Saturday, September 12, 2009

Tears, Chaos, and Hope

If I am being completely honest, I must say that I did not want to rent this house. Even finished, it would only be a 3 bedroom, and it would not be anywhere near done by the time we moved in. It still needed (needs!) a ton of work, including floors, mudding and texture on the walls downstairs, and the front yard (as seen above) is covered with mounds of dirt and compost. (I think?)

HOWEVER, the landlords lowered the monthly rental price by a considerable amount, and even waived the deposit money if Russell and our two big boys would come help Dustin work, so that the downstairs would be framed and dry-walled in before we moved in.

Here are my two boys working very hard and learning how walls are built:

We've now been here one month, and while we are getting closer, the basement still is not done. The mudding guy comes once in a while, but he's also a plumber and is supposed to hook up the radiant heat in the floor before it gets cold. Last I heard, there is no thermostat, so the plumber is not sure what to do.

So the kids are all still sleeping in the living room on mattresses laying all over the wood floors. Our stuff still sits in my grandma's garage, waiting for us to come get it. *grin*

Here's what the living room still looks like:

This past week, Russell and I went to the temple, and had a lovely session. We ran a few errands afterward, and then went home. When we got there, we found out that the power company had come by right after we had left and had turned off the power! So our little ones, being babysat by our 15 year old, were home alone without electricity or running water, and didn't know that they could use the land line phone to call for help.

The peace we had felt in the temple scattered, and I was pretty mad at the power company. But Russell, blessed man that he is, turned it into a fun adventure for us all. He called the power company, and calmly made an appointment for the power guy to come back and hook us up the next morning. While I went around gathering up candles, lanterns, jackets, shoes, and other things we'd need to find before darkness fell, Russell sent the big kids to the canal at the back of the property with buckets to gather water for flushing the toilet. He also helped the little kids get shoes on to ready to go to town. We were going to get some bottled water for drinking, and some hot dogs and marshmallows for roasting. Immediately, the mood changed from frustration and discouragement to excitement!

When we got home, Russell built a blazing fire in the firepit in our back yard. We broke out the ketchup, mustard, relish, and buns. He'd also purchased marshmallows, chocolate, and graham crackers. We lit and placed the candles and lanterns around the house, and everyone sat around the fire to roast their dinners. The stars were brilliant, and we all talked, laughed, and sang together, until we staggered inside to bed. No humming came from the appliances, fans or computers in the darkness. The silence was almost deafening, but also refreshing.

Sometimes, even though I am doing everything I should, life is not all sunshine and rainbows. There are always some big problems to overcome, some icky things we have to go through.

Some days I think, "Father, don't you love me any more? What must I do to be blessed?"

Finally, I'm starting to hear His answer, His message to me.

"Trust me. I chastise and try those that I love. I am giving you these problems so that you will seek me, and come to me. I am anxious for you to make it through this difficult time, so that you will be even more refined-- so that I can bless you with a greater rewards than you can now comprehend."

He's always been saying this to me! Why has it been so hard for me to comprehend? Has the path been too easy for me for too long?

I think that I made the mistake of equating ease and blessings with righteousness. That because I was obeying, being good, and checking off my "list" of things to do to be a better person, I was entitled to my fair share of allotted blessings.

I did not see that the Lord is blessing me with trials to make me more His. I need Him. I love Him, and I have been reminded that I depend upon Him for EVERYTHING.

My wonderful eternal companion... Beloved children... Home.... God's Love...

I thank thee, Father, for all of these and more.


  1. Thanks, Rachel, I needed to see that. I'm so glad your children will have wonderful memories.

  2. Weeping...just simply weeping for your goodness.........

  3. You have NO idea how badly I needed this tonight. Bless you.
    Thank you so much for sharing :)

  4. I'm sorry to hear of your trials and tribulations. Sometimes it can be so hard to see the blessings through all the trials. I'm so glad that you can! I know that this house is not exactly what you hoped for, but it does look like an adventure for your family. One that will be remembered I'm sure!

    We miss you guys!

  5. Wow. I would not want to rent that house either! Not fun. (Though the kids probably think it's a great adventure- right?) I remember as a kid sleeping in a smallish bedroom with 4 other siblings and I thought it was great. We loved to talk and giggle before going to sleep. It didn't occur to me until I was older that many other kids had their own room and couldn't imagine sharing!
    I, too am guilty of thinking I "deserved" certain things for being "oh-so-righteous." I think I've learned since that it doesn't work that way. Same thing applies to my health. I learned that anyone, no matter how healthy she eats, or how much she exercises, etc.- anyone, can have health issues and it's just part of our mortal existence. I had cancer and it was an interesting learning experience for me- not a punishment from God for not being vegan or something. ( :
    Thanks for sharing. It was very humbling to read. (As I sit here in my super nice newly-remodeled home!)

  6. You still had the presence of mind to take pictures for memories' sake!

  7. You hit it so right on with being chastised by the Lord. I remember times of being chastised and thinking but aren't doing good enough? Shouldn't I be blessed and have life easy now after everything else I've done? And when I read the scripture about how he chastises those He loves to help them become stronger I finally got it. Thanks so much for sharing! And what a great husband to make things an adventure.


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