We have been buried under 30 inches of snow! Our little town of Damascus was right in the bullseye of Snowzilla, Winter Storm Jonas, or whatever silly name the media bestowed upon it. All I know is that the snow went on and on for 36 hours – it covered everything in its path and shut down our entire area for four days. We were trapped!

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My sweet husband loves a decent snowstorm. The man cannot wait to get out in it. 

While I am happy to watch the snow pile up from inside, he is chomping at the bit to get out there. He usually waits until the snow is winding down and then he joins the other men in our neighborhood to begin digging us all out. For many years, our three sons helped – but we have an empty nest now, so Pat had to go it alone. Poor guy! Thankfully, we have a snow blower but, because there was so much of the white stuff, shoveling was going to be a big part of the dig out.

That’s when my anxiety started to rise.

I worry about him shoveling. The snow was so deep and heavy. We hear news reports during every snow storm that caution men who are over 50 to let someone else do the heavy lifting.

The stress of shoveling snow is not an aerobic exercise. It puts a sudden strain on the heart and an attack can happen out of the blue. That possibility, however unlikely, really concerned me.

As Pat was heading out the door, I asked him to stay away from shoveling and to please use the snow blower as much as possible. He told me not to worry because he had ‘a plan’.

His plan was to not dig deep down into the snow with the shovel – instead, he planned to shovel the snow in layers. He knew he could injure himself if he didn’t go about it that way. I think his main concern was his lower back, not his heart, but the plan was wise either way.

Pat knew if he wanted to avoid getting hurt, he needed to shovel a layer at a time. 

He assured me that if he did it that way, the snow wouldn’t be too heavy and he could work away at it without injury.

I liked the plan. He went out into the snow and I stayed in – but I kept watch over him from my little bedroom office window.

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As I watched him out there, digging us out layer by layer, I thought about times in my life when I have been ‘buried’.

Recently, I’ve been under a heavy blanket of grief over the deaths of my mother and my best friend, Mary Lou.There have been other times in my life when I’ve weathered different storms and felt buried under failure, disappointment, and broken dreams.

I imagine there have been times in your life when you have been buried, too.

But there is good news. Just like Pat, God already has a plan – and His plan deals with layers too.

The road to freedom – the path out of our trapped places — takes time. If we try to tackle the whole thing at once, it can quickly become too heavy for our hearts and we can get hurt.

Instead, our Lord, who has been called the ‘divine archaeologist’, carefully digs us out layer by layer – a little at a time – until we are free.

Our response needs to be to allow Him to excavate and then be patient with the plan.

Now, I will admit, I haven’t minded being trapped during the snow.

 I’ve enjoyed stepping out of the real world for a few days – all the while, however, I knew that life would resume and I would then have to get back in the game. A nice break is fine – but anything more than that could lead to isolation and that is not a good place to be.

So it is when we are emotionally buried. We may not mind it at all. In fact, it may be ok with us that we are not fully present in the real world and we simply allow ourselves to be taken out of the game. While a little ‘mental health break’ is fine, becoming isolated allows the layers to pile-up until we are trapped. 

God’s plan is always for our health and wholeness. It is never for our isolation.

Truth be told, I’ve submitted myself to the divine archaeologist many, many times. His careful excavation has always led me to freedom – a pathway out of the layers that once buried me. There were times when it seemed excruciatingly slow, but in hindsight, I understand now that it was to protect me from further injury. 

Are you weathering a storm that threatens to overwhelm you? Do you find yourself covered by deep grief, disappointment, depression, or something else?

Ask Him for a rescue – then be patient and allow Him to dig you out layer by layer. It will take time, but trust His wisdom – any other way could hurt your tender and vulnerable heart.

When my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. – Psalm 61:2

Love to all,

laura