I have been witness to no less than three miracles in the past two weeks. I share because I want to, because I am delighted, because I am jumping for joy inside and I must share my good news, not because I am trying to convince anyone to believe me.
Mason has struggled for almost two full months with whether or not to move forward with his own business or to stay with Closet Tailors and move forward with the owner. When I say struggle, I mean agonized, prayed, discussed, debated, and fell just short of my saying, JUST MAKE A DECISION FOR PETE’S SAKE. For two months, it looked like God was really providing him with opportunity after opportunity for his own business to grow and he had people telling him to move on from Closet Tailors and move into his business. But…he waited. He continued to pray and ask for direction. He continued to talk openly and honestly with the owner of Closet Tailors. He continued to deliberate. He waited for an answer from God. He knew it would come if he just waited for it. It came blindingly fast. In one week, the owner and Mason laid out a new direction for Mason’s path with the company, he found out the other guy working with him would be moving on from Closet Tailors into another job, the PAC program of Alabama fell apart (this directly impacted the one HUGE job he had on the table for his own business because the family has three children and two of them about to enter college with that failed program as their college savings plan), and a friend he worked with long ago gave him a call about needing employment for two of the guys in his shop that he couldn’t keep because business had decreased. In the span of three days, and in this exact order, God had answered him. I would chalk it up to coincidence, but the exactness of the numbers doesn’t lie.
We’ve been trying to figure out how to pay for Mason’s business taxes. We’re ok financially like most people, but I don’t think many people can fork out a lot of money at one time and it not have a fairly large impact on their day-to-day life. Well, we got bonuses at work this year (that should be the miracle, but it just doesn’t stop there). Usually we are given the majority of our bonus in stock and have to wait to sell it. It takes a few weeks to get the certificate. It takes a few weeks after quarter close once you get it to get an open trading window to sell it. It takes a few weeks to get the check after you sell the stock. It’s been this way for eight years without deviation. Of course, with the stock market as disheveled as it’s been, there is no telling what the actual bonus would have been worth by the time I was able to sell it some time in May. You know what happened this year? We got cash bonuses. No, I’m not kidding. Really! We still got a small portion of stock, but the majority of it was in cold hard cash available today, not a month after April 15th when taxes would be due. It’s the amount that is so peculiar. The exact amount received minus taxes paid on the bonus itself is surprisingly close to the exact amount we needed to do this and one other thing causing us worry.
Notice, if this hadn’t happened to me, I don’t know that I would have believed it myself. I’m a skeptic. Anyway, back to miracle three. I woke up this morning wide awake at 4:00 this morning. Frankly, this just does not happen to me. I am a sleeper. I love to sleep and much as possible. So, I woke up and I’m tossing and turning and snuggling and flipping covers off and adjusting pillows trying go back to sleep. Eighteen minutes later, I continue to be awake and finally get still. Then I hear it in my head. Get up! It’s time to do your Bible study. Strangely I responded with, I’m really tired, do I have to? Besides, I don’t have a study book. What good would it do? Then I stopped and looked around and thought, Oh my gosh, I’m crazy and hearing voices in my head. Crap. This is what crazy sounds like…great, just what I needed. Did I really hear anything or was it some kind of imaginary/sleep induced thing? I don’t think I’ll get up since I don’t want to be crazy. I heard the words again, very clearly, followed by the directions to go out to the car and get the purple binder and what I needed would be in there. What I needed? Well at this point I knew I wasn’t talking to myself and I knew I wouldn’t tell myself to get out of bed twice, and I knew I hadn’t touched that binder for two days or given it any thought for more than to carry it into Wednesday night church and then out of church Wednesday night after Wednesday night. Most of all, I knew for fact that I wouldn’t even in the best of circumstances tell myself to walk out in the cold, dark morning at four thirty to get a million dollars, much less a purple binder with something I needed in it. Needless to say, I got up and did the single most important thing I do all day, which is to turn the coffee pot on. Then, I went out to the car to get the purple binder. I came back inside and couldn’t remember where my Bible was, thought about it, remembered, then had to go back outside to get my Bible which is in the trunk of the car and has been for about a month. All of this to point out, I’m not a religious zealot; this was all REALLY out of character for me considering I haven’t done a morning bible study in over three months. The voice was very right. What I needed was on a blue sheet of paper from a session about three weeks ago that I never even glanced at. To explain in a nutshell, it was a lesson related to Sara, which reads about how God uses our weakness to demonstrate his promise and strength through us. That our whole existence is meaningful, not a multitude of punishments. I must admit like Sara, I have felt defective from a very young age. Circumstances beyond my control started that ball rolling, and the feelings have multiplied over and over due to newer circumstances and people and even decisions that I’ve made in my life. This morning, God saw straight into that place and quietly spoke to me saying, you don’t have to feel this way anymore. Listen to My Words; hear them in this quiet moment when the world is asleep; Look at them again with open eyes. Look at what you are to me, what you mean to me, at exactly who I meant for you to be. You are not defective or broken or worthless at all - you are Mine, and meaningful, and I love you just like this. The feelings that came next were overwhelming. I’ve spent the better part of 30 years developing this self condemnation and loathing. In one second, a single second, it was gone. I’m crying still. I can’t stop. I can’t explain what it’s like to be free from this. Not kind of free, not feeling better about it or working toward resolution. Free. In one quiet, crazy, moment.
I wouldn’t have written this blog before today. I wouldn’t have dared sound so crazy. Today, I’m honored to know the presence of God in my life and to have felt it so personally.