Ben was in Texas, Andi was with Hannah, and I was here, ‘holding down the ranch’.
The wind chill was -45. The Temperature was ugly, and the wind were gusting up to 45mph. The wind blew with such force, it nearly carried me out to the north pasture.
I don’t mean to dwell on this weather thing, but winter life in the Midwest sometimes stinks! The breaker for the pasture’s electric lines had failed, causing the heater for the water tanks to turn off, which caused both tanks to form a thick layer of ice. Using a shovel, I swung at the ice until it broke into chunks and then gloveless, pulled the ice out of the tank, giving the horses access to the water underneath. I threw hay, served oats and filled up one manure cart with well, manure. One pasture down and one to go.
Nearly flying with the wind at my back, I reached the north pasture in record time, I flipped up the gate latch and pushed, but it didn’t open. I wiggled it, kicked it, and stepped on it, but still nothing. It would not budge.
I blame the weather for my brilliant, brain frozen idea to ram the gate with my shoulder. Unfortunately the only thing that moved, was me.
“I give up” I mumbled to my self as I climbed through the fence. With more emotion than earlier I swung my shovel and smashed into the layer of ice that covered the water tank. Each swing seemed to fuel my anger.
With the second tank cleared, and the other jobs finished, I headed for the barn. The wind now against me, I battled with its force, tucking my head into my coat and leaning deep into it’s strength, I pushed myself forward, every step was a chore.
My heart was heavy, my hands were burning, my face was numb, the few strands of hair that escaped my hat were frozen to my eyelashes. I was certain my feet were frost bitten and my shoulder was throbbing. I fought back my tears, but gave into my growing sour mood. “Stupid gate!” I yelled, “stupid, stupid ugh!”
My outburst was so childish it made me chuckle, “I’m so ‘stupid’”, I laughed at myself. I prayed for endurance, and by the time I reached the barn, I knew I also needed to pray for forgiveness. Anger and self pity are ugly and neither are helpful.
In the shelter of the barn, protected from the wind, my heart continued to soften and although I was still freezing, I enjoyed my time with Frieda, Merida and Hero. I have come to love the smells, the ambiance, and even the chaos of ranch life (just not the winter weather). I’m inspired by the life stories of our horses and am humbled to have the privilege of caring and loving these beautiful animals.
The sun was setting and my chores where done. Back at the house I stoked the fire and grabbed a cup of tea. This week the house temperature has been in the upper 40s in the mornings and if I’m able to keep the fire hot enough for the blower to stay on we can climb up to the upper 50s. This evening the house was at a disappointing 52.
My emotionally charged day had all the drama of a poorly written soap opera. I had been angry, overwhelmed hurt and discouraged. I had given in to a bitter feeling of weakness and had just been down right freezing cold.
How exhausting! I breathed in deep, and in time with my exhale, I felt the spirit of God placing his strength in my heart. Letting go of today, and the assumption that I deserve all things to go well, as I serve the Lord, a flood of thankfulness poured over me, and with perfect peace, I wept.
Through tears, I watched the flames dance across the wood, and I gave praise to the Lord, whose grace is sufficient for me. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Cor. 12:9