I was talking to my dad the other day. He had just had some surgery, and I was calling to check in on him. This also happened to be the same day that our water pump in the barn had frozen and the kids and I had made multiple trips through the inches-deep snow with bitter negative temperatures (uphill both ways) to the trough to water the cows in the pasture. Anyway, I told my dad of my dilemma, and he told me that he remembered insulating the base of their old water pump with a heating pad and an old blanket on really cold days.
“Aha!” says I.
I was pretty sure that our pump was frozen up in the handle and not under the ground, so I bundled up against the elements, hiked back out to the barn and draped a heating pad over the pump handle. I then tied a little fleecy bear blanket around the whole shebang. I turned the heating pad on high and trudged back up to the house. The kids and I set the timer for one hour and occupied ourselves with schoolwork. When the timer went off, we suited up again against the frigid temperatures and walked out to the barn to check its status. Still no water. We set the timer for another hour and enjoyed a cozy sixty minutes in front of the wood stove. The timer went off, and I thought about staying inside where it was comfortable. After all, it might not even be thawed yet. Actually, the water might not even be frozen up in the handle; it may be clear down under the ground where nothing I can do will help it. This may just be more wasted effort on our part. Plus, what if it didn’t work? I would just have to wait another hour and make another trip later…or try something else altogether. A sense of responsibility (and my innate curiosity) got the better of me, and we went out again (uphill both ways) to check the status of the pump.
Blessed victory. (Thank you, Dad!)
Sometimes, problems have simple fixes. Sometimes, problems do not. There are problems in my life that have been problems for decades. Those are the ones that tempt me to give up. I don’t like failing, especially when it’s over and over and over again. When I cannot create my mind’s ideal situation (relationship, accomplishment, etc.), I tend to focus on the cold walk out to the barn, so to speak. Instead of me doing what I know I should do, I allow myself to be defeated before I’ve even done it.
My super smart friend, Susan, taught her kids to respond to life’s problems with, “Just make the next right choice”. This helps me stay focused on what my goals truly are. Perfection? Nope. I’m over that one. A healthy self-image? Umm…no. Beauty? Riches? Fame? No, no, no.
I just want to shine the Light of Jesus. Honest. I want to be a credit to His Holy Name, to let His love and grace radiate through the brokenness of my imperfection so that others can know Him a little bit better. This is my ultimate life’s goal, and the rest is cake. If I can work toward honoring Him with the next right choice, I can have peace in my heart. Sometimes, the next right choice is forgiving myself or someone else. Sometimes, it’s loving on someone who, in my humble opinion, doesn’t deserve to be loved. Sometimes, it’s saying “no” to the urgent so that I can invest in the important. The next right choice isn’t always easy, but it’s usually fairly simple.
So, I’m insulating my life with a fleecy bear blanket of sorts–reading God’s Word, spending time with people who have been changed by Him, loving on others from my abundance and trying to live according to my true priorities.
This, my friends, produces Living Water–the kind that quenches every thirst you have ever had and ever will have. Cleansing. Purifying. Refreshing. Life-changing. Totally worth the walk.