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Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Audi That Runs On Wings Of Angels

As parents, we all do things that, looking back, we know were not the best things to do. But when you love something like a child you lose all sense of the good judgement you have regarding everything else in your life. And now in our present situation Emmas Audi is not a car you want to own. Just an oil change is 150.00. Everything is 4 times as much as a regular vehicle. She came in and said windshield wipers are 80.00 each! At the time when we bought the car, it wasn't an issue, because it had a warranty and we never thought we would be in this situation and when her warranty ran out we would either purchase another warranty or she would trade the car or sell it. Kenny was determined, even though we had the money at the time, to teach Emma to work, to be able to take care of herself, so from the time she was 14, after school she went to our nephews salon and sweep floors and paid for her cell phone. So when she turned 16 we bought her car but we never paid an insurance payment or her gas. Even with just a part-time job that was her responsibility. And she was extremely good at managing her money. Emma had given her young heart of just 14 to a high school senior and, need-less-to-say, given their age and the diversity of our families backgrounds, it did not end well. This was a love-hate relationship for almost 3 yrs. It was Emma's first love and she gave her heart completely and when it broke it broke completely, but she sees today that this man was just a boy at the time, and she holds no ill feelings toward him. She says she has never denied his love for her, they were just too young.   So, at the time of this broken heart and while she was trying to mend, we tried to manage our poor car buying choices by making another blunder and buying her this car. It was a long line of trades, all coming from the choice we first made on her 16th birthday. Once made, it is hard to un-do our poor choices!! Back to Emma, they were just kids. As a Mom, I saw a train wreck waiting to happen, and I saw Emma's fault in it as much as the boys, and to this day I hold a very special place in my heart for this young man. I had always felt Emma was safe when she was in his care and he had a genuine love for her. And I saw a tenderness and greatness in his heart that I think he will, one day, display itself as a good husband and father.  I can't think of our past without thinking of him, I can't think of Emmas past without thinking of him. And I did not display the most noble of character myself, there were times I acted out and said things to Emma and this boy that I regret and had to ask both of them to forgive . When you are scared and desperate, and you feel like you are losing your child you do stupid things!. So, when we saw Emma hurt so deeply, we thought maybe we could ease some of the pain, which I know was stupid, but when its your babygirl, you do stupid things, so.......the Audi came to be. We didn't go looking for an Audi, we found it while looking for something with better gas mileage. We were at a used car place in Clearwater, while on our anniversary, and when she saw it she was set on it. It was already almost 2 yrs old. So it was great until the warranty ran out. And just as these things go, the month after her warranty goes out her transmission starts acting up. To compound things, the pain in Emma was what caused her to begin a sad journey toward the days we spoke of a few weeks ago, and she was spending late nights out while giving little or no concern to her beautiful black car. Well, you don't want to know how much a transmission would cost for that car, let's just say a lil more than she or I have (or most family owned banks). I said, "Emma we just have to believe God will place Angels around that car and keep it on the road". It had gotten so bad it would not go into reverse. Emma works in Asheville so she puts 100 miles a day on that car and she joined us here Jan. 2010 and that car has never failed to take her to work. That car has even been a testament to the people she works with. She works for an insurance company, an would you believe they got together (her co-workers) AT THEIR OWN expense and bought Emma 4 tires! Once again God proved faithful! How that car is on the road, I don't know. The mechanic, the Audi dealer in Tallahassee, said almost 2years ago the transmission it was done, it needed to be completely replaced. How that car is still on the road, I don't know. But I do know, the same way Emma, with 4 felony counts, had everyone of them dropped, God smiled on her! The job she got from Tallahassee in Asheville, before she even got here, had over 100 applicants, locals applicants, and she was in Tallahassee!! God gave her that job! The day she came home from work and the tire store had told her she could not drive anymore on any of her tires, they were all worthless, she came home and laid on my bed and cried, and Kenny went out in the yard, secretly in his own hell, as a father not being able to help, even buy one single tire. Me telling her God would provide, but not  knowing how, myself, it could possibly happen. Never in a million years thinking her co-workers,  Co-workers!! Why would they buy her tires!!??
Our 20 yrs old  buying us groceries and helping with the kids fees at school and carrying part of the burdens of our family, not out of obligations but out of love. It tore my heart out. I can say it was a different child than the one who left Tallahassee, Florida. The one that spited her siblings, was full of anger and hostility, appreciated nothing, and carried a dark foreboding with her everywhere. What she has become, since being in North  Carolina, was, really, what she always was, but there was just too much anger and resentment and pain. All I could say was God will provide, but I doubted it myself.  How do you encourage when you are not encouraged yourself. We were all down and discouraged deep in our souls. She was just young and able to express it more verbally and emotionally. I was secretly crying out "God, Emma is going to get so discourage she is going to never want any part of the church and think we have lived our entire lives for something that has brought us to a dead end", and beyond all this she had seen church people at their worst, hostile, angry, bitter, and more troubled than most of the people she knew. She, as many people throughout time, had the mistaken idea that you can define God by his worshipers!  And once again, I heard that small voice, Angie trust Me. But, God my child is hurting, she is in danger. Angie, trust me.  Emma went to work the next day and she called me crying and instantly my heart sank, it scared me, she said, "Mom, everyone got together and bought me 4 tires, all I have to do is go have them put on!" She was crying so hard I could hardly understand her! So I thought of the passage in the Bible that says God will not put on you more than you can take, and I think Emma and Kenny and I were at our ropes end (a theme for us, one I know you are getting very, very tired of), and God provided a way out, through a source I would have never seen possible. How many times do we limit or define God, how we imagine we know all the possible resolutions to a horrid moment in our lives and when none of our solutions work we believe God is not quite as creative as we are.  I know I do it all the time, it is in my DNA, maybe it is in all our DNA, I like to have things planned and organized and I like to know what to expect, I thought, "Maybe I can ask this one to help with her tires, maybe she can get a loan, maybe this or maybe that" trying to fix things myself, but if I have learned anything, looking back on the last 3 years of our life, it has been by NO ONE'S hand, but by the hand of God that our family has been sustained.  But how quickly I forget it  from day to day! As I said yesterday, I am just human and I am weak, and these are very difficult things we are facing and as I spoke of the commonplace, I meet God daily and I face my inadequacies daily, situation by situation. I have tried to adopt an attitude of emotional and spiritual gratitude as a lifestyle and it serves as a powerful antidote to discouragement and a sense of failure. Gratitude focuses on what we have, rather than on what we don't have. It is difficult to accept that God's greatest work in our life might currently be under way in a mundane and un-seen way, one which may well be underestimated by us or anyone else. It is not the American spirit, and it is not the American Church spirit, but it may well be the right spirit.  If, indeed, it is, it should be a great consolation to all of us, knowing the only thing God, really, expects from us is Trust, not ability!  Sounds good, I would really, really, like to be There!!