I’m delighted to introduce to one of our newest monthly contributors, Kathy. She is a good friend and a woman worth listening to, with her heart for the Lord and commitment to living out His Word. Her perspective is a gift to us and I encourage you to soak in Kathy’s thoughts each month as she shares a Word wrapped in personal experience. Kathy is a freelance writer and editor who lives on Long Island with her husband and three kids.
I have a favorite story from when I was a little girl called “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very-Bad Day.” If I remember correctly, the story follows a little boy, Alexander through one particularly bad day, ending with him having to wear his railroad pajamas to bed. He hates railroad pajamas.
I recently had a day where I told my children, “I am going to wear my railroad pajamas to bed.” It wasn’t a really bad day. No one got hurt or injured and everything turned out fine but, like Alexander, I just had one series of mishaps after another and, by day’s end, I was really anticipating those railroad pajamas.
I’m not so sure why the story of Alexander was so appealing to me as a child or why I remember it now as one of my favorites but I think it is because everyone has those days where they have to “wear their railroad pajamas to bed.” What I have learned from those days is another story altogether.
On this particular day I got up and made a conscious choice to be joyful. I really did. I prayed and asked the Lord to order my day and then checked off my list of things to do in my head. I had bible study that day and a million errands to run. I thought about skipping bible study so that I could get to my list sooner but decided that I wanted to be fed first. I showered, got ready and got my son out the door in record time. I drove the forty-five minutes to bible study only to discover that it was cancelled. Ok, on to Plan B. I had driven about 20 minutes out of my way but that was OK. I could replan my day.
I headed to the first store and checked off my list. The clerk was having some problems so it took quite awhile to check out but I finished and moved on to the next store on my list. At the next store the super sale turned out to be a dud so I went onto the third store which was the specialty grocery store that I only visit once a month because of its proximity to our home. I finished all my shopping and when it came time to pay, I could not find my credit card. I put everything on my credit card and then pay it off at the end of each month. It is my CPA husband’s way of keeping an account of all that we spend in one month. Anyway, it was missing. It took a few minutes to register that it was actually gone. I kind of just stood there saying to the clerk, who had just put all the bagged groceries back into my cart, “I just had it at the last store.” He kindly told me that they would keep the groceries in the back for me if I wanted to go back to the store I had just come from. “Ok, yes that is a good idea,” I numbly mumbled as I made my way to the door. He shouted after me, “What is your name?” to which I think I correctly responded.
I went to my car and thoroughly checked my wallet, my pockets, my packages, my entire car and then called the store that I thought I lost it at. They could not find it but took my number. My next call was to my husband. I wanted him to call the credit card company as I didn’t have the number with me. He was in a meeting and couldn’t take my call. I looked through my wallet and car and rechecked everywhere again. and then tried the store one more time. I had the receipt in my wallet, but I could not remember putting my credit card back. And if someone had stolen it, I reasoned, wouldn’t they have stolen my entire wallet. I didn’t think anyone could just open my wallet and take my credit card without my noticing.
I didn’t panic but I was upset. I was upset in equal measure that I had lost my card and that I couldn’t get the groceries that it had taken me an hour to shop for. I really don’t like grocery shopping and I did not want to have to repeat the task.
I called my girlfriend who worked fairly close to the store and asked her if I could borrow enough money to pay for my groceries. Long story short, I went to get the money from her and when she called the store for me to see if I could use her credit card without her being there, they kindly told her that they had found my credit card. It had slipped between the counter and the credit card machine. It must have fallen out when I opened my wallet to pay for my groceries. They also told her that in an effort to contact me, they called the credit card company who kindly canceled my credit card for me. Cancelled!!! Just like that. I was back to where I started except now I knew where my credit card was. I went back to the store to pay for my groceries, with my girlfriend in tow because she felt so bad for me that she accompanied me to the store (I think she was worried about my mental state).
When I arrived home I called the credit card company to get a new card and straighten everything out. It took about five calls and several transfers and the promise that I would give them my firstborn child before I was issued a new card. I guess they didn’t think I was responsible enough after accidentally losing my card and a complete stranger having to call to have it cancelled. After hurriedly putting away the groceries because now I was late for the rest of my day, I ran to pick up my daughter from practice. I missed her. She had already left with someone else. The day just kept getting better! I had a few more mishaps that, at present I cannot recall, but I just remember really looking forward to bed – and my railroad pajamas!
I was so frazzled. I hate when things don’t go the way that I planned. Some days I can take the unusual and the unexpected. But, if I’m honest, I don’t deal with inconveniences very well. I thought about my Christian witness that day. What did I reflect to the store clerks? My friend who saved me? My children who heard the story later? My husband? And anyone who would listen to my tale of woe?
When I sat with my youngest son that night retelling the tale of my day, I realized that things really could have been much worse. I had found my credit card and no one had stolen it or charged anything on it. I did get my groceries (and some girl-time with my friend in the bargain). My daughter got home safe and sound. And I had a nice warm bed and cozy pjs to sleep in. I was blessed beyond measure.
Why is it that the inconveniences of life get me so frazzled?
I usually handle the “big” things better than the little things. Why do I get so upset when I don’t get my way? As the Lord continues to work on these areas of my life, I truly realize that He IS working on them. By the end of that day I was able to stop and count my blessings. Six months ago I’m not sure I would have been able to do that so quickly.
Today, I pray that I would be able to do it even sooner.
Each day as I rely on the Holy Spirit, who lives in me, I pray that I would die to my fleshly nature and embrace the God-given life He has for me. Abundant life. I don’t have to work for it, work at it or earn it. It is mine for the asking. And, just like Jesus, I can move mountains with my faith. The days that lie ahead may bring many trials. I may have to wear my railroad pajamas to bed every now and then, but, with Jesus, I don’t ever have to see any day as a “terrible, horrible, no-good, very-bad day again.”
Each day can be a gift. And each challenge can be an opportunity. Each opportunity can be a miracle. The choice is mine. And yours.
“The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.” Revelation 22:17
How do you handle the frazzled days that come your way?
More importantly, how would you like to handle them differently?