Ever had one of those days when you feel like nothing you do is right? I have been having those days more often than I’d like to lately. It is just plain pitiful!
You know those moments(or in my case weeks) when you burn the toast, forget the laundry in the washer machine and now have to re-run it and try to remember it again so you won’t have to wash it a third time, when you say something you didn’t mean to your husband or friend, when someone points out something about you that you just weren’t ready to hear yet but it was oh so true…ugh!
Then I start having a “pity party” for myself for having one of those days and the cycle continues. Am I the only one?
Yesterday I was reminded that I have been pitiful. Pity filled. Just full of pity. And that I need to check my perspective. The reminder that I received yesterday could have been more physical however it had more of an emotional impact on me, which I think made it so powerful.
Our entire family was at church serving in the children’s ministry for our young adult church service. Before we got to the church we said we needed to stop by the local gas station on the way home to pick up milk since it would be so late when we finished serving. (We go through at least a half gallon a day!) We said we would leave at 8:30 pm. 8:30 pm came and we were running a bit behind leaving. 8:45 pm and we were getting ready to head out of the church. We were stopped by security and escorted out. There had been a violent event that took place down the street around 8:30 pm. Guess where? At the gas station we were supposed to be heading to after church around 8:30 pm. As we drove past the gas station that was lit up with red and blue police lights, yellow flashing fire truck lights, yellow and black caution tape, and a large crowd of people standing around in shock… we knew that God had saved us. I began to tear up. What if? What if we would have left when we said? What if we would have been at that gas station at the time of the incident? What would I have done if I lost my family? What would they have done if they lost me?
I wrote this almost two weeks ago on November 29, 2016. We later found out that a man was shot that day. I realized while I was writing this that I needed to PAUSE…So that’s what I did.
I needed to pause, to realign myself with God, prioritize my life and my thoughts. I needed to step back and smell the roses. Not sure if it was post-holiday blues , my hormones, or what triggered this, but I knew I needed to get out of that funk and quick. So I just played with our kids, went to the park with my family, read devotionals and the Bible a lot, prayed, sang along with praise and worship music, and just enjoyed the every day moments, in between balling my eyes out. It was bad. Really bad guys.
During this break from social media, from social settings, from writing, from my own racetrack of a mind, I was reminded that this was not the first time I had been “saved.” I have had at least 3 life threatening situations where I know it was nobody but the hand of God covering and protecting me.
One was when I was driving while in college years (let’s just say over 15 years ago) during a heavy rain heading to work, my little cute, used, very low mileage, Chevy Tracker hydroplaned on a major highway. I spun out of control more times than I could count while hitting several cars and only coming to a complete stop with the help of the concrete barrier…I walked out of my totaled car, unharmed , banged up and alive. I believe in those moments, the prayers of covering over me from various people saved me.
Another instance about a few months after that first accident I was in, I had the opportunity to travel abroad in Tanzania for 2 months going into my senior year of college. It was such an amazing experience that I took advantage of every moment I could, including taking a bus to Mount Kilimanjaro. It was beautiful and cold there and one of my friends and I were ready to go, so we found a cheap bus to get back to the city. As we curved around the cold mountains at speeds faster than Dale Earnhardt and while passing other buses driving like they were on the German Autobahn, beeping their horns like that would help…we flipped over. In a country that we went to learn a language that we barely knew (Swahili), no quick access to phones(no cellphones with free international calls back then) and not the best medical care, all I remember hearing distinctively was “Jesus, Jesus , Jesus” from some seasoned women as they cried and wailed. I will never forget those screams, cries, and the sheer terror we all felt. But, in true African style, a tow truck came to pick the bus up and tipped back up right and off we went. Yep, back on the same exact bus. Crazy, I know. But we were all safe, believe it or not. The poor bus was the one that was hurt the most, it was in a pitiful state but it was still drivable. I believe that day, those wise old souls calling out to Jesus in those moments of flipping over saved us.
Towards the middle of graduate school, as I was driving home in my 3 year old car, I smelled something burning. I had no idea it was my car! So as I was rolling on the highway in Atlanta, another driver in a car was waving at me . It was a sunny day, I was feeling good, heading home to see my hubby so I waved back…Hey! So when they continued to wave(aka flag me down) I saw the look of horror on their face. Oh, you said there is a fire! I pulled over easily in a median(which is a rarity in Atlanta, especially by Spaghetti Junction when there is traffic 24/7). I quickly grabbed the essentials, my books! I had finals coming up and was so tired of being in school and was ready to graduate. Oh yeah, I grabbed my purse too and stood back and watched my car burn. Disintegrated. Totaled. I know that God saved me this day.
(On a lighter note, umm…what is it with me and all of these deathly modes of transportation ? God, are you trying to tell me something here?!?” )
It’s so sobering and humbling knowing that it is a possibility that today could have possibly been a mere “it never happened/ what if” kind of day. I wouldn’t have been a mom to my 3 amazing kids , be able to be the wife I am, or be able to share God’s love like this today. It’s a shame that it takes a violent or near-death incident to be thankful for the life we have, frustrations and all …because we are blessed to even have a life to live.
Needless to say, I am pity-partied out! Like that bus in Tanzania that tipped over while I was on it, I needed to be “picked back upright” by God, dusted off, and to keep on moving. So, that is where I am at, “dusting off.”
It is my prayer that you and I no longer have to experience events or tragedies that causes our lives to flash before our eyes to realize the blessing of life. Will I ever have moments of pity again, I’d like to think not but I honestly had a few brief moments this week…oh, who am I kidding, today! Goodness, how easily I forget.
Having a relationship with the Lord is the only pity-reliever from a long night, week, or life of pity-partying. Prayer is a great pity-party hangover cure(I am praying constantly. SO much so that when Little C hears me she says, “Oh she’s just talking to God again!). I am thankful everyday for His grace and mercy. As grateful as I am for my amazing husband, my precious children, my awesome friends, only God can bring me joy (even though my family is a very close second). God is working on me so that I will have more joy than pity, even in the midst of trials…and He can do the same for you.
“You will teach me the right way to live. Just being with you will bring complete happiness. Being at your right side will make me happy forever.” Psalm 16:11 (ERV)
We all have moments when we are feeling down, blue, or pity filled. How do you get out of your rut? Is it time to get flipped back upright? Don’t focus on how long you are filled with pity but why and seek the One that can help restore you and fill you with joy.