I'm sad to say, this is a post about me failing.
A few months ago, right before I had River and was in third trimester misery, I was in my hometown doing a quick stop at Dollar General. It had been a rough week for me. I just had to replace two tires on our car along with some major service updating to it. Basically, I forked out a lot of money we didn't really have because we were trying to save for my maternity leave. I was ill. I wobbled when I walked. Sleep was not easy. And I had a baby using my belly as her own personal kick boxing ring. So when a haggard girl with black teeth came swerving up to me and asked to borrow money, my automatic response was to roll my eyes and sneer "No".
I then watched as she went up to the two ladies parked next to me, both of whom where dressed in their Sunday best, and talking about church for that night. I watched, putting my bags of cleaning supplies in my trunk, as the both shook their head no and then returned back to their conversation. I then got in my car and drove home, my mind already forgetting the girl and back on to how we were going to make it without me working for six weeks.
Last week, I ran into this same girl on my way to take River to her four month check up. She again came swerving into the gas station I was at. Her hair was matted, she was now missing a tooth and she looked like she hadn't slept in days. She quickly hopped out of her car and asked me "Do you have $4 I can borrow?" I didn't even pause before saying no. I got back in my car, opened up my Cherry Coke and started to drive off when I saw her quickly leave the store empty handed and speed off once again.
I'm ashamed to say it took me getting half-way down the road before I realized that I failed. Not just at being a good person, but I failed God. Twice. Instead of letting my brain make swift judgments on this person, I should have stopped. I should have paused long enough to at least ask her what she needed the money for. Maybe it was for food, or for her kids, or for gas. Whatever it was for, I should have stopped and looked at her as an actual human being asking for help, and not someone who was just annoying me or interrupting my life briefly. But I didn't.
I'm going to get honest and say that life, financially, hasn't always been easy for me. My father passed away when I was three, leaving my mom to raise me by herself. There were times growing up that I can look back on and now realize that we had help from family, friends, and even strangers. As a kid though, I never noticed it. I always seemed to get what I wanted no matter what. Until of course, I became a sulky, moody teenager. There was one year right before high-school that my mom and I were having a particularly hard time. I was outgrowing all of my clothes, and on top of that I thought I "needed" a bunch of excessive junk to complete my life. Unfortunately for teenage me, my mom had just told me school clothes shopping was going to have to be put on hold for a while. I was being your typical hormonal 14 year old and selfishly thinking how I was going to "make it" in high school with what I had, when the most bizarre thing happened: I opened my Bible. Later, this wouldn't be so strange, but at the time I wasn't much of a church goer. In fact, I had become pretty angry with God and questioned His whole existence. But something that day made me want to open my Bible, so I did. And I ran across Matthew 6:25-33:
25“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? 26. Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? 27. Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?
28“And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, 29. yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 30. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?
31“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32. These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
Afterwards, a huge weight lifted off of me. I knew God was speaking directly to me. I felt it in every fiber of my being. God was telling me to chill.
And he was right.
Later on that week, we mysteriously had much more than enough money to buy my school supplies, clothes, and even make-up.
So why am I posting about this? Because God has humbled me. Because this has stayed with me all week. Because I want my daughter to grow up to be better than me. Because I want to be the kind of person who admits when they've made a mistake and fix it. But mostly, I just don't want someone else to make the same decision I did.
The only person who lost out in this story was me. I robbed myself of a blessing, simply because I had become too selfish. Not about the cash, but about my time. I didn't give this girl even a minute of my time. I forget sometimes that God wants to use me. I constantly let opportunities to serve him pass me by when I become too arrogant or self absorbed. This is just one other reminder that I still need work. I'm not there yet. I can't put my relationship with God on the back burner. It's not worth it.