A few years ago Drew and I had this dream to create an environment where creatives can come and be inspired, learn how to hone their craft and realize that their creativity comes from one source but is expressed in endless ways. We didn’t know exactly how or where or when we would make this happen we just started making plans, dreaming about what it would look like and asking God to fill our hearts with vision. We named this project Ramshire.
Many times in my life God has called me to be obedient and to keep walking into the unfamiliar. I would look down the road he was asking me to walk down and only see pain at the end and even pain along the way and think, “this can’t be what you have planned for me…” But He is my Dad, my loving Dad who runs to me when I need him, who hates to see me in pain but who knows how to stretch me and teach me so that I can become the best daughter, friend, creative, mother, wife & worshipper. So as I’ve walked down these roads I’ve seen how assuredly God blesses obedience. He stretches all of us in different ways and I have watched him take the time to teach me how important my obedience is. So naturally, I resonate with Abraham in the bible.
Here’s the account from Genesis 22.
God said, “Abraham!”
“Yes?” answered Abraham. “I’m listening.”
He said, “Take your dear son Isaac whom you love and go to the land of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I’ll point out to you.”
Abraham got up early in the morning and saddled his donkey. He took two of his young servants and his son Isaac. He had split wood for the burnt offering. He set out for the place God had directed him. On the third day, he looked up and saw the place in the distance. Abraham told his two young servants, “Stay here with the donkey. The boy and I are going over there to worship; then we’ll come back to you.”
Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and gave it to Isaac, his son to carry. He carried the flint and the knife. The two of them went off together.
Isaac said to Abraham his father, “Father?”
“Yes, my son.”
“We have flint and wood, but where’s the sheep for the burnt offering?”
Abraham said, “Son, God will see to it that there’s a sheep for the burnt offering.” And they kept on walking together.
They arrived at the place to which God had directed him. Abraham built an altar. He laid out the wood. Then he tied up Isaac and laid him on the wood. Abraham reached out and took the knife to kill his son.
Just then an angel of God called to him out of Heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”
“Yes, I’m listening.”
“Don’t lay a hand on that boy! Don’t touch him! Now I know how fearlessly you fear God; you didn’t hesitate to place your son, your dear son, on the altar for me.”
Abraham looked up. He saw a ram caught by its horns in the thicket. Abraham took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son.
Abraham named that place God-Yireh (God-Sees-to-It). That’s where we get the saying, “On the mountain of God, he sees to it.” The angel of God spoke from Heaven a second time to Abraham: “I swear—God’s sure word!—because you have gone through with this, and have not refused to give me your son, your dear, dear son, I’ll bless you—oh, how I’ll bless you! And I’ll make sure that your children flourish—like stars in the sky! Like sand on the beaches! And your descendants will defeat their enemies. All nations on Earth will find themselves blessed through your descendants because you obeyed me.” (Genesis 22:1-18 MSG)
God-Yireh…God sees to it. God sees to it!
(And if you’ve never read that account in Genesis and you don’t understand why God would ask Abraham to sacrifice his child you need to understand that God’s plan was never for Isaac to die. His plan was to be sure that Abraham was going to be obedient to God no matter what. He wanted to bless Abraham and through that blessing establish an entire nation and give us a better understanding of what He experienced when His own son, Jesus Christ, was sacrificed for our sins.)
So we got the “Ram” part of Ramshire from the fact that God provided a ram for Abraham to sacrifice. The ram was unexpected and was only provided once Abraham walked in obedience. Like I said before, God stretches and teaches us all in different ways according to His infinite wisdom and how well he knows us. My personal walk with God has been full of him saying, “follow me up this mountain. I know its scary, I know there’s no good rocks to step on and you think you’re going to fall, I know there are traps on either side of the path, and there are even some traps right in the middle of the path. Oh, and also the top of the mountain is on fire…but I want you to come with me.” And so I start walking and it is scary and difficult and I do fall down and get hurt and I do have to avoid the traps but as I climb higher and higher I start noticing the view from way up here and how beautiful it all is. And when I finally get to the top and approach the flames and have one more step to take…it starts raining…and extinguishes the fire.
And I look around.
the fire is gone,
the rain is falling on me, washing away all the dirt and mud from the journey
and I’m standing on a mountaintop with God.
And the “shire” part of Ramshire is because it just made us happy to say…true story.
So what is Ramshire?
I truly believe that every single one of us has creativity inside of us and I want to pull that creativity out of you! We have been beautifully crafted by God and one of the many ways we reflect His character and glory is in our creative expressions. And God’s splendor is infinite and endless so His inspiration for us is also endless! People come to know God and understand the gospel thru teaching, through creativity and thru revelation and we believe that when we invite someone to meet God we need to set the table with all of those things! Creative people bring the gospel to life through their craft and help people understand God in new ways. It’s like hearing a song you didn’t know to listen for.
And what I love about being a creative is that the only boundary on my craft is holiness! Beauty and holiness are the guidelines for your creative birthright. Beauty is the freedom and truth & holiness are the boundaries. Feeling inspired yet?
One of the ways we want to fulfill this vision is to host residency programs for artists and creatives. We want to encourage, teach, share meals together, and offer space to breathe, rest and create. We also want to offer some workshops, and bring some of our super-talented, creative friends in to do masterclasses throughout the year. We want people to feel welcome, we want to equip you, encourage you and then commission you as a creative. And we want to provide a place for people to make their own creative ideas come to life!
Our original plan was to make all of this happen on our lilriverhouse land but as we began building our house and discovered the building limitations we had on that land due to the 100-year floodplain, etc..we started to wonder how we would make it happen. Drew also began building his studio on our land, where his STUFF headquarters would be and where he and his guys would be working every day. But he realized recently that he was going to outgrow that space eventually and would need to find a new location (which made me super bummed). Drew has a really awesome vision for his workspace environment for himself and for everyone who works there so he loves the idea that part of his business is also creating and enjoying the space where you work. So we prayed for some direction and started thinking about exactly what we would need to make all of this happen.
And then we were driving home from checking on the lilriverhouse and saw a For Sale sign in front of a house/building, that hasn’t been for sale for generations, half a mile down the road from our land. There just happened to be an open house right then so we decided to check it out for fun…long story short..5 days later we closed on the property and are now renovating a historic 1860’s dance hall with plenty of space for Drew’s business to grow and to make Ramshire a reality! (Because only smart people start renovating a 160-year-old building while they are in the middle of building a house…what are we thinking?) So this will be the new headquarters of Drew’s business and we will still be able to utilize the lilriverhouse land for Ramshire projects but this new land gives us more freedom to bring every crazy idea to fruition.
We are both so committed to cherishing this land and its history and giving it all to reflect God’s glory. And I think the best part is that it is only half a mile down the road from our lilriverhouse so Drew’s commute will be about a 4-minute float down the river, ha.
Would you please pray for this project? It’s going to be a big adventure and we’re so pumped to get rolling.