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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