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To the Land Where the Bong Tree Grows


It's a Monday. Even on a sailboat. Even in Florida. Where I assume, from comments I get, that life should be full of sunshine and ease because we ARE here in this beautiful place while the majority of our friends are out shoveling snow and splitting wood. Life is good, don't get me wrong. But it's life,  and that Monday feeling lingers strong some days.

We missed church again yesterday. While bemoaning the fact that I had not gone to church for three Sundays now, Bruce informed me it had been four for him. We are heathens, I guess. It's funny this should bother me. I've struggled with liking going to church every Sunday. Always. Until this last year with the pandemic and personal crisis in our family making it seem like a treasure to attend.

I'd like to talk about that sometime...why I like going to church now...but this blog post was to be short, non-preachy,  and to catch you up to what we are doing with our life these days.

We came to Florida to experience life on a sailboat whilst Bruce does a 16 week contract for a new travel nursing job. We left the two eldest at home to take care of house and home and jobs. Our youngest came along on this adventure and is doing her schooling here, across from me, as we speak.

We spent all last week preparing the boat, cleaning and painting part of its bottom and other maintenance that needed attending before it could be taken in slings to the water. That took three days of commuting back and forth from Bruce's mom's house to the boat yard, then working all day hard on the boat. On day four we started our journey on the water from Port Charlotte area to Sarasota. That first day we did 50 miles, part time sailing, most of the time motoring. We spent the night tied to a dock in a very shallow bay. Our sailboat has five feet of draft and we still got stuck on a sand bar on our way in and needed Sea Tow to pull us off. That was a cold, windy, and not so fun experience. 

The second day we motored the whole way, having no usable sails yet, and a deadline to get to our moorings in Sarasota because Bruce's new job started the very next night. That day we made around 35 miles and with very few mishaps. Just a bunch of drawbridges to radio so we could pass through. We decided Bruce is captain, Shaunti first mate, and I am the galley slave, fetching food and drinks. I also did a lot of checking and confirming on google maps our route because our navigational instruments need work. 

There is a lot to our journeys we leave out when relaying the story to others. Sometimes on purpose sometimes because its too hard to explain, yet it's getting your sailboat stuck on a sandbar and having cold and rainy weather and being uncomfortable or scared that makes up all the feels. It's having to work hard for a solid week to make a goal and appointment that seems impossible to make and that every minute has to count for survival and success that drives you. And when you finally make it, you can look back and know that it absolutely was not you, but God. God giving the strength and the wisdom and scheduling. 

Because last spring when Bruce started feeling desperate about doing his dreams, I felt betrayed and angry and all kinds of lost because I did not want to do what we are doing. I wanted to stay home and keep my tidy little schedules and eat chocolate and dip my toes into the lake at will. I wanted it to be my turn. My turn to relax and be rewarded for four long years of labor in schooling and teaching.

I begged and pleaded and cried to God and Bruce to please not let this be my story. I fought the hardest with God. "If possible, take this cup from me" I cried. And then I ended at "Not my will but thine be done'.  After which, always came peace. For a couple months, God spoke to me about trust through my Bible reading times, through books, friends, and church services. Trust in the Mighty Hand of God. That was the thing that would not let me go. And again, Bible verses that kept revealing Mighty God, God being mighty, Mighty in strength and power. Finally I started to believe and know that God will do what He wills if I keep surrendering my will to His. 

I held nothing back. I told God every doubt, fear, angst, all my wrestlings, he heard every ugly thing. I realized there was no better place to take all my reservations and misgivings about my travel nurse husband, my wanderlust man, and my homebody the homing pigeon. I thought God would shut one or both of us down. I thought maybe God would answer my prayers by closing doors for Bruce to be a travel nurse or that his desire for travel, change, and challenges would evaporate. To be fair I kept praying that I would also get this urge to travel and be there for Bruce's every whim of change. I prayed to stop being a homebody and to care more about challenges. 

I would say the opposite happened for both of us. What I learned during that process...what I believe God taught me during that process...was committing both our desires to the Mighty Hand of God to work out as He wanted. It wasn't  me being right or having to have my own way or Bruce pushing and shoving through to get his own way. It was more each of us committing, pursuing our dreams while believing in the Mighty Hand of God to intervene on our behalf together. So Bruce pursued buying a sailboat in August, while I stayed home and gardened and prayed. I prayed for God's will about a sailboat. Cuz, I didn't need one to be happy. I had my garden beds and dirt. I was good with that. But I also was good if Bruce found one and if he did find one, I was going to believe it was the Mighty Hand of God that found it for us. If God can part the Red Sea, he can stop Bruce Hartman too. And He didn't. He didn't stop Bruce at all. fact is, all the pursuits of my man came to pass. The travel nurse job, the sailboat, the winter contract in Florida to be near his mom...

And I am still a homebody. I want nothing more than to be curled up on my couch in Newport, Washington doing the daily, mundane things in my comfy little life. I want to be obscure and left to my own ruling. I liked that life. What God did for me was give me these big concepts of Himself in trust, and in His mighty power. I want to see what happens to me as I keep learning more about what trusting God means. I still fear. Every night when the sun goes down I have to clobber my fear with truth. In the dark, in this boat, with Bruce at work doing his new contract, I feel alone. I feel scared. I want to go home. But I have peace. And I know without a shadow of doubt that God goes before us and with us, because I have committed all of it into His Hands which are mighty. 


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