I think up until now, most of my blogs have suggested I grew up poor and then changed my “position” once I got married but that isn’t really truth. In fact, the very birth of this blog came from the realization that I suddenly am not living like I used to. I am about to celebrate my 15th wedding anniversary so this new way of life came only recently. Don’t get me wrong. I am not trying to go back to my old way of living; it’s just that I don’t know, yet, how to live this way. I grew up poor and resourceful and that was helpful for the first decade of married life. But things have not always been this easy.
One time, Josh and I had decided to visit some good friends, in Sacramento. We would be staying at their family’s house so all we had to do was #1 – get there, and then #2 – get home. Getting there was fine. We had a blast hanging with our friends and when the time came to leave, I decided it would be best to leave at night so our two year old daughter could sleep most of the way home. Smart, right? Josh, who knew better, tried to warn me that this might not be a good idea. He made sure to communicate clearly that he knew he would not be able to drive the whole way and I would have to do my part….at least 3 hours of night-time driving. “PSH! Easy!” (The PLRWM unwitting thinks to herself.)
We say our good-byes and head out. Josh drives the first leg of the trip and I don’t really get any rest because I don’t want him to fall asleep at the wheel so I try to stay up with him. When we rotate and I am in the driver’s seat, I learn a big lesson. It is too late and too dark for any sane person to be able to drive for even an hour without getting very tired. I had failed and Josh was none-to-happy with me.
After I listen to Josh rant about how he knew this would never work and how this is all my fault (which it TOTALLY was), we agree to find a Motel 6 for the night in Fresno. We don’t even have $20 between us and our account is completely drained as it was the end of the month and we don’t have credit cards because of some unfortunate spending earlier on in our marriage (a blog post for another day). After realizing we can’t really afford the $36 bucks for a Motel 6 we keep driving, reading the signs of local motels until we find one outside of Fresno that says “$28 per night.”
For as long as I live, I will never forget Josh and I pooling every cent we had, even digging underneath the seats, emptying out the change drawer and coming up with a little less than $26 dollars. Josh drops the crumpled up dollars and the mound of change to the counter and tells the clerk, “not sure exactly how much is here (lie) but…..it’s what we have. (truth)” The guy behind the desk grumbles to himself, hands us a key and waves us off to our room. My emotions were all over the map that night but the three of us climbed into the king bed and rested until morning.
The sun came up the next morning and brought with it new problems. First, it revealed the true nastiness of our accommodations. The shower, if someone used it, would actually make you dirtier rather than cleaner. The sheets and bedding were stained and threadbare and the carpet was the worst of it all. Second, I know my 2 year old is going to get hungry and we gave every last penny to the hotel clerk the night before. I have never felt as helpless as I did that morning. I knew our predicament was totally my fault and I had to figure out a way to feed my kid. I left Josh and K at the motel and jumped in the car and drove around thinking to myself and praying in my heart. I saw a branch of our bank and pulled up to the ATM hoping if I put my card in, it would miraculously have something to withdrawal. It didn’t. But as I sat there, thinking some more, I noticed an option on the screen that I never noticed before. It read: “Direct Deposit Advance.” In the 3 years we had been banking there, I had never noticed those words. Josh always opted for Direct Deposit….”I wonder…?” I pushed the button and followed the prompts and in no time at all, the most beautiful twenty dollar bill came out of the machine. My insides were bursting with praise and relief. I sped back to my family, by way of McDonald’s” and together we rejoiced over hash browns. We were going to be OK. We were going to get home. We were rich.
Though K was there, she has no memory of that trip and no awareness of our struggle. Despite my own foolishness, the Lord provided for us that day. I think these are the stories of provision that we are supposed to tell our children so they can see us living out our faith and trust in Him. Do you have an 11:59 provision that you need to share with your children?