Doing Life with Another

I think about what times were like back in time when families lived in community together. Sharing chores, responsibility, dinners, outings, emotions. Today in America it is far from that. Everyone lives under their own roof, in their own little world, and hides from the community. When you live this way you can make your life LOOK like whatever you want.

Here at Surry Hills we didn’t enter this new adventure that way. God has put us together, sharing the same house, rooms, dinners, chores, responsibility, and emotions. We are 6 months into this and it is amazing how God equips you for what you need when you need it.

I personally can’t be around others for more than a week. I love my routine and how I do life. Well, that’s how I used to be. But here now…I am not the same. I have been completely changed on the inside. I have my moments, we all do, we are human. But how I see and react and respond has been made new.

I can see that God is working on changing us all. The change in myself and my children has been awesome. Each day is new, thank goodness. God is creating situations that are putting us in positions to examine who we are in Christ. 

We feel that we can not live out our faith to share with others if we can not being transformed by the hand of God. Godly character is what we seek most of all in ourselves and our children. Tara Inman


With Thee we Abide

John chapter 15 tells us that if we abide in Him, He will abide in us.

You may wonder what that has to do with my current living situation, so let’s back track just a little. 

Here we are living at Surry Hills, our new farm in Western North Carolina.  It’s amazingly beautiful and the scents in the air seem to free my soul into the wind that brought them to me.  All is beautiful and lovely as I look out over the pasture in the evening light of the setting sun, I hear children playing in the yard, or is that…. not again, the children aren’t playing they are fighting… again. I groan, but I smile anyway, because I love the adventure I am on, and these children are growing.  Growing up, growing closer together, growing in maturity and growing, most of all, in the Lord.

Yes, we are two families living together in ONE cabin!  I hear all the naysayers; “Living together is hard.” “Are you sure you know what you are doing?”  I see the looks on their faces, they just know we can’t possibly enjoy this, we will most certainly fail.   Well, in some ways, they are right, it truly is hard in so many ways, but in so many more ways it is perfect and fulfilling, and guess what?  It’s not going to last forever.  Eventually, our personal homes will be built and we will live as two families again, or will we? I pray we never do, I pray we always live in support of each other, with God.

So, what’s it really like?  I have so many answers to that question.  I can’t possibly explain them all thoroughly here in one post, so maybe there will be more on this same topic later.

Living with another woman in the house can be awesome.  It is co-parenting on a whole new level.  It cuts the work in half, and most of the time we work around each other, we know what needs to be done and we don’t question what the other is doing.  There are extra eyes on the kids, extra help for school, another confidant for my children to speak to, someone else speaking God’s love into their lives.  When I find I’m becoming too exhausted, or not dealing well, she takes up the slack, and vice versa.  Living with another woman also means, – lots of hormones!  Ultimately there are six women living under one roof – so much estrogen!  Six men – so much testosterone! So many emotions, so many opinions, so much me, mine and you must share!

Living with someone else takes courage.  Courage to let someone know the real you, flaws and all.  I thought I knew my flaws before I moved here, and for the most part I did.  Living with another adult, makes those flaws stand out more to not to her, but to me.   I actually think Tara does a pretty good job of just accepting me for who I am, the same with how I see her, actually as I write this I’m having a hard time naming any of her flaws.  Ok, maybe I could name one or two, but what I have found is that what others might say is a flaw is actually her strength, it’s what gets stuff done.  The great thing that has happened through all this, is that God has shown me the areas that I really do need to work on myself, and I’ve been taking the time to dig deep and find who He really wants me to be.  That wouldn’t have happened without this situation. In addition, I have Tara to bounce my thoughts of off, and she can speak into my life.

I‘m really surprised there haven’t been more arguments.  Surely we should argue about doing laundry or food?  God has really been with us, He wants us to live in unity with one another. I can actually only think of one time I’ve even really been angry with Tara, and at that point when I was going to go tell her my feelings, God stopped me.  He had me look inward into myself and the things going on with me.  I quickly realized that the problem wasn’t Tara at all, it was me and I needed to work on myself.  I have loved that so much about this time here, it has really been a time of finding center and digging our roots down deep.  This time will not always be easy, but it will be soul finding, and growing.  We will grow together and the roots of our tree will grow down deep, so that in the future we won’t be easily toppled, we will have a firm foundation, not only in our Lord but in each other.  Yes, there will be times when we are on each other’s nerves, or our children are fighting, but it’s important to remember  –  Love.  God calls us to love.   1 Peter 4:8 “Above all  love each other for love covers over a multitude of sins.”  I recently heard that we should notice the value in a person instead of complaining about their faults.  It’s always wise to step back and figure out what is truly important.

Our kids are our biggest source of stress – this whole blending two families of kids, and I think it’s important for our kids to see how we as adults deal with it, and deal with each other’s kids.  We are teaching them as they watch what we do.  It’s important for everyone to realize that we aren’t machines, we are all individuals with feelings and we all just try our best.  And guess what…. sometimes I fail.  Sometimes I let my emotions take me to places I shouldn’t go.   Tara has seen me at my worst, and sometimes has to call me on it.  That’s not always easy to swallow, but what I’ve found is that if I were still living alone, I might stay there longer, I might let myself get truly depressed.  But, living with another makes me think a little before letting that happen.  There’s a farm to run and children to feed and do I really want someone else watching me have a pity party?  Maybe it’s not always for the right reasons, but it sure makes me dig out of the slump faster.  The slumps here truly have been deep ones, being without my husband, living in a much smaller space, with other people.  Needing to go to the bathroom and having to wait.  Noise!  I am not good with noise, and there is always noise. We will get into all that in another post.

Coming out of the slumps has been the most amazing thing!  Suddenly, Tara and I will come together and talk.  Those talks will always be so important to me.  It’s where we grow together and have these amazing aha moments.  When we both talk about the things swirling in our heads, God smiles on us and his glory shines and we learn some seriously deep truths.  Those truths encourage us to keep on keeping on in the wonderful adventure He has us on.

While I’m ready for a new home, with more bathrooms, I am not ready for this part of the journey to be over yet.  This is the time for us to work on our relationships, to continue to grow together as friends and together spiritually.  Thus returning to the scripture I opened with:  We must learn to live fully in Christ, and when we do that, it will show in all our relationships.  If we continue to have faith in Christ and depend on Him, we will live according to His word, and when we live according to His word we will treat each other as Christ would treat us.  Would I recommend this life to everyone.  No, I wouldn’t … but for a select few who do truly strive to live life the way that God desires for us to live, you and those of us here at Surry Hills might just have enough of God’s mercy and abundant grace to make this grand adventure work. 

So, I continue to look out over the deck of our love (and noise) filled cabin, onto the pasture filled with His creation, abiding in Him and waiting with anticipation for what He has for us tomorrow. Melanie Willis


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