The Great Flood

It was a normal day. I had just gotten off my shift at Jimmy John’s. The heavens had let loose with raindrops roughly the size of Wisconsin. Since I would rather eat cotton balls than get wet, I sat inside the door to wait for the rain to pass. When I realized that it wasn’t going to let up for a while (and I needed to get to the church on the other side of town), I decided to just commit. I ran to my car and jumped in only to discover six inches of water covering the entire floor of my car. I whirled around to find my back windshield shattered, glass all across my backseat, and water pouring in to my car!

  

The parking lot sits behind the store under the interstate overpass. My car was parked under a gutter. We have a couple theories. One is that the water bucketing down the water spout onto my car was so heavy that the windshield shattered under the weight. Another is from the mysterious empty beer can that was all nestled in my beak seat. It was a Coors Light. Sissy beer. No way was it mine. Apparently, it’s possible that Sissy Beer was tinkling around on the interstate, minding its own business when all of the sudden the water swept it off its can and rocketed it down the water spout and into my back seat.

 Turn your head sideways and note the spout in the corner of the picture. Tharr she blows!

The culprit.

My guitar was in the backseat. My purse was in the front seat. My phone was waterlogged, poor thing. It had been graying for a while now. I erupted in laughter. It may not have been the most appropriate reaction but in all seriousness, what else was I supposed to do?

I went inside to get things sorted out as my managers stood outside in the rain with the shop vac to suction as much water out of the car as possible and to get a makeshift windshield going. Amazing people. They came in absolutely drenched.

I was supposed to be at the church on the other side of town in thirty minutes to get ready to lead worship for the women’s summer bible study. I didn’t think I could make it. I didn’t have a car. My guitar was full of water. And no amount of rice could get the water out of my phone. My manager offered me a ride. My friend at the church offered his guitar. I guess I’m going after all.

I was soaked from being in the rain, so we swung by my house to grab some dry clothes. The only thing I didn’t change was my underwear (those suckers get a full 24-hour usage, no matter what). Well apparently wet underwear and dry pants eventually make for wet pants. Oh well, lesson learned.

When I was introduced, they had mentioned my long day including my damaged guitar. Afterwards, while everyone was mingling, I managed to get within a comfortable conversation bubble with the woman who spoke that night.

“What kind of guitar do you have?” she asked.
“Well, the one I was playing tonight is a Martin but mine is a Samick.”
She seemed like she knew guitars, so I asked if she played.
“I pick around a little,” she replied.
“Really? What kind of guitar do you have?”
“Oh I have a few Taylors.”
Gasp. “My dad has a Taylor! I always play it when I go home!”
“Well, my husband and I are moving to Austin and we are downsizing. I was thinking of selling one, but I think the Lord wants me to give it to you.”

Jaw dropped. Eyes popped. Pants wet, again.

I was absolutely floored. I’ve wanted a Taylor for a long time. She had me give her my number so we could meet up. I told her she could call but I probably wouldn’t answer, considering how dead my phone was. Her eyebrows lifted.

“Oh, well why don’t you meet me at my office tomorrow morning and we’ll go get you a phone?”

Double threat.

“This is crazy, you know. It’s too much.”

“Yeah, well that how our God gives. Isn’t He good?”

I don’t normally work on Tuesdays, but I was covering for a friend. I rarely park backwards under the interstate. I almost didn’t go to the bible study. They didn’t have to announce that my guitar was damaged. And this woman most certainly did not have to give me anything of hers. But it all happened. It may not be a big deal to the rest of the world, but I was deeply moved watching God move through the hearts of his people. I don’t know how I made it the whole day without crying enough tears to re-flood my car. I was overwhelmed with grace and peace from God our Father.

I contacted my dad and told him what was up. He finally told me I could get an iPhone. I couldn’t believe it. He couldn’t believe it. The items that have sat at the top of my Christmas list for years have fallen into my lap in a matter of hours. Insurance was taking care of the car and I should have it back in time to go home for Fourth of July next weekend. Unbelievable.

I tell this story because I’m nobody special. I grew up in a small town in Florida. I poop just like everyone else. And I have a God who is for me. He is faithful and constant, loving and true. It is not about the stuff. I felt silly that I was being given all these things that I had wanted for so long, especially when so many people have so little in this upside-down world. God isn’t supposed to care about stuff. Stuff fades. Stuff breaks. Stuff can’t give what our souls deeply hunger for. Hear me when I say that Jesus is the treasure. I asked him why all this happened. He said to let me know that he sees me, he knows me, he cares for me.

Sometimes I wonder if God came in the form of big fists of water that slammed my back window with such a glorious force, just to remind me who He is. My refuge and strength. Glory. Power. Majesty. Forever and ever. Amen.

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It’s Not Just A Town. It’s A-Town.

More often than not, the culprit in my lack of blogging is my inability to see anything interesting happen in my life. Not this day. Or really, the past two weeks. There are a few stories here and there that are on their way.

This past weekend was Roy’s 21st birthday. Roy is Ashley’s boyfriend. Ashley is one of my best friends. So Ashley and James and I hopped in a car and set out on the road to Atlanta to visit Roy on his big day. We spent the whole weekend perusing the city. Here are some highlights from the weekend adventure:

Friday night was a barbeque of beef and love and summer and lightning bugs and happy.

We got up EARLY on Saturday to hike to the top of Stone Mountain to catch the sunrise over the city.

I was unaware that I needed to train for this adventure. Halfway up, I was desperate to play it cool by breathing slow and steady so that no one would notice how out of shape I was. I think my back sweat (and pit sweat and lip sweat and face sweat and butt sweat) gave me away. Oh well. The view was worth it all.

Roy gave us a tour of the city. We stopped at Which Wich for lunch. Ash had fun…

Ashley: Why is there cranberry sauce on my turkey sandwich?
Me: That’s what comes on it.
Ashley: What? No, I didn’t ask for this.
Me: Yes you did. You wrote ‘Thank You’. You ordered the Thank You sandwich. It’s like Thanksgiving in your hands!
Ashley:  There’s a “Thank You” sandwich?! I was just being polite!

I LOVE CITY.

Gotta love when life hands you a means by which to justify the amount of cake you inhale in one night. Thank you Roy for turning 21 and allowing the buttons on my pants to question their authority.

Friends. Food. Fun. It doesn’t matter how old you are. That right there’s the trifecta of life.

 

Let Summer Begin! (For real this time.)

Well. Moving in to a new house is quite the experience. I’ve been in the dorm for the past three years. And finally the time has come. Four of my best girlfriends and I are moving in! We’ve taped and painted until our brains soaked up the fumes (that’s a story soon to come). We are quite literally painting every single room in our house. I’ve adopted the sun room as my baby. Butter yellow walls. Lots and lots of windows. Sunlight bursting through the blinds in the morning. A big red papasan reading chair. Sigh. Welcome to my happy place.

We haven’t gotten our internet up and running yet, which is why I haven’t written since my Grand Re-opening post. My internet today is hosted in a cozy bookshop. And my inbox is busting open. I’ll just pretend for now that I don’t have anything in there.

I’ve been reading pieces from The Valley of Vision each morning (in the sun room of course). It is a beautiful collection of old Puritan prayers and poems. Every line seems to drill its way deeper into my heart. I highly recommend to all peoples.

Let me learn by paradox
that the way down is the way up
that to be low is to be high
that the broken heart is the healed heart
that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit
that the repenting soul is the victorious soul
that to have nothing is to possess all
that to bear the cross is to wear the crown
that to give is to receive
that the valley is the place of vision 

Summer is under way! And guess what that means?

Hark! What’s that I smell? Fresh veggies sizzling on the grill? No way José!

Mmmmmm too good to be true.

What I wish wasn’t true was the first day of school being approximately now. Yup. Summer school. I’m pretty sure summer doesn’t really start until summer school starts. Which means that today is the first real day of summer vacation. Hoo hah! The paradox of the ages. And I’m fifteen minutes away from a crash course in American government. I feel like I, being the American citizen that I am, should know everything about American government. But alas, it’s off to class I go!

In the meantime, enjoy some new summer tunes!

Grace and peace,
Hope