Our pipes burst this week, flooding the basement where all of our inventory is kept. At 5am, David came down to water pouring out of light sockets and an inch of water on the floor. Quickly, he ran to shut off the water, but our valve wasn’t working. We would learn later that it was frozen and a piece of ice had lodged in it. But at 5 in the morning, with water pouring from the ceiling, he had to act fast, and he called out for me to help.
I should give you a little background. About 5 years ago, around this time of year, I was pregnant with Brontë (still in the morning sickness phase). There had been some cold weather, and when I came home from picking up Liam from Kindergarten, I heard water pouring in our finished basement. I came down the stairs and saw water pouring out of light sockets in the ceiling, out of the vents in the ceiling, and a huge portion of the ceiling drywall collapsed as I came down the stairs. There was an inch or more of water on the floor, and I spun the water valve over and over, but could not turn off the water (turned out it was totally broken). David worked almost an hour away, so I called a retired neighbor we had met once or twice, and he saved the day. He calmed me down, shut off the electricity, had a plumber turn off the water, and generally organized things until David got home an hour later. To this day, nothing spooks me as much water sounds in our basement (not kidding even a little bit – we had a scare one night, and I was ruined for days after that). It was a very, very tough time for our family (our dryer caught on fire the next night and David’s quick thinking was the only thing that saved the house from burning down, and there was an ice storm that winter). What made it so very hard for me was the finances. I would wake up with panic attacks at night, terrified that we wouldn’t be able to pay some bills. The basement ended up costing us more than expected, and insurance reimbursed us for much less than expected, eating up the savings we had and then some. We had a baby on the way, and our insurance decided they wouldn’t cover this homebirth, and I had to have a couple extra medical tests that wouldn’t be fully covered… It was stressful. Instead of trusting the Lord to provide and talking out all my fears with David, I kept it in and had panic attacks. It got to the point that I would have a panic attack if I started to pay a bill online (even though I knew we had the money). David eventually had to take over our day-to-day finances because I couldn’t cope. This lasted for a little over a year before it gradually faded and I realized how little I had trusted the Lord.
So please imagine my emotions when I came down the stairs to see water pouring from the ceiling and one inch of water on the floor of the basement we remodeled 5 years ago. Of all the emotions of fear for the business (what inventory is soaked? If that ceiling caves like it did last time, we are toast), fear for our lives (there were electrical things plugged into the walls, sitting in the water), and my old acquaintance panic (that immediately asks me “How are we going to pay for this and a homebirth?”). It was intense. Thankfully, we were able to pull it together (with a little help from the fire department, go figure – who else can you call at 5 in the morning to turn off the water?), and we saved almost all of our inventory. Once again, we have to rip out parts of the walls and the ceiling, repair the plumbing, replace the drywall, and paint. It’s a blow to our finances when we don’t really have a cushion, but it’s not as harsh a blow as it easily could have been.
So once again I find myself pregnant while we face a basement repair bill and a homebirth to pay for. (FYI: the cost of a homebirth here is actually cheaper than most hospital births, but we have to pay out of pocket and midwives don’t typically accept credit cards. It’s a significant expense for us.) Once again, I am not sure how we will swing it all, but this time I have hope. You see, I look back at the terribly tough winter, and I see the goodness of the Lord in it. Sure, I was bound in fear and panic, but I found grocery gift cards slipped into my purse. Once, we found a check from our church community to us, sitting on our counter. In the midst of my fear, God provided and brought love and light to that very dark, depressing time. Even since then, we have been surprised to find a brand-new bike Liam’s size in the back of our truck, grocery gift cards in our mailbox with encouraging notes, an anonymous gift of a washing machine when ours broke, and so many kindnesses from others. It’s humbling to be on the receiving end of so many blessings, but it is also an amazing freedom to realize that the Lord has taken care of us better than we would have dreamed. I’m not the woman I was 5 years ago. I have learned that God does provide for our needs, and I’ve seen Him provide enough for us to be able to give to others in the midst of our hard times. I never thought I was a greedy person until we did not have much. Suddenly, I saw how stingy I could be, out of fear that there wouldn’t be anything left for us if we gave anything away – which is the opposite of the love God has lavished on us! As He broke through my fear and greed, I notice that Scripture says that He gave His only Son . Not to sound cheesy, but it was a profound thought to me that God Himself did not give out of excess or because He didn’t want something anymore. He gave at great cost.
I’ve been reminded today of the story of Peter wanting to walk on the water with Jesus (Matthew 14:22-33). The disciples were in a boat in a storm, and Jesus came walking to the on the water. Peter asks Jesus to invite him to walk on the water too, and Peter even walks a few steps before getting distracted by the storm. I identify with Peter so much. I am so eager to be with the Lord, but so easily distracted (especially by the storms of life). All he had to do was keep his eyes on Jesus, trusting Him. So easy to say, yet so very hard to do!
But this time, I’m turning away from the stormy panic of what ifs and instead I’m setting my eyes on Jesus, trusting Him in the midst of this storm. I know I won’t be perfect at it, but it’s the only way I know of to resist the dark depression of panic and greed.
How about you? Anyone learning to walk on water? I would love to hear about it?