Lest anyone think I sit atop a mountain of grace with this whole thing figured out, let me present Exhibit A, and allow it to testify to all the things I still need to learn about God’s great love for me. I apologize in advance for the length of this post, but apparently every word was required in order to communicate how great God is and how slow I am.
So last week I heard the words that I dread, “Mom, my iPod screen is frozen. I need to get it fixed.” Why dread these words? So many reasons: 1) I am a technology dinosaur; 2) I am not sure my kids, or anyone else’s these days, know what life apart from technology at the touch of a thumb is (therefore, I don’t know what my kids are like apart from technology, just kidding girls :)); and 3) (most importantly) I am afraid of the Apple Store.
When I say I am a technology dinosaur what I really mean is that I am lost in the world of Apple. Who wouldn’t be overcome with panic when they have so cleverly, and intimidatingly, named the store tech support the ‘Genius Bar’? Not only that, but in order to get to the Apple Store I actually have to go to the mall.
Malls are a whole separate problem for me. When someone says, “Let’s go to the mall,” my blood runs cold and I start to sweat. It’s the mass parking, all the people, all the choices in the stores, and did I mention all the people??? I just don’t like large crowds or spending lots of money or making decisions about spending lots of money and to me those are the things that going to the mall is all about.
So, back to my dilemma with the frozen iPod screen. My daughter looked me straight in the eye and said, “We need to go to the Apple Store and they will give me a new one.” When I resisted (because I could not believe such a thing was possible in what could be considered the worst possible customer service period of history!) she repeated it, numerous times. My daughter is the most persistent person I know and completely uninhibited about asking for things she needs. I have no idea what gene pool she drew from, but it was not mine.
Since I was horrified at the thought of the mall and the Apple Store (two phobias for the price of one) I told her I would see if I could Google a solution. I was positive this has happened before and some genius twenty or thirty years younger than me had posted the solution online for me to find. I jumped online full of faith that God was not going to make me go to the mall or the Apple Store because He loves me that much!
But of course that would be the end of the story and I am convinced God loves a really good story.
When I had to admit that my Google prowess had failed (I am otherwise known as ‘The Google Queen’) I told my daughter that I agreed that we would need to go to the Apple Store. That was on Thursday. I told her I thought we could work it in on the following Tuesday. I figured this was going to be an all-day affair, I’ve heard the horror stories of others, and the following Tuesday was the first spot on my calendar that I had a long, uninterrupted block of time. I also figured that would give me several days to mentally prepare for the trek.
Yes I know I was acting like this was going to be the equivalent of climbing Everest. But you see, for me, it was the equivalent of climbing Everest. And God knew that. And He didn’t try to make me feel guilty about it. He just met me right where I was with love and not condemnation.
When I dropped my daughter off at school Friday morning she asked me if we could try to go to the store that afternoon. So I started to ask myself, “Why can’t I go this afternoon?” The truth is fear was the only thing keeping me from going.
I heard a sweet whisper in my spirit to hit Google one more time. Through a series of what appeared to be random mouse clicks (but you and I both know differently) I found that I could make an appointment that afternoon at 4:30, so I did.
My daughter got home and was ELATED when I told her we were going. I, however, felt like I was preparing to enter a medieval torture chamber. I couldn’t imagine any scenario where this went well. I thought we were going to be there for hours and at the end of the day my daughter was still going to have a broken iPod, which translates to a broken heart for a teenager.
We arrived at the mall at 4:10 and headed in through one of the department stores. I told my daughter I didn’t know where the store was and she said, “Why don’t you ask that lady?” Duh. I think I wrote something about self-sufficiency LAST WEEK!!! Probably the day the iPod broke. The lady at the make-up counter gladly pointed us in the right direction and off we went.
As we turned the corner into the store I almost had a full-blown panic attack (as if everything else I have recorded in this post hasn’t proven I need to be on meds). The store was wall-to-wall people. My heart started to race and I think I stopped breathing for a few seconds…I hold my breath when I am stressed, like I am waiting for a punch in the stomach.
God showed up.
My daughter led me to a friendly young man with an iPad. We told him we had an appointment. He said, “Great!” and asked us to wait over by the wall. Before heading there I said something like, “You should serve alcohol.” He laughed. I think he must hear that a lot.
Within five minutes a kind, older woman walked up to us, introduced herself and started looking at the iPod. After no more than two minutes she looked up and said, “I’ll be right back with your new iPod.” Since we all know my hearing is not great, I looked at my daughter and asked, “What did she say?” She replied, “She said, ‘I’ll be right back with your new iPod.’ I told you mom!”
The truth is, until we were walking out of that store and got into our car with a new iPod (a mere 20 minutes after our arrival at the mall), I still didn’t believe it. How could this have been that easy? It didn’t cost me a dime. It barely cost me an hour on a Friday afternoon and it was 100%, completely taken care of. I didn’t have to ask her to do anything. She assessed the problem and solved it for us.
It was ridiculously easy. I still can hardly believe it. I can also hardly believe the unnecessary stress I put myself through. By the time I pulled out of my parking spot my stomach was hurting from having been in a knot all day. On the drive home my daughter was so happy and kept saying, “I knew it. I knew they were going to give me a new one.” And it’s true, she never doubted for a minute she was going to leave with anything less than a working iPod.
So I asked the Lord, why didn’t I know it? Why didn’t I expect something good to happen? Then He showed me all the ways He had been good to me through the whole process – leading me to make an appointment, giving me the perfect parking spot, the lady at the make-up counter who gave us directions, my daughter who confidently led me through the entire process, the kind check-in guy with the iPad, the sweet Genius Bar lady who gave us the new iPod.
My point, in relationship to reigning in life and abundant living? When our tiaras are on straight, we live in expectancy; expectancy of God’s goodness towards us and His love for us, not necessarily of perfect outcomes. We can walk through the most challenging situations (even if they are only in our minds) knowing that God has good things in store for us regardless of the results.
Even if we had not walked out of that store with a new iPod, God was amazing to us every step of the way.
Thank You Father that Your love never fails. You are faithful even when we are faithless. Thank You for mercies that are new EVERY SINGLE DAY even when we struggle to receive them!