i've taken on a task of calling mission organizations to ask them a few questions about their strategies in ministry, and blah blah blah, this is not interesting to most folks... but i started to write that because of the fact that i'm cold-calling a bunch of people every day. you may not know this about me, but i hate talking on the phone. i mean, hate. and because i'm uncomfortable, my conversations tend to turn awkward, with everybody! don't take it personally, friends, it even happens with my husband, quite possibly the easiest person to talk to in the universe.
so i've been calling strangers and feeling so awkward, and every time i dial and someone answers, i sweat a little bit. you're welcome for that detail. i'm also finding that i smile a lot, play with my hair and talk with my hands flailing. weird.
surprisingly, i just thought that, as i've left the 18th message (with only one person calling me back), that maybe the folks on the receiving end of my message might feel the way that i do about answering surveys and/or talking on the phone. they're probably not sweating as they listen to the message, but you know what i mean. it's surprising that it's taken 18 calls to have this revelation... maybe they don't feel like talking to me as much as i don't feel like talking to them. huh.
it's too bad we can't offer a chance to win something enticing, like an ipad, a trip to las vegas, or a goldendoodle puppy.
remember those games where you could spend (read: waste) like $5 in quarters trying to get this useless claw to grab a too-heavy stuffed animal? each time you'd try, you'd get the claw to land strategically in the just right spot, and the weak claw would gently caress the arm of your coveted prize... and uh! so close! gimmeanotherquarter. <shrug> hope springs eternal.
this mini-trip down memory lane was just to illustrate to you how my hands feel these days, friends. i've read that one of the pregnancy hormones, relaxin, causes your ligaments and bones to loosen, which is good for one obvious reason, but quite inconvenient as i have become one of the clumsiest people i know. the latest casualty? i finished washing a mug in the kitchen sink the other day and as i tried to shake the extra water off of it, my claw-of-a-hand just let it go. it cracked in the most important spots and had to be retired. goodbye, random HK mug. <hangs head>
in other news, i found that my reflexes have reached an impressive (well, impressive to me) new level.
i went maternity clothes shopping for the first time this past weekend. it was (to me) surprisingly significant. over the last few weeks, Shane and i had had several conversations about why i should go (Shane's side) and why i didn't think i needed to go (my side). for me, i just kept insisting that i still had clothes i could sort of fit into, and it was just too much money to spend right now on clothes. i felt frivolous.
but, i was finally giving in, and we sat on Saturday morning discussing how much i should spend. i told Shane i had $60 to spend that day, and he said that was too little, especially as i was purchasing clothes that i would wear everyday, and that they would potentially last a long time. he recommended i pull an additional $140 from somewhere else to add to the amount, whether it came from savings or vacation or wherever, he didn't care. he gave me a talk about trusting that God will provide for us, and a lot of other things that i had trouble hearing because i was just crying, realizing Shane's faith was really encouraging me and pushing me heavenward. i had become so focused on budgeting and worry and setting aside my need for clothes that i was just staying alive, keeping my head above water. that's not God's picture of life with Him.
over breakfast on that same day, my friend (and shopping partner for the day) told me that she had been praying for our time together and how to make it special. She said that some people had been generous with her, and she wanted to also be generous in response. she had been asking God for an amount that she could give toward my clothing needs, and the number that kept coming to her mind was 140.
God is a generous God. and i feel like a new woman.
i was driving home from CVS when i waved a pedestrian to cross the street. as she walked past, she came toward my window, which was open. i was surprised at first to see that it was a girl, to be honest with you. she had short hair and was dressed in clothing that was made for a much larger framed man and they hung loosely off of her. she had clear blue eyes behind dirty glasses. many of her teeth were missing, but she couldn't have been more than 20 years old.
she asked me if i was from around here, and i told her yes. she asked me where some hospital was, and i told her it was farther than she would probably be able to walk. she told me the price of a bus ticket. she told me her mom was at lee memorial (which is quite close), but was sent over to the far hospital and she needed to get to her. she told me she had a student ID, but she was from Tampa, and it wouldn't work here. she told me a lot of things, but none that i could trust were true. these are the same stories every person asking for a few dollars tells me. the exact same stories.
i noticed on her forearm the scars of what i imagine have been many many sessions of careful cutting and profound sadness. her other forearm was covered in gauze.
she asked me if i knew of a church nearby that could help. i knew of lots of churches, but i sadly and silently realized they probably all had their doors locked. no help for a young girl like her. i motioned in the direction of the closest one, but she decided on her own that a church wasn't where she wanted to go.
she needed help in a lot of ways. i didn't feel like i could help any of them, especially in the long-term. so i did nothing. i told her i was sorry. i drove home and cried. i didn't know what to do, and i guess i still don't.
I stood a mendicant of God before His royal throne
And begged him for one priceless gift, which I could call my own.
I took the gift from out His hand, but as I would depart
I cried, "But Lord this is a thorn and it has pierced my heart.
This is a strange, a hurtful gift, which Thou hast given me."
He said, "My child, I give good gifts and gave My best to thee."
I took it home and though at first the cruel thorn hurt sore,
As long years passed I learned at last to love it more and more.
I learned He never gives a thorn without this added grace,
He takes the thorn to pin aside the veil which hides His face.
--Martha Snell Nicholson