Surviving a southern snowstorm without self-dependence

Written by Amber Dobecka
Published on February 26, 2021

Stomping the snow from my boots, I whipped through the door and peeled off my hot pink mittens. Was that goat poop or just dirt? I’d never know. 

Sliding right past the pile of wet clothes and following the trail of shoes, socks, and sippy cups, I found my kids skating in wet circles and spreading crumbs like it was snowing inside. 

My lips grinned with joy at the sight of my sweet children playing and, even if for a brief moment, seemingly at peace. But inside—deep, deep inside my soul—I felt a hardening in my heart, a resistance to enjoying the moment, as if a part of my soul were as icy as nature outside. 

God working in my restlessness

I felt angry at my husband for attending his conference and leaving me all week in “Dallaska,” the name which we Texans used to refer to our Narnia-like metroplex. It’s winter here—always winter but never at Christmas! 

I felt angry that I was going to be held responsible for not only keeping my kids alive but also our three goats, of which I know very little about, and who always seemed not to like me. 

I felt angry that my children were neither happy to play in the snow nor play inside for more than a few minutes without ending in an epic emotional storm. They were stir-crazy and nothing satisfied them. 

I felt angry that all the parks and places I’d normally take my children were closed. I felt angry that we live in a neighborhood without children, so I am my kids’ playmate. I felt angry that other families on social media seemed to be building snowmen and sledding down hills, all family members in tow, all smiles and no meltdowns. 

I felt angry that our pipes froze over, leaving us without water for days, so hygiene looked like plastic water bottles, baby wipes, and flushing once a day. 

We’d already made it through quarantine, yet, in that week, I felt more hopeless and isolated than ever. If I were completely honest, most moments I could care less about living through another historical event. 

There has been this chilling restlessness in my soul that no fire could melt. 

And, I know that God is doing something in me. 

Our solitude has purpose

There’s a level of healing, a deep intimacy to which he’s drawing me. 

For the past year, I’ve been processing the pain of my past and how certain wounds of rejection and fear have caused dysfunction in me. Through lots of prayer, worship, and reflection, God has revealed new insight to me over and over again, and, every time, it was in immensely personal ways. 

My heart has been more in tune with his spirit than ever before, and that’s why this icy anger is so uncomfortable to me. You see, God sometimes puts us in a position of solitude because he wants our full attention. 

And he wants us all to himself. 

I’d already been going through a season of learning this through experience with a husband who works multiple jobs and multiple projects. But, this was more. This felt like it was the last straw, one too many times of feeling alone and yet, with kids, never alone. 

Even as that apocalyptic week went on, I trudged through the thick landscape of feeling offended, anger fuming, and pleading with the Lord to help me diffuse it. 

Our constant ambition is to please God

His word says that those who humble themselves and wait on him will find strength (Isaiah 40:31). Being patient and implementing self-control are things we can only do through his power, through his spirit.

Psalm 37:7–9 (AMP) also urges us not to whine or agonize over the apparent success or happiness of others because it leads to anger and wrath. When I’m honest with God and take the time to pause and pray, even when I want to throw up my hands and scream, God hears me. 

And, he’s there for me. He gives me the knowledge I need to grow through this trial and the ones to come so that I am stronger. Some of that new strength arises when I become aware of why I feel so angry. 

Every momma knows the stress of motherhood: the endless mess, the constant needs of little kids, and the thankless, nonstop to-do list. 

Is it harder without a husband at home? Yes. But, those offenses were just the surface-level ones. 

The main offense for me was finding my only worth through being a martyr of some sort, being responsible for everyone and everything—a tendency I’ve trained my brain to do since childhood. Being locked (okay, not really locked) in my home while pregnant with two kids four and under, with no adult conversation, no water, and nowhere to go, pushed me to step back into a coping mechanism that is a toxic way of thinking. 

When I begin to tie my worth to what I do and how well I do it, along with how others see it, I’m walking down the aisle of disappointment and frustration. I’d also grown so dependent on my husband not just to take care of everything on our little homestead but also to take care of me. 

There are times I depend on him more than I depend on God. That’s why his continued absence in the home has caused me to feel unseen, unheard, and purposeless. 

But, God’s word says in 2 Corinthians 5:9 that it’s our constant ambition to be pleasing to God, not others. 

Finding a place of peace

So much of my anger was fueled by fear. And, it usually is! 

That week, the fear of having busted pipes, broken heaters, and sick kids or goats caused me to feel inadequate and unqualified, which were deeply held questions I’ve carried for years about myself. 

Do I have what it takes? Am I good enough to bring peace and pleasure to others? 

All it takes is one instance to verify that these lies are true, and the devil was having a heyday trying to get me to believe it. So, as I watched my kids twirling across the floor in their damp socks, I realized that most of life is trudging through the snowy mountains, and, every once in a while, we come across a beautiful place of peace where we get to twirl about. 

Setting aside expectations

Practically speaking, life is hard and it’s okay! I needed to set aside some expectations of myself and my kids. I needed to make it through one fight at a time with the power of the Holy Spirit in me, gaining a little more truth every step of the way. 

Confessing the errors of my mindset and realizing that God must be my focus, I diffuse anger and posture my soul in a way to enter into God’s peace. Just like Colossians 3:10 reminds us, I needed to remind myself that I’m being made new and continually renewed in true knowledge. 

When I meditate on truth found in Scripture, I’m convincing myself that God is true and what he says about me is true. It’s a process I won’t finish until I meet him face to face in heaven. 

Had I not been struggling that week, I may have never reached this level of desperation and dependence on the Holy Spirit to speak life into me. Yet even in my desperation, I received encouragement from his word and in times of worship. 

Had I not been struggling, I may not have humbled myself in prayer and pleaded with God to help me. I believe this is something we must do daily. 

God’s power, love, and grace

In Colossians 1:9–10, Paul tells the people how much he’s praying for them to be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, to be able to produce fruit and go deeper with God. 

There are times in our lives where the opportunities to grow are breathtaking. 

That week, the struggle took my breath away as equally as the arctic artwork outside did. When I lose my breath, when I feel like I’m drowning, God has an opportunity to breathe his own precious breath into me. 

When I ask, he will. And when I’m aware of my lack, my sin, and my dysfunction, I become more aware of his power, love, and grace. 

Although we still don’t have water flowing through our pipes as I write this, I’m confident that God’s spirit is flowing through our home. In subtle yet undeniable ways, God has shown me how he wants to draw me closer into his loving embrace, heal me, and make me whole. 

Live perfectly imperfect

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Amber Dobecka

Amber Dobecka found Jesus as a little girl but has since fallen in love with Him as she’s learned the value of falling on her knees. As a firefighter’s wife and mom of two boys with another munchkin on the way, God keeps teaching her how to find joy in the struggle and grow stronger through pain. She discovered her passion to inspire others through her experiences as a former fitness instructor, program director and wellness coach. She cheered and graduated from Baylor University — Sic ‘Em. She’s written articles for wellness publications like Forward Movement, International Sports Sciences Association, and local media. After leaving the fitness industry to build her home, Amber’s found fulfillment in exploring the unlimited faithfulness of the Father. Her duties now humbly include changing diapers, refilling sippy cups and feeding the goats and pony.

 

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