Of Frozen Pipes & The Ultimate Thaw

We’ve had snow this week and school has been out.  I am always torn when snow days come: be productive or indulgent?  Like a sled crazily veering off and on a path, I am conflicted about how to use the unexpected freedom.  Hammer away at a neglected project- there are so many? Play a game? Read until I nap? Work on my taxes? Watch a movie with the kids? Bake something yummy?

I struggle with the freedom.  If my kids are here, I want to be with them, and I want it to be fun, not the “it’d-be-better-to-be-in-school-than-be-with-mom” kind of snow day.

The extreme cold created a to-do list I couldn’t ignore: no heat on the main floor for almost 4 days, frozen pipes in our sunporch, and then a few days later, frozen pipes hidden in the walls of upper floor bathrooms.  Those are still frozen.  All of these are firsts without John.

Not fun for a mom going solo.

But it sounds worse spelled out here, then it was in reality. I will drive all of us crazy if I have a breakdown every time something around here goes wrong. It simply isn’t worth the expenditure of emotional energy.  Instead, I try to learn new skills as things happen. As my dad always says, “just take it in stride.”  Praying and being solution-focused is a way I am learning to live.

John was absolutely, always able to figure things out, and he naturally filled that role.  He would have been proud and amazed to see me in action this week. After this week’s new chapter in home maintenance, I know how to “bleed pipes” (didn’t even know that was a thing to do), and my snow readiness plan is becoming second nature. Did you know there is a real science to applying ice melt?

I got close to hitting my wall when I was trying to figure out which pipes were frozen in an attic crawlspace. I angrily announced to the rafters, “Who am I kidding? I am not cut out for this. I don’t know what I am doing.” It was true.  All of it. Truthfully, maybe my heart was speaking to Someone much higher than the rafters.

But, the Lord has me on this adventure and He has provided again and again. This has been another week of him proving Himself to me in the midst of challenges. I saw it when…

  • Ice melt was sold out at the usual stores. I felt a little desperate. It isn’t optional at our house. The Lord prompted me to go in a CVS drugstore: there it was- a whole cart of bags of ice melt, on sale too. You would have thought I struck gold! People thought I was a little crazy. : )
  • Our kids weren’t home last weekend so only I had to endure the annoyance of no heat. They wouldn’t have been happy campers. Believe me, a kitchen in the mid-40’s isn’t fun.
  • A visit with a dear friend eased my loneliness when the kids were gone. We pulled up close to gas logs with take-out and blankets and caught up on our lives. A treasured gift.
  • A repairman could come when I needed him to diagnose what was wrong with our furnace. That meant the next repairman could show up with the part ready to be installed.
  • Lent services at our church landed in the midst of the week. A holy hush for communion and the truest perspective on life.
  • Suggestions came from knowledgeable sources about the problem of my frozen pipes. I was so proud of myself for figuring out how to bleed off the water and coax the pipes back to life. The Lord helped me persevere patiently as water spewed. I worked in faith. I definitely didn’t know for sure what I was doing.

And, the Lord blessed us with some fun together in the midst of it all. The best things that snow vacation days are made of: sledding, cocoa, games, movies (& Netflix), cousins, books and extra sleep. And all of it deeply treasured by us as we miss John on these snow days that he loved. And all of it in a house that got progressively warmer.

In fact, just within the past five minutes as I typed, there was an unusual sound in the pipes above my head- scraping and slushy stuff giving way to the sound of water flowing from the faucet. : )  Pipes aren’t frozen anymore!! (Hopefully they aren’t leaking either.)

It makes me think about my soul. Sometimes it feels like parts of it are frozen. There is ice blocking the way; preventing love and trust and joy from flowing freely. Like my pipes, sometimes I don’t even know where the blockage is hidden.  I have felt like that this week as my rhythm and routine were disrupted.  It is easy to lose my focus on my Heavenly Father when earthly stuff looms so large.

But, He thaws me- he thawed all of me years ago when He drew me to Himself. Now when ice threatens to lodge again and stunt my soul, He beckons me not to waste time trying to find the hidden frozen pipe. Instead, I keep learning to turn to Him and to His word to slowly, gently melt the ice of my heart.

“He spreads the snow like wool and scatters the frost like ashes. He hurls down his hail like pebbles. Who can withstand his icy blast? He sends his word and melts them; he stirs up his breezes and the waters flow.” Psalm 147:16-18

May your soul flow,


2 thoughts on “Of Frozen Pipes & The Ultimate Thaw

  1. Love your writing and how the Great Father is working and ministering! You are allowing Him to do the work in you when I know so many others, myself included, may have chosen bitterness! Thank you for this glimpse of how He is at work!
    Janey Neff


    • God has been so faithful in His love and care for us in our loss. I hope our story can encourage people that no matter what life brings, they can still trust Him. And, it may seem like bitterness would be the default, but you’d be amazed at what the Lord does in your heart in the midst of a storm. I can’t help but love Him because He has carried me every step of the way. -His grace & peace to you and your family, Maria


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