Saturday, December 30, 2017

Facing a Storm and Remembering My Source of Help and Strength


When Sam died in early November, I knew the coming days would be different, and dreaded the first holidays. He'd been a part of every celebration and had joined my family for coffee and a piece of pumpkin pie every Thanksgiving and Christmas since 1989. It was one of our traditions.

This year, we skipped the pie. Ryan and I ate chocolate cake, and drank milk with our dessert instead of coffee. We didn't want to erase the previous years, but we needed to make fresh memories, and we did. 

Our ears still listened for Sam's footsteps on the stoop, but we treasured the reminiscences and talked about the good times. Being without Sam wasn't as hard as I'd expected because the memories are sweet.

I dreaded the first winter and the first cold snap with single digit temperatures, too. I wasn't sure I could manage all the farm work and preventive maintenance without him. As it's turned out, I learned more from Sam than I realized, and, so far, I've handled every challenge. 

Although I've had livestock for nearly thirty years, I've never taken care of "everything" without either Sam or Ryan. Even last year, as his health failed, Sam participated in as much as he could.

I've missed the strong arms that lifted bags of feed out of the truck, carried hay bales, shepherded horses. I've missed Sam as resource to answer questions and reassure me of my competence. For the last eight days, Ryan's been home, and he's done the heavy lifting. Today, he'll return to Atlanta and his routine and I'll be on my own again. 

Single digit temperatures are almost here and the horses will need extra care. For a few minutes last night, panic threatened and soft grief was nearly overshadowed by hard, gripping fear. 

What if the water lines froze? 

What if the horses don't cooperate with the plan? 

What if ... 

I imagined all the possible problems, but I couldn't see many potential solutions. I prayed and pondered, but I still fretted.

Ryan just smiled and hugged me. "You'll be fine, Mama. We'll get it all set up before I leave." 

I awakened early today. Last night's concerns threatened again. This morning, however, I remembered two verses I learned as a child:

"What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee." Psalm 56:3 kjv

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9 nasb

Duh. If God is with me, and He is, why should I fear? If He will give me all the wisdom I need, and, according to James 1:5, He will, why should I fret? It's time to trade fretting for faith and fear for courage. 

This morning, that's exactly what I've done. I've stopped rehearsing my fear and started embracing the wisdom and help that's promised. I've remembered my resources and the One who's provided them all. I've chosen trust and faith.

Regardless of the circumstances that come our way, we don't face them alone. We don't have to manufacture solutions. Our God stands ready to help, so let's be sure to put our trust where we say our faith is. 

Today, Ryan and I will make our morning trek to the barn, as always. We'll check our supplies, pick up anything that's needed from the farm store, and go about our routine. Before we're done, we'll be ready for the weather to come. It won't be because I'm competent for the challenge. It'll be because God can handle whatever comes our way, including single-digit weather. 

He is able. Especially in a storm. 
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