At Least I’m Warm…

I just completed a feat that made me give myself a little pat on the back.  This girl spent two weeks in archery season and two weeks in rifle season trudging through the woods and up a ladder and into a stand waiting for a big buck.  Through wind and sleet and snow (no hail), I sat and froze my bippy.

Somewhere in there, I decided that it’s not surprising that I love this hobby.  I am the same girl that made and loved tree forts, spent every afternoon in the woods after school, and loves to stockpile food.  I also love and respect firearms and the shooting of them.  🙂 And after getting my deer last year, I was hooked.  I look at the whole thing with ultimate respect — the giving of life so my family can eat.  And I thoroughly enjoy the process of waiting and watching Deer TV — the slowest show you’ll ever watch in your life.

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I love how the experience changes me.  It begins each day with a wardrobe change from work clothes into hurriedly changed warm-weather gear, my backpack, my rifle, and it transforms me into one who sits still.  One who sets her phone down and breathes.  One who has chapped hands and face and hat hair.  One who returns breathless each night with stories of sunsets and deer and maybe a squirrel who jumped into my stand with me or a woodpecker who knocked at my door and scared the willies out of me.  It might involve stories of pee-pee pants as I learned that my new device which allows girls to urinate on the go does not work unless one completely drops her pants.  Quit laughing.  I had to sit in said pee-pee pants for over and hour so as not to disturb the deer.  This is how tough I am.

It reminded me of the famous family story that gets told and quoted time and again at our house.  We were on a family trip and we were at a restaurant and it was a location that should have been warm so when our clothes were inadequate to keep us warm, I had a shivery baby.  I think she was about five and so so cold.  We were at a Japanese steakhouse so we were at a table with strangers — all of us facing each other.  My little one managed to spill an entire bowl of hot soup in her lap.  I say, with all gentleness, that at that age, this particular little one may have typically had a rather strong and dramatic reaction to soup in the lap.  This time, with everyone looking on, she surprised us all by simply saying, “Well.  At least I’m warm!”

That phrase gets repeated over and over around here when things seem dire and we choose to look at the bright side.

With two days left in hunting season, our meat freezer died.  Sadly, it had died a couple days before we realized it and by the time we noticed, we had already lost a lot of meat — specifically, almost an entire deer, almost an entire grass-fed cow, almost a whole pig that we had purchased, 5 chickens and more.

Needless to say, with Christmas coming, having just finished 6 birthdays, and with a pretty neat tax bill due, the timing — and the basement — stunk.  “Well, we have two days left to get a deer!  So let’s get a deer!” we said.

No deer.  Yeah.

We had prayed and we had asked and no deer.  So many collective hours freezing and waiting and watching over the course of 2 months, and nothing.  We left our stands the last night and met at the geese and duck and chicken coops to do chores and fist bumped each other — proud of how hard we’d tried.  Determined to put a good face on things.  And with the most thankful of hearts for all we have.

Friends, we don’t have a happy ending yet.  Usually, this is the part where I tell you something neat like I hit a deer on the way home from work and look at that!  Provision!! Or how one just walked up to my door and died and woohoo!  Meat for everyone!  God has done those type of things for us before.  Checks in the mail at the very moment we needed it.  Business deals that go through when things felt really dire.

This time, the miracle is that we have joy anyway.  Even when things are frustrating and we can’t see the ending for the curves in the way, we firmly believe God has something just beyond our sight-line that is waiting to come into our view and finish the story in the way only He can.  He has proven Himself more times than I could possibly count.  Our family is healthy and happy and together and we have warm homes and will have a beautiful Christmas.  Things are not dire.  They are just inconvenient.  We are 100% choosing to be thankful for everything and excited to see what is in store.  We aren’t even allowing ourselves to complain or worry.  Just not gonna do it.

Because, sometimes, the soup (or maybe the pee-pee) just spills all over your clothes.  But at least you’re warm.

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HEALED!

This is big.  Like, humongously gigantic.  I am forever changed.

I’m about to tell you a story that I wish each of you could have seen with your very own eyeballs so there would be more of a chance that it would sink into your very souls and change you, too.  But, if you’ve read any of the rest of my blog posts, hopefully you have a sense of my realness and sincerity.  And I really stink at lying (ask my family) so just give me a chance and listen to my story.

Once upon a time a family moved to the middle of nowhere, a bit unsure about the why of it all, but knowing that their God had purpose in it.  After about 7 months of getting used to the new digs, yours truly had a bit of a problem.  My back went out.  I’m not sure what that even means, but it’s the third time it has happened in my life and boy, was the third time a charm.  Not one much for traditional medicine and since it was the holiday season and all, AND my dear friend was about to come stay, I suffered through.  And I mean suffered.  I’m talking, walking to the kitchen from the living room left me sobbing in pain.  My beloveds quickly grounded me to the poof chair (a giant fluff-filled, no pressure point kinda thing) where I sat day and night for over three weeks.  From just after Thanksgiving to the new year, I was beyond miserable.  Epsom salt baths, essential oils, professional and husband massages, yoga, stretching…all were tried.  Nothing helped.  I had radiating pain from mid-back to feet and all throughout my hip.  I couldn’t even touch my skin on my stomach or my hip or leg without pain.  It was bad.  I figured after the new year, I’d have to go get help and find a chiropractor or try acupuncture or something.

On January 3rd, Christian and I decided to watch a movie together in the morning with coffee.  It was number three in a series of life-changing documentaries.  Little did we know.

Okay, I have to back up.  When my back first started hurting, Christian said to me, “I feel like we should see if one of your legs is longer than the other.”  You see, both of us have seen God lengthen legs and heal the deaf and other such amazingness, and we both knew God could totally heal me.  But I think we were a little bit chicken, if I’m going to be perfectly honest.  And we let the moment pass.

Fast forward back to the movie.  We were deeply moved from the beginning because it touched on moments we’ve experienced together in the last several years as we learned about and experienced the awesome, overwhelming love of our God. And we were frustrated because our internet connection kept failing and stopping this movie we wanted so badly to see.  It would falter and we would pray and it would start again and then stop.  Finally, we gave up.

Later that night we had some time before bed to try to watch it again.  Once again, middle of nowhere internet fail.  We would watch 10 seconds to let it load for 4 minutes to watch 10 more seconds.  At this point, we were kind of like, okay, this must be something we REALLY need to see because we are getting foiled at every turn!  Again, we gave up.  Christian massaged my back with oils before he went to sleep and while he did he prayed again for my back to be healed.

Are you still with me?  It’s about to get really good.

As I laid there listening to my husband breathe beside me, I believe God gave me some words.  This is how He talks to me sometimes.  He prints words that I can see like a sign in my mind.  Often, they are words I’m not even familiar with that I then go research and get really excited about. This time, He gave me words to tell me what was wrong with my back.  Slipped Disc.  Honestly, I had no idea what this meant, but I looked it up and sure enough, it described exactly what I had been dealing with.

I woke up the next day excited to tell Christian that I knew what was wrong.  I even had some new stretches I could do to help.  He ran me a bath and I soaked for a bit, still in quite a bit of pain afterward, too much to even do the stretches, though I tried.  We put the movie on, and it played.

Now, I knew what was wrong with my back and God was about to show me why I needed to know before we watched the movie.

It came to a part where a man went to Israel to offer God’s healing to people.  This man prayed for a Muslim man in the street and without having asked the man what was wrong, he sat him on a bench and prayed and the man’s leg extended two inches instantly and he was healed.  God completely healed the discs in his back!!  Did you read that?  God told His guy that the Muslim man needed healing for exactly what I had been struggling with for a month!!

We paused the video.  Both in tears, knowing what needed to happen, my husband went and got a straight-backed chair and brought it to the living room.  I sat in the hard chair and he held my feet out in front of me.  My left leg was two inches shorter than my right as they sat atop my husband’s hands.

He said, “Father we ask for a complete healing of Alison’s back and pain in the name of Jesus.”

Are you ready for this?  My left butt cheek began scooching its way down the chair.  Four times it scooched itself until my feet were even.  I could feel only my pants gripping the seat as my body changed.  We both stared at my feet and then at each other.  I stood.

I jumped.  I bent.  I wept.  I marched.  I wept.  He wept.  We thanked our God. Our children came in and we told the story again and again.  I called Addie and Austin and told them on speaker phone.  They had watched the movie the night before, and this resonated in a huge way.

Guys, God healed my back.  I have video of me doing my best river-dance in my pajamas to prove it!  I was touching my toes and dancing and crying and my family just stared at me.

Why did God do this?  He loves me.  He saw His daughter hurting and He was waiting for us to have the faith to expect His touch and ask.  He was always capable, but we doubted that He’d show up for us.  In the same way that it’s hard to walk up to a wall and have the faith to stick a penny to it, it’s hard to sit in a chair and ask God to heal a disc in your back and expect your leg to grow.

But it happened.

The name of Jesus is powerful and it pushes away the dark.  It’s not magic, it’s love.  It’s a response from a Daddy to His daughter.  He just wanted us to ask.  He wanted us to trust His heart enough to ask.

From sheer exhaustion, we were just about to declare a moratorium on guests this year — until God reminded us that He has us even here with specific purpose.  He is beginning a new work and we needed refreshing and reminding that if we go where He asks us, even if it makes no sense to our minds, He has a plan.  It’s His alone.

For now, this is enough.

I am healed.

I pray this gives you hope.  I pray that you know a little more than you did ten minutes ago that there is one God Who has this power.  Perhaps He isn’t what you’ve always pictured in your mind or isn’t the God you’ve been told He is.  It’s definitely true that He is much bigger in His love for you than you could even imagine.  He is worth finding and holding on to with all of your might.  He sees you just as you are — in your mess and pain — and wants you just like that.  He cares about what matters to you, even if it seems too small to bother a big God about.

Watch this movie and learn more.  Hang in all the way to the end.  You won’t believe the ending.  It’s crazy good.  And let it sink in, all the way to your very soul.

You are loved.

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