October 2nd came with a warning, our first major snow storm of the year was heading our way! Ben was leaving on a business trip so Andi and I, along with a few volunteers, were put to the task of readying the ranch for a forecasted 4-6 inches of snow, heralded in by freezing rain and threatening winds.
The next two days were busy with wood splitting, grounds clean up, horse blanketing, and for me, worry. We hadn’t yet set up shelters for our horses, our hay wasn't covered, we didn't have heat hooked up in the house, nor had time to replace the broken windows that faced the very direction the high winds would pound us from, and there was not enough split wood to keep the fire burning in our fireplace. We were caught unprepared!
We worked hard and did all we could, but before we had checked off even half of our to-do list, October 3rd came to an end. We had tried, but I knew it wasn't enough.
Before climbing into bed, I stoked the fire and prayed earnestly that our God of Wonders would calm this storm, that he would protect us and our herd.
As soon as day broke, I was up and checking on first the fire, and second the herd. I could see that all the horses were accounted for, rears to the wind, heads low, and as usual for the time of day, sleeping.
The skies were an ominous gray, and the wind was screaming, but the grounds were covered in a beautiful white blanket. I have always loved the first snow and remembering a saying I’d heard; “In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy.” the child in me smiled. But the adult in me shivered, I was the one who needed to head outside, face the weather and feed the horses. I double dressed, bundled up tight, lingered by the fire to build up my resolve, and finally talked myself into getting started.
Walking out to the paddocks my heart sank as I realized that the top 3 strands of electric fence had snapped under the weight of the wintery mix. All four paddocks were damaged.
Waiting for better conditions was not an option as even our smallest horse, Sissy, could if she wanted, step right over the fence and be in danger of the river, the railroad or the highway. Grabbing what I needed from the shop, I headed to the northwest corner of the paddocks and began cutting, spicing in and re-tying the fence.
Feeling sorry for my self and near tears, I cried out in complaints to the Lord. “How are we ever going to make this work? How are we going to find the time and money to get ready for the real arrival of winter? Why is the support coming in not matching the need. Lord are you in this? Are you watching?”
At every break I tied, an awareness was building... my faith was being tested. I realized that what I do now, how I respond when I’m pressed down, this is what defines me, revealing what I truly believe. Does God hear my prayers? YES Did God lead us to start this ministry? YES. Can God provide all that we need? YES!
I made my way around the four paddocks, my fingers were numb and a purplish red, although the work was not pretty it was done and hopefully would hold until better repairs could be made. I headed inside to warm up, eat breakfast and call Ben.
Always the encourager, Ben reminded me that we are in the perfect place to expect something great from God. “He will always be faithful.” Ben said. As has happened many times in our married life, we can be miles apart, and yet find our selves in the very same place of surrender and prayer. My worries were worthless and time wasted. God, as he does, staged a beautiful backdrop in which to build my faith.
Only days later did we receive a generous gift that would cover the cost of building stalls in our shed, an additional gift of matching funds was offered and with other friends of SDYR stepping in, we’re able to buy the run-in shelters that we need for the pastures. Winter is close, and we still have so much to do, but we know that God is with us and he is GOOD!