We are not fans of the valley. Most of that is due to weather, but there are a few other reasons as well. For now lets just stick with the weather aspect. We have always wanted to move out of California. After much research and even a trip to check it out in person we decided on Maine. Try as we might that goal has never been reached. Almost four years ago we settled on at least getting off the valley floor. We moved up to Coarsegold, in a rent-to-own home. Unfortunately the owners made some bad financial choices, and we had to move on. At that point we moved into another rental...still in Coarsegold. Before the year was up we knew we would have to move back down into the valley.
Many factors went into that submission. Here's that story.
You see when making the intentional decision to move up into the foothills Jeff's business was still new enough that he had clients in every which direction. There was no such thing as convenient. So it was an easy choice to move where our spirits were rejuvenated. However very rapidly his client base was centered in Fresno.
In hopes of transferring as much of our lives as possible to Coarsegold we left the church we were attending in Fresno for one in Coarsegold. The pastor at that church made some very shameful choices. Apparently before we moved into the picture he had begun "cleaning house" in the church. Which inevitably caused a church split. That's about when we started attending. He continued to realign the church according to scripture. Yes that does sound good. However he stomped on people in order to accomplish it. He compromised for his own personal comfort. At this point we decided to slip out of the church. We enjoyed a few months of sweet home church, just the four of us. Then we began, once again, to attend the church down in Fresno. Which meant even more time on the road to and fro.
Just a quick side step: Jeff had developed a friendship with the pastor and had called him to breakfast on occasion to talk about the church situation...to no avail. Most disappointing of all, the pastor secretly applied for positions in other churches...in other states. It was a devastating blow to the church, which was left in shambles.
And yet another side step:
As we studied in our current church on Sunday I reflected back on the Coarsegold church. I thought about how God puts us through the refiners fire. How painful it is. How beautiful things turn out in the end. My thoughts transferred over to that Coarsegold pastor. I thought about the cleansing good works he started in the church. I thought about his methods in doing so. I especially thought about how he abruptly left. Our Lord will never leave or forsake us rang in my ears. The amazing picture I had on that Sunday morning will probably never leave me. I thought of
1 Corinthians 3:10-13 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble: Every man's work shall be made manifest: for day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.
"Gold and silver" melt in the refiners fire...but are not destroyed. God's authority causes the "metal" to be formed into something of beauty to show the world his sovereignty. I thought about the pastor of this church, who I think started out trying to do right by Gods law, but in the end turned to the call of his flesh.
So? Because of this (in my minds eye) I see a clump of gold/silver that has been left to fall where it may. Heated and totally abandoned. Yet not all hope is lost. It is not wood that has turned to ash. It is still a metal..all be it ugly, that CAN be remelted and reformed by the refiners fire. That is hope.
Okay. So back to my tale. So far you know we moved for work, a church and time on the road. The next issue that I want to address is the home school atmosphere. We joined a group up in Coarsegold and limited greatly any activities in Fresno in regards to home education....but then that group quickly dissipated as well. If someone where to have told me that Fresno was more anti-government than a little mountain town..well I would have laughed long and hard. However that is exactly what I experienced. I met family after family who could not imagine conducting school with out the governmental monies and programs...enter the Charter school movement. Such a wild difference. Wow. Just wow! Not to go into another side tracked tail spin....but I don't respect that movement. More on that another day.
At any rate, that made up the majority of the home educators. That and the group of individuals who add rules to scripture. Who live extra-biblical practices and push those beliefs on others. It was a very judgmental, very pinched, angry, self righteous group of people. Can you say Pharisee or how about Sadducee? Now I never went to blows with anyone up there. However a saw a whole lot of pain. I witnessed many hurts caused by self praising bitter hearted fools. I just want ride in a small airplane over the whole area with a giant banner stating....
Romans 3:9-20 "What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no not one: There for none that understandish, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable: there is none that doeth good, no not one. Their throat is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways And the way of peace have have not known: There is fear of God before their eyes. Now we know that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin"
.....and drop little note cards stating God repeated himself many times in these verses so you would understand that he was including you as well!
I'm sure you guessed by now we returned to the homeschool movement in Fresno...which meant even more road time.
So there we sat at an emotional impasse. We knew we needed to move. We didn't want to. We disparately clung to the mountains.
Regardless we set out trying to convince "the bank" that a person with no credit cards, who is self employed and is wanting to buy a home for the first time can be trusted....they laughed, we scared them. We ended up renting. However getting into a rental was also a chore. No one wanted our two big dogs to come with us. To make matter worse we were asked by rental agents why we were renting. Stating we clearly had the income to buy..yeah haha, real funny!
As it turns out God used this waiting, this time of no answers, to make us long to move to Fresno. Yes you read that right. Long for the convenience. Long for the oppurtunity. Long for the time OFF the road. We ended up jumping at a rental that excepted our dogs, sight unseen. You know what? It turned out fine! The house has a pool, volleyball court, horse shoe pit and fruit trees in a BIG yard...for city living. Landscaping for front and back yards as well as pool service are included in the rent. It is a 4 bedroom, which means we don't have to rent office space for Jeff & we get a school room. It has a living room and a family room, which means plenty of room for books and instruments. We got into our neighborhood of choice. This is a nice neighborhood, within five minutes of basically all we do and there are lots of lovely trees to view! All in all God showed himself to know best. I accept living in Fresno now. However I hope to one day own a time share in Maine. For like June-August...Tee-hee!!!