My eyes opened. It was still dark outside so I knew it was still early. I rubbed my eyes and rolled onto my back. I was stressed and when I’m stressed I don’t sleep well. I had been tossing and turning all night. Our finances, or lack thereof, had me worried and I hated that I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I was able to doze off for a little bit but woke up again. I rolled over and snuggled with my husband. I love listening to him breathe and his warm skin always comforts me. But just as I start to doze off again my princess started yelling for me and I knew there was no sleep in my immediate future.
I get up and start the Sunday morning routine. Get the little girl her cereal, fumble with the coffee pot and sit down for a cup. When the rest of the house is up I start getting ready for church. Midway through getting ready I head over to the younger boys room and tell them they need to start getting ready. I receive an attitude so, in turn, I yell. Frustrated I stand in my bathroom, looking at the bottle of my anxiety medication. About three weeks of the month I don’t need it but we are creeping closer to that one week I do. For some reason I take a double dose, I just had this feeling that I was going to need it and turns out I was right, and I continue getting ready. A couple of moments later I hear a knock on my bedroom door.
“What?” I grumble.
“Lori” says Payton, “I just want to say sorry for giving you attitude earlier”.
“It’s ok. Thank you for apologizing”.
That’s weird. Very rarely do preteen boys apologize on their own so quickly. When Jason came in I asked if he had said something to Payton that prompted his apology.
As we were leaving for church we took two separate cars. Jason was taking the boys to a football camp right after church and I was staying at church to help. I had most the kids with me in the car and as we are driving, they apologize. Their unsolicited apologies about their attitude earlier make me feel better and when we get to church I start to relax. My church is my home away from home and I always feel better when I am surrounded by my church family. In the beginning of service I sneak off to the back to help with offering. On the way to the back of the sanctuary Christina, my best friend, follows me. She helps with offering as well so we walk over to where we need to be and wait. Because she knows me well she immediately sensed my aura.
“What’s wrong?” she asked.
“Just same old thing. I’m tired of talking about it”.
“I’m sorry honey”
After church I hang out, talking to my friends. Jason says he is going to take our larger car, with the working AC, to the football camp. I agree and we swap car keys. When I am done with helping close out the drawers for our churches grill (another thing I do to serve), Christina asks if she can ride with me to my house and grab her daughters bottle that she had left there. I tell her no problem and then give her the warning that the car we are driving has no AC so be prepared.
Christina, my two-year old princess Aliya, my six year old son Adan and I get into the blistering hot car. Luckily I live a short distance from church but in the Arizona summer, driving in a car with no AC can make even the shortest of trips seem like a walk in Dante’s Inferno. As we pull into my driveway I had a horrible realization. I didn’t have my house key and the garage door opener doesn’t work. I call Jason and ask if he had hidden the house key somewhere in the car. I hear the stress in his voice when he tells me that the house key is in his pockets.
“I’ll turn around and bring the key to you”
“Don’t” I say, agitated, “I’ll figure it out”
I hang up the phone and just look at my door, then at Christina, there are a million places I’d rather be than where I am at. I grab the garage door opener and tell her I’m going to take it to Walmart to get new batteries, I’m convinced that’s all I need to do. Just as we are about to get back into the car, Christina’s husband pulls up. I tell him my solution and he graciously grabs my controller and takes it to his parents house, just a few streets away, because they have new batteries. So the four of us wait in the scorching heat for our knight to return. After what seemed like an hour, but was maybe five minutes, he returns. My solution to getting into the house was a complete failure. I pushed and pushed the button, stood close to the garage, away from the garage…nothing worked. Defeated I told the kids to get back into the car. My voice cracked and tears leaked out my eyes. Christina walked up and wrapped her arms around me. I start to cry as my sweet friend thankfully takes control.
“Here’s what we’re gonna do. Follow us to my in-laws house. I will give you the keys to my house and you can hang out there until Jason is done”
So that’s what I did.
On my way driving to their house I realized that I was going to be okay. I felt so convicted to let my husband know that I wasn’t mad at him that I pulled over on to a side road and texted him. I didn’t want to take away from the fun that he was supposed to be having with the boys. I made it to Christina’s house and walked into the cool air-conditioned living room and smiled. Because they are like family to me, I felt no hesitation in making myself at home. I got the kids drinks, put a movie on and then made my way into Christina’s room where just the day before we had been going through her clothes. I knew there was a small pile that was mine and I knew that pile had shorts and a tank top in it. Relieved to be out of my hot outfit I sat on the couch with a glass of ice water and rested. When Christina and her family got home I got to hang out with them, something that I cherish.
Jason calls me when the football camp was over and tells me to meet him at Ross so we can take the kids back to school shopping. I put my kids in the hot car and drive to Ross with a big smile on my face. You see, a couple of days earlier I received a letter in the mail from a dear friend. She knew we were tight on cash and wanted to do something nice for our family. Enclosed in this letter was money for each kid. With her financial gift we were able to take all the kids to get new clothes for school. So even driving to the store in that ridiculously hot car made me grin ear to ear.
So easily I can let my situation, whatever it may be, get the best of me. I don’t want to trivialized what happened that Sunday – it was tough in those moments, but I was taken care of the whole way. My kids made me upset, but quickly apologized. I got locked out of my house; went to my best friends house, which is like my second home anyway. We are tight on money; we got blessed by a friend and we were able to take our kids shopping. I ended up having a really, really great day. Every time a cloud threatened to reside above my head something positive happened and the storm passed. My reminder to always find the silver lining in life.
Sunday was blatant proof that GOD IS GOOD. In the midst of all my struggles he nudged me and said “hey, I got this”. While my problems in life are anything but solved, I know that I will be okay. I will still have my bad days, I am human after all, but I will definitely be making a more concentrated effort on my view of things. I have got a beautiful family, a wonderful church family and a loving, forgiving Father. I need to remember those things when I am faced with adversity.
James 1:2-3 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.