Posted by: Brad Stanford | October 10, 2009

A Single Source Of Heat

As a follow up to my post Winter’s Coming; it’s first test is on us. We’re figuring out how to live with a single source of heat at night, that being our wood-burning stove.

First, the pride part: the man who put this house here lived in it for 20 years, raised his kids here, and used the stove as his sole source of heat all those years. I refuse to be less of a man. There is something to be said for getting through this winter as a rite of passage going from city to country.

So far we’ve done well. I have learned that I will need to go to bed earlier because of the number of times I’ll be awakened in the night, either by me being cold and grabbing for more covers, or by the desire to manage well the provision God has given us, and adding another log or two to the fire at 4 in the a.m.

Second: that provision part. I said in my previous post:

We have some firewood for our wood-burning stove, which is the only source of heat in the house. Maybe three or four night’s worth. The move hit us financially, and we’re still trying to recover a bit, so we haven’t purchased any wood yet. I understand someone has given us some (it’s in transit, haven’t seen how much), but I’ll need somewhere between two and four cords for the whole winter – don’t even know yet! The wood I do have is somewhat useless – I don’t have a saw to cut it with.

Not only did the wood in transit help us out, but someone at church gave us an equal amount as well. Because of our inexperience, I think we’re only going to get three days out of the whole stack. But that was the three days I was concerned about. If I can borrow a chainsaw this weekend, I’ll be able to get another two days worth of wood before we have to buy some. God is so good to us!

If you have central heat, you may be thinking, “I’m glad I don’t have to mess with this!” Being from the city, I do completely understand that. But I find God in the details these days. I’m learning about time management. I’m gaining experience that will help me identify with the lifestyle of my community. I’m getting less picky, and more content. There’s lots going on that I’ve been praying for, so it’s a joy to have my concerns come from God Himself and serving His purposes, rather than the irrelevant, self-made problems I created for myself by being missionless in the suburbs. God has become my single source of heat, and it feels much better than the self-warming systems I had set up previously.

Gong to church my make you feel warm and fuzzy. But bringing the blessings of God from your week to bless others at the local gathering is a different kind of heat. Finding a ministry to fit in with at church is good. Knowing your specific place in the body and what ministries fall under that calling is a better thing. Knowing of the possibilities in Jesus is freeing. Knowing Jesus is freedom. Keeping yourself warm at church is good. God keeping you warm to warm others in all parts of your life is better.

A single source of heat in my house is a great physical reminder of my walk with God right now. He is the single source of everything, and the more opportunities we have to demonstrate that to the people around us, the better. Like telling them stories about the source(s) of our firewood.

There is a slight deviance from the analogy: we have two small space heaters in the house from a previous camping trip that I might write about in a later post. I’m not sure what role they will play as we have yet to run them at night. We have pets in the house, and I’d really rather not risk a fire from one of them knocking a heater over. And night is the most critical time for heat! So we are truly single-source at night. The space heaters will be used first thing in the morning, for sure.

Somewhat related, we have two small Vornado fans (yes, they really work as advertised), and I’m figuring out how to use those to move the heat from the living room to the rest of the house. Did pretty well the first night. I set up one to bring the heat down from the ceiling, and the other to pump that air down the hall. Heat is pretty useless unless the whole house benefits. Otherwise, you end up with one tropical room, and three or four polar observation stations. (The kids upstairs are fine, since the staircase is close to the stove: the heat goes right up!)

So – may God be your single source of heat this winter, and may the heat move into all the corners of your life. No matter what the temperature is, you can be content with a winter like that.

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