It all started when I forgot the sunscreen. But in order to put this story in its proper context, I need to start with Tuesday.
Tuesday morning I had to take care of a $900 bill we don’t owe. Company A wants their moolah, and Company B keeps saying they’ll pay it after I fill out my 768th form, sign document #5,112, and call for the 118th time to update my information since their “system” conveniently keeps glitching and losing information just before pay-out time comes. Since both companies have bigger communication problems than Apollo 11 and NASA, I’m trying to fill the gap between the two before disaster strikes.
So Tuesday morning, I’m preparing to drive to Company B. As soon as my feet touch the porch, it hits. That feeling in my gut that something isn’t going to go right.
Should I stay home, God?
He didn’t say, so I decided to act before I heard Aerosmith’s Don’t Want to Miss a Thing playing in the background.
I get there and see three receptionists free and next to no other patrons, so I think, Hey, I might not be in here long after all.
I should’ve known that the receptionists’ rate of speed is directly proportionate to the number of clients on hand (think supply and demand), so only one receptionist is actively helping others, and she’s waiting 10-15 minutes after a client leaves to call the next one up.
At least I packed my art supplies. I got some hand lettering done.
I finally get help, and she needs something I wasn’t expecting. (Again with their “system” glitching.) She tells me she’ll call me that night, and I know she won’t, because–again–I am coordinating between Apollo and NASA.
The rest of Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday goes bumpy. Company B still hasn’t called, my husband and I both got sick (who gets sick in June?!?), and I’ve got a pulled or torn hamstring (which really isn’t good when I remind everyone I have two kids under two). Also, I have numerous friends who want to get together, but I’m stuck at home because between working 50 hours a week, getting hurt, and having a cold, my husband hasn’t been able to switch our tires on one car to summer tires. I haven’t been able to, either, for the same reasons. It’s okay, we think. We’ll just keep that car at home so we don’t get a huge ticket for having studded tires on in June. (I don’t know how much, but I’ve heard it’s $10 PER stud.) We’ll have time to switch the tires next week.
Then Friday happened.
I was feeling blue, and I knew some time out in the sun would fix me up. So I took the kids out with me.
I was feeling great, until I realized I forgot the sunscreen. I noticed Chloe’s skin turning red and knew I had to get her in right away. She didn’t want to go inside, so–like any reasonable almost-two-year-old–she threw a tantrum.
And hurt herself.
I pick her up and rush her inside. I know she’s hurting badly by her behavior, so I call our doctor. His assistant tells me what probably happened and that I need to get Chloe there right away before the doctor leaves for the weekend. I look at the clock. It’s 3:38 Friday afternoon. We live about 20 miles away, and over five of those miles are construction. (Welcome to Alaska.)
Realizing how short time is, I throw everyone in the car. I call Matt at work and tell him what’s going on as I’m running a screaming toddler and a confused infant to the car, while grabbing my purse and trying to remember where I put my keys in the chaos of it all.
I didn’t have time to change, and I realize I left the house in leggings. Being modest, I don’t do that kind of thing. Thankfully, there was a sweater in the passenger seat, so I tied it around my waist at a red light (without taking off my seatbelt!). As I’m tying it, I realize I’ve sweat through my deodorant, and my pits are soaked. My hair is in the non-stylish messy bun, and I’m trying to rub something annoying out of my eye as I drive down the one-lane “highway” caught behind someone who’s going 10 miles below the speed limit. (Another common Alaskan scenario).
Sweaty pits, dirty face, ratty hair, and an injured toddler in the backseat at the eleventh hour before the weekend, I really don’t want a police officer to catch my studded tires and pull me over. I felt like a felon the second I heard myself say, “Lord, please keep the cops away from me.”
Matt’s in the doctor’s parking lot and comes to help unpack the girls while I run inside and check Chloe in before the doctor leaves. I come running into the office, getting strange looks because it’s a hot sunny day and here I am in a long-sleeve shirt, long leggings, with a sweater tied around my waist checking in an imaginary child. That’s right; I was the Hot Mess Mom on Friday.
And the kicker: After the doctor has Chloe all better, I get back in the car and smack my forehead when I see that Company B called while I was in the doctor’s office and couldn’t answer. And they didn’t leave a message.
This whole ordeal was a fairly gentle reminder to triple-layer my deodorant and get dressed in jeans every morning because with toddlers, I just never know.
But, since my blog is about Jesus, not Degree or Levi’s, I have to tie Christ into this somehow. I was wondering how to accomplish this goal all the way home from the chaos. (Which was a long time since construction was backed up for two miles and then someone ran a red light and almost hit me, then pulled in front me and drove below the speed limit. On a side note, this blog is going to kill Alaska’s tourism industry.)
So I’m thinking about Jesus most of the way home, and it hit me: How many times have I hurt myself by resisting God? Chloe wouldn’t have been hurt if she hadn’t thrown a tantrum. How many times has the Lord sweetly told me the way to go, and I’ve been too scared, too selfish, or too tempted to obey Him? I was telling Chloe to go inside to protect her skin, and when God lovingly tells me to do (or not to do) something, He is looking out for my best interest.
Another wonderful thing about God: When I resist Him and go the wrong way, He is there when things blow up in my face. The second I cry out in pain, He sweeps me up, comforts me, and gets me on the path to fixing me up. He doesn’t say “I told you so,” or, “Well, you got yourself in this mess, get yourself out.” Instead, He gives me mercy, love, comfort, and grace in my self-afflicted pain (that could’ve been avoided if only I’d obeyed Him).
Do I still pay a price when I disobey Him? Yes. Chloe missed out on hours of playtime. She experienced pain. She was scared when the doctor fixed her. But she also gained valuable treasures: She realized how much I care for her and how much I can be trusted. As soon as she felt better, she melted on my lap and gave me the biggest, sweetest hug. And I loved her in such a tender way at that time.
We lose opportunities when we resist the Lord’s will. We experience pain and fear. But we also learn how faithful God is, and God, like a good father, loves us tenderly and in a special way when we hurt.