A Flat Tire on a Road Trip becomes a Lesson in Faith….

wpid-img1434224379058.jpgIf you know me, or have read any of my blogs, you know that I long for those “God Moments”.  My friend Debra likes to call them “Adventures in the Holy Ghost”.  I call them “Jabez Moments”… whatever you choose to call them, it’s when there’s a divine meeting at just the right place and right time and you know, without a doubt, God put you there to cross paths.  I pray that prayer almost daily “God put someone in my path I can help today, or someone who can teach me something.”  And when it happens, when you know He’s used you to be at just the right place at the right time, the emotions you feel are better than any gift you could ever receive.  I always feel humble (that he’d trust me enough to use me), full of peace and joy (to bless someone else causes one to feel blessed.) And on such a high I could run a marathon! (and I’m not a runner…)  God never feels more real to me than in those moments.  My faith is built every time He speaks to my heart and allows me to be His hands and feet to help someone.

Last week, as I prepared for a much needed and anticipated road trip with two amazing young friends, I kept praying “God use us this weekend.  Don’t let this trip just be a selfish get-away; use us to be your hands and feet and let us touch someone on this trip who needs to know you are real.”  Peggy, the mom of one of the girls was praying this with me and she was just as sure as I was, that God was gonna move!

I took out cash for the trip as I don’t like to use my debit cards out of town.  (Seems if any of my friends accounts have been breached, it’s been when they used their card on vacation.)  Plus, I needed cash for the blessings I was sure we were about to bestow…

We were making good time and so close to our destination in Nashville when we hit construction and came to a dead stop.  It was 10:00pm and we had been driving for 4 hours, only to sit for another hour.  But I have learned to be thankful for the closed doors (and stopped traffic).  The girls and I spoke about how it could be God saving us from a wreck, etc. When you see delays and set backs as the possibility of protection and unseen divine intervention, well, you just have a lot less stress in your life.  Just roll with it!  (if you could’ve heard me then, I sounded so full of faith!)  When we finally got to our hotel and checked in, Andrea asked if we could drive by the Mercy Home so she could just see it.  (That’s the reason we had went on the journey.  Andrea was a graduate of the Mercy Home and wanted to go back to see some of her friends.)  We pulled up and what perfect timing!  A minute sooner, a minute later, and we would not have been there as Krista was unpacking the van.   Andrea got to see her old friend and take a walk with her and catch up.  I was sure that “perfect timing” was just the beginning of what I had been praying for.  It was 1:00am and we were starved, exhausted yet not tired, so we went to the Waffle House around the corner to eat.  Walking into the Waffle House was like walking into a refrigerator it was so cold!  Andrea had a sweater, I was going to go out to the car to get a blanket for Shelbi, but waited until we ordered.  The cutest little waitress with the biggest smile came to take our order.  We asked if she could turn the heat up?  She saw that Shelbi was cold.  “I’ll go get my coat for you” Momma G said.  Shelbi replied “Oh that’s OK…you don’t have to do that.”  We placed our orders and I went out to get the blanket from the car.  When I walked back in, Shelbi was wearing Momma G’s sweatshirt that she had went and got for her.  OK, this woman was getting a BIG tip!  Is this it God?!?  Is this our divine intervention?  We took our picture with Momma G for our road trip journal and got ready to go.  I had went prepared with business sized cards with a scripture on them and  wrote “Jesus Loves You” as I handed Momma G a large tip on our way out the door.  She smiled, teared up and hugged me.  That was the end of that meeting…. honestly I wasn’t “Feeling It” like I had hoped I would.  As I lied there in the hotel, trying to drift off that night, I liked to imagine that Momma G had asked God for money to get through til payday, or for Him just to give her a sign it would all be OK.. maybe not.  Maybe it was just a good deed?  Andrea came in from visiting with her friend Nandi and as she cried tears of joy for the experience to see her friends again, I thought “Well God, even if this is the only reason we came, it’s worth it.  But man, I still really want you to use me in a big way this weekend!”

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The next day we met Andrea’s friends, laid in the pool and that night, our last night there we decided to go to Downtown Nashville to Hard Rock to eat.  The parking cost way more than I expected.  I realized I was running out of money, but it was our last night there, we’d be OK… just needed enough gas to get home.  Yet the entire weekend I would have these random thoughts I didn’t share with the girls “If something happens, you don’t have enough money to stay or get home..” I would quickly block those out thinking God would take care of us, and kept looking for whom I was about to bless next.  Everyone we met or said Hi to I wondered “Were they the one”?  Was bowing our heads to pray over our food in Hard Rock that caused others to stare – was that the biggest witness we were going to be??  By the time we were leaving downtown Nashville at 10:00pm, I have to admit, I was becoming a bit discouraged.  I was so desperate to have a “God moment”.  How desperate you ask?  Desperate enough to tell the man who wanted to wash my window as we were leaving the parking lot – “I don’t want you to wash my window, but I’ll give you $5 if you let us pray with you.”  Andrea looked at me with a “What?!?” Look as I pulled the hand of this stranger into the car and we prayed with him.  When we were done he said “Thank you so much Maa’m, I really needed that.” And we then started talking about Jesus and he told how his faith in Jesus was all that had seen him through many trials.  It felt “good” as we drove off, but still, all the “blessings” I was trying to bestow still felt more like good deeds instead of “God Moments”…. and there’s a difference.

Andrea’s friend “Miss Pam” invited us to go to Nashville Life Church; Her friend CeCe Winans, and family, had started this church.  But the service didn’t start until 2:00 p.m.  We had intended to find a church to go to that morning and be on the road home after lunch.  But something in my spirit told me that we needed to go to this church.  At one point the devil fought me…”Oh just go on home, you don’t have to go to church today.”…  So glad I didn’t listen!  We went and experienced an awesome service of worship and God’s word.  At offering time I only had less than $10 cash left in my wallet.  I sat there and thought “How much will this really help!?!?”  But God spoke to my heart “Go put it in the offering.”  I walked up front and obediently placed that money in the bucket.  When the service was over we said our good byes and got ready to head home.  We walked the wrong way, I drove down the wrong outlet for the parking lot and it circled us back to where we came out and folks were still standing.  That’s when we heard the noise.  “What is that?” Andrea asked.  I heard it too…. “Oh no!”…. I pulled over, we got out, Shelbi announced what I had already suspected and feared “We have a flat tire!”  What?!?  I opened the trunk of the car and told the girls we would need to take everything out of the trunk to get to the spare tire.  I asked Shelbi to yell down to one of the young men to see if they could come help me try to change the tire.  She didn’t hear me, and Miss Pam just happened to drive by.  (Miss Pam wasn’t supposed to be driving by.  She was supposed to be in a meeting..) She yelled for Grayson.  “Grayson, can you come up here and help my friends??”  Grayson and his beautiful fiancé Mackenzie walked up.  Grayson showed me the steps to take to change a tire as he changed it for me.  As he was showing me, I was listening, but inside I was panicking.  Now what!?!  I can’t drive home 5 hours on a spare!  Where do I get the tire fixed??  I only have access to around $50! Another young man walked up and asked if we needed anything?  I said “Yes, it’s after 5:00 on a Sunday, where can I get a tire fixed?? Everything closes at 6, time was of the essence!”  He suggested Costco.  He said “You can buy the membership and then just cancel and they will refund your money.”  I couldn’t believe it came out of my mouth, but I said “I can’t afford to buy a membership today.  I have to do this as cheap as possible.” I had money, but it was in Savings that I had no access to from TN…. I literally had $50ish dollars available on a card in my wallet.  I asked Grayson if he minded if I ran to the restroom… When I got in there Andrea and Shelbi were laughing and talking and asked “What’s wrong?!?”  Somewhat exasperated, I said “Girls, we’re in trouble here.  We have a flat tire, I only have enough money left to get gas to get home – how am I going to get a tire?!?”  Andreas reply cut like a knife and was just the spiritual spanking I needed… “Seriously Kris?!? You are a tither and one of the most giving people I know, you think God doesn’t already have this taken care of?!?  Where’s your faith??”  Ouch!  She was right… in the spiritual it was already being worked out, but in the natural it seemed a bit scary.  I walked back up to the car and Grayson said “Ma’am, I’m putting your tire in the back of my truck.  I’m going to follow you to get it fixed to make sure you don’t have any problems.”  (I realize now that this must’ve been about the time God started speaking to Grayson’s heart.)  We went to Costco, to no avail.  You had to buy your tires there if you wanted them fixed.  But there was a tire chain right behind Costco, we went there.  Grayson said as we stood at the counter talking to the young man who worked there, it looks like you got a nail in your tire.  They can probably just pull it out and plug it.  Relief!  I knew that would hopefully only cost around $25.  Mackenzie came in and we sat talking while waiting.  I found out that she and Grayson were new Christians of about a year or two.  She told how his roommate went to church and got saved and how they saw the change in him.  The peace and happiness that comes with letting Jesus into your heart, and Grayson wanted that.  He went to church, got saved, and then Mackenzie followed suit.  She said “I can’t even begin to explain the transformation of our relationship once we put God in the center of our lives.”  And you could see it, they “glowed” when they were around one another!  I thought in that moment how her testimony was a lesson to me that just walking the walk can be the biggest example to change a life.  I saw Grayson talking to the guy at the counter, assuming they were close to being done, I went up to pay.  Grayson looked at me and said “The rubber belts on the inside were busted, you had drove on it low and probably didn’t realize it?  You needed a new tire.”  I said “What?  How much is that going to cost??”  He said “It’s been taken care of.”  I started crying uncontrollably in the middle of that store, my faith had waivered when the rubber hit the road (pun intended) yet I had been taken care of.  I kept telling him how much I appreciated it, but didn’t like it.  I am supposed to be the one giving and taking care of others…. He smiled as he hugged me good-bye and said “Ma’am, God has big things in store for you.  But you have to learn how to receive.”   In that moment, I knew God had used Grayson and Mackenzie that day.

All the way home I thought about that last hour of our trip..surely I had a lesson to learn!  At first I was thankful for the peace of mind of being able to ride home on a new tire and not the spare.  Then I started thinking “OK God, I get it.  You are trying to teach me to not spend all the money I take and not save some back to be prepared for what could happen on the way home.  I was foolish.  He spoke to my heart and said “No.  I knew you were going to spend all your money on others, and you needed to.  You needed to have no way to get home other than My moving in your life –  I was teaching YOU to have faith in ME!  To learn to believe those words you speak to everyone else in need – that God will provide.  If you had the money in your pocket to buy the tire, you would have just been thankful for the help changing it, that it didn’t happen on the highway, that you and the girls were safe – but you would have missed that I am Yahweh Yireh – The Lord who provides.”  I then recalled what I started this blog with…. how excited I get when God uses me to be His hands and feet and help someone.  How those moments build my faith.  He spoke to my heart again and said “By obeying my voice and helping you, to show you that I will provide, Grayson and Mackenzie got to receive the blessing that comes with those “God moments”… they are young Christians and I revealed myself to them today as I took care of you.”   I humbled myself in my spirit and realized, I did have my “God Moment”…. He had revealed Himself.  Just not in the way I had thought it would happen….. but the way it was meant to.

“Then Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught by its horns in a thicket.  So he took the ram and scraficed it as a burnt offering in place of his son.  Abraham named the place Yahweh-Yireh (which means “the Lord will provide”.)  Genesis 22:14

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