2 Chronicles 16:9
I remember the day Chris took me to look at the little piece of land he was considering buying. There were trees and brambles and briars; fallen logs and leaves and limbs. All of it was situated on one steep hill. We scrambled up through the woods, dodging thorns and branches. Chris was busily dreaming and scouting out the best spot to build; I was looking around at it all in bewilderment - "A house? Here?"
But we bought the land and the dreams began turning into reality. Then the lane went in. From that day forward, there was one nagging question in the back of my mind - "How am I going to get in and out of here in the wintertime?"
I've talked about this before - how I never had to drive in the snow before moving to Ohio, how I dread it and hate it and, in short, what a chicken I am. And now here I was going to be on this Hill, with no way in and out but a steep lane. Not only that, the steep lane comes out right in the middle of a fairly major hill on Pennyroyal, the road running past our house. Put simply, the whole situation is basically a chicken's worst nightmare.
We did bite the bullet and concrete the lane. Last summer, we also blacktopped the parking area by the house. Major, major improvements and without question a good investment; we would have been hauling in new gravel regularly.
So, here we are at The House On The Hill for a year. That lane has continued to be a thorn in the flesh. It's not just bad in the winter, see. Even in the summer you have to know how to maneuver the thing so as not to produce ominous scraping sounds from your vehicle. This can be quite alarming, especially to visitors who are generally a bit more concerned about their vehicles than some of the rest of us. It is completely possible to enter in and depart from said lane without the scraping sounds, but one must Know How. Like Eeyore playing Pooh sticks, there's a twitchy sort of way, if you know what I mean.
All in all, I have become somewhat used to this treacherous lane that elicits so many comments and wonderment from all who see it. I've joked that I will homeschool my kids in the winter months and I still cringe as I listen for the scraping sounds every time someone comes to visit. For the most part though, I've gotten used to it. I still dreaded winter but that's nothing new and I already know that worry isn't going to change anything. Besides, I've also discovered that God can actually handle wintertime pretty well, imagine that?
I thought maybe God would handle it by giving us a mild winter with very little snow. Well, He has pretty much turned that idea upside down. I wish I would have counted the number of times it has snowed since Christmas. Really, I think it might have been too many to count! It's not that we have had such a huge accumulation, like some people, but just enough to cover up the cleaned up roads - and lane - again and again and again.
It was early one morning during the first part of January when it came to me. I was standing in the kitchen, getting ready to start the morning routine of lunches and breakfast and school prep. The noise of the snowblower filtered in through the window; my husband was out there, again, clearing off the lane before heading to work. He'd bought that snowblower at our school auction and every time I heard it's hum, my heart melted into a puddle. Forget the roses and chocolates. Let me tell you, seeing my man out there in the early morning hours or late at night after a long day at work, faithfully cleaning off that lane in the freezing cold puts more stars in my eyes than any flowers ever could.
It was in that moment that I heard God whisper, "That lane is a never-ending opportunity for me to show myself strong on your behalf."
I stopped mid-stride in my morning bustle and stood there in awe. I'm not sure I can explain how sacred that moment was. You can't very well hate something with such great potential, can you? "A never-ending opportunity..." it almost gave me goosebumps. A lump came into my throat, as I stood there in my kitchen with tears in my eyes and my hands raised in worship, "Oh, dear God! Thank you for that lane; thank you for a never-ending opportunity!!"
I still groan when it snows, I still dread needing to get out there. But now it's a dread laced with anticipation - 'How is He going do it this time?' And you know what? He is so creative!
Some days He has the school board chairman cancel school (Bless the man). Some days He has my husband park the van at the bottom of the lane and gives me the courage to brave the road and backing the van back into its precarious spot. (You see those marks behind the van? That's where Isaac took a little run and slid all the way down to the van.)
I call that amazing.