When picturing this first sleepover, keep in mind the following amenities we didn’t have: a kitchen sink, screens on the windows, air conditioning, a bed. Miller was 3 months old, so you might also picture the amenities we had to bring along: diaper bag, blankets, multiple outfits, burp rags, bottle warmer, extra bottles, a breast pump and pump parts, stroller, baby carrier, etc…
For our family, spending the night at the cabin was essentially camping with a baby.
Our first day was a bit discouraging.
We planned on getting there by 10 am. After a late start and an emergency feed session on the side of the highway, we finally pulled up to the cabin well passed noon.
Miller was teething, so instead of working on renovations, one or both of us was tending to him constantly.
With our two-day getaway, we planned to paint the outside of the house. We brought two cans of paint, thinking that would get us most of a first coat. Instead, the dry old wood siding sucked up paint like rain in a desert. Work was SLOW and we used the first bucket of paint on part of the front of the house alone.
For dinner, we brought our favorite frozen pizza. After a rough couple of hours of painting and teething, we were looking forward to this treat. Instead, when we fired up the old stove, the cabin filled with the smell of mouse pee. Yes… mouse pee. Apparently some wildlife had found its way inside the cabin. We threw the stove outside to the scrap pile and ate pop tarts instead.
Despite the rough start, everything shifted when the sun went down. By 9 pm, Miller was sleeping soundly and the lake’s nocturnal wildlife had come alive. We made a bed on the pullout couch and sat looking out the sliding doors while we listened to all the birds and bullfrogs. The lake had gone completely dark- nobody who lives around it keeps lights on. Suddenly, we remembered why we like camping.
Miller slept through the night, waking at 5:00 for his morning feed. The peaceful feeling from the night before carried over. He drank a bottle and went gently back to sleep. Julie, our dog, made a nice nest in the pullout couch and also went back to sleep. Matt and I enjoyed our morning coffee, again listening to the sounds of the lake. Sometime before six, Matt grabbed a paint brush, stepped out onto the deck, and started the day’s work.
While I pumped, I read the only book I’d brought with: The Circle Maker.
“God does not answer vague prayers… we [would] end up wandering the desert for 40 years” (27).
It was just what I needed that morning.
I finished pumping, noted that both baby and dog were still sleeping (a miracle in itself), grabbed another paintbrush, and joined Matt outside.
We painted until both buckets were gone. Miller was still sleeping, so then we weeded the front beds, revealing beautiful hostas and lillies. When we stood up and stood back, I couldn’t believe what I saw.
A little black cabin on the water in the woods.
“God does not answer vague prayers.” I believe this fully. Call it prayer, visualization, or goal-setting, the process is the same. Picture what you want in perfect clarity. Then go to work.
Five years have passed since that first prayer. A lot has happened between then and now. And yet, here we are. Standing in front of our little black cabin on the water in the woods. Baby asleep inside. Dog curled up next to him. God is good.