The Break Down

I sat down on a dirty curb on Garson Drive. The tears rolled down my face and sizzled on the scorching July pavement. Across from me- my car- incomplete with only three inflated tires.

No one ever told me how hard it would be on my own. I wasn’t ready for this fork in the road- to come to this place that will completely redefine who I am. Somehow, I wasn’t prepared for how hard it would be to become my own woman- apart from my family and friends.

Here, in this new world, I’m not known as anyone’s daughter, sister, friend, or wife. I am only Abigail. Don’t misunderstand me- my life is full of wonderful, loving, loyal friends and family. But, for the first time ever- there’s a tangible divide between me and everyone else in the world.

So here I am- on a curb across from Passion City Church, where I felt like I was sitting by myself in a crowd of 2,000 people- like the world was moving around me while I stood still. I never knew that “alone” could be so tangible.

Conveniently, everyone I could call in the city of Atlanta was out of town or unavailable. I couldn’t even call my parents because helllloooo it was 11am on Sunday and they pastor a church.

Waiting on the tow truck, I couldn’t hold back the tears any longer. A desperate whisper fell from my lips: God, I feel so alone.

About that time, a man wearing a bright orange safety vest ran across the road with a bottle of water.

“Sorry, I couldn’t help you sooner,” he said.

“Why don’t you get in the shade, and let’s see if we can’t fix this tire.”

Well, at this point the tears are REALLY flowing. If you know me- this shouldn’t surprise you. I cancelled the tow truck, and for forty five minutes, David and another PCC traffic volunteer worked the stuck-on tire from my car.

“I know what this is like- being alone and broke in a new place. You can feel kind of helpless. I know what it’s like when you can’t afford a tow truck,” he said with a laugh.

David and I talked about his 20-something daughters and about life and how sometimes hard is good. Pouring sweat in the Georgia summer sun, David treated me- a total stranger- like a daughter. He showed me the love of Jesus.

That quiet voice welled up in my heart with an answer: You are not alone. 

With a parting hug and a cracking voice I said, “Thank you so much. This means so much more to me than changing a tire. Thanks for being Jesus to me today.”

“If we could be Jesus to you today, than we’ve won. Thank YOU for breaking down right where you did.”

Thank God I broke down right where I did. Hard is good, and sometimes it takes a breakdown to hear God’s truth.

I am not alone. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fireworks and Christmas Lights

This weekend, I came home to possibly the best place in the world to celebrate the 4th of July, to celebrate the 4th of July.

It was wonderful, restful, and full of laughter. I wish I could’ve stayed to take part in every last firework and bratwurst and watermelon slice. Even so, I pulled pass the crossroads and toward Atlanta long before the sun went down and the fireworks went up.

I love fireworks. I love that groups of people huddle together on corners of quilts and foldable lawn chairs to watch in amazment as explosions light up the sky. I love that you can watch the firework travel up in the sky and burst within a few seconds of being lit. I love the ones that kind of sizzle and sparkle before they burn out. It’s quick. It’s dazzling. It’s romantic. It’s beautiful.

fireworks21

Sometimes, God gives us fireworks. Some of my best friends are “firework friends.” Our lives crossed at the right moment, and the friendship came naturally and quickly. I experience much joy and beauty from these relationships. The internship I’m doing this summer was a firework. At the right moment, God surprised me with the opportunity and it’s completely dazzling and beautiful.

I wish that everything in life was as easy as fireworks. No guessing, no unknows, and if I’m honest- no trust required.

Around Christmas time, there’s an elderly couple in Cleveland that puts up all manner of lights in their front hard. If you were to drive by the house on any given evening, you would likely be disturbed by the erratic flashing and inconsistent pattern the lights take. I may go as far as to say that if you’re prone to seizures- you may just want to bypass this street altogether.

If you merely look upon this scene, you’ll miss the whole point.

lights house

Swarms of cars pull up to the church parking lot across the street from “The Christmas Lights House” every evening. They cozy up with their people and mugs of hot chocoate and turn their radio dials to the musical accompaniment for the light show. All of a sudden, the sporadic and chaotic blinking of lights, begin dancing to a melody. The entire purpose of the lights depends on this key factor. These lights combine with music to tell a story. A story that people all over the county come to adore. It may take time, but it’s dazzling. It’s romantic. It’s beautiful.

This is a video of the light show. Watch it once with the sound off, and then again with the sound on. What a world of difference it makes when you can hear the music.

Right now, life isn’t fireworks. I feel like I’m standing in silence, looking across the road at a bunch of random strobe lights in an elderly couple’s front yard. As much as I may try, I just can’t seem to force all of my dreams and desires to become reality. No amount of staring at the mess in front of me is going to make it understandable.

I really want God to turn the music on for me. I’m longing to understand why He’s doing what He’s doing. I know that right now, I have to wait to hear the music. But, I’m holding onto faith that the mess that’s happening right in front of me is just one chapter of a dazzling, beautiful, romantic story authored by God and admired by me.

Take heart, my friends, when the fireworks are few and far between, and prepare your heart for the wonderful day when God finally turns on the music.