Why My Blog Was Silent For a Year
Have you ever felt like your life was just one big, disorganized mess? That no matter how hard you tried or how genuine your intentions were that you couldn’t get it completely right. You were trying. You really were. Things were just falling apart faster than you could fix them. Treading water day after day kept you alive but was not your idea of thriving.
We made some radical decisions and lifestyle choices as a family to leave treading water behind. We took a ton of risks, sometimes with others taking that risk too, and we did what we could with what we were given to live the life we have now. By God’s grace, we did it. Look at these photos to see a couple before and afters in our great room.
By God’s grace, our crazy venture of buying a foreclosed house, gutting it, moving it onto our property, and completely remodeling it ourselves (and with a few dear friends), has given us the financial freedom that we have been praying for all along. God is so very faithful!
I hit a wall last year. We had a deadly attack on our farm where lost animals I loved. I was betrayed back to back by two different relationships I had invested in heavily. It hurt deeply. I realized I was empty. I had invested everything I had in achieving our dreams and caring for other people, and I was bone dry on the inside.
It was a grace to me that I couldn’t see at the time. Things happen to us that are meant to crush us and make us quit, but God uses those deaths to bring forth new life and usher us into new seasons.
In my grief and overwhelm, I prayerfully began to clear the clutter from my soul and began to invest in myself, my family, and the relationships right around me. I asked myself some really hard questions. I laid myself open before God, His Word, and His Church and asked what I wanted from this life and what I had to give. Was I okay with dying as things were if my time came unexpectedly?
I paused blogging, so I could reflect without distraction. I disconnected from facebook- a huge time waster for me. Instead of investing so much time and energy into a thousand shallow relationships, I invested in a small number of deeper ones. I shared hundreds of meals with others around our kitchen table. My worn floor in our new house is proof! :) I made time for drop in visitors and loved people well face to face. It has been life giving.
I have learned more about myself. I can tell when I need more space to be quiet and reflect. I go for a walk outside instead of numbing my soul to a scrolling feed or finding satisfaction in how many people liked a clever status update. I have learned that I go absolutely mad if I don’t prioritize being creative in some way every day. I know I need to read good books to keep my soul kindled with hope. Life is hard guys, and as a pastor’s family, we are always walking with someone through tragedy or deep grief, and it takes its toll. I have read great works by Wendell Barry, fun fiction by Andrew Peterson, life coaching books by Lara Casey, and so many more. I have invested in my health. I made healthy eating a priority and am intentional about being outside every day no matter the weather.
In the past year, I have become a much better wife, mother, and friend. Our farm is thriving. We went from a handful of chickens and three small goats to a menagerie of animals, including goats, sheep, ducks, guineas, chickens, turkeys, rabbits, livestock dogs, and pigs, living in harmony which each other. I have grown blueberries, elderberries, mulberries, spinach, lettuce, turnips, kale, carrots, swiss chard, and tomatoes. We are lined up with the State to be part of their EQIP program this year for their high tunnel grant (think of a massive greenhouse). We are legitimately farmers now!
Two months ago, I began a new business venture, “Anna Cirlot Photography and Design.” Though I have been doing web design off and on for the past 10 years as our family life allowed, I am now branching into doing photography professionally as well. It has been deeply fulfilling for me, and I think a blessing for those around me. While I still struggle with dizziness and am unable to drive, our farm gives me the perfect setting to do photography professionally and love on other people well with my gifts.
God is teaching me that when our life seems to be a mess and we give it to Him that it just becomes part of our story. God has led us from a place of barely making it to a place of thriving. I am so grateful. Seasons come and go, but God remains the same. He has been faithful all along. I am so grateful to be His. Let’s invest in what matters. Let’s clear the clutter from our lives. Let’s be faithful where Jesus has placed us. Our life matters when it is grafted into His. Even our disabilities are no surprise to Him. Maybe He has intentionally crafted your weaknesses and missteps to display His glory even more brightly than you could have if you had crafted the perfect life you had wanted.
I look forward to blogging more often again and sharing with you everything I have learned and am learning. Our God is good, and there is much to tell. I have missed you.