On February 16th, we came home from a four day youth retreat to find our pipes had frozen. We had no water. Long story short- the pipes have frozen under our street and our village office informed us there was/is absolutely nothing they can do about it. We have to wait for a spring thaw deep enough.... and they say it could be as far out as June 1st.
So how are we getting water? We are blessed with some great neighbors. One set of neighbors hauled 5 gallon buckets of water back and forth from their house to ours so we could flush toilets, wash dishes and have drinking water [and they continue to bring us drinking water whenever we need it]. Another neighbor has allowed us to hook a system of hoses from their outdoor spigot to ours, thereby effectively pumping water from their house to ours. This means we are able to do just about all of our regular every day stuff that includes water but with about half the water pressure. To say it's better than nothing would be a gross understatement.... when you go 3 days without it, great water pressure is no longer a top priority.
We are a little more than two weeks into this trial and God is growing us.
That's the part I focus on- our growth in this.... otherwise I'd just come undone.
Because of the below zero temperatures at night, we have to haul our hose system in every night and out again every morning. It's about a 20 minute job in the evening and 25-30 minutes in the morning and it's a messy, wet, very, very cold job. [The time frame doesn't include the extra time we have to take to bundle up and unbundle going out and coming in]. It's a chore. We have had to replace the hoses twice (due to leaks from people driving over them), set up a sawhorse roadblock and thaw the outdoor spigot with hot water on a daily basis. We have to keep a constant stream of water running somewhere in the house 24/7 to keep from freezing up and even with that we've had our hose system freeze up on us..... there have been loads of other inconveniences, some big, lots small that have made this situation difficult for us.
By nature, I'm a pretty joyful person, but I have to admit to you all that on day 5 when we were trying to replace hoses in the freezing rain and my hubby was on the phone trying to give me pointers.... I lost it. He asked what was wrong and I blubbered, "You think I'm Superwoman and I'm not. I can't do this! It's too much!"
That was a defining moment for me in this mess. After saying those words and acknowledging that even though I was trusting God with the situation, I was still trying to do things with my own strength.... I prayed- "Lord, I can't do this and I need to! I need this to work and I don't have the strength in my frozen hands to do it.... and the tool won't work. I need you!" I stood there in the rain and I told Him I knew He could fix it- He could thaw our pipes right then and there but if that wasn't His will.... I'd deal. I cried out, please let me just fix this connection so we can flush the toilets, Lord. And He did.
I stopped praying for patience many moons ago when I realized that instead of giving me the copious amounts of patience I thought I needed, God gave me more opportunities to practice. And I didn't like it.....
But that hasn't stopped Him from teaching me.
What a mess I'd be without Him!
As a family, we've talked about how this is such a "first world problem" and that on one hand- in the grand scheme of things it's such a small issue but in the daily living of it- we all admit that it's wearing us down and wearing us thin.Our Lu had only come home from Guatemala a week before- she has spent days on site building a church with no running water and she said it wasn't a big deal then... but they also went to a hotel every night where they had running water. "It was just something you dealt with," she said. And that's how we're trying to look at it right now- it's just something we've got to deal with.... and yet, it's so much more
He has brought so much to us in this.... neighbors bringing water, neighbors hooking us up to their water, friends giving us paper goods so we don't have so many dishes to do, my life-long friend opening her shower to me and making me delicious coffee while I enjoyed her amazing water pressure, family inviting us over to their homes for supper and showers, others offering us to stay at their homes, and so very many praying and praying more for us. I'm seeing the church being the church as Christ intended it to be as they reach out and minister us.
And God is good.
So very, very good.
This is only the beginning.... there is so much I'm learning in this but I can't get all the words quite together in my head yet....
Allow me to end with this- an amazing quote a friends sent me on Facebook the other day, because she said it made her think of me and my situation:
"She delighted in seeing her plan upset by unexpected events,
saying that this gave her great comfort, and that she looked on such things
as an assurance that God was watching over her stewardship,
was securing the accomplishment of His will, and working out His own designs.
Whether she traced the secondary cause to the prayer of a child,
to the imperfection of an individual, to obstacles arising from misunderstandings,
or to interference of outside agencies, she was joyfully
and graciously ready to recognize the indication of God's ruling hand,
and to allow herself to be guided by it."
- Janet Erskine Stuart
That's what I want to be- joyfully and graciously ready to recognize the indication of God's ruling hand and be guided by it.