Embrace the Chaos

bonfire

Dear Friends,

During my second year of quarantine, I came down with a severe case of cabin fever, and when I say severe, I mean SEVERE!! Quarantine was REALLY getting on my nerves. As I focused on the things I couldn’t do, my discontentment grew. Some days, I would pace between the table and the couch clenching and unclenching my fists while rehearsing my list of “forbidden” activities. I can’t drive. I can’t go to church. I can’t have lunch with friends. I can’t go to a movie. I can’t go to the grocery store. I can’t go to the mailbox when cars are on the road. I can’t go for a walk when the neighbor is running her dryer. I can’t…I can’t…

One day, the frustration I felt exploded into a burst of rage. I couldn’t stand being trapped inside for one more second. I stopped pacing and stormed out the door. I skirted around the back of the house to avoid a running lawnmower and made my way through a hay field. Suddenly, a sickening sweet smell wrapped around me. My neighbor was running her dryer and the stench of scented fabric sheets was heavy in the air. Immediately, I held my breath, but it was too late. Searing pain exploded through my skull. The pain was so strong it made me stagger. It felt like sharpened pencils were being drilled into my eyes. I knew I should run back home to safety, but my anger wouldn’t let me. Still holding my breath, I stumbled toward the lake. My lungs cried out for oxygen. Black dots began dancing in front of my narrowing vision. I still refused to breathe. I knew I had to make it past the smell.

When I got to the fence line, I took a cautious breath. I was out of the noxious fencecloud. Frustrated, angry thoughts battered my brain. It was so UNFAIR that a BLASTED fabric sheet could hold me hostage in my own home. My frustration mounted. Gasping for air, I held onto a fence pole until the black dots stopped dancing. And then, being the incredibly intelligent person that I am, I kicked the fence pole just as hard as I could. Minutes later, after removing my shoe to see if I had broken my pinky toe, I continued up toward the lake. As I walked, my list continued rolling through my thoughts. I can’t drive. I can’t go to church. I can’t…I can’t…

When I reached the lake, I skirted the water and walked along the East shore toward the hollow where so many bonfires had been held. I had lake treeenjoyed coaching Bible Quiz, and I could almost hear the laughter of my quiz kids as they cooked their hotdogs. My lips twisted. Coaching was something else I had been forced to give up. As I looked at the blackened ring left behind from the last bonfire, I realized that the logs that had been circling the fire pit were all helter-skelter. Rather than being in a neat, orderly ring, they were turned in every direction, and some of them had been rolled several feet away. Anger boiled inside me. Maybe I couldn’t go to church or a restaurant, but I could certainly put those stupid logs back in order.

bull 1I went to work, rolling stumps and dragging logs. One of the logs was a monster. It had a large branch coming off one side that stuck several feet in the air. It was murder to move. I could only drag it inches at a time before I had to rest. During one of my rest breaks, I noticed the bull in the pasture staring at me. He was about 100 feet away, and I didn’t pay him much mind. I had been around cattle my whole life. Bulls didn’t bother me. I continued working.

I wasn’t nearly as strong as I had once been, so it took me a couple of hours, but bull 2with a single-minded, stubborn determination, I dragged and rolled every single log back into place. As I stood and surveyed my work, I felt a glow of accomplishment. As I was silently congratulating myself, I saw a slight movement out of the corner of my eye. I turned around, and my heart froze. The bull was standing about eight feet away. His head was down and he was pawing the ground. I was a farm girl. I knew the signs of trouble. The bull walked forward with a stiff-legged gait. He tossed his head and bellowed. I frantically looked around. The ground was flat. There was nothing to hide behind. No one was around to help. I was on my own. The bull bellowed again. He shook his head and pawed dirt. I knew something bad was about to happen. Frantic, half-formed prayers pummeled my brain.

The bull came closer, his eyes locked with mine. He was just a few feet away. I could see his muscles bunching as he prepared to charge. Suddenly, as he went past it, the branch attached to the largest log brushed his ear. With a bellow, the bull turned on the log. Putting his head down, he hooked the branch and tossed the log into the air. The sight was something I will never forget. I knew how heavy that log was, and the bull was tossing it around like it weighed next to nothing.

bull 3The bull turned his back on me and continued attacking the log. Quickly, I backed away and made it to the electric fence. Hopping over it, I ran through the field. When I got to a place of relative safety, I turned and looked back at the lake. In the distance, I could see the bull continuing to attack the logs around the fire pit. He slung them around, sending them rolling. He tossed some of them in the air, others he kicked all the way into the lake.

My knees felt like jelly. I sat down with a thud (right in a patch of sandburs) and tried to stop shaking. Suddenly, the Lord’s soft voice spoke to me. He said simply, “Embrace the chaos.”  Sitting there, picking sandburs out of my jeans, I tried to figure out what God meant. Suddenly, it hit me. The logs were like my life, and the bull was my illness. I was fighting what was going on. I was stubbornly clinging to the desire for things to go back to the way they once were. I was literally fighting something that was too strong for me—something that was kicking the order right out of my orderly life and forcing me to deal with a new way of living. Embrace the chaos. Maybe I needed to stop trying to force my life into its old pattern and start opening my eyes to what was new…

I made my way back to the house, holding my breath through the scented cloud of my neighbor’s fabric sheets. When I got inside, I sat down at the kitchen table and made a list of things that I could do. Projects that could only be accomplished through time and isolation. Over the next several years of quarantine, embracing the chaos became my new norm. I memorized massive amounts of scripture—committing whole books of the Bible to memory. I researched my family’s genealogy and scanned every family photo I could find into the computer. And then I began to write. And write. And write.Time Counselor Chronicles 2 I finished my first book, Time Tsunami, and promptly wrote Time Trap. I didn’t stop there. I spent anywhere from 8-18 hours at my computer penning my novels. Soon I completed Time Search, Time Awakening, Time Inferno, and Time Nightmare.

Embrace the chaos…

When I look back at that day at the lake, I realize that it was a turning point in my life. It was the day when I realized that some things are simply out of our control. Some things just can’t be changed. It’s our choice whether we want to engage in a futile battle with the bull in the pasture, or whether we want to embrace the chaos and discover new ways of thinking, of working, of living. It is our choice.

“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19Time Counselor Chronicles 1

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20 thoughts on “Embrace the Chaos

  1. Your words this morning are like salve to my heart and wisdom to my brain. I’ve been chased by a bull and know what scared-the-beejebers-outta-me feels like. But embrace the chaos? I will spend the day, maybe more, pondering how this applies in my own chaotic life, Danele.

    I’ve lived long enough to recognize when God places someone in my life He wants me to pay attention to. And you, my friend, are that someone. You had years of schooling…alone with God…uninterrupted…no where else to go but to the only place of healing and hope. To the Father. And thanks to Him, you listened!

    Thank you Father for Danele’s testimony to us of your mercy, grace, and healing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Diane, your kind words mean so much to me. When I look back over the hard years that I’ve been through, I am reminded of Psalms 30:5. Weeping may endure through the night, but joy comes in the morning. When I was in the middle of difficulty, it was SO easy to get discouraged. But something I learned is that nothing remains the same forever. Things always get easier if we just hang on. I appreciate your kind words, and even more than that, I appreciate your friendship! I hope you have a wonderful day!

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  2. Ladies, thank you both. DiAne, thanks for reposting to your blog so that I would find this article. Danele, thank you for your touching words. You have no idea how badly I needed to read this today. And I stumbled upon it literally right after complaining via text message to my best friend about how my kids were driving me crazy and I couldn’t get any work done.

    God spoke through both of you today, and it humbled my heart. I am oh-so-blessed to be given the chance to raise these two precious babies, and I often forget that. Too frequently I whine about how hard things are, how little time I have to be “productive.” Today, God reminded me of what’s really important – through this blog post.

    So thank you.

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    1. 🙂 You just made me laugh!! 🙂 I guess I am spilling the beans about myself, aren’t I? Pretty please, focus on the nice lesson I learned, and not on my rotten temper and how I kicked the fence so hard that I almost broke my toe. LOL! And you are absolutely right, a bull’s fire pit is OFF LIMITS!!!!!

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    1. LOL, Renee!!! You’ve got a deal, Lucille! Just call me the Energizer Bunny! With God’s help, I’ll keep going, and going, and going…. 🙂 (I’ll just try to stay away from angry bulls while I do it! 🙂 ) Have a great day, my friend!

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Katharine! I really appreciate them. It was a VERY close call. If the bull hadn’t brushed up against that branch, things would have turned out very differently. I’m convinced that God stepped in and protected me. I learned a really good lesson that day.

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      1. I’ll have to see if I can find the incident that David Wilderson tells about an encounter with a bull. 😉 Yes, it is all, always, in God’s hands.
        At our church, a couple of our men were working under a 4-ton truck and it fell on them. Only scrapes and bruises…

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  3. Dolores Ensinia

    Loved it!! We see and encounter so much chaos in our daily lives , but quest remember we have a great God,.your situation could have been much worse but of course with the hands of God all things pass. God bless my friend

    Liked by 1 person

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