Farmers are like artists. Just look at the creative things they do with old silos. They must be innovative. Equipment is always breaking down — you’ve got to find a way to gets things done. I always told my dad his land was his canvas. He painted such careful and thoughtful strokes to make it a picturesque haven.
I think I got my visionary ways from my dad. He told me that if I could visualize something, then I should not let anything or anyone stop me from trying to do it. Difficult seasons taught me the importance of the concept of rest. And after spending my years on or close to the farm, I believe there is no greater place to heal than smack in the middle of all that is green and growing.
I used to imagine a place where people could experience quiet with abundant life all around them. There is something that quiets and stills the soul when you are in a garden, a barn, a pasture or the woods. Farmers have always known that. Perhaps that is why they can be such good and deep thinkers — because of opportunities to be surrounded by what is conducive to uninterrupted thought.
Make it real
A few years after Dad passed away, my husband began to have a heart for the same vision. So we prayed and waited. A year later, Mom thought what had been planted in my heart was a wonderful way to honor Dad’s vision for his farm.
We purchased the heart of those acres. With the help of a tremendous team of volunteers, we picked up the paintbrush and added our own strokes to an already stunning canvas.
All those life sorrows, all that dreaming — they were always weaving upon one another, leading us to a vision that has become reality. I describe it like this: Agriculture met biblical counseling met a retreat center, and they birthed what is called Rest and Restore Ministry. We offer a place of hope and healing and rest.
Heavy hearts and cluttered minds show up and leave with hope and peace. Married couples wondering how they are going to make it through another year of chaos within their relationship walk away holding hands. Single moms can steal away for a few hours of respite, and it doesn’t cost them anything. Wearied pastors and ministry leaders show up to be recharged.
Former addicts and prodigals come by the truckloads to mow, repair a building, clear a section of woods or just do anything from the gratitude that is flowing out of their hearts with a new bright outlook on life.
Second chances. So much of what we do offers just that. We know what it is to walk through a dark time, and what it is to come out on the other side realizing that none of our tears or sorrows will ever be wasted. That’s why we created a place where people can simply rest and restore.
McClain writes from Greenwood, Ind. Watch for an upcoming story with more details about the Rest and Restore Ministry project and how you can become involved soon.