Bad News & THE Recipe

I have some very sad news to share. If you have been following me on Instagram and Facebook, then you already know of the sadness our little family has experienced this week. If you are like my mom, Instagram and Facebook are things you avoid like the plague and so this will probably come as a very disturbing shock – for that I am sorry.

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On Tuesday, July 21 at about 7 pm, after doing a bunny check 15 minutes earlier, I noticed an alarming sight. I passed by the windows facing our backyard and glanced out toward our loves, our little bunny family, as I have done thousands of times. This time, however, instead of seeing our simple mid-century modern, hand-built, barn red bunny hutch full of our happily hopping bunnies, I saw the bright silver, corrugated aluminum hutch roof shining back at me.

I froze in shock and actually sat down. Then, supercharged with distress, I tried to call David. I was shaking so hard, I could not enter the security code on my phone properly and remember forcing myself not to throw the phone against the wall.

I finally convinced my fingers to touch the right numbers in the correct order and willed David to answer. While I was struggling with my phone, I also went back to the door. It was then that the true horror of what was happening became fully realized.

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Two dogs were in the open space between the roof and the ground created by the fallen hutch. I looked to the side of the fallen hutch and noticed one of the babies not moving.

David answered the phone and I screamed “The babies are dead!!! The bunnies are dead!! Dogs are eating the bunnies!!!!!! GET HOME NOW!!!!”.

David and Gracie had just left 10 minutes earlier to fill the car with gas, the boys were with mom & dad spending the night and I was alone. 

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After screaming at David, I screamed at the dogs like I have never screamed before. I screamed so hard that the deepest parts of my lungs burned well into the next day. I screamed and didn’t stop. I didn’t stop but the dogs did. They began to run off and then one turned, looked at me and walked over, picked up Lula with his giant mouth, looked back at me and trotted off.

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The rest of the story could be drawn out in gruesome detail, but I will spare you. These dogs somehow managed to knock our hutch over and rip the mesh wire walls off of the hutch ((the doors of the hutch remained locked)). Ultimately, 5 bunnies were killed.

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At first David thought Bubba had survived because he found a black bunny on Bubba’s side of the hutch.  But when I calmed down and went outside to console Bubba, I picked the bunny up and immediately knew it was Ruby Grace, not Bubba. Somehow, Ruby Grace managed to escape the dogs by hiding in her daddy’s pen and her daddy was dead in her place. We found Lula’s body at the gate of a neighbor’s fence, several doors down from our yard. Their dogs were in the backyard, as if they had done nothing to violate my home & family. 

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Ruby Grace 7.21.2015

I am sure it is easy to imagine the rush of emotions I, along with my hubby and kiddos, have experienced in these recent days. We are devastated, angry, hurt, deeply sad and truthfully, traumatized. I witnessed the worst of nature, the wild, raw, rage. The viciousness – not for survival but for destruction’s sake.

It is an interesting thing about the human body, I have always thought, that deep sadness and distress are met with an intense physical aching  — deep in the human core. The aching is so intense that it hurts, bad. The pain isn’t isolated to one body part, but spreads and roams in such a way that the location cannot be pinpointed. I laid awake, in pain most of the night, well into the morning.

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As I laid awake and hurting, I prayed. My prayer wasn’t for the removal of the pain but rather an explanation of the pain. “God, why? Why would you let this happen?”. Coincidentally, earlier in the morning of July 21, I had prayed to God, thanking Him for the joy these bunnies have brought into our family and home. In light of that earlier prayer, I was even more confused. I needed Him to tell me why.

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“Why did You let me find that snake that was lurking 2 feet from the bunny hutch (which scared me so deeply) before it entered the hutch and ate all of our babies just to let dogs eat them 5 weeks later? Why? It doesn’t even make sense. We made the hutch snake proof — we removed the danger that would take their lives. We heard Your warning, took action and thanked You for Your providence. But the bunnies are still dead and this really hurts.”

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Friends, let me say something real quick. I realize the suffering associated with this tragedy is not comparable to what many of you have or currently are going through. Rather, this experience is a whisper of the hardships we all have had or will experience in this life. Life is hard, it is full of tragedy and perplexing troubles. And that really stinks.

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When I compare this event to Shep’s appendix rupture while we were vacationing on a remote island, or Gracie’s first 2 years of life battling a mysterious illness ((a disease that was later diagnosed, but not before she experienced 819 days of deep, chronic suffering)), or any of the other dark moments that are part of my story on this earth, I can reason that this is not the worst suffering encountered on this earth and at the same time, intimately relate. Yes, in this world, trouble is part of our story. And life is really hard.

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It is in moments like this that we often struggle with some of life’s biggest questions. “Why does our good God let bad things happen?” or how about “If there really is a God, as you claim and He is good, like you claim, then why can’t He, or why doesn’t He stop our suffering, sadness and sorrow?” or “Does He even care, because it sure doesn’t look like it??”

Why? WHY? WHY?!!

I like to share recipes on this blog, it is just something I like to do. I am pretty good at taking a pile of ingredients, imagining what combinations and amounts would be tasty, mixing, baking, cooking ((or whatever)) and ending up with something that people enjoy eating. It is just a gift I was given, not something I studied in college or was taught. It is just part of me.

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After thinking and praying about this over the last 48 hours, I feel compelled to share the most important recipe. It isn’t one I wrote, or tested but one I chose to live by many years ago. 

Now, this recipe isn’t complicated, it doesn’t take a culinary genius, it doesn’t even require you to like cooking or food for that matter. But this recipe holds the answers to these questions and this recipe is the only thing that brings hope in sorrow, joy in suffering and peace in the midst of trouble. 

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Here is the recipe I follow for finding peace, joy & hope in suffering:

 

Peace, Joy and Hope
An uncomplicated recipe for finding peace in trouble, hope in suffering and joy in sorrow.
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Ingredients
  1. heaps of trouble
  2. a load of suffering
  3. sorrow to taste
  4. JESUS
Instructions
  1. God knew there would be days like this and He planned a way to overcome. He knows our hope needs to reside in something and Someone that isn't bound by the troubles of this world. In fact, he knows that the world will disappoint, devastate and ultimately die.
  2. God tells us that we can bring our heaps of trouble, loads of suffering and palatable sorrow to the feet of the cross. Because at the foot of the cross, it will be combined with the blood of His Son. His Son will take our burdens and in turn give us rest for our weary souls (Matthew 11:28-29).
  3. God loved the world so much, that even before creation, He made a plan to right the wrongs of the world and overcome the suffering we encounter. He gave us His Son.
  4. When we add Jesus to trouble, suffering and sorrow He defeats them, destroys them and puts an eternal end to them. In return He gives us peace, hope, joy and eternal life. God never wanted the troubles of this world to be the end of the story. In fact through Jesus, he places a comma after the suffering and ends our story with Jesus and an exclamation point. That is if we accept His plan for the comma. Do you believe in Jesus? Do you believe Jesus is the Son of God. Do you believe Jesus is aware of our troubles, bigger than our suffering and more powerful than our sorrows? Have you decided to let Jesus work it out for you? Can you trust He will. Can you give Him a chance to carry your load and in turn give you peace? Do you have the spirit of faith?
  5. Therefore, we do not lose heart. These earthly troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs THEM ALL.
Notes
  1. So we fix our eyes not on the troubles and suffering that we see, but on the cross, His Son and Heaven. What is seen is temporary, but what is unseen it eternal. (2 Corinthians 4: 16-18)
Food for a Year: https://foodforayear.com/

The truth is, instead of asking God “Why did you let this happen?” I stand amazed at what He did to make this trouble okay. The Bible tells us in John 13:27 

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

And He continues in John 16: 27-28 and 16:32-33 by saying:

No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.

A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.  I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world. 

 

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How do we find peace and even joy in the middle of this painful, ugly tragedy? I made a choice to put a comma after July 21 instead of a period. July 22 at 3:00 pm, we drove out to the farm where we first met Lula and Bubba. We played with their bunnies, loved on their bunnies, picked out two bunnies and brought them home.

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We chose to trust God’s promise that sorrow isn’t the end of the story and we chose joy. 

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You see, God didn’t want those dogs to kill our bunnies. A long time ago, when death entered the world, God knew He would need to send His Son to overcome death. By Jesus coming to live a perfect life on this earth, dying and rising on the third day, God’s plan was completed. Jesus overcame death and took away the period that had, for so long, come after suffering and replaced it with a comma. Now, for believers, joy follows suffering and life follows death.

The boys and Gracie were surprised that I was buying new bunnies so quickly. Kade asked me why.

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And here is the answer I gave him: ” because in the Kingdom, tragedy is never the end of the story and we live in the Kingdom.”

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I choose joy, I choose peace and I choose hope. I choose to follow THE recipe and I choose Jesus. I choose to let him carry the suffering, because it is just too heavy for me. Oh, and we choose Zero, a sable Lionhead buck and Lulu, a harlequin Holland lop.

2 Comments

  1. Leslie says:

    Oh, Em! Your words have left me hollow yet filled. My heart aches so much for the loss you and your sweet family have experienced this week, yet my heart rejoices in the love and wisdom that your sweet family receives from you on a daily basis. What a wonderful example you are to each of them and to all of us by your shared words. I’m so thankful that your wisdom can see through the pain and shine light on the hope that we all need in different circumstances of our own lives. I love you dearly, sweet cousin!

    • Emily says:

      Thank you for the encouragement Les. I am thankful God has trained me to anticipate the good in the midst of the bad. My goal is to live in such a way that the suffering I experience is not wasted, rather used to point people to His power to redeem. I know you do the very same. I love you too.

In true show & tell form: "I am open for questions & comments"

 
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