Friday, March 21, 2014

bruised and broken

We have gone through some trials lately!!  I used to define a "trial of faith" as something inward, something in my heart, like a "thorn in the side", a struggle of will or consternation of the soul.  But Job had family problems (Job 2.9) and major material loss and God uses His story to instruct us.  Paul describes all sorts of external calamities as a trial of his faith in 2 Corinthians 11-12.   Now I see that in every uncomfortable situation, in every real time circumstance that squeezes us from the outside, we are experiencing a trial of faith!  "That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong."  2 Cor 12.10

I really like my life of full time mom, homeschool teacher, home keeper.  It is not glamourous, and comes with its very own set of frustrations, messes and catastrophes.  Even when everything is normal.  It is, of course, several full time jobs in one, demanding around the clock, but it is where I'm supposed to be.  It's what I'm supposed to be doing.  This year, I've found out, I wish it was all I had to face!  

In order to see my husband in the morning and keep spiritually fit myself, I have been getting up at 5:30 a.m. to exercise, read, pray and devote time to the Lord.  If it doesn't happen in the morning, it doesn't happen.  (This is also a testament to my much improved health and ages of my children, because this was actually a physical impossibility for the first several years of our marriage.  So if you have small children and think this is a crazy schedule, it is.  Don't be discouraged, and do what the Lord leads you to do).  

I've had many mornings when I spent 1.5-2 hours scouring the word of God, reading, underlining, searching references, and had no idea I was sitting there that long.  Good stuff!!  And we also know that whenever we are not in trouble, to prepare because trouble is coming!  Or even if it looks like 'smooth sailing' on the outside, "Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches."  2 Corinthians 11.28  Besides everything else, I have these concerns about my brothers and sisters of Christ-- about their illnesses, their finances, their marriages, and my relationship with them.  So it's a pressure filled life, this life with Jesus.   

During the month of January, we faced a bunch of illness which started the string of sleepless nights and weary living.  January and February were also overshadowed by all the joys of Orion growing 8 new teeth at one time.  February began with an onslaught of company (we tend to have 3 sets of company per week when we are in company mode!), complete overhaul of a bedroom, Ella's 10th birthday, a double night sleepover, the annual HOA meeting, and having our stallion gelded.  The vet appointment had to be made around the weather, because -20 is too cold for an outdoor surgery, and 35+ causes muddy conditions which are too warm and increase the chance of infection following.  It also had to be made around my schedule, because following the castration, I would commit to exercising this horse twice per day for 2 weeks.  So the surgery date was talked about, moved, and finally set for February 10.  

girl party

winter horses
February 10 came.  We rushed through school work to finish by the time the vet arrived with his assistant.  As it was snowing and 10 degrees, the children elected to watch from the upstairs window (real life science activity).  It was a bit beyond my comfort zone to watch the horse be sedated and watch a surgery, but we got through it.  I was looking forward to a calm evening.  

That night, Adrian & I discussed a presentation by the Mother's Milk Bank that I represent, and decided I should go.  So I jumped into the truck and headed to the meeting.  It was still snowing, the roads were slippery, and I was thankful to have 4WD.  Seconds later, I met an oncoming log truck on a curve, and was unable to escape hitting him.  Our truck bounced off the log truck's sturdy wheel and I was thrown into the ditch.  I was able to drive out, so thankful not to be injured in a situation that was literally inches from being a head on collision.  I thought he was crossing the center line; he thought I was over the line -- but the lines were not visible due to the snow, and all was white.  Nobody wants to have a collision.  Due to the volume of crashes that were happening that night, we had to wait a long time for a highway patrol officer to come write a report of our accident.  I described the scene in a previous blog post.  

does that look like over $10,000 damage to you?
An hour later, I drove our dilapidated pickup back home, and was so thankful to see my family again.  They greeted me very briefly and ran out to look at the truck's damages.  Disappointment set in, and that evening began a 2 week streak of the devil being able to put a wedge between Adrian and I.  We could neither discuss important topics nor light ones without an argument.  In 13 years of knowing one another, this had never happened before.  I could clearly see the devil's hand in it.  

The following week, our washer, dryer, dishwasher and freezer all malfunctioned on the same day.  The washer was so violently loud during a cycle, I called a service shop while it was running, and they could almost diagnose it over the phone.  The service man arrived the next day to check on them, and of course they wouldn't act up while he was here, so we paid $150 without any repair.  That weekend, Adrian lost his business cell phone on the ski hill and didn't have a phone for 2 weeks.  During that time, I went to Phoenix to visit my brother (seemed like a great idea before all the trials began) and Adrian went to Vancouver before I returned, a 10 day separation.  

from the snow at Bonner... sun and catci in Phoenix!

hiking near Squaw peak

Mike & Cubby enjoying the pool
The three days in Phoenix were a wonderful respite for me, but it was time to hit the snowy ground running when I returned.  With the kids to myself, I had increased appointments to ensure my neck/back were healing properly, 4 Bible Studies per week besides Sunday worship, and horse exercise without time to do so.  

winter chores

One night on the way home from Bible Study on the other end of town, we were pulled over by an officer.  He informed us that one of our headlights was out.  (Ironically, he happened to be the same officer that assisted at the scene of my accident 2 weeks prior).  We were down to 1 vehicle to keep the schedule until our friends "granted" us another van to borrow.  
Aspen turned 1!
All of this was in motion, happening, keeping us moving, much, much much busier than we would like to be.  We had a wild ride in February.  So for Friday March 7 (our 11th anniversary) Adrian decided we needed to STOP and spend the day together.  Of course this appealed to me!  So he took the day off work, and we planned a "do nothing" kind of day.  We looked forward to it, and needed it.   

anniversary bouquet
At bedtime on March 6, I went to the basement to put something away.  There, I discovered water covering our basement floor.  We went into alarm mode {again}, and began dealing with a flooded basement.  The restoration companies were so busy with other flooded homes, they couldn't come that night.  So we slept, and spent our anniversary dealing with the unexpected mess.  By morning there were 3-4 inches of water throughout the entire basement.  All of the carpeting, beautiful laminate flooring and trim had to be ripped out.  More decisions to make under stress.  Adrian called our homeowners insurance company and was notified that we do not have flood insurance.  The bill will all be on us.  We do have savings, but of course this is not what we were planning to spend it on.  I watched as the crew threw the flooring out a window, destined for the dumpster, and shed a few tears.  That night, we hosted Bible Study as usual, but the kids were confined to a bedroom instead of the spacious basement.

I can honestly say that our 11th anniversary was the unhappiest yet.  We've been through the ringer.  I have done my best to respond with faith, faith, faith until the basement flooded and then it felt like the flood that broke the camel's back.  None of our inconveniences are a HUGE deal, but dealing with them all at once has been overwhelming to me.  Physically (the accident, the whirring of 12 commercial fans + 2 dehumidifiers in the house around the clock for 6 days), emotionally (you can imagine), spiritually (we have been under attack, attack, attack).  The devil has been launching all these darts at us.  

We have the shield of faith, so we are still standing ... but bruised and broken in the battle.  
We have the helmet of salvation, so we are still children of the Most High King, but life still doesn't always go smoothly, and I lost a little hope. 
We have the Belt of Truth to get us through ~ God's Word contains it all.  
One piece of armor I didn't wear so well is the breastplate of righteousness.  

"God made him (Christ Jesus) who had no sin to be sin for us, 
so that in him we might become the righteousness of God"  
2 Corinthians 5.21

He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; "by his wounds you have been healed."  1st Peter 2.24

HE is our righteousness, and I have not always responded with grace.  I have allowed my pride to get between me and my husband.  I have thought I was innocent when I wasn't, and that I was battling on my own when My Lord has already overcome the world.  I couldn't find it me to praise Him in the storm on March 7.

But resurrection day came March 9.  I was able to praise with all of my heart.  

Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.  Psalm 30.5

i can find beauty in the morning in our back yard

Look at what he got us through.  Look at how he has provided!  And Oh, how he loves us! 
Now the pieces have not all be picked up, and the problems are not all fixed.  We still only have 1 vehicle, and the basement is still a mess.  But the stallion is healed, the appliances are doing their job, we have a will to work on our marriage, and we know that God is going to be with us.  He has even given us a glimpse of good to come.

We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair.  We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.  Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies. 2 Corinthians 4.8-10, NLT

Yesterday Jaci broke out with chickenpox.  

I think our week of quarantine will be just what the Great Physician ordered! 

These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.  I Peter 1.7, NLT

“But he knows where I am going.
And when he tests me, I will come out as pure as gold."

Job 23.10, NLT

Morning View West

Morning View South

Morning View East


  1. Dear friends,

    My heart aches at your trials, but rejoices because We have a God who specializes in the impossible; and your trials are not impossible! Satan would like you to think they are impassable, but with God's strength all things are possible! It is such a comfort to hide in the shadow of His wings. David sought that refuge many a time . I love reading from the NLT version of the bible. To me, it just opens up scripture even more! Thanks so much for sharing. You have a beautiful way of putting into words what is in your heart. Your children are gorgeous, and wow, you look amazing! I'm staring at your figure and it is putting me too shame. I must I must I must get up early to rock this body as you have! No excuses!

    How about recruiting one of your brothers to babysit for a week, so you and Adrian can take a vacation? I bet Phil would be game!

    I love that verses that reminds us we can do all things through Christ which strengthens us. So comforting to know His strength, His grace, is sufficient for our needs in every situation. Hang in there, friends. Keep praying.

    A grateful friend I came across your blog.

  2. hi anonymous,
    thank you for your encouraging words! You are right ~ God has shown me over and over that he is HERE even though the storm is so strong! When I published this post, I thought the trials would surely calm down. However, the hurricaine continued yesterday when my husband fell on his head and suffered a concussion. He lost vision, memory and concept of time. Thankfully our neighbors have had the chickenpox and were able to suddenly watch the children while I spent the morning with Adrian in the ER. All tests came out clear and we were sent home... but still another blow to the already high emotions! And more recovery time....

    As far as a vacation... I guess we will be putting our vacation $ into a basement overhaul instead. :( Truthfully, I am not the kind of mom to leave kids behind...would much rather them be experiencing a new place alongside me! Going to AZ for 3 days was a stretch for me. I have also learned recently that whenever I try to "escape" by doing something for myself (even here at home), I am still not addressing my soul's true need, which is God alone. No amount of sun, sand or adventure could fill that up.

    Exercise is soooo good for me to face these days of who-knows-what. I didn't love it for the first few months, but now I feel I can't go without it. It wakes me up enough so I can read my Bible coherently. It is a blessing, and the first step for me was surrendering my body to the Lord (Romans 12.1). I couldn't do it on my own, but asked Him for health to serve Him with strength.

    The Lord bless & keep you.