Thursday, October 05, 2006

"Today on Tool Time....."

I am a fixer by nature. I see something broken, and I try to fix it. It gives me a lot of satisfaction to know that I was able to take something that couldnt be used anymore, and make it useable again. Lately, I've been able to do this for my father in law with his computers. He had 2 crash on him within a few weeks and I was able to get them both back up and running with just a little effort.
Steph gives me a lot more credit than I am due. She calls me her personal McGuiver because so far, I've been able to either repair, modify, upgrade or restore almost everything around our house that needed it. We are planning on building a privacy fence for our dog Maggie, and we are planning on doing it ourselves to save money since it doesnt appear to be too difficult of a task. I have other projects that I have done around the house, like my office, wiring the basement, making our DVR record 2 shows at once, etc., (I kind of impressed myself that I was able to do that).
She builds me up, encourages me, helps me to see the forrest when all that I see are trees. She shares her life with me and puts me second in her life, only to God. The two men I admire the most in this world are my dad and hers and she puts me above both of them. That's some pretty big shoes to fill.

Today, I did something that I cannot fix. I put someone else above her. I told someone else about God taking care of me, before I told her. I shared it with someone else, before I shared it with her. She shares every aspect of her life with me first, and I didnt do the same for her.

I messed up and hurt someone who means the world to me.

It got me to thinking almost immediately "How can I fix this?" Truth is, I can't. I can't fix this immediately. It will take time for this mess up to be fixed. It will take time for me to show her that I put her first in everything that I do. It will take time and there will be consequences. The consequences are I feel awful about it and it will probably make this day even worse since it already started out with me getting in an accident. It has totally taken over my focus this morning that I hurt someone that I love.
How about every time we mess up and do something we know is wrong in God's eyes? I dont immediately think the same thing. I just go on. Sure I know God has already forgiven me even before I ask, but do we really try to fix it? Do we really try to stop doing what we know is wrong in God's eyes?
We are all human and imperfect by nature. We fail. We fail again and again and again. God will forgive us for every sin in our lives, if we just ask. That is all we have to do, to "fix it" with Him. He is perfect, loving, kind and totally forgiving. More so than we are.

Dear God,
Once again, You have watched over me and kept me out of harms way. Today could have been a lot worse. I could have hit the car in front of me or have been struck a lot harder than I was. Thank you so much for watching over me and keeping me safe. Help me to see when I put others before you. Help me see when I am doing wrong in your eyes and to remember You are first.

Steph, I am so incredibly sorry. I am sorry that I didnt tell you first about what happened. No excuses, no sarcasm, just sincerity. You are second in my life, only to God above. I wont try to kid me or you and say it wont happen again, because I am so not perfect. I just hope you can forgive me.

Keith

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

“Here’s a quarter…”

It’s so easy to praise God when times are good. Often, God takes care of us so well, that we forget to give Him the credit for it. We become too comfortable. Life becomes too easy. We get up, we go to work, a couple of days during the week we go to church, we pray occasionally, we say the blessing….times are good.

Where do we acknowledge God in that “good time?”

I’m as guilty as anyone. I become comfortable and too laid back and guess what, I forget where the comfortable life comes from.

But as soon as adversity comes, “Oh God, help me.”

Last week, our bank accounts were wiped out. Our house payment was due, our car payments were due, and we had about $4 in our checking account. It goes without saying that I was stressed. I get stressed when we have money in the account and bills are paid, but now we had basically nothing and we found it on a Sunday morning so there was nothing we could do until the bank opened the next morning.

I never let it show how stressed I actually was.

I did the best thing that I could have done at that moment. I got off by myself and got busy. I wired a cable outlet and a telephone outlet in the basement, cleaned up the basement and basically kept away from everything to let me calm down and get my focus back. Steph realized what I needed without me having to say a word and she was great. She let me stay busy downstairs to get my head right and never said a word.

My focus returned.

I just realized that hey, there isn’t anything that we can do, there is no sense in stressing over this and that regardless, God will do as He said He would, He will take care of us.

The next morning, we went to the bank and reported the error. We had to cut up our ATM cards and open new accounts. That doesn’t sound like a bad thing except……we had no way to access our money. It was ok for the first few days but as our cash ran out, it became more and more difficult.

Steph made great meals at dinner with enough extra so that I could take it in my lunch. That was awesome. She is such a great wife and takes good care of me. Most mornings, I grabbed a quick bite on the way out the door for breakfast so all was good.

The week went on and the cash began to run out. I used all the change that I could, and even cleaned out the change in my truck. I was down to the cash in my wallet and the cash that Steph had until we could cash another check or until the money was returned to us.
One morning, I went out and forgot to eat breakfast. Not a good thing for someone like me who is diabetic and loves breakfast. I had one dollar in my wallet and a biscuit from McDonalds is $1, that is one dollar plus tax. I knew that the day before I had moved all of the change out of my truck. I had EXACTLY one dollar, nothing to cover tax with and I was getting hungry. I was about to give up, but I just knew God was going to take care of this situation.

I moved the drink can that I had put in the cup holder that morning and there it was, a shiny silver quarter. Twenty five cents. More than enough to take care of the tax and I could get some breakfast.

I called my mom and through tears, I told her how God gave me more than enough to cover breakfast. I KNOW there wasn’t any change in there from the day before. I know this for a fact, but yet, when I needed it, it was there. God came through, like He always does when we turn our problems over to Him and let Him handle it.

I know it doesn’t sound like a huge deal, but it was to me.

That one little blessing kept me going throughout the week. I knew that God would take care of the money, I just knew it. As the week went on, I started to think that I might have to fight Regions for it, but I still knew God would be there to take care of us and would get us the money back. When everyone encouraged me to be strong, and to call and chew everyone out, I didn’t. I stayed strong in my faith that God would handle it. For the first time, I gave it up to Him, and didn’t take it back. I was getting ready to fight for it, if that’s what He wanted me to do, but I didn’t have to.

This morning, the money was back in our account.

God did EXACTLY what He said He would do. He took care of the problem. He took care of me and Steph.

Dear God,
Thank you so much. You kept Your promise, You took care of us. You took the burden off of us. You fought for us. Yes we let this problem stress us, but we still knew You would be there for us and would take care of us. Help us to remember this time so that the next storm we face……

And I'll praise you in this storm

and I will lift my hands for You are who You are

no matter where I am

and every tear I've cried

You hold in your hand

You never left my side

and though my heart is torn

I will praise You in this storm – Casting Crowns – Praise you in the Storm

Keith