I'm on my second bout of a wicked cold. With the first round about six weeks ago I had a cough, but the main complaint was the body aches and head congestion. This particular bout started in my chest and within 24 hours of the first tickle in my throat I was wheezing and crackling. Now it's migrated to my head, but I haven't run a fever. And the only body aches I have are the ones in my abdominal muscles (which I wasn't even aware I had anymore) from coughing so much.
Yesterday I had a Well Woman Visit scheduled at the Indian Clinic and considered canceling it because I was scared to death I'd get laid down on that table and have a coughing fit and things would go flying, if you know what I mean. And don't pretend like you don't. If you are a woman you know exactly of that which I speak. Yeah, thought so. But I forged on simply because I dread this visit like I dread ..... well, for the life of me I can't think of anything I dread as much as a pelvic exam. I figured I might as well get it over with while I was already miserable and halfway prepared for it.
I had dropped the kids off at Mom's office before my appointment and as I was headed back to pick them up afterwards, my phone rang. It's one of my girlfriends who I love dearly so I answered it with a smile on my face because, seriously, I love this woman to pieces. She said her husband had been trying to get hold of me and I needed to call him. Frankly, it puzzled me because, while I think her husband is the bomb diggity, I have never had occasion to call him up and chat on the phone. I asked her if everything was okay and she assured me it was.
Now, let me take a moment to digress, if you will. We here at the Redneck Diva household are not a rich family and even though on paper it looks like we're poor, we are indeed extremely blessed. We don't have a lot of money, but we get by. The bills get paid (when I don't just flat forget to pay them) and the kids are clothed. There's always an excess of food in the pantry and fridge and none of us are shoe-less. Yes, I had to cancel a hair appointment awhile back because there just wasn't any leeway in the budget for gray-hair-camouflaging procedures, but in the grand scheme of things I'm fairly certain I'll survive. I really don't like the grays that have taken over my head, but other than my vanity being a smidge dented, it's all good.
Every year we bale the hay on our property and sell it. We don't make a huge profit off of it, but the money we make is our Christmas money. This year, the hay hasn't sold. The guy who usually buys from us backed out. We found two other buyers. They backed out. Now, a year ago this would have had me running around pulling my hair out, crying, snotting and fretting, but this year, while I've been a little worried, I haven't gotten upset. By this time I normally have my shopping about half done - this year I haven't bought so much as a candy cane. Yet my peace about Christmas has been unfathomable. After the second set of buyers backed out I literally laid my concerns over money at Jesus' feet. I laid them there and left them. There is literally NO money for Christmas, but I have known down deep in my heart that it's going to be okay. God will provide. It may not be the most extravagant Christmas we've ever had, but I have known it's going to be okay.
Then Saturday night, while driving 77 mph on the turnpike headed for Joplin, one of my van tires blew out. I was driving. I was in the inside lane when it blew and as soon as we realized what was happening, Paul said, "Get to the shoulder NOW!" Looking back, playing it all out in my head again, God had the blueprints laid out in a cosmic way. Traffic had been close the whole trip, not the usual spacing you find on the interstate. We had driving from one cluster of cars and trucks to another the whole way, but at that moment, when my tire blew I was the only vehicle for a half mile either way. (I've got goosebumps just thinking about it!) I got the van to the shoulder, looked at Paul and remembered to breathe. Realizing the tire that blew was on the highway side sent ice water shivers through me because my husband was going to change that tire. I got out of the van and followed him to the back and said, "We have roadside! Let's just call a tow truck! Let's call Dad, Mom, the President, SOMEBODY. Please don't change that tire. We have roadside!" From halfway under the van, trying to release the spare, my precious redneck husband looked up at me and calmly said, "Sweetheart, you are not helping right now. Please get in the van and shut up." I got in the van, looked back at my children whose eyes had suddenly grown to the size of dinner plates and said, "We need to pray." Three little hands found mine and I prayed for protection, prayed that the semis whizzing past us at 80 mph would see us and avoid us, prayed that Paul would be safe, prayed that we would be safe, prayed that the spare wasn't flat. People, I just prayed.
I am telling you, my husband changed that tire with the speed and agility most pit crew mechanics don't have. He showed me the tire later that night and said, "There is absolutely no reason whatsoever why you didn't lose control of that van tonight. The speed you were going and the way it blew, we should've lost control." I opened my mouth to tell him what I thought, but he finished with, "God was protecting us." Enough said.
On the way home from dinner the worry started creeping in. Where we were going to get the money for at least two new tires when we only had money for bills and didn't have money for Christmas? Paul was beside himself. I nearly was. Then again, that peace just flooded over me and I knew it was going to be okay. I wanted to worry, but it was like I couldn't. Friends, my sister, my daughter, were sharing scripture with me that just calmed me down in a way I can never describe and do it adequate justice.
So now back to yesterday. I hung up the phone with my friend and called her husband. He said, "Kristin, you have a set of tires out here at Walmart." I said, "Excuse me? I what?" There was a lot of stammering and stuttering as I tried to figure out what he was telling me. He explained that someone had bought a set of tires for my van and I just needed to make arrangements to come out and have them put on.
I couldn't talk because I was crying so hard. Bless his heart, it had to be awkward for him sitting there on the phone, listening to me blubber. I managed to choke out a thank you and hung up. I dialed Paul's work number and told him. He didn't believe me. By that time I was at Mom's office, so I hung up with Paul, marched in there and said, "Mom, I am asking you right now to be 100% honest with me. Please, if you love me, do not lie."
She said she was certain at that moment that I had gotten horrible news at the doctor and that her heart was resting somewhere around her toes when she answered, "Kristin, I will not lie to you." I think she was sincerely worried I was going to ask her to take care of the kids when I died or something. Between sobs I managed to ask the question, "Did you and Dad buy me a set of tires?" She assured me she did not. She called Dad. He did not. What followed was about 15 minutes of me sobbing uncontrollably in my mother's office.
I was floored. I was stunned. I was overwhelmed. I was so completely mystified. Who? Why? WHY?
I have personally gotten to participate in giving money to someone who desperately needed to buy groceries to feed her babies. I didn't give the money from my own wallet, but I was the go-between, the person asked to deliver. The relief, the complete release of worry, in her eyes is something I will never forget as long as I live. She was, in that moment, absolutely certain that her babies would have food and being a part of seeing her blessed that way was unfathomable.
I felt that feeling yesterday. In the exchange of a few words "You have a set of tires" my whole outlook changed. The worry I had been pushing back, the question of "How?" was instantly gone. For the next two hours just the mere thought of the incredible act I had just been a part of brought me to tears. I had to put my makeup back on twice.
Psalm 52:8 says, "But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God. I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever. I will thank you forever because you have done it. I will wait for your name, for it is good, in the presence of the godly."
"I will thank you forever because you have done it" - this part stands out to me so very distinctly. He has done it. God has done it! God gave his Son for our sins. God gave us grace when we didn't deserve it. God gave us life everlasting if only we accept it. God gave someone out there the financial means to bless a family in need of tires this holiday.
When Paul got home from work last night he checked out my new wheels, the wheels my friend Natalie calls "Heavenly tires that will never go flat because they came down from Heaven and nothing from Heaven is flawed" and that is why I love my Natalie so. He squatted down and looked one over and when he stood up tears were in his eyes. "Why, Kristin?" Well, then of course, I started bawling again. He took my hand, led me into the house and said, "Now, look at this," and handed me a sheet of paper.
The casino he works for has partnered up with Sam's Club to give employees a shopping spree at the Joplin club where we can charge up to $700, interest free, and pay it out of his paychecks for the next six months.
Christmas is taken care of.
Mom hugged me last night and said, "Oh, baby girl, God just keeps smiling down on you today!"
Oh, yes. Yes, He does.
And whoever out there bought a set of tires for a very grateful redneck family yesterday, if you are reading this, thank you. There are no words to adequately describe the blessing you have given us. God used you, my anonymous friend. And I thank you for being open to it.