The Promise

Currently, I’m sitting in the passenger seat, on a road trip. Taking the exact same roads I was traveling, to the exact same destination I was headed to this time last year. 
Last year, we were supposed to be going to the beach as a family. 

But our family had been broken. 

I was exhausted, confused, lonely, sad, and terrified. I had no idea what my future held. Jeff was persistent in his pursuit of me, in his pursuit of forgiveness, and of a fresh start. But honestly, up to that point, I wanted no part of that. Yet I couldn’t pull the trigger and file for divorce. It was around this time that I started to believe he might be telling the truth. That this complete change in him might actually be real? Could it be? But still I had so many questions. So many doubts. 
The rest of my family were going to the beach for a week, and not wanting me home alone, knowing that I needed time away, they insisted that Kate and I come with them. 

So I did. And it was what I needed. I needed that space and that distance. It was fun to spend that time with them and yet it was hard. Hard because things were not what they were supposed to have been. 

Jeff was supposed to be there. But he wasn’t. Our family vacation was missing a very important ingredient… our family. 
It was during that week that I found a little clarity. I didn’t know if I could do it. I didn’t know if I could live with him. With what he had done. I had come to a place where I couldn’t envision my life with him, but I couldn’t envision it without him either. Neither felt right. 

But still, he was different. So decidedly and undeniably different. This new Jeff, I saw things in him. Things that you want in a husband. But I was still in so much pain. It was nearly impossible to reconcile, the new Jeff and the old Jeff. If I took him back , I might possibly be getting an amazing husband. The kind I had always wanted. But I was also risking my heart on someone who had obviously not valued it. On the other hand, if I decided to move on, I might find someone new. Someone that would treasure my heart. But there were no guarantees that I wouldn’t give my heart away to someone new and they wouldn’t break it too. 

And I could possibly be giving up a potentially great husband in this new Jeff. I had put 24 years into this marriage. Did I really want to walk away and let someone else reap the benefits of this new, improved version? That didn’t seem fair. 
So many questions. What was real? What could I believe in? 
And then the answer. 
“You can go. And I’ll honor that. I have goodness for you. Or you can stay. And I will honor that. I have goodness for you.”
So, all of that indecision, all of that inner turmoil, all of that fear, it was a burden I didn’t have to carry. 

The pressure was off. There were no wrong decisions. It didn’t matter what I chose. God had goodness for me.

All I had to do was seek Him, trust him, and follow my heart. 
So then, what to do? 
I knew deep down , I couldn’t live with not at least trying to give our marriage a chance. I knew the only way I would know if I could live with him, was to try and live with him. It was hard. It was scary. It was probably the most vulnerable I’ve ever been. 
But I knew that no matter what happened, God promised me goodness. 
So here I am, exactly one year later, in the passenger seat, riding down the same road, to the same beach. 

But this time is different. This year, Jeff sits beside me. He sits beside me a changed man. A better man. A new man. 

I’m looking forward to this week ahead. Thankful that this year, for this family vacation, we are a family. 

Not broken. 

Whole. 

(Only thing missing is my sweet Em, she had to stay home for school.🙁)
In the turmoil, in the darkness, in the confusion, and in the pain, you just have to get quiet. You just have to be still. That’s when you’ll hear Him. 

“You can stay. Or you can go. I’ll always have goodness for you.”

Thank you Lord, for your promise. Thank you that your promises are good. Thank you that when we don’t know what we can trust, or what we can believe in, we can always trust in you. Because you always, always have goodness for us. 

Amy Thurston Gordy

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Of Grace and gas bills

It’s been one of those days. You know the ones. The ones where something goes wrong. Then something else goes wrong. Then you’re ready to cry, but you tell yourself you’re being silly and overly sensitive and to suck it up and pull it together and then lo and behold, you guessed it, something else goes awry.

It all started after our 6 AM alarm went off. I went to the kitchen to get Anna Kate’s cereal from the pantry and we were out, so I settled on microwaveable oatmeal. I popped it in the microwave and went to wake her up.

Come back for said oatmeal, and find that it has puffed up and overflowed all over the bottom of the microwave. Yay. That’s fun. No biggie. I’ll just wipe that up. Jeff comes into the kitchen, and then into the pantry, and is leaning way back over in the corner where the hot water heater is.

“What are you doing?”, I ask.

“There’s no hot water. I’m looking to see if it’s on. It isn’t. Try the stove burners and see if they will come on.”

So I try, and it’s a no go. No flame. No gas. Hmm.

He says they must be working on the line somewhere and shut it off.

I think to myself, “wouldn’t they have notified us of an outage..”

He says, “you paid the bill, right?”

“Yes, I paid it.”

A minute goes by. I’m thinking.. I did pay it right? So I look in my checkbook. The entry is there. I look through my “paid” stack of bills. There it is. In the “paid” stack. So I paid it…right?

Jeff takes a cold shower and goes to work.

I decide to check the gas account online, just to make sure they posted my payment. Certainly if I had not paid it I would have gotten a disconnect notice.

Account comes up… red letters..Past Due. Umm. Huh?

I look through payment history. It’s not there. I look at bank account. Never cleared. Oh boy.

I’m an idiot. I remember sitting down to pay it and some other bills, but apparently never actually entered the payment. I always write down the confirmation number when I pay online. My checkbook entry had no confirmation number under it. Oh no.

I must have gotten distracted and walked away, and forgotten that I never actually entered the online payment. Oh geez.

I call the gas company to make the payment and reconnect the service.

They can come Tuesday.

TUESDAY.

Y’all. That’s 5 days with no hot water. No gas for cooking. 5 days of cold showers and pizza delivery. Because I’m an idiot.

Ugh.

I was supposed to be off today. But now I’ve decided to go to work for a few hours to make up for some of the reconnect fees I just cost myself.

So I go get ready. Decide to run my round brush through my hair with the hair dryer to smooth it out. What I didn’t realize is that the heat setting had gotten bumped up to high. I never put it on high because it gets way too hot. I run the brush through with the hair dryer pointing at it, and as I pull it down I see hairs falling on the counter.

What??!!

What just happened? I look up to see a nice little area of singed hair, broken off about an inch from the scalp.

Dear God in heaven.

What. Have. I. Done.

I immediately put some conditioning treatment on it to smooth it out. But the damage is done. Thank goodness it was a fairly small amount, and mostly just noticeable to me. At least that’s what I keep telling myself.

I only teared up a little. And maybe laughed at myself. Because seriously. Who does that? Me. That’s who.
So I pour my coffee, and head off to work.

I’m almost there and I realize I left my coffee at home.

That’s ok, I’ll just run through the drive thru and get some.

“I’d like a small coffee, no sugar, 4 French vanilla creamers, please.”

(Don’t judge, I like a little coffee with my creamer. Ha)

She hands me the coffee,but no creamer packets.

“They already put it in the coffee for you.”

Nice!

I get to work. Take a sip.

Mud. It tastes like mud. So I open the top. It’s straight up black coffee. No creamer.

Sigh.

Then I get a text from my daughter. It’s a pic of the cat, who has decided to catch a chipmunk, kill it and proceed to eat it right outside my back door on our deck. Ughhh.

What even is this day?
I text Jeff. Tell him why we have no gas service. That it’s 100% my fault. Then I tell him the terrible awful news that it’s out until Tuesday. I expect him to be upset with me. To tell me I need to be more careful and pay better attention to the bills.

But that’s not what I got.

Instead I got this.


Sweet right? Like, I’m kind of melting over here y’all. 😍

And my wonderful co-worker heard about my coffee catastrophe. She says, “hey, I think I actually have a brand new container of French vanilla creamer in my car.”

For real? Is that angels I hear singing?

She just happened to have some of the very kind of creamer I wanted just randomly in her car? Why? Why would you randomly have a single bottle of creamer in your car? And that specific flavor.

I’ll tell you why.

Because Jesus, y’all.

He knew I was gonna need it. He doesn’t miss the details. I kid you not.

That bottle of French vanilla creamer was providence.

That’s how much He loves us. Not just in the big things, but He loves us in the little things too.
I text my sisters about the events of my morning. They offer their showers and their ovens. Because that’s what sisters do.
This day started off badly.

But just as quickly as it had turned ugly, the goodness started to show up.

Grace upon grace upon grace.

Jeff could have chosen to be mad at me. Instead, he chose grace. Kindness and love and encouragement and grace.
And the creamer. Try to tell me that wasn’t a modern day miracle. Coffee is important, y’all.
And my hair? Barely noticeable and a funny story good to give y’all a laugh every time you picture my face when I saw that hair falling.
And the chipmunk and the cat, well… I’m not sure what I could say that would be redeeming about that. Circle of life? That’s what the Lion King would say anyway. RIP chipmunk.
I guess you could say I’ve handed out a good bit of grace over the past year. And I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that grace is what I got today. I’m a firm believer that what you give away is what you attract back to yourself. Positive energy begets positive energy. Kindness begets kindness.

Grace begets grace.
Who do you need to show grace today? Maybe it’s someone you love that disappointed you. Maybe it’s someone you don’t really even like. Maybe it’s a stranger.

Or maybe , just maybe, it’s yourself.
My immediate reaction to my screw up with the gas bill was to speak negatively of myself. “You’re an idiot. This is your fault. You are doing a bad job at managing this household. You are causing everyone else to deal with the consequences of your stupid mistake. You’ve disappointed everyone.”
But then Jeff’s words brought me back.
“It was just a mistake. Everybody makes them. You have a lot on your plate. You do so much. You do so much and you’re doing a great job.”
It’s just that I like to take care of my people. I hold myself to sometimes unattainable standards of perfection. I expect so much of myself. I like to make people happy.

The worst feeling in the world to me is to feel like I’ve disappointed someone. That I’ve let someone down.

But no matter how much I try to keep those standards and expectations I hold myself to, I’m not perfect. I can’t be everything to everyone and get it right 100% of the time.

I needed that reminder today.
Sometimes it is ourselves that we need to learn to extend grace to the most.
It started out a bad day. But I am constantly reminded that even when things don’t go right, whether it’s a big thing like your marriage or a small thing like your coffee, there are lessons to be learned there. There’s beauty in the brokenness. There’s beauty in our imperfection. Because that’s where the growth happens. That’s where your relationship with God goes deeper. And it’s also where miracles happen. Miracles in marriage, miracles in other life struggles, or maybe even miracles in a bottle of French vanilla creamer.

I’ve said it before , and I’ll keep saying it every day for the rest of my life. There’s goodness here. In the things that go right and in the things that go wrong. There’s goodness everywhere. So let’s all show ourselves a little grace today, and choose to see the goodness.
Amy Thurston Gordy