One of the first lessons I needed to learn after moving to Alaska was how to plow snow. Last year, we had over 14 feet of snow fall in our yard and driveway over the course of five or so months. Nearly every day there was a reason to plow or at least shovel off the porches and decks. Some days I plowed four times as the snow kept falling. But this year, our first “real” snowfall with accumulations that actually needed to be shoveled, came on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Then they melted away and we had an “ice” winter with the ground freezing and all surfaces slippery. Just last week the snow started again.
Spring where I live doesn’t usually come until May, so despite the ups and downs in weather, I have learned not to get my hopes up for dry ground until then. March and April could greet us with loads of snow–and then there is the melting season we call breakup, but that’s another story altogether.
Snow. Where I live it is inevitable. It might fall heavy, it might come as a dusting, and it might have long intervals in between, but nevertheless, it is coming.
The first lesson of snow removal for me was: 1. Have a plan for where you are going to put the snow that you are removing. Once snow has been removed from one place and piled in another, it is very difficult to move again. It will re-freeze, settle and become more dense than it was when you first scooped it.
The second lesson was this: 2. Always push snow berms back further than you actually need them. This is especially important in driveways and parking lots. The reason being, if I merely scoop out a path wide enough to get my car out of the driveway, the berms that I have just created that now line my driveway will settle and become harder as the days wear on. When the next snowfall comes, those berms increase in size and begin encroaching on my path. Snow must be pushed back farther than you anticipate it needing to be, and piled in places that can grow all winter without causing trouble to the flow of your life for at least six months.
Last winter, no matter how far back I pushed the berms, I could not keep up with the snow. My driveway became narrower and narrower. My plow on the four-wheeler was not big enough to move the tremendous amounts of snow that kept accumulating. I had to call in some excavators and bulldozers to push the berms back, and start new piles of snow.
While you might say, “Thanks for the lesson in snow removal, Cate,” here is the practical application: Your life and mine is no different than an Alaskan winter. We should expect “snow” –difficult times, things that slow us down, weigh us down, discourage us and trouble us. In fact, we have an entire lifetime to deal with these affects of living in a broken world. What we need is a lifetime plan of where we will put the snow when it falls. Maybe one winter will be just a light dusting of trouble, but the next winter could dump on us more than we can handle. Every season is different.
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
1 Peter 5:6-7
6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
I have promises from God Himself that I can pile my “snow” in his yard. He will take the weight of it for me at any time of day or night in every season of life. I have made it the plan of my life to pile my “snow” on God. I do this through prayer, worship, and a relationship with Him. This will be my plan until I die.
God has also provided extra shovels, bulldozers, and plows for me in the form of friends and counselors. When the berms are too high and I can’t push them any further, when I have prayed but can’t seem to rest, I call on the “big boys”, the people with the equipment to move heavy loads. Maybe someone who has experienced what I have experienced before, or someone with knowledge of my situation can help provide solutions or remedies.
Above all, you and I always need someone to pray for us and lift us before the Father. We need people who will also take our “snow” to God’s yard and leave it there. From God comes wisdom, knowledge, comfort, peace, answers, creativity, strength, and power to carry on. God alone has the shoulders strong enough to hold our heavy hearts.