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Will You Use This Opportunity to Grow?

Please pardon the poor photo quality. This was back in November 2014, when our family lived on the side of a mountain on a large ranch for a year as part of my former husband's job at the time. He was the case manager hired by the Orange County Rescue Mission, and his job was to manage the men who were housed on the ranch as part of their program for healing and recovery from drug and alcohol addictions. Plus, when the men completed the program, they were then sent back to the OC rescue mission to begin work training, so they could eventually find jobs and start a brand new life. It was truly an incredible opportunity for these men. And for myself and for our children.

The four of us were housed in a single wide trailer, not a double wide, and we had no wifi internet, simply the data on our phones, to rely on in order to connect with the rest of the world. We lived in a really small town called Warner Springs, which, quite literally if you blinked, you missed it.

In order to get to the ranch, you would take a long, lonely stretch of highway (The Highway 79). It was a beautiful drive, but it was long. In fact, it took approximately 35-40 minutes to get into the nearest city for groceries and routine errands. Needless to say, this was obviously an adjustment for our family.

We had been so accustomed to the busyness of our lives. Madi was in elementary school and had participated in softball. We had been busy with ministry up until the point my former husband had been released from his prior position. I was was working a small business from home in order to help provide income for our family. Now, we had moved far away from our friends and family and experiencing a new way of living that we weren't quite accustomed to.

Can I let you in on a secret? I actually kind of miss the ranch right now.

Yes, we were isolated. We literally lived up against a mountain, where there were the real dangers of snakes, mountain lions and other predators. I was once even stared down by a bobcat while I worked out in our trailer. Ask the kids. Totally true. I wanted to run away and hide. I homeschooled our kids in our trailer. I even had to work my business and make adjustments to how I would serve my customers and my team because of this new environment. It wasn't easy.

But I miss it because I was suddenly in a place where I was hyper focused. Hyper focused on my relationship with God. Some of my most favorite moments in my time with Him was when I was up in those early morning hours and watching the sun rise over the hilltops. Hearing the rooster crow at 6am and the goats moving along the hillside.

The time challenged me as someone who tends to be a big picture thinker, and I had to pay attention to details and schedules, planning and implementation. I homeschooled and ran a business (which by the way, that business, that had been stagnant prior to the mountain, suddenly exploded in growth while on the mountain.)

It wasn't that I was suddenly wiser or a better person because I was on a ranch and alone. It was because there was opportunity to use the change in circumstances and surroundings for something good. To strip away whatever wasn't working or was no longer as important or valuable in that season, and focus on what mattered.

If you ask my kids what they loved the most about being on that mountain, they would say regular times outdoors. The baby goats. More family dinner time. There was a great pizza place and Mexican food place just 15 minutes from us, two hole in the wall establishments that we fell in love with. Lots of sunsets and sunrises. Madi was trained on how to ride a horse and she received free horse riding lessons from the hired for the ranch.

They saw their daddy more. I miss the fresh eggs I would get almost every day. Pancakes and waffles made by the men in the kitchen on Saturdays.

Was it always easy? No. It snowed while we were on the ranch and our pipes froze and we couldn't take hot showers in our trailer for two weeks. We weren't always able to leave the ranch or go visit family or participate in family gatherings because of the distance. It could feel very lonely at times on the mountain.

But I personally can say that I didn't hate my time there. I can't speak for anyone else. I don't think the kids hated it either. I don't know about Dan.

I didn't hate it. In fact, I am so grateful for the growth that happened there. It was good.

Right now, we are in a season where everything is very different. Some of us are looking at being without jobs, maybe even permanently. Others are afraid for their well being or the well being of their most vulnerable family members. This is hard stuff. No one really knows how to do "pandemic" life correctly.

So, I first want to tell you to stop comparing and/or judging how someone is adjusting or doing this whole dang thing. Don't be a Karen. I say that with as much love as I possibly can. Knock it off. #loveyoumeanit

Next, how are you going to use this as an opportunity to grow. This doesn't mean that you have to start doing all the things. Don't confuse what I am asking with me stating that you now have to become a boss babe or a super fit influencer or whatever else. That isn't what I am asking. We are in a scenario where we are forced to pull back and focus on what really matters. So how are you going to use this time to strip away anything that no longer serves you, Kingdom, or your family?

There was a great class today over @SheworksHisWay that spoke of #quarantineclarity. This is exactly that. Their mastermind class on this subject is what brought to mine my time on the ranch with my family and the clarity and growth that came from that experience. What I experienced on the mountaintop was very similar to what we are experiencing now. Strip away what does not matter, and focus on what does. Watch then what God does with that step in obedience.

Don't waste the time. You don't have to do all the things in order to prove that you used your time wisely. Listen and seek what God is asking of you during this season of forced pause. Obey. Then watch as God honors your obedience and transforms your heart! You may be surprised as to what you refuse to go back to after all of this is over.

In Him,

Tiffany Rhea

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