Oh what a very trying week this has been! It started last Thursday, when someone rear-ended the van while texting on her cell phone. (Yes, texting...I can barely dial a number without driving off the road, so I have no idea how people can even drive doing that!) It started a hiccup in what was a semi-normal week that seemed to mushroom into a tangle of crisis inducing knots. James got a wicked case of whiplash because he was sitting at a stop sign and observing traffic flow to his left; meaning that his neck not only got swung forward, but also torqued. Ouch! Both incidents meant that we would have to take multiple trips to Bristol, for chiropractic adjustments and for dealing with insurance companies, which means a 45 minute drive from our house. Not fun, and a killer on the gas mileage. This uber-distracted gal couldn't have picked a worse week to cause an accident- as it is the second to last week before Christmas which is 1) statistically the busiest week of the Christmas retail season and some of James' longest shifts and 2) Finals. Not fun with migraines, at all! But he has persevered through. Yet, to add insult to injury (literally)...the van was hit for a second time this Thursday. In the Chick-fil-a parking lot. The super busy, cars wrapped around the building and down the road, parking lot on a cliff Chick-fil-a parking lot. The non-stop traffic around the Chick-fil-a is legendary here in town. Everyone knows just how busy it is at lunch time, so when I tell them what happened, they are incredulous. A man attempted to pull his trailer into the parking lot and, worse, tried to park it. Frankly, a Smart car would have slim pickings at lunch hour here. Worse still, he managed to rip off the entire left side and wheel well of my bumper because, get this, he "wasn't paying attention" (his words, not mine). Here I am, with my three younger ones eating inside the restaurant (James had already walked back to work across the street)...and this guy does this. On a rainy day, no less.
Which leads me to the first gift: a Christian company whose concern is primarily for their customers. The manager hears of the accident, and goes all out for me, helping me to get everything I needed, calling the police, and even holding David and keeping an eye on Lorelei and Isaiah while I deal with things.
When I get home, the second gift, a $100 in the mail from a friend...which was exactly the difference in gas and budget. Whew!
Third, the guy's insurance company calls and tells me that not only will my van be fixed by Monday, we will also have a van rental for the duration.
BUT...the next morning calls and says that since the van is "drivable" (which is debatable, if driving with a bumper half hanging off and utterly incapable of protecting the car in the case of another rear end accident is "safe") they will not approve the rental until the car is actually in the shop (Monday). We had already taken the van to the shop in Bristol, and picked up the rental on the way. The rental place is right near our home. We must return the rental by noon Friday or be charged $75 by Enterprise.
Thankfully, we had left James' car at Ben's school the night before due to logistics. We were able to quickly run by and get it, swap car seats (since we only had the younger three at the time), take it by Enterprise, and still get James to work on time.
The third gift: Ben's teacher offers to bring him home to me, so that I do not have to unsafely transport him home in James' car (which only fits 3 car seats).
James came home with the fourth gift: a $50 dollar gift certificate to Carrabbas. Now the story here is that we are desperately in need of a date night, but we are also desperately broke. We were praying about it, talking about something we could do on the cheap once my family gets here for a bit of babysitting duty. I laughed out loud at God's amazing answer: a real, really real, date. For free! It was given to him by a co-worker deeply appreciative of some computer work James had done for him a long time back, so James was totally surprised when the co-worker handed it to him.
So although I have been stuck at home this entire weekend due to James' having the car, I had already done all the grocery shopping, had plenty of diapers and wipes, and it's been raining, so all of our outdoor plans would have been scrapped anyways.
And the last gift? James is done. He just finished his last paper, and his hours at work next week are much more reasonable, so he will finally be able to rest. So proud of him for persevering through an incredibly long, incredibly stressful week. We get Daddy back- all of him, mind and body. Yay!
What simple gifts, but what amazing blessings.