I was his only hope.
My husband had to remove the chimney liner from our 100-year-old two-story farmhouse with a creepy attic. And he couldn’t do it alone. He needed someone to climb up through the attic, that’s right, and up the hayloft-like Little House on the Prairie ladder with rungs spread way too far apart for the flexibility that remains in my hips, then through the two foot square hole onto the teeny, tiny, miniscule really flat part of our roof a million feet in the air. No. Way.
But I was his only hope. It didn’t matter that I’m not crazy about heights. No one else was available to help with the project. It had to be done.
In many ways, I’m a strong woman. I birthed three babies with no anesthesia of any kind. Labor and delivery for my third child didn’t even mess up my eye makeup. I shoo snakes with the best of them, deal with my own spiders, and bait my own hook when we’re fishing. I don’t have to like it, but I manage to extricate dead mice from our mice-magnet “charming” century-old home.
I almost lost my husband that day. He laughed—just once—when he saw me start to cry. Apparently the dagger-look I shot at him served as an excellent silencer.
I hugged the chimney, tears falling into the soot, and prayed like a man on death row with a pardon in the warden’s hands and the warden stuck in traffic on the freeway.
“Hand me that wrench, will you, hon?” he asked.
He expected me to hand him something? That would mean letting go of the chimney. And I’d probably have to open my eyes.
But I was his only hope.
He encouraged me to look at how beautiful the scenery was from up there. Yeah. Not gonna happen. “Could we just get this over with?” Sniff. Sniff. Drip. Drip.
I won’t even pretend I wasn’t afraid. Some women would have climbed to that spot without a second thought. But a thousand dangers screamed in my ear and made me utterly miserable through the whole project.
And here’s where it gets good.
I made it. That experience was one I was convinced I couldn’t possibly live through. But I did. I have no scars. No bruises. No therapy sessions chalked up to that day hugging a chimney a million feet off the ground. I made it. I was miserable while it was happening. And then it was over.
You may have your own story of an utterly miserable time—as short as a few hours or as long as a season—that is now part of your history rather than your present.
Or, you may be neck-deep in something so soul-shaking that you have no more tears left in you to cry.
Look how much you’ve survived already. Think about how much you’ve lived through that you were certain would do you in. God’s arm is not too short, the Bible tells us. His endurance is never depleted, we’re assured. You will live to tell the story, by His grace.
A verse from Psalm 43 (also found in Psalm 42) would have been a great reflection for me while I clung to that sorry chimney. It may be your holding-on place now.
“Hope in God! Because I will again give him thanks, my saving presence and my God,” Psalm 43:5b Common English Bible.
Please share the story of a knee-rattling time that’s now a memory, a time when the tears fell or fear consumed, but you survived. It will build our faith to hear you tell it.
About Ragged Hope
Where do you find hope when it’s clouded by the ashes of other people’s choices? Where is God when you’re doing everything right but, because of someone else, everything is wrong? Ragged Hope is an insightful and hope-giving guide to assure you that God is every present and his love is unwavering. Vetted by professional counselors and caregivers, this is one collection of stories that will help you thrive no matter what situation or fallout you face.
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://www.carlalaureano.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Cynthia-Ruchti_green_couch.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Cynthia Ruchti tells stories of Hope-that-glows-in-the-dark through books and speaking events based on 33 years of experience in Christian broadcasting. When the Morning Glory Blooms, a novel about three eras of women facing the aftermath of unplanned pregnancy, and Ragged Hope: Surviving the Fallout of Other People’s Choices—are detailed on her website: www.cynthiaruchti.com or www.hopethatglowsinthedark.com.[/author_info] [/author]