Proclaim His Glory! MINISTRIES
Ordinary Lives Transformed by Extraordinary Experiences with God
By Cindy L. Heflin
Be still, and know that I am God
Psalm 46:10 (NKJV)
I slapped the snooze bar and rolled over for a few more moments of sleep. It’s Saturday Lord, I pleaded, as a beam of sunlight pierced the darkened room and poked me in the eye. Heaving a sigh, I threw off the covers and crawled out of bed.
Still slightly comatose, I stumbled past my husband’s unpacked luggage and into the shower. While the steamy spray pummeled my scalp, the day’s busy schedule swirled inside my head. My need for divine guidance was obvious, so I quickly shot several arrow prayers heavenward. I’ll get to my quiet time a little later, Lord. I promised.
I pulled on a pair of sweats, dashed downstairs to the kitchen, and pushed a bowl of cereal toward each kid. While they sat at the island crunching on Crispix®, my husband, Bryant, and I checked our mile-long “to-do” list. Still, after a hectic week of school, sports, and business travel, we knew carving out some family time was important.
“How ‘bout a picnic in the park for lunch?” I suggested. My gang was game, but a severe storm in the forecast dampened our outdoor plans. Playing it safe, we opted to catch the newest kid-flick at a nearby cinema.
“What if I cook, clean up the house, and finish party preparations,” I offered, “while you shuttle the girls to softball, dance class, and take the dog to the vet. Then we could run errands together, and squeeze in the movie before Grandma’s birthday bash.”
“Ok, girls. Let’s go!” Bryant called as the kids scrambled out the door to our sky-blue Caravan. While he taxied our cherubs all over town, I tackled the chores at home. Fun and frantic! Just an ordinary Saturday—or so it seemed.
The morning evaporated rapidly as I wrapped gifts, layered a lasagna, and mopped a trail of muddy paw prints off the kitchen floor. Time slipped by as I hurried to clean the counter tops of clutter—dirty dishes, star-spangled school papers, a slimy science fair project, and a myriad of books. Feeling a twinge of guilt, I thumbed the pages of my daily devotional and placed it on the table with a pile of mail. “Oh, Father!” I whispered. “I’ll spend time with You, as soon as I’m finished.” My heart longed for Him, but the clock was ticking.
After crossing each item off my checklist, I made a beeline for the bedroom to change clothes and pop in my contacts. Soon, the honking horn in my driveway jolted to mind—our errands! I scurried from room-to-room like a squirrel gathering nuts before winter, collecting library books, the dry-cleaning, and an overdue DVD. Checking our bedside clock, I glanced at my Bible with a sigh, and hustled out to the van, juggling the load in my arms.
“Just three little errands before the movie, remember?” I panted and dumped the heap into my lap.
“Awww, Mom!” cried the backseat chorus. My husband cruised down the cul-de-sac as the rushin’ roulette continued.
Through the afternoon drizzle, we raced the clock, rushing to finish our rounds before show time. Bryant had just returned after another week of business travel, and we made use of our time between stops, bringing Dad up to speed on family concerns and school activities.
“So, what’d you learn about this week?” he asked each child.
“Stranger-Danger!” said the six-year-old with confidence.
Bryant shot a questioning look my way.
“Safety Week at school.” I explained with a smile. “The first graders read a booklet and learned rules about crossing the street, riding the bus, and avoiding strangers.”
The windshield wipers slurped as we cruised the rain-slick streets and continued our “family time.” Halfway through an involved conversation, we arrived at the crowded superstore to return the overdue DVD. Thunder crashed as Bryant parked at the curb by the door and I rushed in with the video. Lightening crackled and a downpour broke loose. To allow the vehicle behind him access to the entrance, my ever-courteous husband moved ahead. Then, the other driver pulled up and parked his sky-blue Caravan, at the curb by the door.
Unaware of this activity, I proceeded through the busy store, straight to the video counter, paid the fee, and headed back. With the grace and speed of a gazelle, I swept by the bargain aisle, squelching my tendency to browse, and maneuvered my way through the maze of shoppers in the checkout line. I could almost taste the popcorn as I exited the store in sixty seconds—or so.
Reaching the van, I flung open the door, dropped into my seat, and continued our discussion, never skipping a beat. Why isn’t he driving on to the movie? I wondered. Then I noticed something odd rolling around at my feet. Puzzled, I picked up a fuzzy, fluorescent green tennis ball. “Where’d this come from?” I asked. Confusion furrowed my brow as I casually tossed the ball over the backseat—and turned to my husband for his reply. Sheer terror overwhelmed me when I saw the strange man seated behind the wheel of the van!
Realizing Bryant and the girls were missing, my mind wildly raced through all the horrible possibilities. I didn't know whether to pray first—or scream! A dead silence hung in the air. Totally numb, I froze with fear like a deer caught in the headlights. Come to think of it, the guy looked pretty shocked, too.
Staring out the windshield, I saw another blue mini-van parked straight ahead. Without a word, I bolted out the door and dashed through the rain down the sidewalk. Relief and embarrassment washed over me as I realized my family was safe inside our blue mini-van!
They were safe, and completely oblivious to my blunder. While catching my breath, my heart still pounding, I described in detail what had just happened. Bryant listened, an astonished expression on his face, then suddenly we exploded with laughter. As tears rolled down our cheeks, we laughed until our sides ached, and wondered if that poor man was amused too, or just plain shocked!
"Mommy!” my first-grader cried. With fear in her voice and tears in her eyes, she was visibly shaken. “Don't you remember? It's not safe to get into a stranger’s car!”
After consoling our daughter, we thanked God for His divine protection, and raced to the show.
My nerves calmed as I collapsed into a seat in the darkened theater. Since I'd already experienced the action and adventure of a four-star movie, God finally had my undivided attention. No more rushin’ roulette for me, Lord. I sighed.
“Be still, my child-–and know that I am God.” I sensed Him whisper, as my heart overflowed with the peace of His presence.
Copyright © 2004 by Cindy L. Heflin. Used by permission of the author.
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