I traipsed to the barn at 7:00 AM through three feet of drifted snow. The path was no longer visible, yet the storm had just begun.
Dressed in two base layers, three middle layers, a down jacket, and wool hat, I was prepared for the weather. Still, 30 mile per hour southeast winds blew snow that felt like tiny glass chards slicing my exposed cheeks. I closed my eyes and walked blindly.
Sliding the barn doors open, I discovered the entire aisle was white with snow. So were the stalls. I stepped into one and looked through the open Dutch door. There was no sign of a driveway.
Todd had left for Florida right before the winds hit, when the driveway was still clear. He was gone and I was stuck.
I fired up the ATV to see how much snow I could move. But as soon as I drove south, I realized I was using the equivalent of a child’s plastic sand shovel. Worse, I managed to get the ATV stuck right in the middle of the driveway. It wouldn’t budge. Any plowing service I called would have to chain the ATV and drag it out in order to plow.
In total frustration—and with the mighty help of hormones—I started crying. Sitting stuck on the ATV in the middle of the driveway, alone, I just wept. And then I got mad. No one else was within hearing distance of our farm at 7 AM so I just let it rip . . .
“I am NOT just a TECHNO-idiot! I am a MECHANICAL idiot!”
How I hate having to admit that there are some things the males in my family can do that I can’t do—yet. The feminist fur on the back of my neck suddenly stood at attention and I did what any strong woman in charge would do . . .
I marched myself into the house, ripped off all my clothes (except for one layer), and called my husband—in FLORIDA—on business!
“WE ARE IN THE MIDDLE OF A MASSIVE SNOWSTORM WITH 30 MPH WINDS BLOWING SNOW HORIZONTALLY IN MY FACE AND THE BARN IS FULL OF SNOW AND I JUST MANAGED TO GET THE ATV STUCK IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DRIVEWAY AND NOW THERE IS NO WAY A PLOW CAN CLEAR US OUT UNTIL THEY GET THE ATV OUT OF THE WAY!”
I stopped to take a breath and see if he was still on the other end of line.
So I kept going . . .
“I AM SOOOO MAD!”
Like THAT wasn’t obvious . . .
Wonderful, calm soul that he is, my man spoke predictable, problem-solving words. Actually, I already knew what to do. But I needed to vent so I could think and my dear husband obliged, probably holding the phone an arm-length away from his ear. Then he made that little chuckling sound and I knew what he was thinking . . .
“Perfect timing! I just landed in Florida and you’re stuck in a snow bank.”
He didn’t need to say it and I refrained from using his current geographic location as a weapon of mass destruction, even though he told me it was 60 degrees there and that his bare feet were warming in the sun. Sooooo happy for him . . .
After crying, screaming, talking, and planning, I went to work executing (the plan, that is).
A long-time acquaintance with a truck and plow came to help this damsel-in-distress by pushing me on the ATV in reverse, out of the snow bank. He cleared a path to the three-car garage where we store the farm equipment and I followed behind, returning the mechanical beast to its stall.
“Might as well wait till this storm stops blowing before I plow because you’re going to get drifted over again real fast.”
I knew it.
I was stuck.
I wouldn’t be able to get my daughter to work. My son wouldn’t be able to get home from work.
The forecast was six to eight inches of snow with high winds and drifting not ending until 8 PM.
“So when do you think you can come back?”
“Probably around midnight. I’ve got many before you and I’ll probably be going all night.”
Yes, I was stuck alright. My path to freedom was blocked, invisible. I couldn’t dig my own way out. And I hate that. I hate not being able to dig my own way out of problems. I hate admitting my own limitations. I hate having to depend on someone else to help me. I like to think I can do all things—by myself.
Truth is, there is not one thing I can do by myself.
I cannot make myself breathe. And if I can’t make myself breathe, I can’t do anything else.
The breath of life is a gift, given by God, and all I can do is receive and breathe deeply of His grace. And getting stuck might just lead to the still, blessed place where our souls have space to breathe deeper, stretch further, grow greater.
Still, I can hear the taunts of one named Annoyance. I confess that I have entertained Annoyance too often these past few months. Every time my plans get side-tracked by circumstances beyond my control—every time I get stuck—I feel Annoyance trying to pull Peace and Joy from my embrace. Annoyance wants to block me. Annoyance wants to instill fear in me that I’ll never have what I need to accomplish what I’ve set out to achieve.
But God is greater.
His grace is wider.
His love is lavish.
So I tell myself truth and I say it aloud to Annoyance . . .
Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails. (Proverbs 19:21)
And I say aloud words of worship . . .
O great and powerful God, whose name is the LORD almighty, great are your purposes and mighty are your deeds. (Jeremiah 32:18-19)
If I resist Annoyance, Annoyance flees.
Annoyance will leave you too, if you want.
We can breathe, by God’s grace. And we can believe, by God’s grace, that He is sovereign over all places—even stuck places—and that He will work in and through all—all for our good—all for His purpose—all in His way—all in His time.
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. (Psalm 91:1)