I Cannot Deny that He is Present

I start off my day with an alarm clock chirping to warn me of the impending workday. It’s not just any workday, however; it’s Saturday.

I roll over in an attempt to ignore my alarm clock and realize that sometime between going to bed and waking up, I’ve been joined by my handsome husband. The thought of leaving him so soon on one of our mutually free mornings seems cruel.

He gently reminds me to get up and I finally come around. No time to shower. Start the coffee and grab a bowl of cereal. Who knows how long this day could be.

I borrow the Jeep for traction and head off. When I arrive, I’m not surprised to see that I’m the last one in.

Five hours sneak past me and I look up to find myself no longer surrounded by a team, but rather I am with only one other woman who has stuck out the day with me. I tell her to pack up and head home. I need a break and I’ll come back to finish.

One hour is all I can afford to see my husband before he goes to work for the evening. I plan to shower him with attention but by the time I walk in, my stomach is growling. I need lunch.

He makes me a lunch and patiently listens to my exhausted babble before sending me back to work to finish out my day. I hate to leave again but I go, knowing I have less than two hours to meet my deadline to ship; FedEx should have later pick-ups on Saturdays.

I get to work and the door doesn’t open. Locked as locked can be. I pull out my extra set of keys to trigger the unlock and remember I took the pass off during the week. It’s on my main set now so I can have them when I need them. But I took the Jeep today. A week too late.

A phone call and a few minutes later, Fred pulls up and hands off my keys, giving me a small pep talk before zooming off to work. I truly love that man.

Race the clock. One hour down. After losing so much time with my key debacle, I now have to cut my losses. I pack up the Jeep and head off to FedEx to make the 4pm delivery. On the way, I call Fred for reinforcement. He tells me to back and finish the job. Whether FedEx delivers or not, I’ll have done my part.

I know he’s right so I head back to work for the third time today. I let myself in and this time, I turn on the radio. Black Keys. I get into a rhythm and start to feel a little rush of energy now that my deadline’s blown. I go over the paperwork for the shipment carefully and, once convinced that I have everything in order, I head back to FedEx.

The woman smiles when she sees me. “You again?” she asks.

“Last one of the day.” I reply and turn to leave.

“Just in time.” she says. “They haven’t come yet.”

I, forty-five minutes past pick-up, make the deadline. The rush of relief is tangible – formed into tiny droplets that well-up under my eyes.

I hastily exit with a smile and tears on my face and take a deep breath of the cold air outside.

God is ever-present in our lives.

I don’t know how people can go through life denying His hand… He is there.

My heart is humbled and joyed on my ride home and my head is full of thankful prayers. It might seem simple, but it is the simple things that make up our days.

I turn into our apartment complex and see “reverse” lights coming toward me. She’ll see me. I’m driving a big, red Jeep. She has to see me.

I reach for the horn to tap a warning but the horn hasn’t worked in over a year. It’s not my car and I’ve wasted precious reaction time.

CRUNCH.

I look down my driver’s side window and see a hood dented up toward me. The driver drives back into her parking spot and I park on the opposite side. I open the door, expecting the worst.

The door swings freely and I shut it with no extra force. I look at the door. Then I look at the front. Then the back. Then I rub my hand along the side. I crouch down and look at different angles.

That car did hit my driver’s side, didn’t it?

I replay the collision in my head and I’m certain she back up into my driver’s side door.

At this time, she walks over. She’s young. She seems apologetic and admits that she didn’t see me. I continue to look at the car and ask her how she is. She was doing fine until now but I tell her my day had started poorly and that unexpected things happened to make it better.

“It’s weird.” I tell her. “I don’t see any damage on my car. I think this is another one of those good things.”

By this time, her mother has come out to join us. She asks what happens and her daughter explains the situation. Now all three of us are looking at the car. After some disbelief and relief, an offer to come over if I see anything later, and well-wishes, we part ways.

This is strange. Strange, but good. Strange because it is unexpected. And certainly from God. I am not deserving, but He loves me. And it won’t happen to me often (though it might), but He wants me to feel His love in my life.

I am loved.

I started my day with stress, regret, and guilt. After blowing my deadline, I started to struggle with the choice between husband and work while conflicted that the deadline wasn’t entirely my own to begin with.

I believe that God used the snow’s delay at FedEx to let me know that He values my relationship with my husband. To remind me that I am a hard worker and that I should find some peace in that, even if I miss a deadline. I believe that a car collision without damage or harm is a definite warning that the horn needs to be looked after – that God gives us the tools to be safe and that we need to empower ourselves to use them. I also believe it will be a warning for the young woman who backed into me – a “painless” lesson in the importance of staying alert.

I believe that today has been a very loud message from God to say nothing more than: “I am here. You are looked after.”

And that says it all.

Naps Make Me Sleepy.

I never take naps, except today it seemed like a good idea. I got up at 4:30am to volunteer at the Detroit Zoo for the Scleroderma Foundation (scleroderma is an autoimmune disease that effects the growth of skin cells). The Foundation hosted a walk/run to raise money for finding a cure and I was invited to set up and sign in participants by the Live to Give Foundation (L2G) (check out this non-profit if you haven’t yet – started by two U of M graduates who are currently 24/25 years old and doing amazing things!). I’m driving to Grand Rapids later in the evening so a nap seemed appropriate. But now that I’ve napped, I’m feeling more sluggish than before. What is that?

I’m days away from moving back to Grand Rapids and I think that God has been doing a lot of heavy lifting lately. What I mean to say is that I think God wants to be able to watch me use the skills and abilities He has given me to seek out opportunities, to let me take the initiative and be proactive. Lately, however, He’s been the proactive one and I’ve been the recipient of His hard work. I’ve done some amazing things in the past 10 months but I wonder if the majority of it hasn’t resulted from someone else’s action, urging, or initiative. On the plus side, I believe that God sees when we’re struggling to keep our head above water so He sends us people to help us swim. Even so, I feel incredibly blessed by His action through others.

What I have had to do on my own, however, is remember who I am. I mentioned it in an earlier post, but it has taken me quite a while to get back to a positive starting point. Some things, in particular, that I’ve recalled?

  • I’m strong. I’m not some faint flower who can’t do anything on my own and needs the constant support of those around me. In fact, I want to be strong enough that I can hold myself up and share the yolk of my friends and family. I think I unknowingly put a lot of pressure on the people around me by always needing them to hold me up. Like a wet noodle. And we all know…There’s only one thing a wet noodle is good for and that’s spaghetti! What does that mean? Hell if I know.
  • I’m funny. Really funny. I actually think I’m hilarious, which I think is funny in itself. But the truth is when I forget that I’m funny, I wait around for someone else to make me laugh and I stop looking for humor in my own life. Life is much more fun when it’s humorous.
  • I’m smart. It’s easy to overlook my own intelligence when I’m surrounded by people who are “at my level.” Think about it. Above average feels average when everyone around me is above average too, right? But here is what I’ve realized: Someone else’s intelligence does not negate my own.
  • I’m competent and I’m capable. During my internship, I went from furrowing my brow over a Michigan state tax return to completing multiple state returns and filing changes in accounting. I’m able.
  • I can beat my fears. Go back to being strong. My fears don’t own me. And they can’t paralyze me unless I let them. I’ve also come to realize that most of my fears have less to do with the actual challenge at hand and a lot more to do with the fear of being embarrassed (except when it comes to bugs and collar bones *shudder*). Being embarrassed really is a silly fear. Mind over matter. “I’ll be embarrassed if I try this and flop.” No. “If I try this and flop, I’ll be proud of myself for trying and it’ll give me something to laugh about in the future.” It’s easier said than done, but it can be done.
  • I’m adaptable. Put me in a situation (within bounds of reason) and I’ll figure it out. New surroundings or challenges don’t have to derail me. I’ll adjust. I can be okay with changing my plans, whether or not I’d like to.
  • I’m fun! I’d hang out with me. Would you hang out with you? (Hint: The answer should be yes.)
  • I’m a positive person. This is the second to most important thing I’ve remembered about myself. I think (Okay, okay. So I know. But who really wants to acknowledge that?!) that I’ve been a negative Nancy for too long. Arms folded. Bad attitude. Debby Downer. WHAT?!? That’s SO. NOT. ME. I mean, sure, it was me. But it’s not me! At my core, I’m a positive Polly. And I don’t know how I came to take on this negative persona. I think maybe it started as some attempt at being a hard ass and just spiraled downward. Haha, because I’m soo incredibly tough, right? Please.
  • #1 on the list? I have a lot to offer and I am worthy. I can recall multiple situations where I met people and suddenly forgot that. I stood like a wallflower as people passed around exciting stories because I thought I didn’t have anything to add. Seriously? I may only be in my 20’s but I have a lot to offer and I am worthy.
  • I feel like it sounds pompous to list it out like this, but go through the list and tell me if you feel the same about yourself. You should.