I’m standing at the sink brushing my teeth before bed when I hear an ominous sound. Drip. Drip. Drip. Drip. Uh-oh. I poke my head through the doorway into the other half of the bathroom, the part with the shower and toilet. Flip on the light. My fears are confirmed. Water is dripping from the ceiling vent fan. This isn’t good.
I knew when I bought this house that I’d need to replace the roof within a few years. That was more than a decade ago. Finances haven’t worked out the way I’d expected, and a new roof hasn’t been in the budget. A couple of years from now it should be, though.
I just need to hold on until then.
The dripping has happened before, but not with every storm. When I asked my handyman about it, he said that if there are high winds while it’s raining, the water can be blown through the outer vents into the fan and onto the floor. It’s not necessarily a leaky roof.
To my relief, it only occurs when it’s windy, confirming his suggestion.
With that hope in mind, I go into my bedroom and peer out the window. The trees and bushes are completely still. Not even the slightest breeze is stirring.
Looks like it’s finally happened. My aging roof has begun leaking. It needs to be replaced before it causes serious damage. Simply sealing the area where the water is getting through isn’t an option. The tiles are so old and crumbly that they’ll fall apart if anyone climbs up there to fix it. I need a new roof.
But I have no way to pay for one. Not now.
Panic sets in. I’m run down from multiple stresses and health issues. When I’m in this condition, my brain cells go haywire, triggering anxiety attacks. I fall apart under the slightest pressure.
I put a couple of hand towels over the area where the water’s coming down.
Finish cleaning up. Go to bed. Pray unceasingly.
Father, please show me what to do. Help me to cope with this situation. Lead me to the answer that I need. I’d really like it if you’d make it clear that my roof is okay. That would be the greatest answer in my eyes. But I know you don’t always remove the source of our suffering. More often, you sustain us and grow us through it. Whichever way it goes, I really need your help right now. I can’t handle this.
As I pray, I practice relaxation techniques and try to think through potential options for financing a new roof. I’m not sure if I can qualify for a loan that size, and even if I could, the additional payments would be hard to handle. Maybe I could get some government assistance. I think there are programs to provide funding for urgent home repairs. Praying, relaxing, and considering possible solutions help calm the anxiety inside.
I manage to sleep through the night.
I get up in the morning and go into the bathroom. One entire towel is damp. The other just has a few wet spots. My heart sinks. It’s never been this bad before. But I don’t know for sure just how windy it might have been during the night. I decide to wait and see what happens with the next storm before I look into replacing my roof.
Three days later, I’m watching the weather report on the evening news. It doesn’t look good. Another cold front is coming through in a few hours. Rain and high winds are expected. Before going to bed, I put out the towels again, pray, and brace myself for the worst.
I don’t hear anything during the night, but my house is well insulated and I tend to sleep pretty soundly. When I get up in the morning, the towels are completely dry. It must not have rained after all.
I look out my window. My view is limited, as the sun hasn’t risen yet, but I don’t see any sign of wetness aside from the usual dew. I get dressed. Have some breakfast. Step out front to turn off the Christmas lights.
There’s a small puddle beside the porch. I guess it rained after all. Some of my decorations have blown over. Ones that don’t usually fall down. I guess it was windy, too.
In spite of the evidence, my brain can’t fathom the possibility that we had a windy, rainy storm last night and yet not a single drop came through my bathroom vent fan.
Later in the morning, I head out back to do some yard work. Then it finally hits me. One of my potted plants, one that’s been sitting in its spot for ten years or more through rain and wind and hail, blew over in the night. There’s also a sizable puddle at the bottom of my rainspout.
We didn’t just have a few moderate winds that knocked down a couple of Christmas decorations. We didn’t just have a few drops of rain. We had a real storm. High winds. Measurable rainfall.
And the towels in my bathroom remained completely dry. Wow.
The amazing thing in all of this isn’t that God did whateverHhe did to protect my roof last night. He’s God. He can do things like that without hardly thinking about it. The amazing thing is that He reached down to me in my weakness.
I should be stronger than I am. I should know better than to collapse in panic when I’m facing a new difficulty. I’ve been a believer for so long, I’ve seen His provision in so many unexpected ways, how can I doubt Him now? Even if He doesn’t save me from the financial challenge of replacing my roof, I know from experience that He will be with me, giving me the strength to persevere and leading me to solutions that I might not think of on my own. And yet I crumble in a heap and fear the worst, whatever that may be.
The amazing thing is that He meets me right where I am. No judgment, no scolding, no discipline. Instead, a couple of dry towels to wipe away my distress.
About the author:
Ann O’Malley is the pseudonym of a new author seeking a publisher for her memoir of suicidal depression. Her pen name comes from “anomaly,” that feeling of being different, of not really belonging, which plagues so many of those who suffer from depression. For more of her writing, check out her blog, “Those Who Weep: Not-Quite-Evangelically-