Thursday, May 29, 2008

A Series of Unfortunate Events

It's amazing how many troublesome incidents have occurred since I started teaching last September. Most of these were expensive, as well.

For example, the dog getting fleas just before we were due to go on vacation, causing allergic dermatitis to set in. I spent several nights up with the poor suffering creature, trying to kill these fleas with some product that wouldn't aggravate his skin and praying we would not have to cancel our trip. Not to mention that the house got infested as well, which required repeated applications of highly toxic chemicals to our home.

Then, at the very start of school, I got the flu so badly I had to go home sick the first week. A couple of weeks later, I woke up to find water all over the kitchen floor. Turns out, the compressor on the refrigerator had stopped working, causing the freezer to melt during the night. I spent a lovely Saturday running back and forth to a friend's house with boxes full of foodstuffs to put in their basement fridge, and then to Lowe's to buy whatever fridge I could find that they could deliver the next day and would fit into the space we had. The new fridge is black; the rest of our appliances are almond. Oh well. At least it fits.

Then there were the plumbing problems involving our only toilet, and all of the car problems: the bad fuel pump, the mysteriously ailing power steering, the "check engine" light that was some expensive part of the emissions system that needed replacing, and the slashed tire on Valentine's day.

Oh, and did I mention that the boiler blew up and flooded the basement in January? It's amazing how you can't get a repairman for love nor money for small jobs, but when you have a $4500 boiler to replace, there's one on your doorstep in 30 minutes.

Tonight it was another car problem. I was at Sears and when I came out to the parking lot, I saw that I had a flat tire, due to the inexplicable placement of a bright silver nail in the tread. Since the tires are all somewhat worn, hubby predicts we will have to replace all four of them. Great. Another $400 out the window.

This is just the physical stuff. I won't even go into all the problems I've had at work, nor that hubby has been going through with his job lately. It seems the Devil is really out to get us.

However, God is on our side, too. Tonight I happened to catch a friendly manager at the Sears Auto Center just as he was closing up shop. He looked at the tire for me, said it was a slow leak and put air in it to get me safely home. When the boiler blew up in the basement, we were home and able to take care of the water before any serious damage was done. Since I was working, we had the money to pay for the new boiler and the new fridge and all the car repairs, even if we did have to pay some of it in installments. And the dog did recover from the dermatitis and the fleas just in time for us to go on vacation.

(However, I will never forget hunting through his fur for those horrible black insects at eleven o'clock at night trying to spray them directly with pesticide, or roaming through the aisles of the 24-hour grocery store searching for some remedy that would soothe his poor skin. Nor will I forget those calls to Frontline in which they told me the product should kill the fleas within 24 hours and the fleas I had must be new ones. I said "They are getting bigger every day... they have to be the same fleas!" So the Frontline guy says, "Well, it sounds like you want a product that will repel fleas." I said "I just want something that will kill them. Tell me how to kill them!")

But I digress.

My husband and I had another one of those discussions tonight after I got home and told him about the tire. The "why is all this stuff suddenly happening to us?" discussion. The "can we afford for Christine not to work full-time if disasters keep occurring" discussion. I told him that I don't mean to sound superstitious, but I have been so busy lately that I have slacked off on praying over our family and our home. I have slacked off on devotions most days; I slow down to pray only when I have a need. The rest of my prayers are usually said in the car on the way to work. I also have been wondering if we should be giving our full tithe, even though I really don't see how we can afford to do that.

So, while DH was in the shower tonight, I took a few minutes to actually pray and open my Bible. I wasn't even asking for an answer, just letting God know I was sorry and was thinking about Him. The response from the Holy Spirit was graciously immediate and blissful. He told me to tell hubby that the reason all of this is happening is that we have been depending too much on ourselves to take care of things. Not that it is bad in any way to be responsible and independent and use the abilities God has given us to provide for our family, but that we need to remember that we can't depend on ourselves alone. We have to trust God for our daily bread, meaning that we have to remember that all we need for each day comes from Him alone. All that we have comes from Him and ultimately belongs to Him.

I read out loud to him the verses that my Bible opened to:

Psalm 37

3 Trust in the LORD and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.

4 Delight yourself in the LORD
and he will give you the desires of your heart.

5 Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in him and he will do this...

7 Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when men succeed in their ways,
when they carry out their wicked schemes.

Postscript: The day after I posted this, another really upsetting thing occurred at school. I am struggling with my thoughts right now because I feel so angry and humiliated. So it was good to come back and read this even 24 hours later, to remind me of these noble sentiments that slipped my mind so quickly.

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