Last week this southern girl who longs for snow finally got to see some! I went to Breckenridge with my daughter Bethany, SIL Darren and precious two year old Hartley. I had a mission; to pour love and laughter into our tiny girl while her parents spent the days skiing together. Bliss.
The drive from Denver was breathtaking with all the snow covered mountains. The town of Breckenridge idyllic with charming shops and restaurants lining Main Street. We stayed in a house on the side of a mountain just steps away from a ski lift, which for some reason was a big deal to Bethany and Darren(?)
Hartley and I had our own plans for that first day. In the morning when it was frigid we built an inside tent and pretended we were camping (which is, by the way, as close as I’ll ever get to camping). Later we played outside, throwing snowballs at snow laden Ponderosa Pine trees. Hartley belly-laughed as branches rained down flurries on our heads.
Traipsing through the yard in knee deep powder, I found a perfect place to build a snow man. And really, I tried, but in the end I could only come up with a snow turtle. Lest you judge, remember I’m from the deep south, I’ve had very limited experience making snow people. That night, I fell into bed exhausted saying prayers of thanks as I drifted into a deep dreamless sleep. Perfection.
The next day It hit.
“It” being a vile, evil, hideous, no good, very bad stomach virus. It hit tiny Hartley first. That poor baby. Bethany, Darren and I huddled around her, cleaning her up (over and over and over), bathing her, telling her everything will be okay. Here, sip some Gatorade Baby. Lay on the blanket with Pink-Bunny. She and I snuggled in our tent and watched a downloaded episode of Mister Rogers Neighborhood as I brushed the hair out of her eyes and sang soft those Mister Rogers songs from so long ago. That baby fell into a deep sleep in the tent and at some point so did this Gigi.
By the end of the day, Hartley felt a bit better but I knew I was in trouble. I will spare you the details, but I’ll tell you this, I’m 52 years old and I’ve had my share of viruses and bacterial infections, but this was the WORST virus I’ve ever had…ever.
As night came to the mountain and the pitch black hours stretched endless, fifty of my years on this earth fell away and I was two years old again. I longed for the tender nurture of my own Mama and Daddy. Longed to know they were praying, because no one prays harder than a parent for a child, no matter how old the child. I so wanted them to tell me that being so far from home and feeling so weak and sick was okay because they were close. At least in spirit.
I lay there in sweat soaked sheets, weak, afraid to move, feeling so vulnerable and something else…strangely, I realized this was as much about my hurting heart as it was my sick body.
“He who dwells in the secret place of the most High, shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty~I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in Him I will trust.”
That February memory verse hoovered over me like a Presence in the room. He knew I was hurting both physically and beyond that, my heart hurt. I let the tears fall, who cares if I was fifty two. I leaned in to the most tender, loving parent any of us could ever have. I am loved. I am cared for. I didn’t feel alone anymore. I was truly abiding under the shadow of the Almighty and the Almighty just happened to be my Father.
Oh how well He loves Sweet One. You may not have had the blessing of loving parents. You may be like me, older, and feel silly still sometimes longing for nurture. Or you may just be far from those who tenderly care for you…take heart today. Wherever you are, whatever your pain, wherever the future takes you, there is One who goes with. One who has strength enough to carry you and Who has tenderness enough to hold you through the pitch. You have a Father my dear friends and He is God.
*** Could you join me today in praying for dear old friends of mine…Rhonda and Carl? They are my age, with grown children and grandchildren…Carl has been battling cancer and his doctors tell him the battle is nearly over. This is a sacred time in the lives of this family. Join me my precious friends in praying that they feel the Spirit of the Living God as Carl’s time on earth comes to a close and He leaves his broken body and steps hand in hand with Jesus into the other side of eternity.*** thank you in advance for your prayers.
Sending up a prayer for each and every one reading this to take a moment today to abide in the shadow of Father’s love