You know those stories you read about in books or hear from speakers? They usually sound super spiritual and uncommon. Like, definitely not something you experience a lot in your own life. If only!
But I have a sneaking suspicion I’ve discovered their secret.
Have you ever felt extremely discouraged and down about something kinda stupid? And then on top of it, felt stupid for feeling that way?
I’m not sure how well I can communicate the somewhat silly, but very real, emotional roller coaster we experienced recently, but maybe you can relate a bit.
Every year, we dread Spring transition season.
Transition season is the 2 weeks leading up to our trek back to the Midwest and the 2 weeks after getting home. That’s how long it usually takes to wrap up loose ends in one location, and get settled back in at the other.
We were cringing inwardly, anticipating 27 hours of traveling with a toddler who has been the highest/strongest energy of our family since she was conceived, lol.
Thankfully, splitting the trip into 3 shorter days instead of 2 longer ones was much more relaxing. Some good friends recently moved away from us, but at least they moved somewhere convenient to make a stop on our trips!
Taking things easier actually made it more like a mini-vacation, even though the pool at the hotel we stayed in one of the nights wasn’t open and didn’t have our usual continental breakfast due to COVID-19.
Overall, though, 10/10 recommend our 2020 spring transition trip!
What I wouldn’t recommend, however, is coming home to a broken fridge.
It all went downhill from there…
We felt pretty good about the time we made it home (mid-afternoon), and the amount of cleaning and unpacking we managed in a couple of hours, but no fridge was definitely a wrench in the works.
Normally, it wouldn’t have been that big of a deal because it’s not like it’s hard to buy foods that don’t need to be refrigerated, but I had started an eating plan to get healthier and feel better in my body, and David was planning to start when we got home.
Having nothing to put fresh food in, I found myself feeling oddly vulnerable. I was already missing carbs, and this felt like a kick in the face making it even harder to stick to my health goals.
Thankfully, dear friends bailed us out of complete discouragement by having us over for supper and then brunch the next day.
David ordered the part he assumed was the issue (since it wasn’t working and had been a problem in the past), and it arrived 2 days later.
We got groceries that day in great anticipation of having a fridge again, which only made it that much more exasperating when he hooked the part up to the tune of *still not working*…
Do you know that tune?
We got to hear it again 3 days later when the second part came in.
He had tested some stuff with his handy dandy voltmeter that indicated the second part could be the issue, but naaaaah.
Meanwhile, we had stuffed all the sort-of-ok-to-not-refrigerate food in the fridge anyway, because it was at least better than just sitting around our kitchen, and we froze as much we could in our chest freezer. The most necessary chilled stuff was in ice, populating a little cooler family we were developing on loan.
As frustrations mounted, I finally got involved and looked up online appliance technicians and found help – 24/7 help, no less.
In a relatively short amount of time, David had tested a few things the tech advised and it was determined that we needed yet a third part.
Although he was able to find a less expensive part store with a rebate 🙌 for our second part, this third one was still going to be a doozy. Then somehow, he discovered it available at Sears for $200 less! The only catch was that it wouldn’t arrive for another week.
We hoped we would be able to sell all our extra parts on ebay and not be out too much, but it still kinda felt like pouring money down the drain.
Between that and the upheaval of transition and being yanked up and down with solutions that turned out not to be solutions a few days later, we were feeling kinda low anticipating another week without a fridge (which is more frustrating than you might expect – classic don’t realize what you’ve got ’til it’s gone).
We’d also been looking for used fridges in the meantime, and although it seems like there are usually plenty to choose from, there was basically nothing at the time.
Truthfully, though, our emotional state wasn’t tied to the fridge.
We felt weak and unstable…
It was a culmination of the feeling that no matter what you do, you’re never going to get ahead. Everything is against you. Nothing can just be simple or easy. You suck.
That’s a feeling we’ve been very well-acquainted with in this location.
David and I sat together in our room that Sunday afternoon, one week into eating out of a cooler, feeling pretty down.
We agreed that we felt hurt, discouraged, betrayed… a general spiritual depression from not experiencing a life that matched what we wanted to believe.
Sure, 2 people in our lives had died very young over the past year, but on the surface this just felt like we were extremely weak and pathetic, being so affected by something as unimportant as being able to conveniently keep food cold.
The fun thing about depression is that it’s completely unconcerned with logic or reality – an equal opportunity oppressor. It’s really great at pulling all the lies in your subconscious together in a big spaghetti mess and dumping it all over your head.
So, feeling embarrassingly broken by the overwhelm of transition and lack of solutions, I cried out to God, telling him that I knew we should be mature Sons, better capable at dealing with this by now, but that we just felt like kids who needed our dad to please fix it!
We got up to continue life, feeling connected by our shared state of heart, but still completely unsure of what to do, practically speaking.
As I turned the fridge on to fill my bottle with filtered water (something we’d done once or twice a day all week), I was suddenly aware that cold air was blowing on my legs!
Hello?! You’re just working again?!
After a week of juggling food, it felt amazing to be spared having to do it for another week as we waited for the part to come in!
You’d think that would be the end of the story, but it’s not…
The blessing of a working fridge turned out to be much greater than we could have realized at the time, because the part that was supposed to get here in a week did NOT.
About 2.5 weeks later, we woke up to a fridge that had stopped working. Again.
Thankfully, when David checked on the delayed part, he discovered that it would arrive that day. Whew!
Our relief quickly turned once again to despair as that part also failed to fix the issue.
It was late, so David waited until the next morning to connect with our online technician again.
He kept troubleshooting things all day, but nothing was making sense.
I was feeling more and more down, as we had goals we were trying to accomplish that week and here we were once again, 2 days into no fridge with no end in sight setting us back further and further.
I couldn’t shake the feeling, though, that this whole thing was just another opportunity for us to choose faith over experience.
The whole time we’d been dealing with this (getting close to a month at that point), I’d sensed that it was an illustration of spiritual realities – that the fridge wasn’t really broken. We were just experiencing it that way!
(I actually took the above picture in anticipation of having some sort of story to tell, lol, but it didn’t change how crappy everything still felt at the time.)
In the midst of discouragement, I clung to my sliver of faith (really more a desire to have faith), and wanting to give God the opportunity to strengthen our kids’ faith also, I called them over to pray and we all laid hands on our fridge.
(I cannot stress enough how NOT spiritual this felt – I was so drained it was really just going through the motions!!!)
“God, we thank you that you are our provider and that you always take care of us. We know that you want us as your kids to have a working fridge. We speak to this fridge for all the connections to work properly! Yet, we are also open to you providing a fridge for us in another way if that would be better for us somehow. Give daddy wisdom in what to do with it. Thank you that we can count on you to take care of this for us!”
None of them wanted to add anything, but Maverick said (of the fridge) “It WILL work!”
The kids went out to play with their cousins, and I wearily took Micaiah to the park, leaving David to continue sleuthing.
Coming back about an hour later, Maverick was there saying “It’s basically fixed!”
I looked incredulously to David, and he confirmed, “I figured out what it is!”
Wouldn’t you know it? I was right all along. (Love that for me 😉 )
The fridge was never broken.
It just had a very slight disconnection with one wire, almost imperceptable.
THIS is the truth of our experience of life.
I think a lot of us feel like we’re living life juggling coolers.
Our life might look right… but still not function properly, so we have to patch solutions together and feel haphazard at best.
We might even test stuff and troubleshoot and use all sorts of tools and resources to get things functioning properly…
(That sure can get expensive!)
And yet, we’re often still left scratching our heads in confusion, or worse… stuck in our beds in depression because no matter what we do, we still can’t seem to get ahead.
But all of us have a working fridge (life) available to us, this I do know.
Some of us might have more disconnected wires than others. Some of us may have only a “slight” misalignment that still creates all sorts of problems and affects every part of our lives in some way.
How would you approach life differently if you truly believed that everything you needed was fully accessible to you? That you’re not trying to get God to fix something, but rather discern where you’re out of alignment and not fully plugged into the truth of the Kingdom?
If we had known we didn’t need any extra parts, it still would have probably been a frustrating, character-building situation, but we definitely could have saved time looking for the parts, looking for other fridges, and feeling quite so helpless.
What if we just prioritized optimizing that connection and assuring our alignment?
What’s the secret of all those super spiritual-sounding stories?
As I read back over this and am struck by how “spiritual” the part where I prayed sounds, there’s no doubt in my mind that all those other spiritual-sounding stories we encounter in life were experienced with much the same lack of “spiritual” feeling in the moment.
I know spiritual and “natural” aren’t meant to be separate – we’re the ones who have compartmentalized them and made them feel so mutually exclusive.
This is why it’s important to tell our stories… so we can recognize the extraordinary working in our very ordinary-feeling lives.
(SHRILL warning: sorry my excitement is so high-pitched!)
SHRILL WARNING – sorry my excitement is high-pitched. Uploading solely so I can embed in a blog post with the story of why we’re celebrating 😁♬ original sound ticoandtina