Sunday, September 4, 2011

Chance encounters....of the God kind :)

Note: I don't usually share super "personal" things on my blog, but I love when God just shows himself to us, and uses his children when we think/feel we are "least usable."

I'm going to be brutally honest for a minute. The last month of my life has been rough; particularly the last 10 days. I hate to complain, because I hate when people complain. But, the rest of this story will not make sense unless you realize where I'm coming from.I have dealt with endless drama with my foot (it was way worse than orginally thought), one of, if not THE most challenging year of teaching yet, sickness, and just plain days of where everything seems to go wrong. Everything.
Thursday was my breaking point after going back to the foot doctor for the ump-teenth time and being told that I couldn't work on Friday, had to be on crutches, needed PT, and would be out of commission for at least another 2 weeks. I'm supposed to be running a half marathon at the end of November and now I cant even walk on my own 2 feet for the weekend and I cant even begin to start running until the end of September?! What?! You're kidding me, right?! No, she wasn't and by 2:30 pm I was done. I was at whits end, thought I was going to punch something because my frustration level had reached its max.
M was going to the UK game in Nashville with some friends and told me I should just try to come along since I wasn't allowed to work on Friday anyway. I could sit in the stadium, enjoy a game, and enjoy being out of my house for the night. I've been on strict orders to rest my foot when not at work, so basically I have come home from work and sit down and do nothing. This has gone on for a month and as you can imagine, it's gotten old, really old.
I thought going to Nashville would be a good idea so I began to pack. While packing, I realize I had left one of my most favorite white dresses (which I wear to UK games in the warm months) in Mexico and I just began to cry. Any woman, or man for that matter hates losing a beloved piece of clothing and by Thursday, it was just one more thing added to the list of things going wrong. I just prayed "Lord, give me strength, I need it, because I'm at breaking point."
Fast Forward to the end of the third quarter of the game. I had been sitting since it started, it was a million degrees in the stadium, UK was playing horrible and we were seated around some pretty obnoxious, annoying people. I just couldn't take it anymore. I told the crew I was leaving, that I just needed to go to bed. I needed a new day, a new week even, because obviously, these past 10 days, had just not been on my side..... Again, fighting off tears, I hobbled out of the stadium and got in a taxi van with 2 sweet older women from WKU.
This is where my, what I like to call  "God ordained encounter" occurred. After realizing I was hurt, she asked me what happened, then revealed to me that she was recovering from a broken shoulder. Since I suffered from one several years ago, I was able to share some things that worked for me while I was recovering. As we pulled into their hotel, she thanked me for providing her with such helpful hints and then told me she was glad I happened to be in the same cab as she because she had been trying to figure some ways to help her get back to normal. It made my night a tad better to know I had helped someone out and her warm smile and well wishes made me smile.
As they left it was just me and the taxi driver. If you've ever ridden in a taxi with me, you know I like to talk to the drivers. I cant stand that awkward silence, but that night I wasn't in the mood to socialize. However, something in me, (which I now know was God) said to ask the driver where he was from. I did, and he replied "Ethiopia." "Ethiopia!" My fact lit up. I LOVE Africa. Ever since I was in highschool, I had dreamed of going to Africa.... I finally got to journey there in 2008 and I now sponsor a young girl from there. So basically, when I meet people from there, I get excited!
"I know a few people in the process of adopting from Ethopia," I told him. "Really?!" he said with a huge grin. "Yes! In fact, I've been to Africa. Not Ethiopia, but South Africa and Malawi." "Wow!" he said and we spent the next min or two talking about Africa. It's as if he never really had anyone care about the fact that he was from there. That he had always wanted to share about the amazing continent from which he was from, but no one cared to ask. Our talks about Africa led into talks about his family and his two precious children. He explained how although life in Ethiopia was hard, life in America was hard as well. We discussed the starvation of so many children in Africa and how so many Americans are just so wasteful sometimes. He told me they have no one to help with their children at home because their family is back in Ethiopia, but that overall life in America is better for his children so they will stay.  By this time, we had arrived at my hotel and my near tears had faded. I knew, at that very moment, that God had used me (in all my hot mess of emotions) to share His love with this man. That although my day and week had been awful, that this man needed me to listen to him and share in his life; if even for an 8 min cab ride..... I reached in my purse to find the $20 Michael had given me at the stadium and I couldn't find it. I panicked and he said, in his broken English "No worry! No worry! I cover it for you." I knew the money was in there, I knew he needed it way more than me,  and I quickly prayed again, "Lord, I need to find this money!" I found it and gave it all to him. He went to give me change and I said "No! You take every bit of this extra money and buy your sweet babies a gift." Although it was only an extra $12, it was all I had, but once again his face lit up like a child on Christmas morning. "Thank you! God bless you! God bless you!" He repeated over and over again as I left the taxi....
Even in my worst day, the moment where I thought things were totally unraveling in my life, God used me. He placed me in a situation where I was able to bless someone, and in return, I was blessed. Ten-fold. Suddenly I knew that my bad day had a purpose all along. Had I not been at that game, and I not be annoyed, had I not be exhausted, I wouldn't have left when I did. And had I not left when I did, I more than likely would not have been in that taxi and met him, nor the lady with the broken shoulder. Even on our awful, terrible, horrible, no good very bad days and weeks, God can and WILL use us. He will also place people in our paths who simply make our hearts smile- just when our heart is so longing for a smile :)

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