Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Whole New Beginning

Most of these posts of mine are the same old stories, told in different ways. This one is no different.

This week I got into a car accident. I don't even have a cool story to tell that makes me look like the suffering victim. Nope, it was my fault. I drove into the back of a car. And I'm not even talking while I was driving. I was stopped at a stoplight, thought the cars in front of me were moving, and drove right into the back of the car in front of me...with gusto--I mean, this was no tap.
I get out of my car in the rain to see the 67-year-old man in front of me, using our Lord's name in a less-than-praiseworthy manner. Afraid, and unable to see very well through my tears I get back in the car. Sit there for a moment and remembered the discussion from small group the night before, about how God can use any hopeless stupid choice, and turn it around to work all things for good for those who love him (Romans 8:28). I immediately prayed through sobs and shaky limbs "God, please use this for good somehow".

I'm then informed that the man in the car I hit had just had shoulder surgery, and was being taken to the hospital in an ambulance on a stretcher. I know...I'm a jerk.

So I go throughout my day, looking for something even remotely positive in this when I find the man's address amidst all the tickets, and paperwork they gave me. I decided to put together a little care package, with some bread, homemade chili, cookies and heat packs for my new enemy. The one who cussed me after I rear-ended him.

I drag my husband and kids along with me, thinking, "if this dude cusses me again at least my husband will feel sorry for me", and when I get to the door I look at John and say something really brave like "I think I'll just leave it on the doorstep, ring the bell and run away". To which John refused and prayed for me. I walk up to the door and ring the bell holding my pathetic little peace offering ready to ask forgiveness and the man answers.

He takes a moment to survey the situation (me standing in the rain with my food bags) and begins to tell me how glad he is that I showed up because he wanted to apologize to me. I stand there shocked, next to my husband, and we begin to have a 15 minute conversation with my new friend about life, parenting, God etc. He mentions that he lives alone, and gets so lonely sometimes that he'd talk to the walls. So, it's my new plan to take him cookies every couple weeks and talk with him for a few minutes since, well...we're now friends.

So the point in that is that God can bring good out of even the most hopeless things.
Which beings me to part two of the story.

The very next day I'm babysitting a friend's sweet little daughter and we're all having a great day, for about the first 20 minutes. Then my kids decide to call all the powers of hell to rebel, scream and throw fits at any opportunity they can find. At one point, after about 2 and a half hours of my kids working in tandem to ruin my life (I know, they weren't really, but you didn't see them!) I'm sitting at the top of my stairs, while Linc is screaming in the bathroom and I decide I absolutely must start praying.

I start praying "God what do you have for me in this? Where is this going?" and much more faith-filled things like "I can't do this" and "you should have picked someone else". When God turns my ears to the tiny voice of the little girl I'm babysitting singing at our kitchen table. This still small sweet voice singing the same simple refrain over and over again. "It's not an end, it's a whole new beginning."

And I stare straight ahead, dumbfounded as to why she'd be singing something this profound over and over. Then find the strength to continue in my day to day, all the while this refrain ringing in my ears.

In the days that follow God used the previous two stories to encourage me again and again.

Our pastor said once that God's address is at the end of ourselves. And I find great encouragement that even the most bleakest of times, the deepest miry pits, the darkest valleys are capable of turning into the most promising scenarios as we rely on a God who can turn all things to the favor of his children. He is infinitely resourceful and unfathomably loving. And as I come to the end of myself, I find the beginning of a life surrendered to a purposeful God.

Harriet Beecher Stowe said, "When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn."

The next time you're at your end...have hope and thank God for his new beginning, that is waiting to break forth.


Sandy said...

Love it, I'm so encouraged by God's work in your life. Thanks for sharing, it's a glory to God. He will indeed work all things for good and we need to share our stories so we all keep our eyes on Him and on truth. Love you Jenn Schmidt (still the coolest mommy from the bounce house).

Nancy said...

Jen, you are a wonderful writer! Thank you for sharing your stories. It encouraged me and I know it will others as well. God is very evident in your life. I don't think many would have taken the time to go to that man's house and take him food and a smile. You have one of those special, tender hearts. God bless you, Jen. :)

Megan Boucher said...

This is amazing. I like reading your blog!! I think you're an amazing woman of God and I'm excited to learn from you. :)