The story of Joseph’s life in Genesis is one of a pit to palace experience. I never much cared to live in a palace. But I’ve always wanted to live on a ranch. As long as I can remember that’s been my dream. As a young child I asked my dad, “How much land do we have?” He told me we had “eighty-five hundredths of an acre.” (This was also a man that later told me he didn’t understand my math homework when I was in the 4th grade. I would never call him a liar, but he sure fibbed to me a lot. }:-)
At the time, it was only important to me as a curiosity. I didn’t care how small our yard was because it was surrounded by farms and my dad was known and loved by all of our neighbors. So I had permission from them all to ride my motorcycles on their land as long as the fields weren’t planted and I was considerate. (Daddy made sure I knew what “considerate” meant in that context.)
Growing up, my family only had eighty-five hundredths of an acre, but I had hundreds of acres to explore and play on. When I was about eight I could finally outrun my mother’s whistle. (That woman can stick two fingers in her mouth and let out a shrieking whistle that you can hear for at least a quarter mile.) I could ride and live and explore. I had alone time. Just me and that machine. We got so far from home. When you’re eight or nine, a mile away is another world and I could do it! That all played a large part in making me who I am. I was free! That’s where I lived every summer that I can remember – on the seat of a motorcycle that I called “Basket Case” because my dad literally brought it home in a basket of parts and built it just for me. He was the service manager at a Yamaha dealership at the time.
My Dad also played a huge role in building an AMA sanctioned motocross track around that same time. (I seriously doubt that is the track as it was then. Dad’s been dead for almost 25 years. But that’s the club and he was both an officer in the club and helped build the original track.) I spent many nights out there practicing the big jumps while Dad was mowing or moving dirt.
I loved the motorcycles and still do. I continued that love even after Dad moved on. But I always wished I had horses. I loved rodeo and I wanted to be a cowboy.
I worked at a rodeo this weekend. At the event, a man of about 70 (and a true cowboy in any way you define it) walked up to me and said, “Are you a cowboy?”
I said, “No. I’m a poser.”
He laughed heartily and said, “I always wanted to be a cowboy but I’m afraid of cows.” He then let out another hearty laugh. (I know the man a little and I suspect he’s roped more than a few.)
I replied, “I always wanted to be a cowboy but I haven’t been able to afford the horses, cows and land….. YET!”
He laughed yet again and said, “I like the way you think, boy. We should talk.”
Lest you think I have no point and this has nothing to do with Joseph’s story…
I pretty much lost all of that when my Dad was stolen from me. I was twelve when he went home. It wasn’t long after that that I decided I would never have children if I couldn’t give them what he gave me. I have two now so there’s no longer an option. It’s now a requirement. I’ve worked very hard at it and made some mistakes. I’ve faced some challenges and overcome most of them successfully.
Oooh, But God. I love those two words together. If you’re looking for something to study, go look up those two words in your concordance and see how many times they appear together. But God….
I found myself and children abruptly homeless a couple weeks ago on a Thursday night at about 6:45. When I say abruptly, I mean, blind sided and NOW. At the time, I had about 70 cents in change and my gas tank was empty. No problem. God will make a way. He always does. He usually does it before you need it. He sure did here. I’m not giving details, but I went from a bad situation for my children and myself, to homeless, to living my dream in less than a 24 hour period.
Anyone that loves us would be happy about that. Don’t ever again claim to love any of us if you disagree.
Here’s the high points of the details I’m not giving:
Tomorrow morning we’re picking up the keys to a log home on a 137 acre ranch. It’s a working ranch. The rent we’re paying is barely more than half of the place we moved out of. The rodeo that I worked this weekend wasn’t really a rodeo – it was a team roping competition – but it was in my new back yard, in a covered arena and they practice there every Tuesday night. We can walk there to watch in two minutes.
There is an elaborate playground that my daughters can walk to with their friends. (Most of whom live there.)
Two basketball courts and three stocked ponds where my kids can both catch the fish and feed them.
I almost forgot the baseball field.
I spent the weekend emptying garbage cans out there and picking up trash. It was dirty, ugly and nasty and I was smiling (almost) the whole time. I LOVED it. I would’ve done it for free, there. Then they paid me about ten times what I thought it was worth.
Deuteronomy talks about days of heaven on earth. I’ve seen it. I was smiling while emptying refuse. I was just glad to be there.
Starting tomorrow, we live there. My kids and I have a new address. We live at Covenant Ranch. That’s the desire of my heart. All I asked for was a roof and a shower and a couple beds. He gave me “exceedingly and abundantly above all I could ask or think.”