I’m Right Here

My day started at 3 AM. I woke up early out of a habit that I can’t shake. By the time I was ready to go back to sleep, my alarm was going off for work. I went into the day knowing I was going to be about thirty minutes late to work because I had to put air in my tires. 

I’d practically been riding around on a flat, so my mom drove with me to a gas station to make sure my car was all set. She even helped me put air into my tires. It wasn’t until the air machine silenced that we heard all the air rushing from my front wheel. By that time it was 7:30. Not a problem, I could still be at work by 12. We dropped my car off at a service center. It would only take an hour to fix. Everything was on schedule until I got a phone call at 10:30 notifying me that my rim, not my tire, needed to be replaced. No big deal. All I needed to know was if it could be fixed and how much it would cost. Unfortunately, life rarely works out the way you want it to, if ever, which meant my car could be fixed just not by a mechanic at that location. 

I updated my mom. What was once gratitude for her giving nature turned into guilt. She had her whole day planned, and I was messing it up. She told me to call my dealership. Before I did, she started rattling off questions that hadn’t even crossed my mind. I felt my frustration growing, so I jokingly held out my phone to her, “You wanna talk to them?” 

“I’m right here.” There wasn’t anything to say back. If I needed help, there she was. I couldn’t argue with that, so I began what would be a series of phone calls and estimates and lovely holding jazz music. 

With every, “Do you mind if I transfer you?” my heart sank. I was supposed to be at work by 12 at the latest. I was actually excited to go into work for no other reason than I wouldn’t have to be at home. You can only do so much running from yourself before life catches up.

I ended my final phone call feeling annoyed and frustrated. My mom asked, “You okay, Esh?” I wasn’t okay, and I didn’t feel like lying, so I kept quiet. It was almost as if she were in my head because then she asked, “I know you’re not good, but are you okay?” 

Okay is such a relative term and it never actually means that someone is a-okay. It means that they’re present and aware of the things around them. They are moving, not necessarily forward but moving in a direction with the least friction until they’re stable enough to change direction. More than anything, they’re probably tired too. In that moment I was all of those things. “I’m okay. You ready?”

We retrieved my car from one service center just to move it to another one. Instead of going back home, my mom drove behind me in case I needed immediate roadside assistance. That’s my mom’s thing. She may not know how to do something or what exactly to say, but she’s going because, “We’ll figure it out together.” (But that’s a different post for a different day.)

The car service center was only eleven miles away. Two miles into the drive I realized I wasn’t okay. I acknowledged the circumstances around me, and I started to cry. There was little in that moment—completely unrelated to my car—that I could control. There were things that I wanted that I now had to give up for a season, so I cried. I looked in my rearview mirror, constantly wiping my face as if my mom could see me crying through the car. We were minutes out from our destination when I heard her voice echo, “I’m right here.” Again, I checked my mirror, and sure enough there she was as promised.

When the truth is spoken no matter the state of the person or the circumstance, it echoes louder than anything else. My mom’s declaration was just words to fill the air when I was disappointed in her living room, but my spirit held on to it for a later time. 

Today, the consequences of my actions and the reality of all my circumstances were staring me in the face demanding payment. Every situation, no matter the severity of the matter, had their hand out asking for guilt, shame, and regret. Every situation wanted something that I didn’t have to give. Were my circumstances less than ideal? Absolutely. Would I die from them? Not a chance. 

How I treated someone, how I left someone, how I would be introducing someone didn’t matter. What mattered is that I was not alone, and that if I chose to, I could begin anew in that moment. I didn’t have to hold on to guilt, shame, or regret to pay back for my mistakes. The mistakes I made were paid for in full at Calvary. My debt is zero. In the middle of my hurt feelings, it’s almost as if Papa reminded me of His truth: “I’m right here. Let’s begin again.” 

I was reminded of the very end of Matthew, “Teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you, and behold, I am with you all the days (perpetually, uniformly, and on every occasion), to the [very] close and consummation of the age. Amen (so let it be)” Matthew 28:20 AMPC. How glorious it is that God is with us perpetually, uniformly, and on every occasion. Simply put, He’s always right there through all things all the time. 

I started my day off thinking I could get by with just a little air in my tires. I ended the day replacing a rim and a tire. I am a lot like my busted wheel. I needed to be reminded that there is a “Do Over” button with God. Once I accepted that He’s on the scene, everything was more than okay. It was blessed, fixed, and made new. Honestly, the moral of this story boils down to neglect. I neglected my car, which then caused me some problems, but with the help of a good person, I was able to get everything fixed. I also neglected myself, which I then went on to create more problems for me, but with the help of a good God, He was able to get everything fixed. I love when the creation mirrors it’s Creator. 

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Kind Reminders from July

1. Life is not tit for tat. (1 Peter 3:9) 

2. Your Jesus music ain’t all that loud when you can only hear outta one ear. Turn it up. Sing louder. You are praising your God. (1 Samuel 6:14-15 / Psalm 135:1-3)

3. Anything done out of hurt feelings will be instantly regretted. Forgive others, and forgive yourself. (Matthew 6:14 / Colossians 3:13)

4. Let. The. Cars. Over. Always. (Matthew 7:12)

5. A split mind is a divided mind. (2 Corinthians 10:5 / 2 Corinthians 13:11)

6. You don’t have writer’s block. You just didn’t pick up a pen. (Philippians 3:13-14)

7. If you ask for a month where your attitude is adjusted, you better be prepared for it. (Psalm 51: 10-12) 

8. You must yield to authority in every circumstance. (1 Peter 2:13-15)

9. Don’t be afraid to cry in church. We’re all going through sanctification. (Proverbs 28:13 / Lamentations 3:40) 

10. If you never seek, you will never find. As Cassey said, “How can the job call you if you didn’t even apply?” (John 16:23-24)

11. Trust God because of who He is, not what He’s done. (John 14:1)

12. Any gift from Him is a good gift. Do not doubt it. (1 Corinthians 12:4) 

13. The further you get from Christ, the more you miss the gate that protected you. (Deuteronomy 28:6 / John 10:9-10)

14. Do not be quick to cut corners just because no one sees. That two second stop at the stop sign will not kill you. (Proverbs 17:20)

15. Do not choose your way when wisdom is readily available. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

16. People mistake your serious statements for silly ones. For example, “They should empty the mall and build a Jurassic Park.” *begins singing theme song* Let them believe you were joking. (Proverbs 17:22)

17. You love to plan. You love to do lists. You love scheduling, but don’t be such a stick in the mud that you can’t roll with the punches. (Proverbs 16:9)

18. Everyone always looks a little mean or sad until you smile at them. (Proverbs 15:30) 

19. Eventually you must pay what you owe. (Matthew 22:20-21) 

20. Quit keeping track of the past. Let go of the wrongdoings. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

21. “I love you, and there’s nothing you can do about it.” (John 14:34)

22. Give thanks always. Things are never as bad as they seem. (Philippians 4:4-9)

23. At some point you will have to go back the way you came. (1 Kings 19:9-11) 

24. It’s very easy to speculate what you would’ve done if you were someone in a given situation. Don’t. You have no idea of the circumstances that person is in, and most likely, you will need that person’s assistance when you’re in that situation. (Matthew 7:2)

25. If it is meant for you, it will not pass you. (Romans 8:28-30) 

26. All laments (Psalm 22) end in praise (Psalm 23). 

27. His love sometimes means discipline. (Hebrews 12:4-8)

28. Try and try and try and try some more. (Jeremiah 8:4 / 1 John 5:4-5)

29. You can do it on your own, but you don’t have to. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)

30. Be truly excited for someone else’s accomplishment. (Acts 11:15-18 / Romans 12:15)

31. “He who the Son sets free is free indeed.” (Galatians 5:1)