Sunday, July 3, 2011

A Humbling Lesson

I’ve had a LOT of blog posts running through my head lately.  Some about what we’ve been up to about family...but more about things I’ve been thinking about...things I’ve been working through...struggles I’ve been having...that kind of thing.  I can’t do them all in one day.  And quite honestly, some will probably never happen, but I wanted to start with this story from last Sunday.

Amanda & I headed out shortly after church to go to my good friend, Kim’s baby shower!  Baby showers have become something that Amanda & I almost always do together.  I needed to pick up a few things in Red Deer afterward since we’d be really close & we decided to combine it all & do Amanda’s special night at the same time.  

We were thrilled to meet Makaio at the shower...

And I was very happy to catch up with a couple of friends from highschool...Kim (Makaio’s mom) & Ida!

After picking up what we needed, Manda wanted to go to Edo Japan for supper.  Yes it’s fast food.  But it’s her favourite because there are cooked carrots in the teryaki chickenJ.  For a while now she’s been taking one or more of her babies (she has 3) everywhere & often treating it like a real baby.  She was soooo  thrilled to see that they had highchairs there for her to put her baby in!

I finally convinced her that “baby boy” (can’t remember what his name is!) would probably love carrots just as much as she does & that she should let him try one tooJ.  She thought it was quite funnyJ.

The only other request she had was to play tag together.  I wasn’t sure how that would work with our dress shoes & nice clothes on, but she really wanted to so I decided to find a green area...and ended up finding an amazing park.  She was thrilled to once again be able to take baby out with her (she loves taking the stroller everywhere to push her babies in).  As she was putting her baby in the stroller she told me that the reason he had been laying on the back seat of the van is that he had fallen asleep while we were eating supper.  I asked if she wanted to leave him sleeping.  She assured me that he would stay sleeping in the stroller if she laid him down a little & gave him his "friend" (stuffed animal)J.
As we walked up to the park we saw this neat little "cove" with a very cool tree.  Perfect opportunity for a picture togetherJ!

Between the swings & the very large park, she kept so busy that we both completely forgot about tag, but it doesn’t matter...Manda had a blastJ.  She wanted to put baby on the swing, but I reminded her that she might not want to wake him up.  She assured me that he was awake now & would love to go on the swingJ.

Whenever we’re out late, I like the kids to be in pjs so that when we get home I can just throw them in bed.  I had decided not to bring pjs along this time because I wanted to buy Amanda a nighty.  May sound strange, but she’s never had one before...always shorts or pants.  Well, we got to Walmart & they didn’t have a single one.  As we were about to leave we walked past the ladies ones & I thought the small might be able to work...and just be long.  Well, I didn`t account for how wide the neckline is...but she thought it was a hoot & loved having itJ.

For those of you who read my status’ on’s the story I was referring to when I said, Fear of picking up a drunk man late at night...versus...the innocent comment of a 7 year old Amanda.  Which do you think won??

By the time we headed home it was between 10:30 & 11...and getting dark quickly.  We turned off at our exit (for those around here it was the exit by Bowden to go to Olds).  Just as I was exiting (along with a couple other cars at the same time) I saw out of the corner of my eye what looked like someone waving their arms.  I looked again & there was someone in the “V” between the highway & the exit waving their arms.  I automatically slowed down to make sure they didn’t need help.  As I rolled down my window, I was starting to double guess my choice to stop.  Someone waving their arms seemed to need help...and the compassion in me wanted to help...but the common sense in me said that I never stopped to pick someone up when it was only me in the vehicle...and having Amanda with me almost made it worse!  He started running toward me & I called out asking if he needed help...hoping to get an answer before he got too close.  He didn’t respond the first time so I asked again.  Continuing to run toward me he said, “I just need a ride into Olds”. what Lord?  Its really not wise for me to pick up a drunk man (I could tell right away that he was drunk) with only me & Amanda in the vehicle!  

Well...I panicked.  I didn’t know what to do.  He was still 10 or 12 yards away.  I said, “I’m sorry, I can’t do that...and drove away.”  Almost immediately I felt a tugging on my heart.  Did I do the right thing?  Should I have picked him up & trusted you to keep us safe God?  You know you can trust Me Heidi.  What if I wanted to use you in his life?  But Lord I have Amanda in the van with me...I have to make a wise choice to keep her safe too!  You don’t think I want Amanda to stay safe too?  Of course I do Lord...  Then show me with your actions.  Are You saying You want me to turn around & go back Lord?  Maybe someone else already picked him up.  I drove for probably a full 5 km with all this going through my head.  Finally, I pulled over.  I knew I had to make a decision.  As I stopped, I prayed, Lord please make it very clear to me if You are wanting me to turn around & go back.  I want to follow You Lord!  Within seconds of praying that prayer Amanda spoke up behind me (she had been just getting herself cozied into sleep & I had told her kind of what was going on & why I wasn’t sure if I should stop).  “Mommy, that’s a long ways to walk if nobody else picks him up.”  She didn’t say it as a guilt trip or really excitedly or with conviction...just a matter of fact statement...that’s a long way to walk.  OK Lord, I hear You loud & clear...Im turning around.  Does that mean Im supposed to pick him up?  I guess if hes still there, then the answer is ’yes ’...and if he’s not, then You just wanted me to show I was willing to obey.  Either way Lord, I’m just trusting You. 

As you may have guessed, he was still there.  My heart was pounding in my chest.  Lord give me the words to say.  Help me to be Your light!  I stopped & started to apologize, but he pretty much ignored me & just came around the van to get in.  OK Lord now Im even more nervous...seems like hes not all there.  Give me peace.  Help me not to worry.  I started again once he got in...found out his name is Jeff...and apologized.  I explained that I had panicked because it was just my daughter & I & it was late.  He assured me, through heavily scented breath that he wasn’t ’that guy’ & that we were safe to pick him up.  He brought this up probably 4 times before I dropped him off (about 15 minutes I think)...assuring me that I didn’t need to worry & that he wouldn’t do anything.  At one point he patted a paper bag under his sweater & let me know ’this isn’t a gun’.  Not sure if that was more reassuring or not...

Anyway...we didn’t talk about anything really deep.  I mostly just tried to keep talking with him & let him know I cared.  At one point he let me know that he goes to church too (not sure how he knew that I do...maybe the music playing).  We talked about that for a bit.  He hinted a number of times about not wanting to talk about certain things with Amanda there (when he patted the paper bag under his sweater he said out loud that it wasn’t a gun...but then tried to whisper to me that it was alcohol & he didn’t want her to know that)...he wanted her to go home & say that he was a good guy & hadn’t treated her mom badly.  Overall, there wasn’t any ’WOW ’ conversation.  Maybe if I was better at thinking on my feet I could have had a better talk with him.  I thought of a few things afterward that I could have said.  I can’t regret it though because I was being obedient.  I just pray that something about us picking him up will nag at him & make him realize that there’s more to life than where he’s headed.  

Although I pray that in some way we could have had an impact in Jeff’s life...I think the bigger lesson in it all was meant for me.  I am so glad that I allowed the simple innocence in Amanda’s words to override the fear I was feeling.  I need to be willing to step out of my comfort zone to allow Jesus to use me.  No, that doesn’t mean I should be foolish...but if He is asking me to do it then I have no reason to fear.  Thank you Lord for speaking to me through Amanda.  It was so humbling to hear Your words through her!  Please help me not to forget that...the innocent trust of a child just wanting to do what’s right.  Teach me Lord Jesus!