The number of people and little miracles who came together so that we wouldn’t be without heat this winter is staggering and humbling. Just about two weeks ago my husband and I found ourselves having a big family “sleepover” with all of our kids huddled up next to the fireplace. I wish I could say it was because we were trying to create fun memories or just because we are awesome parents but the truth is it was the only room in our entire house with enough heat to get us through the night. Thank goodness for our fireplace. We could have called a number of people to come help us but we were sick of needing help. For the past four years since we moved into this old 1928 bungalow house, the furnace has gone out on us at least three to four times each winter. And every time it was a costly repair, and every time right before Christmas. We were tired of being those people with the stupid furnace that needed help every winter. We could surely get ourselves out of this trouble by ourselves. We are not poor after all. My husband works two good jobs and I freelance and blog while taking care of our kids. We pride ourselves on being hardworking, kind, and resourceful. But this house that we love so much just keeps getting the better of us. After a couple of days of this stubbornness and not being able to get the main room above 57 fahrenheit, we finally couldn’t take the cold anymore and we started worrying about our kids so we reached out to some of our neighbors to borrow some space heaters. And boy did they deliver. We only called two neighbors. Two. But word must have spread because within an hour we had enough heaters for the basic rooms in our house. By the end of the night, we had more heaters than we could plug in without the breakers all flipping off and we had to start turning away wonderful neighbors who were just pouring in to loan us their heaters and asking if there was anything else they could do. Our hearts were full and our bodies were warm.
Here is the part I don’t want you to know: We told everyone we were fine and the furnace should be repaired in the next week or two. We even turned down an offer from someone who wanted to seek donations on our behalf. We told them it wasn’t necessary and that we were sure this was just a temporary hang up. The truth was we had no way to pay for such an expense any time soon. Maybe we could just wait it out until spring. Yeah right. Space heaters take a ton of electricity that’s why people don’t heat their houses on space heaters. And due to the breakers, we couldn’t have more than five space heaters on at a time so only select rooms in the house were warm. But we also couldn’t stomach someone else helping us pay for the repairs. That was our responsibility.
You see, we don’t feel unfortunate. We live in a beautiful big old house, the kind of house you would dream of living in while a kid. We have a big Christmas tree with tons of presents under it due to early savvy Christmas shopping, we have two old but running cars, and three jobs between us. We have beautiful children that will never know hunger or what it feels to be unloved. We are not unfortunate. It simply would be much to greedy to accept help, let alone ask for it. There are so many others less fortunate. So many others close by that are in greater need. How do you accept charity when you feel so undeserving?
Our Savior gave us the greatest charity of all yet who are we to deserve it. Who are we to accept his life for ours? We are nothing. We sin. We struggle. All we can do is try to deserve it. Always be in the state of trying. Fail we will, but try some more. Do we turn away from the Savior’s love and gifts to us? Sometimes. We all have to learn and challenge ourselves to accept his love despite how undeserving we are. We have to try to humble ourselves to be good receivers as much as it hurts at first. Yes hurts. Turning to our savior and letting his light in can feel like you are breaking. And sometimes you do and that’s okay because you can build something better and stronger.
Our heavenly father works through others around us. I have been an instrument for good for others on my heavenly father’s behalf many times. I wish with all my heart that I could always be the one on my father’s errand and not the one in need of it but that’s just not how this life works. Sometimes my job is to open my heart up to those who are sent on his behalf to bless my life when I cannot do it for myself.
One by one the funds for the furnace found its way into our lives. Within just one week since we received the space heaters we had enough to buy the new motor and module for the furnace’s fan. Through tender mercies, spontaneous opportunities, generous people (most of them anonymous so we will never be able to thank them in person), a giant load of firewood, and a handyman our furnace is blowing hot wonderful air right now all over our house and straight into our bones. We were literally and figuratively given the gift of warmth this Christmas. A warm cozy home is so often taken for granted, but you spend a couple of nights with a bunch of boney, wiggly kids huddled up to a fireplace and it really hits home how fortunate we are. Without trials, we cannot see or experience the wonder of “good”.
I wish I could say I accepted all the help and goodness with grace and a heart full of gratitude as the miracles kept pouring in. I wish I could say I never let my pride get in the way of the beauty of all the love that was being thrown our way. But what I can say is that I was softened, I was humbled, I was broken down by the love. I am changed. I truly feel my saviors love this Christmas. Thank you to everyone who came to our aid these past few weeks even the ones who just asked how we were doing or kept checking in on us. Thank you for wrapping us up in all your goodness and kindness. We will forever be changed by it. And please pray for us that our furnace doesn’t break down again anymore this winter. I don’t know how much more furnace drama we can take. 😉
A little glimpse of our working furnace below, it’s not new but the new parts inside of it are sure beautiful to us.
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