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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Second Chance

It is with great humility that I continue my post from yesterday. I was feeling so good as I left my house to pick up my children from school. I had just posted what I felt like was a message from God, and I had it figured out.

James 4:10 humble yourselves before the Lord

I was going to be so thankful for what I have, and not even focus at all on what I don't have.

I got a couple blocks from my house, and my car started to act funny. It was like it just wouldn't go. I tried to step on the gas harder, as I was gripping the steering wheel very tightly trying to keep it going in the direction I wanted to go. I only had a few feet and I needed to get over in the left lane, so I could make a left turn onto the street leading to the school. I had no idea what was happening to my car, but I suspected that I was running out of gas. I planned on getting the kids first and then heading straight to the gas station, but I figured plans had changed. I needed gas now. I was coming up on a busy intersection and knew my car wasn't going to make it much further. There was NO WAY I was going to let the car die on the busy street. I wasn't thinking about the danger, I was just thinking, HOW HUMILIATING!

I was able to step on the gas a little and my car crawled forward, allowing me to turn off onto a side street, the opposite way that I wanted to be. I just didn't want to take any chances that the car would die while making a left turn, therefore blocking all the oncoming traffic. I was going up a hill, and couldn't decide what to do. The car hadn't completely died yet, but I knew any second it was going to, so I kept plugging away up the hill. It quit on me right as I was in front of someone's driveway. There was no pulling over, it just died! I prayed some very desperate prayers, hoping no one was going to come out and yell at me that I was blocking their driveway. I tried turning the car on again, and I was able to slowly eek my way forward a few more feet, and then it was all over. The car was dead, and there was nothing I could do about it.

My stress level was rising a little, but I remembered to think positively. Thank you, God, the car didn't die in the middle of the intersection. I was on a side street, with not very much traffic. I had about 15 minutes before the kids would be walking out of their school building, and I was clueless at what to do, or who to call. We're a one car family, remember. There was nothing my husband could do to save me. He was stuck at work until his ride was ready to go home. But sometimes you just need to whine to someone, and see what they think you should do.

I called my husband. He was very sympathetic and told me he would come help as soon as he got home from work. At this point, I got out of my car, and immediately a man pulled over and asked if I needed help. I'm a little leery of strange men, but my husband was on the phone, so I figured what harm could come to me. I explained I was pretty certain I just ran out of gas, and I should be able to take care of it. (Right?)

He said he had to go somewhere, but he would be right back to help me. At this point, my time was about up, and the kids were going to be worrying if I didn't get over to the school. So I told the man, "I've got my husband on the phone here, and I think I'll be fine. But thank you very much."

About 30 seconds after that, another man stopped, and asked if he could help me. I politely refused again, and said I must go get my children from school right now. My stress level was continuing to rise, but I think I kept myself in control pretty well.

I told Titus I would just walk and get the kids from school and then we would walk home. I mean, what else am I going to do?

Just as I was getting off the phone, the first guy is back, wanting to help me. I was so overwhelmed by how nice people were being. I felt like such a ditz running out of gas, and nobody seemed concerned at all about that. They just wanted to do anything they could to help me. The time was now 3:30pm and I told the guy my kids are out of school, so I really can't do anything about it right now, but thank you so much for the offer. (again!) And a few seconds after that, the second guy is back. He said he had to drop his children off somewhere, but if I was still there when he got back, he WAS helping me.

I was feeling very blessed at this point. I mean I had two strangers that just couldn't seem to let me be. They were just determined to help out. I grabbed my stroller out of the trunk, knowing that time was up and I needed to move it quickly.

Before I started to walk away, I had the owner of the house my car died in front of, come walking down the driveway towards me. She was a very sweet old lady, and asked if I wanted to come inside to get warm for a little bit. I explained my predicament, and said, I really must get my kids from school. She wanted to drive me. I politely declined, and said I would be fine, but thank you for the offer.

Finally I made it to the kid's school. I was about 15 minutes late, and Gabriel's first words to me were, "Mom. I thought it was like the future and you had left me and died or something." He is a little bit overdramatic sometimes.

I was still feeling very positive and thankful that everything was going to be okay. We were just going to walk home, and Titus would get the car. In fact, I was actually really proud of myself. I felt like I had faced a stressful situation, and I was doing well. It might just turn into an adventure with the kids too. They were excited about walking home!

We made it about half a block away, and my perspective was starting to slip. The kids were enjoying their walk, trudging through the SNOW. I was really thankful that the temperature was pretty pleasant outside, but the snow was starting to get to me.

If you remember earlier, I mentioned that I pulled the stroller out of the trunk. It sounded like a really good idea when you have a three year old who doesn't like to walk very much, and always requests to be carried. I knew my arms would get tired, so I was just grateful I had the stroller along.

If you are a person who shovels your sidewalk, I think there are not enough thankful words in our language to show my immense gratitude toward you. Unfortunately, more than half of the city doesn't seem to believe in shoveling the sidewalk.

I did not push my stroller on our walk home.

I dragged it through the snow backwards.

The majority of our walk home takes place on a very busy main street. During the school rush, the traffic is just as busy as it is at 5 o'clock. There was no option of walking down the street with the stroller.

We were forced to trudge through a foot of snow. Nobody seems to claim responsibility for the sidewalks there.

I'm certain it was at least 50 pounds I was DRAGGING through the snow. My back started to hurt, my hands were getting blisters, and I was MISERABLE. I just couldn't take it anymore. It was like the pot didn't crack, it shattered. The pieces were falling all over the place, and I couldn't stay in control anymore. I was done thinking positively. I just wanted to quit.

Both my son and daughter were so sweet, and they tried to help drag the stroller. Gabe couldn't get it to budge, but Ariel was able to bounce Zech along for a couple bumps.

This is normally a 20 minute walk for us, but we were starting to go on 30, 40, then 50 minutes, and the end didn't seem to be near.

I was so mad at myself for thinking that a stroller would be helpful. It's NOT! It's probably about the most torturesome thing I could have chosen to do at that moment.

The corner is made for high traffic. Instead of just one stoplight for the block, there are now two. On two separate occasions, we had to try to beat the light at getting across. It's a simple feat if you're just walking on foot. But I'm dragging a stroller, bumping it along the way, trying not to dump my child out of it. I actually had a car with a couple young teenage girls in it that got a real kick out of me dragging my stroller, walking backwards. They had the nerve to point and laugh at me, when I was already feeling utterly humiliated. How could they be so mean when I'm crying, trying to pull my way through the cold wet snow.

We finally made it just a block or two from our house, when I hit the total bottom of my misery. They recently redid the road, and completely tore up the ground. No grass grows there; it's just mud and straw thrown over the top. The snow is still completely covering the ground, so it's very difficult to know where the sidewalk is. ESPECIALLY when you're walking BACKWARDS.

The sun was out and had melted a lot of snow. The mud was wet, and very deep. My shoes that I wear in the snow have a 2 inch heel on it. I like it because it elevates me enough that I just walk on top of the snow, instead of sinking into it. Well, we all sunk into the mud past the heel of my shoe.

So now I'm wet, my back is aching, I have blisters on my hands, my pride is gone, and I'm covered with mud. I was done. If I didn't have children with me. I think I would have just stopped and cried for awhile before moving on. I wasn't just focusing on the bad, I was wallowing in it.

And I was MAD, and I was crying and yelling, "GODDDD! What happened??? Why did you let me go through this? Why couldn't you have done something?"

It was then that God very quietly whispered in my ear, "I sent you two men to help fix your car, and you sent them away. Then I tried to send you a sweet old lady and you turned her down for a ride."

If I was God, and I had just listened to the walk home from school that took place, I wouldn't have been gently whispering. I would have been screaming. "What do you mean, I didn't help you?? I sent people back over and over again, and you were too proud. Then if that wasn't bad enough, I sent a woman to help, and you turned her down 4 TIMES for a ride!! I tried to help you! So don't get mad at me because you were too stubborn!"

I am so thankful that God is not like me. He is always so patient and understanding. He gives us second chances, and third chances, and 20 chances...

“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” (James 4:10) I just saw that this happens to be the verse of the day on my blog. I couldn't help but thank God for His mercy when I saw this.

  Every day God lifts me back up when I have fallen.

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