Tuesday, August 28

The snow

Do you live where it snows?  Where a walk after dinner in the dark, when the snow is falling in thick flakes that settle quietly on your coat, is the most magical time and the whole of the world seems to be muffled and calmed in white?

  I've lived all my life where it snows.  I live where some winters the piles are higher than my head and my husband uses the tractor to scoop and sculpt out houses and forts in those piles for the children we've made together.

When Sean first started coming around, just to see me, and I began to know it was just to see me - we took walks after dinner in the falling snow.  We'd walk laps around the neighborhood where I lived, hands shoved deep in our pockets from the cold, heads covered with hat and hood with a layer of the white stuff on top of that.  Street lights turned the snow into silver glitter under which we walked and talked, the steps of our boots silenced by the snow on the road.

I remember those conversations like it was yesterday, not fifteen years ago, and I've been thinking about them lately, those snowy walks that ended with cold toes and warm hearts a lifetime ago.  Sean talked about saving money to buy a house, his college classes, and work and I told gritty stories about nursing school.  We talked about the vision God had given each of us for our futures, and though our commitment to live out those futures as a single future was a ways off, Sean told me that he would never put serving a church or being in ministry before his family.  Right away I loved that about him, having seen so many children suffer from misplaced priorities.  On later walks we talked about children.  Sean wanted two and I wanted four and until recently I could have joked that we compromised and added the two numbers together.

Not much in our life together has turned out as we thought it might or later planned that it would.  Sean never made six figures at the company he worked for as a mail room clerk but has built a business that provides well for our family and is so much better than working to build another mans empire. I never pursued formal education beyond a small nursing degree but still love to learn and have put more nursing to practical use in twelve years of parenting than I ever imagined possible.  We never made a life in Germany, as we thought we might, or accomplished a lot of the goals we had at the time.  If you ask my husband Sean though, he'll tell you he has more than he ever imagined possible and more than he ever hoped for.

After we made the quintessential perfect American family of one daughter and one son, we paused in having children, then added a third, then decided out of the very real fear and statistics shown us, not to have any more.  I sold every baby thing at a garage sale and then God surprised us with the fourth and there is, of course, a story behind the fifth, sixth and seventh.  I can say with certainty that God has purpose and promise tied into each of their lives and while the statistics haven't changed, neither has the goodness of God, whose goodness began before the statistics and will continue long after them.  His goodness didn't diminish with the birth of a son with lousy kidneys but has been magnified through it.

When I try to think to the years ahead, as my children unknowingly prompt me to do when they calculate out loud how old they will be when the baby is ten, I realize that as little of the last fifteen years that we've been able to predict and plan for is about how little of the future years we can know ahead of time.  The planning that really matters is in the nitty gritty of each day and the purposing that counts the most, I think, is the purposeful living out of our lives the way God calls us to, even in the daily mundaneness of motherhood and parenting. 

I usually dread winter now, the bitter cold, the carrying of fuel inside to warm the house, the extra time it takes to bundle everyone up before going outdoors... but do you know, I cannot wait to take a walk with my husband, my hand in his in his warm coat pocket, snowflakes falling, and daydream together about what the next fifteen years might look like.


Miranda Hupp said...

On November 1st my husband and I will celebrate 15 years! When I look back I think can it really be? But at the same time it just feels like I have always been his wife. Weird.

You have a beautiful family. So glad that God has been with you through the way. :)

Maya said...

I 'heart' snow. Thank you for painting this beautiful picture.

Sarah said...

What a beautiful story! I also grew up with the snow, with evening walks, sledding, skating, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, hockey, and also the associated cozy winter days indoors by the fire. My husband and I also grew to know one another over long walks on snowy nights. The Army had us in Texas and now in North Carolina for quite a few years now. This is a beautiful state full of friendly people, but we do miss "real" winters badly.

Julian said...

That is so sweet! Thankyou for sharing. Yes,i used to live in minnesota,then in idaho where we had tons of snow. I now live in texas where were lucky to see snow. Five minutes of snow last year! My life did not turn out at all the way I,then we had planned. It has had many twists,turns,and bumps. But one thing is for certain. God has His very very best for us. He sees the whole picture,and has given us more than we ever deserve. Sometimes its better than we had planned.Thankyoufor your sweet post,reminding me of His care.

jackie said...

Hannah, that is absolutely beautiful.

I do love the snow, but here in VA, it's hit or miss.

Our lives are similar in many ways..we started wanting 2 children as well...but are now expecting our 4th in dec and pray the Lord blesses us with more.

I too haven't used my diploma in nursing in many years...I never did think I would be a stay at home homeschooling mama, but now, I can't imagine any other life.

thank you for your blog...it is always encouraging to hear from others in a similar walk in life, and I find your words to always make me think and grow closer to the Lord and my role as mama.


Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

Beautiful words...I love how God takes our lives and makes more of them than we could possibly imagine!


Anonymous said...

Funny how we think we have our lives planned out and if we seek after God's will it rarely looks like we thought, but now I couldn't dream of it any other way. I know I never imagined having 5 children and homeschooling but see how God stirred my heart and my husbands to work things out this way. I used to think I always needed to be in control, but 17 yrs later, looking back, it is very freeing to see God's hand at work. Janet

Nicci Lynn said...

It is funny when you think about it....OUR plans...ha, they must make God laugh like crazy sometimes! When my husband and I got together and married we thought 3-4 kids as well. After baby number 3 we almost quit as well....but I was only 23 and wasn't sure I was ready to make it "permanent". Fast forward 2 more babies and we were facing loss of health insurance and job due to the economy. We had just had our 5th baby and me now being a ripe 28 (hah!), we felt we should be "done". We made it permanent with a vasectomy and prayed for peace about our decision. Peace came....and then the miracle...ANOTHER baby! A year after being deemed "sterile", my husband had another sperm analysis done (after I "felt" pregnant") and somehow the deed had been undone, he was fertile again (obviously!). Another baby was gifted to us.....a precious one that I am now waiting anxiously to hold! Our little Ezra Jude should make an appearance in the next couple of weeks and we are beyond thrilled about his miraculous entry into our family. I am not sure if God has any more children planned for us, but I DO know that His plans are much better than mine!

Nic @ www.AFarmhouseFull.com

Anonymous said...

LOVE this.. everyone thinks I am crazy cause I like winter better than summer.. but there is nothing like the sound... when evening is coming and it has snowed .... that quiet... and the clean smell of a fresh fallen snow.

Thank you for this on a 90 degree humid day!

Sue in nj

Jennifer said...

Great articulation of how we decide to 'look' at our lives. It's definitely the day-to-day purposing...
and the choosing to walk out each day in joy and thankfulness :)

Debbie said...

Beautiful post Hannah.

Debbie said...

Beautiful words Hannah.

Blondee said...

Amazing and inspiring the lessons the Lord gives us through life, love and the blessings He pours on us, especially when they are disguised as heartache, worry and the chaos of raising babies. May your walks continue to be so lovely.