When the %$*& Hits the Fan (#SmallWonder Link-Up)

Prince Humperdinck, "First things first, to the death."
Westley, "No, to the pain."
- The Princess Bride

O, I believe,
fate smiled and destiny
laughed as she came to my cradle,
know this child will be able,
laughed as my body she lifted,
know this child will be gifted,
with love, with patience and with faith,
she'll make her way. 
- "Wonder" by Natalie Merchant

Last Friday I sent up a call of distress. 

Early in the morning in the cold, dark living room I sent a message to a few friends on Facebook,

“Here’s the thing – I’ve become discouraged.  I have dreams and visions of what it means to live where we do – ideas about Spiritual Direction, Retreats and a life close to home filled with writing, speaking and tending souls.  But, and here I know it sounds a little ridiculous given God’s miraculous provision of this place, for some reason lately, I’m losing hope.  We’ve hit some very significant financial road blocks, we’re between church communities and I am weary of piecing things together.  So, will you pray for me, for us?”


Last Wednesday my husband called early in the morning to tell me the timing belt broke in his car on his way to work.  Thankfully it didn’t happen on the highway, thankfully it was within walking distance of his office.  But, really – this was just three days after we started urgently petitioning God for financial provision.  See what I mean – this was AFTER we started praying.

With that one phone call and the two or three phone calls after it, it was like someone, somewhere pulled a plug and all of our savings went “whoosh,” down the drain.  The little bit of money we had to help us get through to the end of summer just up and disappeared. 


The most natural thing you can do, the worst thing you can do, when stress sets in and life becomes laced with fear, is to seize up.  The most unnatural thing you can do is to relax, to rest, to hold your own peace of mind and spirit.  This is how infants and young children can survive terrible accidents without being injured – they don’t know enough to be afraid, they stay calm, relaxed and flexible.


When the %^&% hits the fan, my impulse is to “man up.”

I got out the computer and started a resume.

I organized a yard sale.

I took the little seeds of my own dreams out of my pocket and buried them somewhere in a deep, dark, place.  They no longer glowed with hope and promise – they were as good as dead to me.


Thursday night, I dreamed I was pregnant again – a fifth child, still tiny showed up in an ultrasound.  How did we let this happen? I asked.  That baby filled my dream-self with dread – seven more years at home I thought.  Seven more years until I can do what I want. 

In the dream, the baby was also a tiny dragon.  But, you know, that’s how dreams often are.


Friday morning I sat on the love seat by the cold, empty stove with tears streaming down and sent up a call of distress. 

“I’ve become discourage . . . I’m losing hope.”

The kids woke up and I built a fire, because wood is free, and we moved into the day while I still swallowed tears down. 

Around eight, my kids started humming and buzzing with excitement.  “Why’s he here?” they exclaimed.  I looked out the kitchen window while my kids ran out the door and saw my friend, one of the few added to that Facebook call of distress, climbing out of his car.

He hugged and toted my kids around, watched them climb the small Japanese Maple tree and we stood in the yard talking about chickens waiting for the bus to come.  After the older two climbed onto the bus, I pulled up Cat in the Hat on Netflix for the twins and we sat in the kitchen and talked over coffee. 

“I’m losing heart,” I said.

“I know,” he replied.

This friend of mine has the look and build of someone straight out of Sons of Anarchy – a giant of a man complete with pony tail, beard and a Harley Davidson.  If he was a stranger, I would be afraid at best to see him approaching on darkened street or even in broad daylight. 

This friend has a Masters in Pain, a hard earned degree in life and loss and resilient hope.

“I could see this coming,” he said and I believed it to be true, because this friend and I resonate on a deep level.  More than anyone else in this world he has helped me understand myself, has given me new words and insight into my own brokenness which often provides just enough of a tweak to set me on the road to healing. 

Here are just a few of the things he said to me that morning that helped clear the fog of fear, things I remembered well enough to write down in my journal a few days later,

“Provision wouldn’t solve the problem.”

“It’s not hard, you can do hard, you’re a hard worker – it’s painful.”

and, “Pain is part of your gift.  You have pain in proportion to your gift and your gift is great, so you experience great pain.”

Talking together I saw that I’m again rounding a blind corner in my journey – I’m being asked, again, to trust. 

To trust pain can be a gift.

To trust God cares.

To live loosely, to lean in to the bend in the road, to believe seeds buried in darkness and fear can sprout and live again and the life that follows death is always greater than the loss.


Not much has changed.  Everything has changed.

We had a great yard sale.  There’s the dim prospect of overtime work for my husband.  I put my resume on hold.  We told the kids we would have to pray about a vacation for the summer. 

In the midst of the pain, faith is sprouting again, the tiniest speck of green.

Later that day one red tulip opened in the garden and the rest of those friends on Facebook sent their own thoughtful, compassionate replies, most of which consisted of some gentle version of, “Me too.”

I'm not writing this to garner sympathy.  I'm writing because maybe you also have been gifted with pain.  Maybe you too are rounding another blind corner in your journey.  I won't tell you it's going to be ok, but for now, I will pull back the curtain long enough to give you a glimpse of my own pain.  I will give you my pain, my life as I know it, in hopes that it will help you in some small whisper of a way.  
*   *   *   *

Welcome to the #SmallWonder link-up.

What if we chose to deliberately look for the small moments of wonder, the small sparks of presence, of delight or sorrow, of true humanity in which we meet God? 

That's my proposal - that we gather here each week to share one moment of Wonder from each of our days.  

You're invited to link-up a brief post about a small moment of wonder.  Don't worry if your post is too long, too short, or not just right - you're welcome to come as you are. 

While you're here, please do take a look around and encourage at least one other blogger with a comment.    


  1. As I stood by the garden and held you in the scarred leaky cup of my own heart, I thought of seeds again . . . they need darkness. They cannot sprout without it. Love you, my friend.

  2. Oh, that enemy of ours. He loves to steal our joy, to discourage us from the call God has given us. When something great is being born that will bring freedom, he fights the hardest.
    These words caught me, "To live loosely, to lean in to the bend in the road, to believe seeds buried in darkness and fear can sprout and live again and the life that follows death is always greater than the loss." Yes and amen. Amen.

  3. Even though times are hard, even though you are experiencing pain, I can still see hope here in your writings. May God bless you and provide your every need! I'm visiting from #GiveMeGrace.

  4. This is just so lovely, Kelly. So real and true. Thank you, dear girl.

  5. "the life that follows death is always greater than the loss" This. This is the key for me. That's why I keep going no matter what. Hang in there, sis. God answers at the ultimate time. Not when we want it but when it's best. Thanks for sharing. Blessings on your way!

  6. "To trust pain can be a gift." So much truth here. Thanks for sharing your spot of weakness. We all have them and they're best when shared, not hidden. Discouragement comes to all at different times. I'm glad God sent your friend to help you with yours. I remember a few years back when I was playing in the snow (well, really ice) and I slipped. Instead of just trusting the fall, I tried to brace myself with my arm--and in the process, broke it. Sometimes we have to trust the fall, just like you said.... Blessings to you, Kelly.

    1. Exactly, Lisa. I'm grateful for your presence here in this little community. Thankyou.

  7. Praying for it all to work out and for peace and yes I know pain and your friend's words helped me see that too. Thanks Kelly!

  8. This here is such truth >> "In the midst of the pain, faith is sprouting again." So grateful He sends others to encourage us & help our faith to sprout again! Blessings!

  9. Thank you, Kelly. This speaks so deeply to where I am right now, too. Your messages aligning with the whispers I have been letting myself hear from the Spirit. And, yes, the tiniest sprout of hope, when shared with friends, feels somehow taller, greener, and more ready to produce a beautiful harvest.

    1. Thank you Beth - I'm sorry to hear you're in a similar place, but grateful to help you know you're not alone.

  10. Kelly, your words here resonate so with me at this time in life. I thought by now I would have life in my pocket, but who could have guessed? We are going through a similar time of stretching the faith, sounds like. What a better team to plan a retreat? I sooo want to meet you, my heart sister. I'm grateful for your friend, with the Masters in Pain. He is teaching me through you.

  11. This speaks, friend, oh - how it speaks. It draws me deeper into your story, into your heart, and that is a gift. And miraculously, it also draws me deeper into my own story, into my own heart, and this is also a gift. I am learning and stumbling along with you on our parallel paths in the dark. That pain can come to us in proportion with the measure of our gift is a profound and healing thought to me this day. Thank you for pulling back the curtain and letting us in.