Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Amputation of My Driver's Side Mirror

It was a simple airport run to pick up two passengers--one from the airport, and one from the Amtrak station. I got ready to leave on time, and right before I left the house, I felt like the Lord told me I would need my pocketknife. I grabbed it, thinking it wouldn't hurt to have it along even if I didn't have a use for it.

I started driving down the interstate and had gotten to the middle of nowhere on the way to the airport. The speed limit was 75 mph, and I was in the far left lane when my driver's side mirror, buffeted by the strong wind, started to crack off. 

I think the car had been wrecked before I bought it, because the mirror was already loose. From the day I bought it, it was disconnected from all the proper attachment bolts and was just hanging on by one giant screw that someone had put in (ghetto repair style). So as I was driving down the road, little pieces of the brittle plastic started flying away, and soon the mirror was jerking violently back and forth, totally useless for viewing anything in, and I was afraid it was soon going to disconnect completely and smash into somebody's vehicle. 

I pulled over onto the left-hand shoulder, put my flashers on, and got out. "How convenient that I have my knife!" I thought. As cars and trucks thundered by me at close range, I started using the back of the blade as a screwdriver to remove the single screw that was holding the mirror in (which now had a dangerous crack running through the plastic). It was a tough screw and I would never have been able to get it out with my fingers. "Thank you, Lord, that I brought this along," I was saying. 

I got the screw out and pulled the mirror off the door. OH NO! It was still connected by a wire as thick as my little finger. I couldn't leave it dangling by the wire, but I couldn't see any way to disconnect the wire. I could just imagine how it would be--the mirror flipping around, banging into the side of my vehicle, glass shattering and getting into my, it must not be. What would I do? I considered putting the screw back in and seeing if it would last, but I knew it wouldn't last more than a few minutes, and I was going to be back in the same boat. What? what? what? I couldn't go home, because I had to make it to the airport.

Then it dawned on me, and an exultant laugh burst from my lips--"Let's solve this problem HAITI STYLE!" With a bit of destruction! An amputation! There was my pocketknife right in my hand. Just cut those wires! 

I was certain it was NOT the "right way" to do this, and I surmised that I would regret it later when I went to get a new mirror, but it was the best thing I could do. I hacked away at the bundle of wires until they were all severed, put the mirror on the floor by the back seat, and continued on my way in my now-illegal vehicle. 

It's SO DANGEROUS to drive without a driver's side mirror! I highly do NOT recommend it! Especially on a 4-lane highway going 75 mph. Check your blind spot! Compulsively! But I picked up my passengers and we made it back without incident.

Happily, God provided for another mirror, a brand new one, and it got mounted securely and even re-wired back together. Praise the Lord!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

God's Token of Provision

God is so amazing.

The morning after I bought the car, someone anonymously left an envelope for me outside the front door of the house. No one saw who it was or knew where it came from. It merely said "To Rebekah" on the outside. I didn't recognize the handwriting.

Inside was a pretty little unsigned note with two Scriptures, and $50.

The note says,
"Therefore do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the Gentiles seek after these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you." --Matthew 6:31-33 
"He leads the humble in what is right and teaches the humble His way...Who is the man who fears the LORD? Him will he instruct in the way that he should choose." --Psalm 25:9, 12

Just what I needed to hear, and such a blessing.

Just the day before, God had whispered to me that before I needed to fill up my gas tank again, He would provide for it. But I never expected it to come so soon!

Anonymous donor, if you're reading this, Thank You! I am sure it was given sacrificially. Thank you for being obedient to the Lord. He is able to give you much more than this. He used this in my life to show Himself strong and give me a token that He remembers me and is planning for my provision. I still don't know how that is going to unfold, but I trust Him to do everything that is necessary to show Himself strong on my behalf. Thank you for being the messenger of the Lord to tell me this. It is surely a blessing.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

How God Provided a Chevy Blazer For Me

Ever since I got back to the US and felt that God was leading me to settle here for the time being, I have known that I needed a car really badly. My entire life savings that remained to me was just about exactly $2000, and I had looked at some cars on craigslist without really finding anything. The few vehicles that I did like were either sold before I contacted the seller or no one ever contacted me back. 

On Wednesday, I was driving back from doing some errands with a friend.  She and I had the sweetest, most God-centered conversation, and then we had a prayer time together in the car. When we were almost home, my friend had just started praying for my car situation and asking God to lead us to the right car for me. I was driving (her car), and just then we were at a red light with a car dealership on the corner. I had a strong feeling that I should pull in, but I dismissed the fact. I was passing by it and my friend interrupted her prayer to say, "I feel like we should go in here." I was shocked and told her that I did too! It was too late to get into the driveway, so I found a place to make a U-turn and we drove into the dealership. It was just a little corner lot selling used cars. The first car that we saw, a white Chevy Blazer, had a sign hanging from the rearview mirror that said $2000.

We talked to the dealer about lowering the price and he said he thought he could work with us. We left and told him we would be back later that day.

Back at my friend's house, I did a bit of online research on the Blazer to find out if it would be a good car.

We went back to the dealership later that evening and test drove the car, and getting into the driver's seat, I just immediately felt like "I don't want it. It's not what I want. It's not what I'm looking for." I wanted instead a good gas-mileage vehicle, like a Corolla or a Civic or a Saturn or something. 

After our test drive, we talked to the guy (who had stayed at least 30 minutes past closing time for us), and somehow we talked him down to selling it to us for $1200. With taxes and fees and licensing, it was going to end up being $1700 out the door. We told him we would give him a final decision by noon the next day. 

We went home and talked about it, and I told my friend that I didn't really want an SUV, and then we started looking online at cars, and we found a couple of nice little 4-door cars for $2000 and under, so I felt like I could easily hold out for something like that, but I also felt like if God wanted to change my wants and give me a different plan for a vehicle, I was open to that (even though the Blazer was only going to get 16 mpg). 

I mentioned something about how maybe cars would be cheaper in Tennessee and maybe I should fly home on a one-way ticket and get a car down there, where it would be cheaper, and then drive back out here with my stuff. My friend agreed that it would be a good idea, and then I thought, "Well, if I use up money to get home, I'll have even less, and then the kind of car I could afford would be even junkier..." so I said, "Maybe I should even think about getting like a summer job down there so that I can save up a bit of money for the car." My friend agreed. 

I thought, If I go home on a one-way ticket and look for a summer job, I will end up being just as stuck as I was before. There is no opportunity, no mobility, no way to really earn an income. It would be better for me to get that summer job here. So then I started looking at job sites and checking business directories and going onto company websites in the communications field and trying to figure out how I would apply for a position, and I started thinking about my resume and how lame it is, and how even though I know that I could probably do any job out there, my resume certainly doesn't reflect that, and unless someone knows me, they won't believe it, and I just went from site to site and from link to link and from idea to idea, collecting a bunch of leads but feeling hopeless about all of them (and not interested at all in the kind of work), until finally I just closed my tabs and turned off my computer and went to bed in tears. 

"Lord," I prayed, "I don't know how to do it. I don't know how to job hunt. I don't know how to operate in the world. I don't know what you want of me." I felt like I just needed an income, plain and simple. I named a sum and told the Lord that I needed that much every month, and that seemed so preposterous and outrageous that I couldn't believe I was even asking for it.

But He planted the thought in my mind that this was invitation to stretch my faith. Could I trust Him to provide my monthly income, as preposterous as it sounded?

I asked Him, "What is the path of obedience?"

He whispered back, "Write."

Over and over again, He has confirmed to me that this is His pathway for me. I really do feel like this writing venture is of the Lord. I really do think that He has something for me to say. He has given me a message. Over and over, He keeps confirming this to me through passages like "Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth," (Jer. 1:9).

Then I asked Him, "Where do I live?"

He said, "Here."

I asked, "Where do I get my money from?"

He said, "Me."

And I struggled to believe that this was possible. How could I just venture out on something like this, costing money to live? Wasn't that just crazy? And presumptuous?

But then He gave me a perspective changer.

"I called you to the mission field and you trusted me for your expenses, and I provided. Now I'm calling you to a different mission field. Just look at it as if it is a special mission field. Can you trust me to provide for what I have commanded you to do?"

And I discovered that I could answer, "Yes," and that I had peace about it.

I went to sleep trusting Him and was comforted from my tears.

The next morning, I was still wondering about the car. Even though I didn't really care about a Blazer and it had high miles, at the same time I wondered if this car was really a Godsend, especially with how far the dealer went down in price. It would almost wipe out my entire bank account, but I wasn't afraid to go down to my last pennies. I have done it many, many times before, and God has always provided and shown himself faithful and strong. The car seemed to be the first step to getting a job (if God chooses to provide for me in that way). And the Blazer has cargo room, so I could go get my stuff from home and bring it back out here, or pull a little U-haul and even get my bedroom suite. And then I could put my bike in the back, or a kayak, or go down and buy myself a bookshelf as I set up my little house...I even feel like God said that He has a house for me. I don't know what that means or how it's even possible, but I feel like this is the time for me to set up a home. As weird as that sounds...impossible almost...I can only wait on His leading and watch as He orchestrates these details.

Anyway, during the morning, as I prayed, the Lord totally changed my heart and convinced me that it was His will for me to buy this car.

We went down to the dealership and found that it was actually $50 cheaper than the dealer expected it to be, due to the fact that my address was outside city limits for taxes. I handed over the money, signed all the paperwork, and drove away in my new (old) Blazer. I set up my insurance, got an emissions test, and filled the gas tank. 

That night, before I went to sleep, I talked to the Lord about it, and I felt like He whispered to me, "Before you need to fill up your gas tank again, I will have provided the money for it." I laid back on my pillows, overwhelmed at how He is watching over me. 

***Read tomorrow's post for how He already filled my next gas tank! He showed Himself so strong on my behalf with a token of His provision for me.***

Friday, June 7, 2013

So much silence...

I believe this is my longest lapse in blogging in over a year. Last year in May, I committed to doing a blog post every single day of the month, and I succeeded. My pageviews jumped from 204 in the month of April to 423 in the month of May to 936 in the month of June. Still not very impressive by professional blog standards, but I could certainly see that posting regularly had a dramatic and positive impact on the growth of my site.

I was working so hard to build an audience, and then since the beginning of the year, I pretty much lost my "umph" or something. At first it was because I had lost my camera and didn't have any pictures to post. Then it was because I didn't have consistent electricity in Haiti, then it was sheer busy-ness, and then it was a major transition in my life, namely, moving back to the US.

So now that I'm getting settled, I hope to begin posting again regularly!

Thank you to all my faithful readers who continued to visit my site in my absence! Last May I was getting 6-10 pageviews a day, and now, despite not ever posting, I am still getting 60-70. Amazing. Thank you for visiting. Come back again soon... lots of good stories of God's doings.