How Meeting God in a Snowstorm Quieted Fear
By Heather Jeffery
Hear Him Louder Essay Series: Heather's Story
I knew the words well as they rose up inside. “This isn’t fair. You shouldn’t have to do this.” Those words of entitlement reverberated in my soul as if playing on repeat through a loudspeaker.
It had only been two weeks since my husband moved out. I had already conquered hardware issues, a clogged laundry line, learned how to operate (and how NOT to operate) a shop vacuum in a short time. God used these things to show me He was with me and as long as I remained focused on Him, we could conquer tasks together. I had been feeling optimistic with glimmers of my old self beginning to shine through the darkness.
Now I sat watching the snow accumulate in layers on my long driveway. Dread starts to fill my soul only mildly diverted by my brain telling me I am a smart woman who can do this. Deep down, I know that. However, my heart does not feel I should have to and it certainly doesn’t want to.
I accept my reality as I pull on my snow boots, wrap a scarf around my neck, and secure my zipper on top before slipping my resistant fingers into gloves. I suppose I will need a hat as well. I just cleaned out my daughter’s closet and remember there’s a Wonder Woman hat in the donate pile. It may be a little dramatic but seems to suit the occasion perfectly.
Outside I fumble to accurately enter the lock code on the shed with my gloved fingers but it finally opens revealing the orange beast. I whisper a prayer, “Help me do this, Lord.” It’s just the two of us now.
With the ignition switch turned to run, I pull the crank cord several times without success. I pause and bitterly ask God for help. “You told me you would help me, where are you?” I crank one more time and the engine starts.
I feel God ask me to trust Him yet again. I scoff a little. At this point after three exhausting years of praying for change in my marriage, I’ve been running on nothing BUT trust.
I press down the handles, not sure exactly what will happen. The wheels start to move as the blades swirl. Okay, this is not so bad. I didn’t realize this orange beast propelled itself. What a thoughtful design. As I glance ahead to the driveway I’m thankful it’s paved instead of the rock we had years ago. Thank you, God, for the resources to pave the driveway when we did. I remember how it came together at just the right time.
As my heart began to shift from bitterness to gratitude, I was able to hear the other side of the conversation as He gently answered every thought.
I knew you would need it so I made a way.
God, thank you for providing a snow blower. I remember watching my husband shovel snow for what seemed like hours. I would make him coffee or hot chocolate and pass it through the door to his snow crusted glove after he had been out for a while. I prayed as I saved for this orange beast a few Christmases ago. You definitely provided, yet again. I had no idea it would eventually be mine to operate.
I knew you would need it.
I look down in humble thanks noticing the snow is several inches deep. But my feet are so warm and dry. I can’t believe my sister found these snow boots for such a good deal when I wasn’t even looking for them. They are so warm!
I knew you would need them.
I realize I have no pain in my left foot. Wow, that’s incredible! I battled the pain of unrelenting plantar fasciitis for months. There’s no way I would be able to tolerate walking in this cold but that cortisone shot last week really made a difference. I don’t feel a thing! I should have scheduled it months ago but with everything else going on, I didn’t make myself a priority.
I knew you would need it. You are always a priority to me.
I realize God cares about the details. The way He has cared for me has been incredible. I turn the orange beast but it takes more effort. Several months ago I hurt my back and could barely move. I hope this doesn’t flare it up. I certainly don’t want to go through that again.
Your back pain already served its purpose.
I assumed the purpose of my back pain was to slow me down, forcing me to rest. But in hindsight, I see God used it to save me from something far worse than busyness. He knew the muscular pain was temporary compared to the long term emotional pain I would feel later if He had not spared my involvement in something I would regret. The back pain sidelined me as He used it to reveal truth to me in that quiet time of rest. “Wow, God, your faithfulness and protection are so humbling. You have thought of every detail prior to this moment.”
I knew you would need them.
Why did I ever worry about doing this? It’s kind of fun! Somehow, managing snow is very empowering and therapeutic. I spent so much time wrestling in fear of doing things alone.
You are never alone.
I know I am never alone but it can certainly feel that way at times. The fear can be overwhelming. But as it turns out, the fear was far more agonizing than the actual moment.
I know. Fear is a liar.
When I look back, it’s so easy to see fear as a liar, a weapon used by the enemy. I wasted so much time crippled by fear. But it’s never that obvious in the moment. I wish someone would have told me I had nothing to fear.
I did. I told you not to be afraid for I am always with you. If you didn’t believe me, you would not have believed another. You had to learn it on your own.
We can be so stubborn at times, allowing fear and doubt to overwhelm us. I am forever grateful Jesus did not let fear keep Him from the cross. God really does work in mysterious ways, but always for good for those who love Him. Where we see the end, He sees a beginning. Instead of a cross, He sees the stone rolled away. I understand so much more now. I wish I could tell the fearful me of three months ago how empowering this journey would feel.
Then tell her. Tell the woman who is currently where you were, still living in fear. Tell her of your experience. It doesn’t matter whether you know her or not, I know her and I will make sure she hears it.
I take a deep breath and thoughts flood my mind, as if they’ve been waiting to be invited:
Fear is a liar. The fears that keep you bound keep you from seeing His freedom.
You can’t open your hands to receive something new while they are still tightly gripping something broken.
Healing can begin when we hand it over, trusting Him with the pieces. God will not leave us broken. He will heal us, if we allow Him to lead, and rely on Him with every step.
God, I hope she hears me.
She just did.
I don't know your story or your fear, and I don't know what God's healing looks like for you. But I do know that He will meet you. When you invite Him into your broken places and wait on Him to speak Truth to you, He will guide you through your fear or confusion or pain. Your steps may look different from my steps. But I know, even in the harshest storms and seasons, when you allow Him, He will lead you through it, one step at a time. My friend, He is waiting.
The Hear Him Louder Essay Series is a guest writer series where God's daughters share their stories of hearing God’s whispers in their every day. It’s meant to serve as an encouragement for the times when God feels far and seems quiet. When we read each other’s stories of how He meets us, it reminds and reassures us that He is near. May this series be an invitation for us to listen for His voice together.
Don't miss any posts in this series! Subscribe to receive notifications for each new essay, posted every other Thursday. When you subscribe, you'll receive a link to a FREE prayer resource that will guide you through meeting with God in prayer, called, “Closer: Five Postures to Hear Him Louder."
Learn more about each of these five postures:
1 | Seek: If I Seek God, Will I Really Find Him?
2 | Know: Will God Speak, Even to Me?
3 | Expect: Can I Expect to Hear God?
4 | Listen: How Do I Listen for God?
5 | Connect: Is God Really Right Here?
New to this series? Check out the rest of the series!
Interested in contributing to the Hear Him Louder Essay Series? The call for submissions opens in January and June. To submit an essay outside of those windows, contact me.
Heather Jeffery is a Christian writer, mom, and full time physical therapist. Her blog, called Straighten Your Crown, is a place to find encouragement grounded in Biblical truth to navigate the challenging circumstances we encounter in a broken world. The title was given to her several years ago when God rescued her from a pit of intense grief and disappointment. She writes to share this same hope with others who are walking through difficult circumstances and feel defeated.
She lives in Maryland with her two daughters and loves spending time outdoors, near the water.
Heather is wrapping up a blog series titled Unexpected with a new series, Unbroken, coming soon. Subscribe to her blog at www.straightenyourcrown.net, and follow her on IG (@straightenyourcrown.1) and Facebook (Straighten Your Crown).