An Unexpected Witness

If you're short on time, you may want to save your eyes and just start a few paragraphs in to where the real fun begins.  Sigh.

My wake up call came early this morning.  It was strange, really, because both daughters were still sound asleep, and even the dog was snuggled up on a few blankets upstairs.  Although I wasn't thrilled to be awake for no apparent reason at 5am, I really enjoyed not waking by a shrill screech coming across the monitor,
"MAMA!!!!!  I WAKE UP.  THE. SUN. ISUP!!!!!" 

After laying in silence, I realized I wasn't going back to sleep.  Stunned that even after hearing my commotion, the dog was still nowhere to be seen, I laughed at how the one time the whole house is quiet, I am up and at em.  After getting dressed for BSF, I sat down and began working on (the first time this has ever happened) NEXT week's lesson, knowing full and well how rare this quiet time is.  Preslie had a special day at school yesterday so she actually stayed at school until 2:30.  Gasp!  That has maybe happened three times in one and a half years.  To say yesterday was a long one, was an understatement as P did not nap.  She went to bed early, so I knew she'd be up soon.  I was unsure of the type of mood she'd be in because little girl thrives on sleep.  She can blow through a day without a nap and trick anyone into thinking she has outgrown it, but her personality and behavior are massively effected by lack of sleep.  As it turns out, today was no different. 

She woke up pleasant, but kept yawning and telling me that she was still tired, but most certainly did NOT want to get back into bed.  Blakely woke soon as chipper as always, but as the morning carried on, she took on a pretty fussy demeanor.  Last week, per pediatrician's advice, I gave her some yogurt to see how her system would tolerate it.  I thought she was handling it well until her digestive tract just stopped working altogether.  Let's just say the few days have been pretty tough on her tummy which has made for a sad little one from time to time.  By the time we headed out to BSF at 8:45, Preslie was already yawning and B was already ready for a nap that I was pretty sure she wouldn't ever get and I made an audible to stop at Starbucks.  Best. Move. of. The. Day. 

BSF was a nice little break, soaking in God's word (great lesson this week), enjoying fellowship, and spending some time with my sister and Chay.  Afterwards, we usually go to lunch with Chay and her children, but today I had a maintenance man coming to fix something on our oven and needed to rush home.  For the first time ever, the caretakers at BSF said usually happy Blakely was a little fussier than normal. I wasn't surprised.  We headed to the car, P yawning yet trying to persuade me to hit up CFA, as I hustled the two lil ladies to the car in the 20 degree weather.  Blakely screamed bloody murder until we were roughly three minutes from the house where at 11:20, she was suddenly out like a light.  Well, awesome.  On the bright side, if she could steal at least 30 minutes in the car, I had a chance of getting both girls down at the same time for at least an hour.  It was going great just sitting in the car in the driveway until Preslie decided to emerge from her peaceful, cooperating manner and scream, "WAKE UP!" at the top of her lungs in the car.  Aaannnnd insert a terrified scream.   Ten minute nap.  Swell. 

But luckily, I powered through a couple tough hours out of sheer determination to have a glimpse of alone time today. 

The day was still looking typical and my hopes were sky high that I had nailed the timing on getting some alone time today.  The oven man had yet to arrive, though, so my visions of curling on the couch for a little TMZ Live (such a guilty pleasure and it just so happens to come on at 2) where I'd drift off into a power nap and wake refreshed and ready to paint the afternoon away were fading.  Thirty minutes after tucking P in, she was still awake playing in her bed which really surprised me considering how tired she was and how she went into bed without a fight at all.  After I fed the B, I went up and into Preslie's room to put the doll up on her dresser and remind her that it was nap time.  That's when the day spiraled down the toilet at epic speed. 

Preslie, sitting sweetly on the edge of her bed, looked at me with a sad look in her eye and said, "Mama.  I not asleep cause I pooped in my naptime pull up."  I gently said, "it's okay, that is why we use them at nighttime, but next time, just call for me and we will change it and get you comfy for bed." Then she glanced to the side.  

To the three...ahem...I'll let you use your imagination.

My THREE YEAR OLD, not one year old, thought it would be a brilliant idea to remove the ....ugh....from her pull up and set it aside so that "she could fall asleep."  

Great plan.  Fabulous. 

Before a word could come out of my mouth, or a little vomit, I heard the doorbell ring and the dog went crazy.  I snapped into reality and remembered fussing Blakely downstairs waiting to go up to be put down for her pretty much one nap of the day.  

I snap back to it and look at Preslie's hands and realize that she can't follow me out of there with those hands to answer the door.  I tell her to stay put and NOT TO TOUCH ANYTHING where she responds with a happy go lucky, "Okay, mom!!!"  What is she missing?  What am I missing?

Down the stairs I rush to the repairman, who was here on Monday that I made friends with, immediately begins apologizing for forgetting to not ring the door bell.  I politely tell him that I have far bigger fish to fry than the doorbell.  B is screaming; Rocky is going nuts; and my dirty toddler emerges at the top of the stairs.  I breathe in and breathe out.  

He says he will stay out of my way, I thank the Lord that he came when he did before I went postal.  I grab B, kiss on her a million times, and put her down the fastest I ever have before.  Poor second child. By the time I get to P, she is trying to clean up the mess she made for me.  Piling up her treasures and wiping them all over the place.  I proceed to freak again, but not yell, as I have a freaking stranger downstairs.  We pile up the sheets, I gag a few times, and P heads straight to my shower.  Now the fun begins.  Discipline quietly, bathe her without it being fun and me getting soaked, start the sheets, and do all of this with a stranger somewhere in my home.  

Mission accomplished but Preslie is just not understanding the disgusting nature of her crime.  She isn't also seeming to realize why it's not okay.  Again, what on EARTH am I missing?  Because her sheets are in the wash, and I haven't the time to go back up and find the back up sheets and put them on her bed, I set her up in my bed.  I grab the extra monitor camera and instruct her TO GO TO SLEEP.  I knew it would most likely be a bust, but I wasn't rewarding that behavior by letting her stay up and play.  I head to find that the (13 year old) dog, who just got shaved and looks like a fox type rat, got excited and peed on the repairman's foot as well as our floor.  AWESOME.  The repairman didn't notice it, so I tried to kindly bring it to his attention to where he said, "No, no, it's just on your floor."  Whatever, dude; I tried.  He gets to working as I go into pantry to get something.  I turn around and nearly have a heart attack to P just standing there staring at me like she is a zombie.  I know your toddlers have done that to you.  It's freaky.  I bent down and explained she needed to be asleep as she says, "You're sweet, mama.  I love you."  I take her back to her my room.  

I get her resettled and return to the kitchen just as the repairman heads out to fetch some sort of tool.  As he walks out, I mutter something under my breath like thank God I had time with Jesus at bible study this morning before this day, to which my new repairman friend overhears.  As he walks out the front door, I hear him say, "Bible study!  Now we will talk about that when I come back!"  

Say what?  We have a running list of things to talk about when you get back?  
I just want a break.  A serious break.  

He comes back in and I have very little place to hide.  P is in my room "sleeping", the dog is now barking while locked in the study, and I am wishing for anything but having to exert energy or talk.  I try grabbing a snack to escape  I can't leave my toddler downstairs with a stranger.  I'm stuck.

He fiddles with the oven and turns to look at me.  He begins to speak.

"You know.  I know a lot of religious people.  Christians.  I am a Christian.  But I know a lot of deeply rooted, rich-filled Christians.  I am just not one of those.  I gather you are if you go to Bible study?"  

It begins so simply.  

I smile and respond to him with two things.  Two things that I didn't see coming before they even exited my mouth.  I didn't want this conversation.  I wanted to escape and just be alone.  "Yes, yes I am a Christian.  But your friends, sir, tell me--what's your definition of religious and Christian?"  To this he looks back at me with this look I can't place in his eye and pairs it with, "Well, that is a great question."  And herein the conversation of obedience begins, to which he agrees with, and says he respects and understands, but he still has questions.  He continues with this, "I respect your views a lot, but I just don't get it.  Help me come to your side."  This man, standing in my kitchen, begins asking me tough questions.  Seeing that clearly I am a woman of faith, he just starts dropping the big ones that I quite frankly have no clue how to answer:  How can I believe in God when babies are suffering? How can you tell me a man who harms a child or is a murderer isn't any more of a sinner than I am?  You want me to believe God is over all things good, but has not control over the bad?  You're telling me that I won't have a chance to speak my peace at my own judgement?  You better believe that when I get up there I will tell that man all the good things I did and why I belong in heaven.  You're gonna tell me that he's going to let that murderer who prays in the last five minutes of his life to a God he's never believed in until now can enter heaven but I can't because I didn't believe every last word of the Bible?  He knows what's in my heart.....I don't have to go to church.  

So many things are flashing through my mind.  He wants to know more; he thinks he doesn't, but he wouldn't be standing here asking, seeking, searching.  His doubts yet heart full of convictions has led him to ask these things.  God placed him here, in my house.  I have an opportunity to witness.  Asking God at every chance I get to give me the answers to these questions that I do not know how to answer.  Scripture is popping in my head left and right, Romans 10:10 (salvation; true profession), Matthew 7:21-23 (false profession), Romans 8:28 (sovereignty), Ephesians 2:8-9 (salvation by grace and not through works), Galatians 5 (freedom in Christ and living by the Spirit), Luke 9:23 (deny self for the cross, live in obedience).  I don't know what his heart was feeling or what his mind was thinking, but he had very little to repudiate.  He deadlocked my eyes a few times, I could see it soaking in. 

I treaded lightly, but powerfully, eventually asking what his prior involvement in a church was to have called himself a Christian but so clearly was not.  He said he was a Lutheran, involved for thirty years.  A deacon, the  He just fell loose.  The questions began to swirl and now he doesn't take the bait.  He added, like, "You're going to tell me some God snapped his fingers and the earth appeared?"  Scoffing, he shook his head and went back to my oven.  I went straight to my past BSF lessons, one in specific sticking out in my head, literally praying to be able to find it.  I brought several binders out searching.  There it was.  

BSF notes from fall of 2012.  The one that explained all of the creation theories and explained God in a way that very few could deny.  He said he wouldn't read it, but thanked me.  I said he could throw it away on the way out, but to please take it.  He sort of looked at me as if saying, "Whatever."  If you don't believe that God created our universe and he sent Jesus to die to cover our sins with his blood, you aren't a Christian.  So I asked him, "So what do you consider yourself?  Agnostic or Atheist?" completely disregarding his previous claim to Christianity, to which he responded with Atheist.  "I think you're more agnostic.  You seem to believe in a higher power, but you would rather obey yourself." He nodded, yes.  His friends had told him that too he said. 

I had one last thing to share before he left.  

He didn't drop my gaze.  He was listening intently.  He could not deny the miracle I was sharing.  I offered to show him sonogram pictures.  I reminded him that although to him this was a story of "this woman whose oven I serviced," it wasn't that way for me.  I witnessed the miracle first hand and would happily show him the evidence he needed to believe to which he said, "No, I believe you."  This man didn't have a problem being honest.  I saw it in his eyes.  He couldn't deny God's miracle even if he wanted to.  

The oven was done. 

He looked up at me and said, "Can I take these with me?" and picked up the BSF handout I had given him.  The same one he said he'd never read.  Before I said yes, he was folding them up and inserting them into his back pocket.   

A few poor jokes later about how he'll save me a seat in heaven at the bar where he'll by me a cocktail, and he was out.  Really nice guy.  Truly.  Adam thought so, too.  Nice guys don't land a spot in heaven, though.

I will never ever know if he read that handout I gave him, but frankly, I don't care--a seed was planted in that man's heart today.  It's up to him to let it die it or water it.  Nothing I said was going to save his soul--only God can to do that.  God was hard at work in my kitchen today.  Just the scripture spouting off alone was inspired by the Holy Spirit, not me.  One of those moments where you look back and think, "Who was that talking in my kitchen today? Oh, that was me?"

Isn't it funny the way He works?  The day ended up only getting worse:  no nap P for the second day in a row, Blakely waking way earlier than usual, two super fussy kids and a very tired mom, but it was all worth it.  Without my day unfolding the way it did, I would have never had the opportunity to witness to this man.  He would have never had the chance to hear Evan's miracle.  And God wouldn't have been glorified.  

What a day.  A day that I am so grateful for despite all of it's disasters.
Thanks be to our Lord....and to this stinker.    

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