I’m sorry, God’s not in right now. But please leave a message and He will return your call.

I have learned something ugly about myself over the years.
Something I am trying really hard to change.
I love to control things.
Case in point.I chaperoned a recent trip to Charleston SC with 77 middle schoolers.
No really, they were wonderful.  We had an amazing time.
The end of our school trip though was also the start to our Spring Break.  A Spring Break where a precious couple in our church gave us a week in their condo!
So, I decided, that so we wouldn’t lose two days of our reservation, Jason would drive down with Reagan, Phoebe and Ellie on Sunday and get settled in, and Max and I would rent a car and drive up to Myrtle Beach to get our family vacation started.
It was going to work out perfectly.
Until I got into the rental car with Adam from Enterprise (they really do pick you up!) and he pulls us up to the office to get our paperwork signed off.
He’s opening the office door for me and he said, “Mrs. Banks, all you will need is a credit card and your drivers license and we will get you on the road.”
Panic rushed all over me in a wave of hot then cold.
“Well, what if I don’t own a credit card.”
“Um, well you have to have a credit card.”
“Would a picture of a credit card work?”
“No ma’am.  We need to physically swipe the card.”
I pilfered through my wallet, knowing I wasn’t going to find a credit card, hoping to buy some time…and some sympathy.
As I dug I quickly realized that I had no drivers license either.

Sweet Jesus.

My buses were gone.
My 76 middle schoolers were on their way to tour a forest.
I was stuck in Charleston SC, my most favorite city in the world, with no credit card, no license, and no rental car.
But I did remember to pack my Starbucks gift card!
Priorities people!
I wanted control of this situation.
I was adamant about us renting a car to meet Jason so he wouldn’t have to spend 4 more hours on the road to get to us and then back.  Especially after driving so much the day before.
But it wasn’t happening.
I looked at Adam and said, “What am I going to do?”
He looked back at me and said, “Well, I’m going to try to help you.”
SPOILER ALERT...Adam didn’t help me….
At this point, I’m praying and crying.
I go into the Enterprise office and meet Mandy and Joe (who through small talk I learn is from Huntington, WV.  “Oh, that’s really nice!  But guess what Joe? I DON’T REALLY CARE!  Not unless you’re going to give me a rental car…”
At this point, Joe is suggesting Uber, which I have no idea what Uber is,  I’m still crying, and still praying.
Mandy recommends we go to the Visitor Center across the street.
With my 12 year old and our luggage we bid farewell to Adam, Joe and Mandy and we seek help at the Visitor Center.
There we find out:Amtrak leaves at 10pm
We missed the Greyhound by 10 minutes.
The shuttle won’t be there til TUESDAY.

Clearly God must be out of the office because HE IS NOT GETTING MY MESSAGES…
Very unbecoming…

Thank God for these two:

Nikki and Randy.  They had pity on an emotional mom who was abandoned through her own stupidity.  They let us store our luggage and pillows in the back office even though they could get in serious trouble.
God bless Nikki and Randy.
Finally I buckled.
I tucked my pride between my legs and called Jason.
I tell him that I need his help and he in fact is going to have to come get us.
But like my knight in shining armor that he is, without reservation, he said, “We’re on it!”

Clearly Max is upset.  Here he is yo-yo-ing.
Doesn’t he know he is supposed to be wallowing in my pit with me?!

Instead Max, the one who is normally Negative Nelly and Capt. Complains a Lot, gave me a shot in the arm.
“Come on mom!  Let’s go see the city!  Daddy won’t be here for 2 hours!  Let’s go to the train museum and the city market and get Starbucks and ride the free trolley!”

“Okay Lord.  Let’s try this again.  Please help me not ruin this time with Max.  Help me out of my pit.  All things work to the good of those who love and serve you and are called according to your purpose right?  So what I left my license and screwed up MY plans.  Maybe they were never part of YOUR plans to begin with.  Thank you for possibly protecting us from harm.  Please keep Jason and the kids safe on their way here to get us.  Amen”

Pit be gone!

We had so much fun.
We got to minister to this precious little man named Clotell.
All he wanted was a BLT, people.
We walked for miles.
It was a beautiful day.
We had amazing conversation.
Max peed behind a dumpster.
We rode the trolley and I got to see Max be fearless and independent and oh so grown up.
Things I wouldn’t have experienced had I gotten my way.

So the next time you feel like you are getting an “I’m out of the office” auto response from God, just hold on.  More than likely He is getting ready to work through people like Nikki, Randy, and a BLT loving homeless man to give you something better.

I’m a book-shelving, former tap dancer, wanna be writer, singer,
and banjo player, mother of 4, wife of 1, follower of Christ,
walking in the shadow of the Proverbs 31 woman
and redeemed by the grace and love of an Almighty God…
just living the dream.

One thought on “I’m sorry, God’s not in right now. But please leave a message and He will return your call.

  1. Jill, this is beautiful, and so thoughtful. We do sometimes,not realize these crises expose our quirks, and can transform us into a better person. Loved the sweet homeless gentleman, and precious Max. God is definitely in that young man’s heart. You and Jason have done well.

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