I was just not meant to go to Target last Wednesday. Granted, I had me some grand plans to go there, maybe hit Kohl’s, go out for lunch, make a day of it. My Mom, recently recovered from major surgery, was supposed to meet me there. Yup, as soon as my big kids hopped on the bus, I was tearing out that driveway (after strapping my twins in their car seats) and doing some shopping. Is that what happened? Uh, no.
So, Wednesday morning I had my kids ready to roll, backpacks on, teeth brushed. I had myself all geared up, snacks for twins packed, coupons ready to be used. The bus rolls up, big kids get on. I do my “Mommy wave” from the doorway. (Yes, sometimes I DO wait outside with them for the bus, just not that day) As the bus pulled away, I gathered up an armload of things to take out to my van. I didn’t get too far before an extremely audible gasp escaped me–my rear tire was completely flat. As a pancake. Now granted, I’ve had flats several times in my life. Have I ever changed one myself? Uh, no. I vaguely remember one of my parents giving me a little tutorial on how to change a flat, probably right after getting my first car. I’ve always had the distinct luck of some young man coming along and helping out this damsel in distress. Right away I called my mother to tell her not leave her house yet. “Do you have AAA?” she asks. Uh, yes. Can’t recall ever really using it. She told me to give them a call, maybe they would come out and help me. Why yes, the polite young man who answered from AAA, we will have someone out in less than an hour. Okay, I can handle an hour. Hey, maybe I’ll give the house a quick clean while I wait. This isn’t so bad. An hour passes. The phone rings. It’s AAA again. “We’re just leaving for your house, be there in probably 20 minutes.” Cool. What’s another 20? (Actually, by this time I am berating myself for not just going out and changing it myself! What am I, a priss?) 20 or 30 more minutes pass. The phone rings again. It’s the tow truck man. “Umm, ma’am? We are on your road and all we see are fields.” “Are you sure you’re on the right road?” He gets slightly huffy with me. You see, I live in a fairly rural area where there are two roads of the same exact name, just a township in between the two. I had explicitly explained this to switchboard AAA guy, hoping he would pass on the info. Apparently not. I explain again to tow truck man and he finally wheels in, 20 minutes later. It takes him all of 5 minutes to change my flat.
So, I didn’t end up at Target after all. I ended up waiting a good portion of my morning for someone to help me, then taking my bad tire to get patched. Did I have a good attitude the entire time? No I did not. Certainly not terrible, there’s times when such a thing would throw me into a tizzy. And no, I didn’t tell you this story with the intention of whining or bemoaning my troubles. Everyone–yes EVERYONE–has things like this that happen to them. Even if you think you’re the only one. Here’s a little encouragement for you from one of my favorite verses in the Bible, one that has been a great comfort in times of stress and troubles: “See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands, your walls are ever before me.” Isaiah 49:16 NIV. What does this verse mean? It means that no matter what troubles we are gong through, big or small, God knows every detail, is holding us so tightly that we are “engraved” on his palms. Friend, I hope this encourages you today, no matter what you are experiencing at this present time.
When I was going through my flat tire dabacle, a recent song from Francesca Batastelli popped into my head. She is an amazing Christian singer and songwriter. The song that came to me is called “This is the Stuff You Use,” and it talks about all the little messes we find ourselves in and how God uses them not to harm us, but to build our character and help us to trust in him for everything. When our kids were being difficult or I was particularly frustrated with them, I will laughingly tell my husband, “don’t worry, they’re building my character.” So, I will end my little saga with some words from Francesca Batastelli’s song: “This is the stuff that drives me crazy, This is the stuff that’s getting to me lately, In the middle of my little mess, I forget how big I’m blessed, This is the stuff that gets under my skin, But I’ve got to trust you know exactly what you’re doing, Might not be what I would choose, But this is the stuff you use.” She also sings the lines,” So break me of impatience, conquer my frustrations, I’ve got a new appreciation, It’s not the end of the world.”