tangled paths of fire


God’s providence through the tangles

When we look back on our lives we might see a twisted, tangled maze that led to where we are now.  In my story it took meeting the boy in high school, who offered me a job, to a fire breaking out in Modoc County to start the adventure with My Man.  I could continue with that analysis to show even more turns in the path but I am convinced that God does not see the tangles–He guided me straight to My Man.  My foolish detours could not thwart God’s providence.  He knew what I needed.

tangled branches

My Man, or “Hiller”, also knew what I needed the day after I slid up the mountain on my belly–pushing that cubee ahead of me.  Days without a shower had left my hair a tangled mess.

A whining, tangled mess

tangled hair

My mom and I–and my hair.  Always a rat’s nest out in the elements

I struggled to comb it out with my fingers, letting out a complaint now and again.  The next morning I awoke to a new comb next to my sleeping bag—Hiller had gone to a convenience store the night before and thought of me!  True romance!

ashes in a burn

Romance: a comb and wet ashes?

We “mopped up” that fire for close to a week and I’ll never forget the smell of wet ashes.  During the long, mundane hours of our night shifts all I could think of was sleep.  As the days went by I noticed that Hiller worked around me a lot of the time—asking questions and saying some interesting things.  He had decided I was a positive person, despite my initial whiny moments, and he wanted to get to know me.  I felt pestered at first–I am an introvert and don’t like to talk very much.  But as time went on I began to observe some things I liked about him–besides being dark and handsome:

  • He enjoyed listening to Waylon Jennings
  • He had a worn Bible on the dash of his truck
  • He had Nevada license plates.

smoke at sunset

I liked that he had met the fire head-on when others had run from it.

I had some things in common with that unique individual after all:

  • I love old country music (my first vehicle was an old flatbed with an eight track player!)
  • I had started reading the Bible that year
  • Have I told you that I love Nevada and the desert?

Kate Hiller "Our love fire ignites"

The Bible, desert and old country music

We also both had been raised on cattle ranches and when we got back from the fire he invited me to a branding at his parent’s ranch–I said ‘yes‘.

I remember the high school boy looking at me with a worried expression, “Why are you hanging out with that guy?”

He doesn’t remember saying that then and I think by now he agrees that I made a good decision.  The high school boy and My Man work very closely in the business and they have since grown to be like brothers.

It is the standing joke that the high school boy is to blame for the way my life turned out, but we all know better.  I can see now that God had His guiding hand on us from before we were even born and had handpicked My Man for me.

Handpicked by God

wildflowers in hand

“For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb.  I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.  My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.  Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.  And in Your book they were all written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.” Psalm 139: 13-16

Now I can see that God knew what He was doing—good thing because I still didn’t have a clue! Remember my unrealistic views of romance and life?  I was very foolish and was one of those girls looking for a knight in shining armor.  You will see that I continued on a tangled journey of my own making.  I took many disoriented turns with my eyes looking down rather than up–meeting many hardships and nearly losing my way.

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