A Tale of Crisis and Community,
Friendship and Faith
Once upon a time, there was a family of deer who lived in a cozy nook of an inviting forest. A daddy buck, a mama doe, and a precious little fawn. They made their home in the small hollow, just up the hill from the creek and the crawfish where the evergreens meet the hardwoods and the honeysuckle.
The friendliest creatures encircled them all around.
One morning, before the days of little fawn, a couple of friendly butterflies flew into their path, and the deer were immediately drawn to their vibrant beauty. The deer and the butterflies quickly became good friends, and went on little adventures together – through the forest, to the ocean, and up the smoky blue mountain.
They shared a fondness for the beautiful world around them, wanting always to partake in the daily divine.
Together, they sang, they laughed, they dreamed.
Then one day, the Creator beckoned the butterflies to fly to the far side of the land and make their home on the other ocean. The deer were very sad about the butterflies’ departure from the forest, but they knew their Creator’s plans were always good, so they trusted Him as their companions flew away.
They knew this wouldn’t be the end of their story together.
Many seasons passed while the animal friends were apart, yet there were summers of sweet reunions and across-the-miles winter celebrations when vivid crocuses burst forth with songs of new life. All the while, their friendship remained a bridge between the oceans.
One autumn day as red and yellow fell to the ground, the mama doe felt herself falling as well. She became terribly weak, laying day after day on a small bed of brittle leaves as the crisp autumn breeze turned cold winter chill.
Forest neighbors gathered round day and night, offering strength, support, and compassion to the family of deer. Other creatures from around the forest and even from afar heard their cries and also came to offer kindness and generous spirits of service.
And a symphony of psalm rose to Heaven every time.
Since the fall, the doe had to lean hard on the buck. And though he grew tired and weary, the buck never lost his footing, despite the deep muck that overtook their land from all the rainy days.
The deer were broken. Their landscape had changed.
In time, the doe was able to stand again, and walk, but her gait was never quite the same. And she wrestled constantly between the strength of her heart’s desires and the weakness of her body’s reality. She grieved the impact that autumn day left on her family’s landscape. All the loss in its wake. Because she’d always longed to leave the forest a more glorious place. At least their little hollow.
She longed to be a strong doe and do all the things other mama deer do. To run freely with her fawn through the lush green, explore curious with him around every bend, show him all the wonders of the big world beyond their little forest, teach him how to dance freely with the Creator and breathe deeply of His grace.
Instead, she was working hard just to walk.
Just to survive.
Her world has felt painfully small.
And their family was no longer able to pilgrimage to the far side of the land to visit their old friends. Yet their flighted friends continued to come to them. Always flying in with life, laughter, love on their wings.
One spring afternoon, the butterfly brought the doe a gift only the soul could see. The rarest kind. It unearthed a healing flood the doe could not hold back. So she leaned on the butterfly, unwrapped her pain, and laid it bare on the floor. The butterfly felt the full weight of her friend’s pain, and spread her wings wide around her. Holding her tight as the storm raged on.Since that life-altering September 16th day [yes, four years ago to the day], some things have changed for the deer. And a lot hasn’t.
Tears of hurt. Tears of healing.
Holy ground saturated with the sacred.
Several of the friendly creatures that encircled them in the hollow have made their home in a new part of the forest. And so have they. The little fawn, he’s not so little any more. And the butterflies, they’ve faced some harsh winds of their own.
The strong buck remains with hooves firmly planted in the deep, deep muck. And the doe continues to wrestle hard between her desires and her reality.
The storms rage hard every day.
However, one thing also remains.
The sufficiency of His grace.
The grace to take the next step – when the last one was all I had in me.
The grace to ask for help. Yet again. Despite fearing that I wore out my needy welcome long, long ago.
The grace to trust – when I don’t even know what that looks like anymore.
So “my flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” ¹
“Therefore we do not lose heart.
[Well. Many days we do. But it’s not the state of heart that characterizes us.
Because] though outwardly we are wasting away,
yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” ²
For one thousand four hundred and sixty one days, He has said to me,
“My grace is sufficient for you,
for my power is made perfect in weakness.” ³
And one thousand four hundred and sixty one days later, I remain resolved that
“Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses,
so that Christ's power may rest on me." ³
~ ~ ~
This piece is dedicated to everyone who has helped our family stand (or walk. or crawl.) over the past four years. Upholding us with your faithful prayers, your steady streams of encouragement, and your selfless acts of service. Through you, we have beheld the glory of God.
It is ESPECIALLY dedicated to the remarkable families of Deer Hollow Court.
In Wake Forest.
Your unprecedented legacy will forever live on in our family’s story.
(Hey before you go, I think you'll also enjoy reading My Tomato Plant Story, & Surviving the Traumas of Life. But first, would you do me the honor of leaving a little comment below to let me know you stopped by? It makes my day whenever I hear your voice!)
1: Ps 73:26
2: 2 Cor. 4:16
3: 2 Corinthians 12:9