Walking Through the Ashes

So many of you have taken the time to pray for us, write us, and give to us. We are so unbelievably thankful for all of you! You have helped hold us up during this very stressful, exhausting, struggling time. I plan to write a thank you to all of you, but at this time, I am just hanging on by a thread to accomplish all I need to do to take care of Steve, our children, get hay for our livestock, run errands, take Steve to dr. appts., have home nurses and physical therapists in every other day to care for Steve, and keep the household somewhat functional. So, please know that from the bottom of our hearts we thank you for your LOVE and support during this trying time and hopefully, things will calm down soon so that I may write you thank-yous for your kindness.

Earlier this week on Monday, I had a breaking point. I was so exhausted from getting up during the night with Steve and then with Seth. I was exhausted from trying to care for everyone, deal with fire issues (find hay, tools, tarps, etc.), get our beef (we butchered our cows) picked up, care for the household, and hope that I could manage to do a load of laundry every other day (usually do 3-4 loads a day) and so much more. I finally just broke down and cried out to the Lord. “Lord, I cannot do this anymore. You have to do it. Send me people that will GIVE to us. I am so tired and weary. I need people that will give us LOVE in any way that you will. Just send them, Lord”

That was on Monday. By Tuesday, New Year’s Eve, my friend showed up with her children for the afternoon. Thank you so much Debbie! She and I spent the afternoon talking and learning more about each other. We both agreed that we never thought that we’d really connect when we first met a year ago, but the Lord does amazing things in His time. She brought Steve dvds to watch while he is healing, ice for Steve’s knee, her children to visit with our children for awhile, and her ears to hear me, her LOVE to sit with me during this trying time, and so much more. I felt so much better after her visit.

Then on Wednesday, a new friend, came over with her children and sat with me for a few hours. Thank you so much Barbra! She brought books for me to read, dvds for Steve to watch as he heals, a couple pairs of jeans that she thought our boys might fit into now, and a sweet gift to help us buy some hay. This lady has only talked with me twice! And yet, she wanted to come and visit me for the afternoon! It was so encouraging talking with her about our faith and how we were both called here to Utah.

God answered that prayer immediately. Wow, was all I could say. He had these sweet women be the physical body of Jesus’ hands and feet for me when I needed it most.

By Wednesday I began praying for the Lord to give me 4 hours of sleep at night. Seth still only sleeps from 2-3 hours between changing and feeding him. I knew I needed more sleep in order to function properly. For the past 3 nights, the Lord has given me 4 hours either at the beginning of the night or the end of the night, to sleep. Praise God! Many times before I had just asked for more sleep, but that time I knew I had to be specific as I had to have the sleep. 🙂

During this whole week, we have run Steve to dr. appts., picked up pain meds. twice after going to the dr. and picking up the scripts, gone to the grocery, ran regular errands, had the home nurse over, the physical therapist has visited, and I’ve tried to do some dishes here and there as I usually handwash some. The children do the dishwasher dishes every meal 3 x a day, but I try to handwash as well as we always have dishes to do. 🙂 I did not look out the window much, as that way I did not have to see our ashes from our barn. I did not have to really think about the fire. I avoided it. I talked with people who asked about the fire. We thanked our wonderful firefighter and his wife (thank you Mark and Heidi!) who came back with 20 more bales of hay for us on New Year’s Eve and surprised us! We all went on with life somewhat without discussing the fire much. I shared our needs from the fire, but didn’t think much about it. Out of sight, out of mind. Can’t see the ashes..it didn’t happen..just a bad dream. Life will become normal again after Steve recovers, I told myself. We would have our lambs and kids in the barn again this month, we were set on hay, etc. So many things I could imagine. Then, last night I broke down and cried. I cried over how overwhelmed I am with all that has happened to us in the past month. I cried that we lost our truck in Steve’s wreck. Yes, we got two replacement vehicles, but that truck was sure nice for hauling hay. I cried over all the lost possessions that we continue to remember were up in the loft of the barn, that we will never see again. Yes, you can’t take it with you and yes, you should store your treasures up in Heaven, but my flesh had to cry. I cried over how hard I saw Steve and the boys work in the fall to put up the 800 bales of hay. How much pain Steve’s knee was in each time he did that, but he kept on working because we needed to be prepared for the winter and his surgery. He was not going to leave us high and dry without the hay we needed to run the ranch while he recovered. The boys worked so hard too. I cried over the pain Steve continues to go through. I’ve talked to others who only had knee replacements and their pain was much less. Steve’s pain is tons worse due to all the tendons they cut. The surgeon told us he will have a longer recovery and we can expect at least 4 weeks of severe pain. I cried over how Steve is continuing to push daily to stretch, do his physical therapy, and take a few steps. He wants so badly to be walking again, to be able to walk out to the ashes, to go to work, to feel useful. I cried over how hard it has been for him to sit back and let me deal with the barn fire, the care of the children completely, the breaking of arguments amongst the children while he lays there in severe pain unable to help, and so much more that he would love to have been involved in. I cried over how tired I was. I just cried over it all. I cried so much I felt like I would throw up or go into a panic attack. Steve found me in the fetal position on our bed and asked if I was okay. He was concerned already about me as I am having a lot of kidney issues right now too. My flesh is physically crying out too. I began to cry again and tell him all the thoughts that were going through my mind. His words to me?

“I’m glad to see you are human too.”

What? Yes, he said he saw my joy and strength through all of these tough times and yet, he was struggling to be as strong and joyful as me. Bless his heart. He saw I am still human. Yes, I am. I have my moments, but I continue to push forward for the Lord. I know He is using all of this for His glory and we are only mere mortals in the midst of this. I know too, that this has to be even harder on Steve because he cannot be involved in so much of it. He must sit by and be a spectator in many ways. I know that is tough for my strong, leader man. I continue to pray for my husband to “come back” soon from all the pain and disabilities that he has at this moment in his life.

I know I will need to go out and walk through the ashes of our barn, our personal possessions, and more. I have to do it, but I don’t want to. What if there are still a few remnants of something we had in those ashes? Steve figures it is all ashes as that is what happened to his house on his 8th birthday. He said it was a hot fire and they lost all remnants of past memories. I guess I have to do it for my own closure. It’s almost like viewing a body one last time before it is buried. Don’t worry, I still know the difference between human souls and personal possessions. It was just the words that seemed to explain it. One last time, I will walk through our “barn” and remember what we had for a short time in our lives. Steve and I had always dreamed of having a barn. We moved four times before God finally allowed us to have a barn. Then He allowed us to build two more barns at the same place. Then He called us to Utah. When the people who are leasing our home moved in, we understood why He had allowed us to finally have a barn(s)at our last place. He had us build the foundation for the Christian family that moved into our house. They do horse boarding and therapeutic riding (something we’ve dreamed of doing for years)using our three barns! He had us build for them! But, it is all for His glory! So, here we moved a year ago and had this beautiful nine-stall horse barn. The former owner had gone nuts on his building and spending of this elaborate barn. This was a barn that we had only seen in pictures and imagined ever having. We prayed about it and felt that we should use it as a horse barn since that is what the Lord had given us here. Thus, began the horse motel/boarding to raise funds for adopting Seth and paying his medical bills. We are true believers in using what God has given you. So, now we have ashes. We will use these for His glory as well.

I often think of the stress tests that they have you go through and answer. Have you suffered an illness in the past year? Check. Have you moved in the past year? Check..a smidge past a year. Have you had a baby or adopted in the past year? Check. Have you suffered a traumatic event in the past year? Check..fire. Have you been in a vehicle accident in the past year? Check for Steve, yet, I feel like I went through it with him. Have you had major surgery in the past year? Check for Steve. Have you had minor surgery in the past year? Check for Steve. Have you been a caretaker for someone disabled or ill in the past year? Check for me. Do you have teenagers? Check, check, check. Hmmm…do you think they’d say our stress-levels are pretty high? Not good! So, we are praying for peace and calm now. Won’t you join us in prayer?

As I end this, I just want to say thank you to all the wonderful neighbors we have met and new friends we have made through these ashes of our life. Thank you to all of our distant friends who have prayed for us from afar. Thank you Mark and Heidi, Debbie and Dave, Barbra, Lynne, Dann, Janet, Christy, Michelle, Jennifer, Shannon and Grant, Whit, Ashley and Brian, Erin and Dave, Karen from the apothecary, Gina and Chad from the chiropractic office, Beth, Steve, Marcia, Hannah and Andy, Jon, Brandy and Mark, Michael, Robby, Bob, Alison, Steve F., Moira and Brian, Tina, Anne, Joanna, Jean, Heidi, Barbara, Julie, and many more that I cannot remember at this moment, but will.

It has been amazing how many people we have met just in the past two weeks. I walk into a dr. office and before you know it I am connecting with someone waiting in the lobby. Someone who lives by us, shares the same friends as us, or saw the fire burning. We then exchange email addresses and begin our new friendship. We are so thankful for these people that the Lord has had cross our path during this stressful time. We are so blessed to be here and be feeling the LOVE. God brought us here, no doubt, and we will continue to give Him the glory in all things.

And for those of you who have sent an email asking us to call you, we will. We just need some time. We are working hard on Steve’s recovery and trying to process every thing we have been through at the same time. Don’t give up on us, keep reaching out.

I will continue to be real and post my fleshly battles for you all. Many of you have said you appreciate my honesty with you on how our flesh reacts to it all. That is just how we are. We believe that God can use our downfalls and fleshly wants for His glory too. So, we will continue to share.

For now, we are walking through the ashes.

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