From the time I was a little girl, all elbows and ears, I imagined myself living in a two-story house one day, pure white, no shutters, and with a wide porch. I spent hours curving my blunt-tipped scissors around pages of the fat JCPenney catalog, clipping out handsome husbands; wives with thick, beautiful hair; a few sweet-faced children; bathroom towel sets in shades of sea-foam and jade; couches and electronics and cozy braided rugs. All of it belonged in my make-believe farmhouse, rooted snugly in my make-believe future.

Across my teenage years and into the start of adulthood and marriage, through a big-city stint in Washington, D.C., even after the purchase of our first home on a small-town corner lot, that elusive white farmhouse was tacked in my mind. It was the end goal—the hazy would-be trophy of my eventual success.

Our oyster year was 2007. There we stood with the keys to our dream in hand, an income we could never have imagined, the reputations that come with high-profile jobs, and the good fortune of two precious children grafted into our hearts through the surprise of adoption.

We were at the top of our game. Responsible. Stable and secure. Well-connected and admired. We were happy. We were living the dream.

Life on the farm was respite care, a sanctuary for being still and beginning to know just how loved we were. Those years were still waters and overflowing cups. They were centering years, grounding Cory and I and our unexpected, beautiful little family. They were healing years, following a time just a few years before when we weren’t sure our marriage would survive.

They were useful years . . . right up to the time they weren’t.

Are We Dreaming the Right Dream?

I am a daughter of the evangelical ...

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