It had been one of THOSE days. One of those when you feel the weight of every obligation, every responsibility heavy on your chest before you even set foot out of bed. The morning had consisted of an overflowing sink of dishes from the night before – yes, I am one of those that find it extremely difficult to go to bed while soiled dishes remain in the kitchen so this was a rare occurrence -- and a headache the size of Montana. Of course it also happened to be one of the three days during the week that I work, which meant not only did I have to get myself looking presentable, I also had to get the kids ready, bundled up, out the door, and loaded into the Jeep in time to drop them off at the sitter’s prior to heading to the office. Bound and determined not to be late, I attempted to shake the overwhelmed feeling as best I could and forced myself into the morning routine. Despite the fact that my jeans felt even tighter than they did the day before and that I realized I still hadn’t found the time to pluck my ever-growing out of control eyebrows, things were chugging along. Then I noticed the stroller which had managed to be forgotten sitting out on front walk. Normally this wouldn’t be a big deal, except for the fact that rain had fallen for a good portion of the nighttime hours and was still continuing to do so. It would have to wait.
After successfully settling an argument about who would “sit on the potty” first and then carrying both of my almost 30 pound twin daughters to the Jeep (I’ve learned the hard way that allowing them to walk there themselves only leads to a much slower transition to the car and many tears shed over the disappointment that comes from not being able to run like a screaming banshee into the back yard regardless of how cold it may be), we were off. Knowing that our automatic payment for our mortgage was due to be taken out of our account any day now, I quickly texted our automated banking service at a red light for an updated account balance. Fifty-four cents.
Look on the bright-side, I told myself, at least you’re not overdrawn. I shook my head and laughed under my breath, realizing what an eternal optimist I had become when it came to matters such as these.
Once at work, I fell into my normal routine, going through the motions of the tasks at hand. For the most part, it was a pretty run-of-the-mill day: I ate my typical hard-boiled egg and yogurt for lunch, chatted with co-workers about the weather and the upcoming work party. But I definitely wasn’t myself. The fact that I had two disgustingly dirty bathrooms at home, a pounding headache, 54 cents in my checking account, and no plan for dinner whatsoever plagued my every move, my every action.
I’d like to say that I prayed unceasingly that day for guidance, wisdom, a break. Anything to help ease the pressure I was feeling. But I didn’t. I think I may have managed to squeeze in one or two shout-outs to the Man Upstairs, quickly asking Him merely for the strength to make it through the end of the day, which probably sounded more like grumbling. But unfortunately, the pity party I had chosen to throw for myself that day took precedence over most everything else.
Then I got a call. A call from a woman at our church who had recently hired me for some landscape work.
“Mel,” she said, “would you be able to stop by quickly after work? I pride myself on paying people promptly for their work and really wanted to get you the check for the project you’ve done.” Even though I could not say for sure, I can just about guarantee that my mouth slightly dropped open at the moment. I obviously quickly agreed, knowing that stopping there would mean I’d have to leave work right on time so that I could make it there and then the bank before picking up my girls -- after all, it would be nice to actually be able to pay the sitter today.
I arrived only five minutes later than I had planned and was greeted by this wonderful Sister in Christ with a hug and a smile. Talk about an eternal optimist, this woman has the gumption and drive to do God’s Will of an entire convent. As she handed me the check she said, “How about some chili to take home for the family for dinner tonight? Would you like that? I just made some and it's more than we can eat -- in fact, it's already warm!”
Are you kidding me? Would I like that? I would love that! I literally could’ve kissed this woman at that very moment. The last thing I wanted to do after this day was to attempt the cooking of a meal while two hungry girls and a starving husband encircled me. I was elated as I carried that warm bowl of comfort and the check which was a financial lifeline back to the Jeep, I barely knew what to say.
As I drove to the bank to deposit that check, I smiled to myself. God had done it again. I had woken up that day, not really knowing what I needed. I had figured something along the lines of a cleaning fairy or a winning lottery ticket may be what I was craving but I had no idea that His help would come in the form of something much more real, much more personable.
I recounted the story to my husband that night over dinner and marveled in the fact that this woman probably had no idea what a difference her seemingly small act had made in my day. When I made sure to tell her so later she responded by saying, “Thank God, for He gives us all good things and it was a joy to do His will.”
This one gesture had opened my eyes that night. I had spent the entire day wrapped up in all that I had needed to do – all that demanded my attention within my life. Yet God had provided. And not in a way that was tangible or self-induced, but rather through a fellow believer in Christ. Reflecting on the day’s events later, I was reminded of Galatians 6 vs 1-10, specifically verse 10 which says,
Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially those who belong to the family of believers.
Isn’t that what it’s all about? Hasn’t God equipped us for good works (Phillipians 1:3-6)?
The night did not end perfectly. In fact, not more than an hour after enjoying this wonderful provision of the Lord did one of my daughters proceed to have an incredible accident in her favorite underwear, resulting in a spontaneous bath and scrub down of the entire bathroom (hey, at least I got one of them cleaned!). But it no longer felt like another responsibility on the pile. It was merely a part of life, which was made slightly sweeter that day by the thoughtfulness of a fellow believer.
I pray that I may be able to see past my own responsibilities and in turn, be a blessing to someone else who desperately needs it. Perhaps a random act of kindness performed by me may have the same effect as it did on me that day!