…because it will be answered. Perhaps different than what you wanted. Perhaps just the way you asked.
Today was a bad day. BUT, today was a great blessing.
First, it is Monday, which in itself sets the stage to be a downer.
Yesterday, I returned from a Women’s Retreat at Holy Cross Retreat Center in Las Cruces. It was an amazing weekend. I spent my time with incredible, wise, amazing, loving, and beautiful women from the church of St. Clement. I learned what intimacy with the Lord looks like through the wilderness, brokenness, business, suffering, and spending time in the Bible. It was restfully exhausting if that makes sense.
On Saturday we were given the passage from Psalm 139 to read and reflect on. It’s a great passage and I would highly recommend reading it in its entirety, but I want to focus on one part that stood out to me:
“Explore me, O God, and know the real me. Dig deeply and discover who I am. Put me to the test and watch how I handle the strain. Examine me to see if there is an evil bone in me, and guide me down Your path forever.” – Psalm 139: 23-24 (The Voice translation)
My immediate thought was, “Woah. That’s a bold prayer.” It was intimidating to even read that because I knew deep in my heart, God would answer it. “Put me to the test and watch how I handle the strain.” Yikes, but I immediately knew that I needed to pray those words to the Lord. And so I did, and I really meant it. Because I want to be near to God, and I know in order to do that I need Him to point out the things within me that need to be taken away or changed.
Well, today was surely an answer to that prayer, but I did not realize it until my drive back home from teaching Jazzercise in Las Cruces around 7:00PM.
Today was the struggle for many reasons. I contacted a woman to help me with my taxes (because lord knows I need all the help I can get), and she told me I needed my Social Security card, a bank statement, my driver’s license, last year’s tax return, and any other tax papers I’ve received. I started to panic because I do not have my SS card with me in El Paso, and in fact, I had no idea where it would possibly be. And at the risk of sounding like a spoiled only child, I have never done my taxes before. My parents were kind enough to do them for me up until this point of my life, so I didn’t have a tax return either. I didn’t have a physical copy of a bank statement because I use an online app. After I got off of the phone with the CPA, I panicked and did what all daughters usually do, I frantically texted my mom for help. I probably sent her 10 texts in a row with less than 2 seconds in between. Stress!
Then, I tried to make an appointment with a local podiatrist because I have weird foot pain that I want to be examined. So I called to make an appointment and asked if they accepted Tricare Young Adult, which they do, but since I did not have a referral they were not sure if they would be able to accept my insurance. I asked how much it would be if I did not use insurance, and they said it would be $150 for the checkup plus whatever else needs to be done. My heart clenched. $150 may not be the most expensive medical thing in the world, but for a very limited budget, it is a lot of money. The receptionist was sweet enough to spend 3 hours on the phone with Tricare on my behalf, basically advocating and battling them so that I could receive coverage. Tricare essentially told her that because I am no longer on the East Coast, I would not receive coverage from them. BLEH. But, the sweet receptionist said she would continue to fight for me to make sure I get the coverage. Pray that it works out. Stress!!
Then, I was busy trying to plan for the upcoming week. I need to buy snacks for the middle school kids. I need to make a class plan since I’m teaching an art class this semester (where is Rebecca Hurt when I need her the most). I need to do this, I need to do that…I made so many lists of “things to do” that my brain was overwhelmed by the sheer amount of silly lists with pointless words that told me to do things. Stress!!!
AND THEN, I thought my crazy day was over as I left staff meeting to drive to Las Cruces to teach Jazzercise. I love doing that. I looked forward to exercising the stress away and seeing the awesome women. I usually teach 2 classes back-to-back, a 4:30pm and a 5:30pm. Halfway through the first class, I felt so exhausted. I usually teach both classes just fine, but tonight I felt like I was about to faint within the first 20 minutes of the first class. My muscles were weak and it was hard to maintain a smile on my face. I kept going and somehow I made it to the end, but I still had another class/hour to teach! My foot started to hurt (the one that I mentioned earlier), and I thought, “How the heck am I going to do this?” But yet again, I somehow managed to make it, and it seemed like everyone had a good time. Stress!!!!
So finally, I got into my car to make the 45-minute drive back to El Paso. I was not feeling too well, and I think it was because I did not eat enough food before teaching 2 Jazzercise classes. I needed silence. I turned off the music in my car and began to reflect on my day. What. A. Day. A lot of little things happened that piled up and turned my mood from “meh” to “UGH.” And so, I started to talk with God.
“God, today was rough!!!” I said out loud. I began to vent to Him and did not hold back. After some time, I remembered the prayer I said while on the Women’s Retreat: “Put me to the test and watch how I handle the strain.” The words danced across my mind and…
I laughed. I literally laughed out loud. OH, the joy that flooded into my bones and to the depth of my soul. WOW LORD, you are faithful and answered my prayer! I surely was put to the test, and I handled the strain so poorly. And a slightly pathetic thing was that I wasn’t even faced with truly “hard” things. I struggled with the little things and became a ball of anxiety.
Perhaps you may be confused as to why having a bad day ended up giving me so much joy. It’s because I believe in a living God who LOVES me enough to answer my prayers. After coming from a retreat completely themed on intimacy, I realized just how close and near my savior is to me. Today was very humbling. It was a reminder that I crack and break over the small things, and I need Jesus’ strength to help me get through each day. And maybe this doesn’t make sense to you at all, and you’re thinking, “How does a bad day turn into you praising Jesus?” It’s because God is good all the time, and all the time God is good.
So, be careful what you pray for. You never know…we have a God who is a good listener and exceptionally good at answering.
*PS – my parents are amazing because my mom found my SS card, she printed off last year’s tax return with my information on it, and my dad drove to the post office to mail it to me. My mom is an amazing selfless human, that in the midst of her physical shoulder pain she went on a hunt for my SS card around the house. My dad took his time out of his day to drive somewhere he did not have to go. I do not deserve their kindness. Also, I was able to print off a bank statement, so hopefully, taxes won’t be an issue! Stress relieved!!! 🙂