeling to charge us “time and material” and work with what we’ve raised, we believe we have enough to make our barn water-tight and stable… keeping the barn in good condition until we’re ready for a full renovation. Work will begin in the Fall!
Another incredible gift of Celtic Electric & Remodeling is their 20+ years of experience working with “People Working Cooperatively” where they supervised volunteer work crews. So folks who want to help us heal the barn with sweat and labor, let us know, and we will begin scheduling volunteer construction dates. As work progresses, we’ll post pictures, so you can see the repairs underway!
I’m sorry the disruption in my life delayed this update. Thank you everyone who contributed to Tikkun Farm’s astounding first fundraiser. It would not have been possible without 30+ volunteers logging 400+ volunteer hours, donations of teacups, time and incredible talent.
Please mark your calendar for Friday, Sept 22nd when we host our first Volunteer Appreciation Open House! We look forward to welcoming you to Tikkun Farm for a family friendly evening of appreciation that includes great food, fun times, farm tours and alpaca selfies!
See you around the farm!