Editor's note: Darcy Downing is a beautiful (inside and out) writer who has a gift of delivering God's message in the form of a very personal story about her family's journey which resulted in her daughter Sierra contacting the Bubonic Plague. The "Plague" part of the story made national headlines and even resulted in an appearence of the family on Dr. Oz. The
Journey" however, is Darcy's story which she tells with raw vulnerablity, candor and grace. Thank you Darcy for allowing Pagosa Daily Post readers the opportunity to read your story.
This is part 2 of the incredible miracle of how my daughter survived the Bubonic Plague and how our family became vessels for an infection of Love. Please CLICK HERE to read part 1.
When friends would ask, What are you doing this summer?” I would laughingly answer them with, “We’re crossing over to the other side and moving to Aspen Springs!” Aspen Springs sometimes has a reputation for housing the rebels and rowdies of our community. I had no idea what I was saying until God started leading me slowly and intentionally through the book of Joshua.
"Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites. I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses…. No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them." The Prophet Joshua 1: 2-6
A reassigned desolate inheritance! Our new home with old Christmas lights and a rainbow to boot! Photo courtesy of Darcy Downing
Why is that profound? Because seven years ago we returned from a different kind of promised land. We had moved to New England selling as much as we could live without following God to the east coast. Our last toll booth was even called the “Canaan Toll.” However, as it turns out, that was not our promised land and that is also an incredible story I will tell another time. Now, however, at this moment God is all about restoring the land to His people; literal and spiritual.
Alone one night in the house, I called out to God and asked him to show me what He was doing.
“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Okay God, I remember thinking. I am weak and tired and exhausted and poor and lonely, but I will be strong and courageous. I would often stay overnight in our camper so I could get up early and work in the cool of the morning while Sean stayed with the girls at the other house. Meanwhile, God continued to lead me through Joshua and every night that I soaked in the bible He would guide me back to these words.
Be strong and very courageous!
I remember thinking to myself, Okay Lord, but this is just physical exhaustion! I can do this! We stripped walls, repaired holes, pulled out nails, loaded up a 28 footer trailer three different times with trash and heavy furniture that had been left by previous occupants. I painted every single ceiling, primed one of the bathrooms (the master bathroom is still in its pre-livable state but the shower works!), repaired half eaten trim (pretty sure those were doggie bite marks), pulled out all of the toilets and the bathroom sink, the oven, the washer and dryer that were left behind and the list goes on. I was so tired. In the midst of it all God gave me a scripture that I held onto for energy and courage. I printed off those lively words and slapped them onto the fridge (the only movable appliance that remained in the house) where it still hangs today.
The fortress will be abandoned,
the noisy city deserted;
citadel and watchtower will become a wasteland forever,
the delight of donkeys, a pasture for flocks,
till the Spirit is poured on us from on high,
and the desert becomes a fertile field,
and the fertile field seems like a forest.
The Lord’s justice will dwell in the desert,
his righteousness live in the fertile field.
The fruit of that righteousness will be peace;
its effect will be quietness and confidence forever.
My people will live in peaceful dwelling places,
in secure homes,
in undisturbed places of rest.
Though hail flattens the forest
and the city is leveled completely,
how blessed you will be,
sowing your seed by every stream,
and letting your cattle and donkeys range free.
The Prophet Isaiah 32:14-20
I felt like Joshua and I were palls hanging out with each other from different dimensions in time.
Sierra and I transplanting flowers and shrubs.
This may be hard to believe, but the day after reading about the prostitute Rahab, (see Joshua 2, Rahab and the Spies)a woman, labeled by neighbors as having similar talents as Rahab, rode her mustang onto the property. She looked rough as she offered me her name and a drink from her whisky flask. I declined as she introduced me to her mustang who she had rescued from a neglectful and abusive owner.
“I hope you will be my friend,” she said. Those words awakened my conscience and deep inside of my spirit I understood that they weren’t really meant for me; they were meant for Christ.
Judgement. I had plenty of it for that woman and with no room to judge if you knew my past! When I sensed His heart for her I felt terrible about my judgement. God reminded me that even the prostitute Rahab was given grace and the incredible honor of being part of the lineage of Christ. I repented again. Sadly, I haven’t seen her since.
Two months is all we had to get the house ready,
and our time was about up!
Brianna, Tiarra and Sierra saying hello to our neighbor’s horses.
My attention was definitely on my surroundings though, as God continued His object lessons for my benefit from the book of Joshua. The next thing I knew, I was reading about the walls of Jericho and wondering what the heck God was trying to tell me. I would find out, but not there; not in Pagosa.
Hang on! It’s just gettin‘ good. Part 3 is on it’s way!