A couple of weeks ago our little family went out of state on a vacation. We stayed in a yurt in Arkansas and then made our way up to Memphis.
It was in Memphis we saw God move.
Now, I personally have been stuck in a 'where are you God' 'You've got to give me something' phase with Him for a bit. Have you been there? It's tough...
Needless to say, He showed off over and over this weekend. Let me tell you about it.
Since we were in Memphis, of course, we had to go eat some BBQ. I literally spent all afternoon researching the top BBQ joints in Memphis, ratings and reviews and location to where we were. Because if we are going to eat Memphis BBQ it's going to be some of the best. Am I right? I finally decided on a place only 23 minutes from where we were staying. We packed the kids up in the car and began our drive. A couple minutes in I switched the joint I was wanting to eat at to one that was about 45 minutes away in Germantown, I think was the name. (It had better reviews and apparently an amazing homemade banana pudding for dessert)
On the way there, after we got off the highway, our vehicle started acting funny. The right tire was making some super crazy grinding noise. When we came to a red light it seemed to get worse. At one point it felt like the whole right wheel just locked up on us for a split second.
We arrived at the BBQ joint hole in the wall place. Now let me tell you, this BBQ sandwich I got was about the size of my face. It was absolutely incredible. Not to mention that banana pudding. Holy Cow! That made me want to slap my mama! (which was the slogan for it ha).
The kiddos and I scarfed our food down with no worries about the vehicle while my husband thought about how we were going to get back the entire dinner. After that amazing BBQ, we hopped into the car. Just pulling out of the parking lot was a nightmare. The wheel was grinding on something, then there was a loud pop and it was working fine. We drove onto the road through a few stop lights again and one we barely stopped. A Walgreens was right next to us so we pulled in there hoping that we would be able to stop the vehicle or even turn it. Guys, it was bad. Let me also say we were a mile from getting onto the highway.
My anxiety was almost through the roof, as was my husbands. I immediately called roadside assistance. Thank you, Allstate. The first towing place they sent me to were two hours out of town! Mind you it was probably 8:30 at night, the kiddos bedtime. Ya... I passed on that tow truck and they sent me to another tow truck company who was only an hour out. I took it. While we were waiting, we called literally every friend and family member we knew that might know someone in Memphis. The tow truck could not hold all five of us to take us back to the tow place. I was trying so hard to find numbers to Taxi companies in town, even went into Walgreens and asked with no luck. I'm resorting (and freaking out) about having to stay at Walgreens with the kids for who knows how long. My husband was on the phone with every rental car place possible to see if they would bring one to us. Nothing. We were freaking out. The kids could tell and they began crying, well more like a screaming cry. They were tired and confused.
Then God began to move.
Whoo! I don't sing Gospel but if I did...
The tow truck guy called me to let me know he was a few minutes out and where we wanted the vehicle taken. I had no idea, there were no mechanics open that late. He then proceeded to tell me there was a mechanic back at the towing shop if we wanted to take it back there. It was a family owned business so they lived in the building. Yes, please. I said. What mechanic is working this late?
Now to figure out what the screaming/crying kids and I are going to do. I called my sister-in-law (thank you Ami) and after a bit, she asked if we had ever tried Uber. Nope, we hadn't. I quickly got off the phone with her and downloaded the Uber app. Had to sign up for an account. Which was making me a bit more frustrated but I just didn't know what else to do at this point. The tow truck guy had arrived and I just pictured the kids and I waiting around in Walgreens with three car seats for an hour. I was all set up on the app and had no idea what I was doing. I clicked the only blinking button that said set your location. Six minutes. A van arrived in six minutes. I kid you not. I wanted to laugh and cry at the same time.
We piled into the van and the driver followed the tow truck to a little town called Olive Branch in Mississippi. We were telling the driver how grateful we were for him getting us there so quickly and we had never even heard of Uber until then. The kind driver gave us a $20 coupon code and we got the ride for free because it was our first time. Bring on more laughing and crying and praising.
By this time it is close to 10pm. Way past the kids bed time. We walk into the front office and take a seat. My husband goes back to the mechanic and looks at the car. Did I mention the family lives there? They had a living room right off the office. I glance over and there are two little kids heads that poke out. One exactly the age of our oldest the other the age of our second oldest. They both walk over and ask if our kids want to play. And they do.
More laughing and crying and praising (in my head, I didn't want to freak the lady up front out any more than I had).
While my husband is in the back the mechanic tells him a bolt fell out of some vital part of the vehicle and rammed itself into the rim. The caliper I think? Anyway, the brake thing was dangling by one more bolt that was just about to fall out. Had we made it one more mile to the highway, I'm certain it could have been a very very very bad accident.
Side story: When we left the restaurant, I was begging God to get us home safely. Begging. And then we had to pull into the Walgreens parking lot. I was so frustrated, but now I know why we only made it to Walgreens. Do you ever get frustrated in the heat of the moment at God for not answering your prayers exactly how you think they should be answered?
The mechanic told my husband he didn't have one of the bolts to fix it, but could get them in the morning. The tow truck guy happens to walk in on this conversation and told them he might have one on the truck. When he came back it was the wrong one. Dang. Hang on, he said. He went back to his truck and came back to the shop with none other than the exact bolt that was needed.
More silent laughing, crying and praising.
Now, we were freaking out a bit about the bill because we only had enough for the trip in our account. Our emergency fund is not directly linked to our account. That will change. We were calling his parents and my parents to see if they had extra in their account we could borrow and pay them back as soon as we got home. Theirs were in separate accounts. Panic rises. We knew this was going to be quite the bill. A mechanic is working at 10 o'clock at night! He brings out the bill and we are prepared to negotiate or leave the car if we have to until we can get the money transferred.
That was all he charged us. If I could make a gif of myself doing the mind blown action, I would. But, I don't know how. We saw God move so much that night. First through changing my mind last minute about which BBQ place to eat at. Then, literally stopping the car in Walgreens, finding a tow truck relatively close, using my sis-in-law to suggest Uber, Uber showing up in minutes to haul a family of five, the driver giving us a free ride, a mechanic working that late, kids my kiddos age living at the tow place for them to play with and the driver finding the exact bolt we needed. Then that bill comes, and there were no more words. No more praises we could give him to express our joy in Him. Silence with blown minds is what we offered up to Him that night. I imagine Him chuckling with a contagious joy, like a little kid, when our minds became so overwhelmed with what He had done for us.
I'm still here,
just look for me.
I see you, God. I'm going to hold your hand even tighter so I do not slip.
"Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand." Psalm 37:24
It can be so difficult to not see God in our everyday lives. It can also be easy for us to drift away from Him when we don't feel that His presence is close. Had God not of orchestrated all of this, it would have been ok. Because my God is good and His presence never leaves us.
"Be strong and courageous; don't be terrified or afraid of them. For it is the Lord your God who goes with you; He will not leave you or forsake you." Deuteronomy 31:6
He can be so quiet sometimes days, weeks, even years. But, when He shows off, it will be mind blowing, a loss for words, present.
My God is so good,
you'll want to slap your mama.