It was a preschool morning at our house, which meant I had to get all three kids up, clothed, fed, make a sack lunch, and get us out the door and to preschool by 9:00 in the morning. This is no feeble task when you are wrestling a five, 2 ½ year old, and a 4 month baby out the door. I’ve learned we have to start putting on shoes, hats, jackets, etc., about half an hour before we actually have to be anywhere or we will never make it on time. And often, we still don’t!
Getting the kids dressed to go out the door was a trial, as we looked for lost shoes (that were by the door five minutes ago), dry tears (because a jacket wont zip up on the first attempt), drag my 2 ½ year old out from under the dining room table (his favorite place to hide from mom) and head into the garage.
It was hard enough to get out the door, but then there was the fiasco of trying to get everyone into the car. Inevitably, my five-year old ran outside and into the nearest snow bank to grab a handful of snow before being confined to his car seat. There are more tears because the seatbelt is twisted up and won’t strap. My toddler jumped over the middle bench seat in the van and flashed a devious smile at me from the back seat. Fighting back angry words, I dragged him back over the bench seat, making sure his boots didn’t knock his baby sister in the head on the way over.
I remember looking at the clock, 8:50am, and thinking: I might actually get us to school on time. This was especially important, because I was supposed to be at a MOPS meeting at Church at 9:30am, and I didn’t want to be late. I had to meet the speaker and finish up some last-minute details for the meeting.
Despite a layer of freshly fallen snow, we got to school on time. I was able to drop my preschooler off quicker than usual, re-load the two little ones, and make my way out of the busy parking lot. I was feeling pretty good about myself, when suddenly, I heard it: “clunk clunk clunk.” What is that noise? Did I hit something? I couldn’t see anything. Maybe it was snow from the parking lot? It wasn’t plowed very well. I proceeded to pull out of the parking lot, and into the street. I drove about a block, all the while hearing: “clunk clunk clunk.” At this point, I was concerned there was something seriously wrong with my tire.
I pulled into a side street, that was also not plowed very well, and jumped out of my car. I looked at all four tires, expecting one of them to be flat. That’s when I saw the mangled orange construction cone under my front left tire. Apparently I ran over it in the preschool parking lot and took it for a ride up the street. I tried to grab the cone, but it was obviously wedged under the tire. I didn’t want to lie down on a snowy road to pull it out, so Instead, I got back into my 1998 Astro mini van and put it into reverse. I didn’t move far, but it was enough to release the cone.
I glanced at the clock: 9:10 a.m. I still had plenty of time to get to MOPS. I put the car into gear, ready to be on my way, hit the gas… nothing but spinning tires. Apparently I reversed right into some unplowed snow. Are you kidding me?!! I need to be somewhere. NOW! Thankfully, my thoughtful father-in-law had given me a small shovel (for my car) as a Christmas present, and I had actually put it into the van.
Determined, I trudged out of the van and into the snow bank, shoveled around the tires like a mad woman, hopped back into my van, hit the gas and started to move. Unfortunately, I was not moving forward. The van is rear-wheel drive and instead of moving forward, the back-end had slipped further into the snow bank. I tried reversing and then moving forward again. I was stuck worse than before. My car was practically sideways on the street, and I was convinced I was going to have to call a tow truck to come and save me.
MOPS was set to start in 15 minutes. Without some help, I was going to miss it. Grabbing my steering wheel in frustration, I yelled: “LORD! CAN’T YOU JUST GET ME OUT OF THIS SNOW BANK?!!! I NEED SOME HELP!” I decided to step on the gas again, in a last-ditch effort to free myself, and miraculously, I moved forward a couple of inches. I revved the engine again, and moved a few more inches. I continued to rev the engine, inch by inch until I was finally FREE!
Did that really just happen? As I slowly made my way up the street I was hit with the reality that: When we cry out to God, He hears us and He answers our cry. Psalm 118:5 says it this way: “In my distress I prayed to the LORD, and the LORD answered me and set me free.” Psalm 3:4 says: “I call out to the LORD, and he answers me from his holy mountain.”
What an amazing truth. While I didn’t enjoy the stress of being stuck in a snow bank, I am grateful for the reminder that I serve a God that sees me, hears my cries for help, and answers me when I call. Sometimes the answers aren’t exactly what I want to hear, and they don’t always come in the way that I would expect. But they come nonetheless. If we are willing to look for and listen to Him, God will speak to us – even in the mundane every day experiences of life.
Lord I am so grateful for your Word and the truth that is found within it. Thank you for answering my cry for help. Help me to see you in the every day experiences of life. Please give me the desire and the patience to hear your voice. I don’t want to miss what you want to teach me. Amen.