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Friday, February 8, 2013

...for when I am weak {A Divine Mistake}

It had been a long day.  I was exhausted-- emotionally, physically; I just wanted to go home and go to bed.  I was done, done, DONE!  Then, well, that happened.

It was a Saturday.  My parents and Melody (14) had gone to the Saturday Farmer's Market to sell our bread.  The rest of us were left with our standard Saturday cleaning to-do list as well as shopping and errands list.  I got my cleaning jobs done as soon as I woke up, as everyone else was rousing so that I could get the errands done early.

I think I brought it upon myself, I could have left everybody at home with Hannah (16) to babysit... I'm not sure what induced me to bring everybody (7 siblings) with me in our 15-passenger van, but well, I did.   Off we went, a couple garage sales, Goodwill, library, thrift store, Chick-fil-a, Walmart...  I still had to go to Aldi, but by then, I was shot; done.  At Goodwill, the parking lot was so narrow that upon driving in and not finding any spots, I had to do a 50+ point turn to get out... Walmart is miserably busy on Saturdays... it was one of those days... Plus taking a bunch of little kids with you on errands can be exhausting, it's just the way it goes-- and for some odd reason they were in especially rare form that day.  So, even though Aldi was on the way home, I bypassed it, dropped the kids off at home with Hannah, turned around, and headed to Aldi.  By now, I was just itching to go back home, but I still had those last couple of items to get, and I was determined to get everything done.

I was still driving our 15-passenger van because it was the only available vehicle at the time anyway.

With John-David (12) in the passenger seat, I looked for a close spot to the entrance to Aldi-- normally, when driving an extra large vehicle, you should probably choose a somewhat obscure spot that's easy to get out of.  I knew this, but I ignored it because I was so tired, I just wanted to get in, out, and done.  Well, I learned the hard way to not ignore that in the future.  As I pulled into the spot I heard a slight, high screech.  John-David's eyes seemed to swell to three times their regular size as he looked at me.  I had scratched the car next to me with the bumper-- I was too close.

I finished pulling in and put the car in park.  I just covered my face with my hands.  AAAAAAAAH!  Can this day just be over already?  John-David went to look at it, "Oh, it's fine, it looks like some paint from our bumper came off on it.  Here, I'll go clean it off."  I breathed a sigh of relief and went to go help him.  But it didn't clean off-- it stayed there, because it wasn't paint-- it was actually the lack of paint on the bumper, a chip, accompanied by two white scratches.  They weren't major, in fact, they were almost unnoticeable, I could have just walked away, and nobody would have been the wiser.  But I couldn't do that.  I knew that I had damaged this person's car, and I had to pay for it.

I got back in the van and called Daddy.  He instructed me on the info that I needed to give the owner of the car once he/she got there, until then I would wait for them to come out.  When she got there, she was very gracious with me, took my info, and we parted ways.

I proceeded to lock up the van, not realizing that the keys were still in the ignition until I had gotten back with all of the groceries.  Blessedly, John-David still had a clear head on his shoulders (I just wanted to run home on my own two feet at that point) and remembered a "secret" way to get in.

Yes, I finally went home, and yes, the day actually ended.

The next day, I got a phone call from the car owner, "I decided that it's not that bad-- something I can live with-- I don't want your parents' insurance going up by making a claim... so don't worry about it."  Wow, I felt so blessed!  Daddy wanted to do something for the woman, because she had been so gracious, so I put him on the phone to talk to her.

Do you believe that God's power is made perfect in weakness?  Do you really?  I mean, I know that I had read it in my Bible a thousand times, my head knew it.  Now my heart knows it.  I mean, really knows it.  Really, really.

During the phone conversation between the car owner and my dad, the only thing that she requested was prayer.  For her adult daughter. Her spiritual state.  God had ordained everything.  My dad was in the middle of reading a book that pertained to the very specific topic that the car owner had expressed.  He offered to give it to her, and prayed with her right there on the spot.

A couple days later, we met the car owner at Starbucks, my dad had picked up a secondary copy of the book to give to the woman for her daughter.  "It's strange," she shrugged, "I was at the Christian bookstore the other day, I've been looking for something to read recently...  I couldn't find anything."

 Who knows how that woman and her daughter will be blessed and grown in their love for God through that seed of a book.

If I hadn't decided to bring everyone with me, if I hadn't had to make that 50+ point turn in the Goodwill parking lot, if Walmart hadn't been miserable, (etc, etc, etc) I wouldn't have been as tired and weak as to ignore the logical warnings in my head as to park in a reasonable spot.  I wouldn't have scratched the car, I wouldn't have spoken with the car owner, she never would have gotten that book, or the prayer offered on hers and her daughter's behalf.

 "And He has said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.' "

Is it hard for me to admit that I scratched somebody's car publicly?  Um, <bites lip> yeah.

"Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in meTherefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong."

~2 Corinthians 12:9-10

I have written on this topic before, but for some reason, I always tend to forget.  I fail to recognize that when things go wrong, when I feel weak, when I'm exhausted, when I feel like I can't go on, that's right when God rolls up His sleeves.  It's when I feel useless that God sees me as most useful.  When I am humble, not relying upon my own strength, it paves the way for God's glory to radiate the brightest through me.

Lord Jesus, forgive me for forgetting.  How Your plans never cease to amaze me.  That you could use a broken, frail vessel like me...