The Professional Guest: When It Rains, It Pours

serenity-prayerWhen trouble arises, you have two choices: sink into fear and worry, or look up and say, “I trust you, God.” The decision to trust and cast out fear and worry is not always an easy one to arrive at. Our human conditioning drives us to figure things out on our own, and worry when we see no way through, around, over or under a problem. At least my conditioning usually does.

My journey of downsizing and leaving my old life behind has thrust me into an entirely new level of trusting God. I think of Abraham and how God told him to leave his home and everything he knew to travel to a strange new land. He didn’t know anyone in this new land, but God brought him there, gave him daily direction and blessed him incredibly. The Scriptures tell us it was by faith. I’ve had to learn new levels of faith, too.

After three months living comfortably at my cousin’s condo in Naples and learning the lay of the land, I received a knock on my door. It was a man with a paper in his hand. He served me Summons and Complaint, a Personal Injury lawsuit against me from a car accident I was involved in Minnesota in December, 2012. I was shocked. Something like this has never happened to me before!

The car accident was my fault, a Failure to Yield. I was making a left turn and honestly did not see the car barreling toward me full speed through the intersection. Both of our cars were totaled. The airbag exploded, knocking the wind out of me and breaking my left ring finger. My knees were banged up too. Naturally, it was a freezing cold day with a blistering wind chill and we all stood outside our vehicles, shaken up and crying frozen tears. The other driver, a woman who appeared to be in her 20s or early 30s was walking around crying and the police were there gathering up our incident reports. In my recall, she was speeding much faster than the 30 mile per hour speed limit designated for that road but it didn’t matter. I failed to yield and it was my fault.

Our insurance companies settled, I got a splint for my finger, bought another red Jetta just like the one I smashed because I loved that car and wasn’t ready to be done with it yet, and thought we had all moved on with our lives.

Three years and 1700 miles later, they found me in Naples and served me the papers. How they ever found me at my cousin’s, I’ll never know. My Facebook page is set to private, friends only. I called my insurance company and they have their lawyers on it. I did learn that a woman with her same name from the same town where we had our accident, had gotten charged with a DUI in February of this year. If it’s the same person, maybe she decided she needed the money. A DUI is an expensive lapse in judgment and a multi-million dollar industry for the State of Minnesota.

I’ve done a lot of praying. I don’t know if this lawsuit is legitimate and her injuries are truly life-altering, or the result of ambulance-chasing lawyers seeking an opportunity (I suspect the latter). I’ve read Scriptures about those kind of operaters.

“Don’t you realize that from the beginning of time, ever since people were first placed on the earth, the triumph of the wicked has been short lived and the joy of the godless has been only temporary? They will give back everything they worked for. Their wealth will bring them no joy. For they oppressed the poor and left them destitute. They foreclosed on their homes. They were always greedy and never satisfied. Nothing remains of all the things they dreamed about. Nothing is left after they finish gorging themselves. Therefore, their prosperity will not endure.”—Job 20: 4-5, 18-21 NLT

God also gave me this encouragement:

“God is my shield, saving those whose hearts are true and right. God is an honest judge. He is angry with the wicked every day.” —Psalm 7:10 NLT.

I would not like to have God angry with me. I’ve read stories about what happens to people when He is.

Even if the Plaintiff won the case, she wouldn’t squeeze much out of me. I’ve sold my home and everything I owned and spent the proceeds fixing my car since I’ve arrived here in Naples. First, the right rear brakes went out while my son was visiting me for the week. My cousin told me there was a good garage down on Tamiami Trail called Frank’s Pure Automotive so I brought it there and they fixed it overnight, to the tune of $1,200. Volkswagen parts are not cheap. Then the serpentine belt needed to be replaced and some electrical repaired. Another chunk of change. Most recently, I’ve blown a head gasket and need my whole engine torn apart for another $2,000. Vinnie at Frank’s did a cheaper workaround to buy me some more time but I’m going to need a new car. But before all that, I forked over another $1,000 to the Florida DMV and Triple AAA for a new driver’s license, registration, plates, auto insurance, and beach pass. I learned down here in Florida, you best not mail your insurance payment in because if it’s late by just one day, your insurance lapses and you will get your driver’s license revoked. Uff. Set up automatic withdrawal for that one.

Then I moved in with a woman in East Naples to rent a room from her and it’s been an adjustment for both of us. We’re both single women who’ve lived alone for many years. She’s a great person, good hearted, cheerful and smart, but we have significant temperature differences and her level of comfort in Florida heat and humidity is far different from mine. I am lucky to have found her, but all this heat, moving around, not having furniture and being unsettled has made me unable to eat much or sleep well. Good for weight loss. Bad for acid reflux. Anxiety has reared its ugly head more than usual.

So I pray every day, all day. God has brought me here, swiftly and miraculously. He’s also brought “agents” into my life to help steer me, like Vinnie at Frank’s, and my new friends, Cindy, who helped me find a church, and Anne who ministers timely encouragement to me when the way gets cloudy and dark. One could call them angels, but since they’re clearly human, I call them “agents.” This is one of the most wonderful parts about knowing and trusting in a God who loves us, wants a relationship with us, knows the future, and knows what we need. He sends agents to inspire, motivate, encourage and guide us along our way. What a comfort!

My roommate, L.J., keeps me laughing and gets me up and out the door for a walk every morning. She’s a great cook and whips up delicious healthy meals for both of us. My job is to mop the tile floors that cover the entire house. I’ll gladly do that in exchange for her cooking. I can cook but Lord knows, I really don’t enjoy it all that much.

LJ porch sunsetIt helps to maintain an “attitude of gratitude” each day. Pray. Praise the One who sees all, knows all, and loves me, and thank Him for each day that I am alive to appreciate the beautiful sunrises and sunsets that I am blessed to drink in nearly every day. I am thankful for a kind roommate who is cheerful, friendly, happy and loves to laugh. I am thankful that there is no problem too big for God. I am thankful that he is stretching me, increasing my faith, causing me to hold tightly to Him. His Word is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path.

When I started this blog, it had been raining for two solid days, the remnants of Hurricane Patricia that caused so much flooding and heartache for Texas in recent days. It was raining outside, and it was pouring down troubles in my own life.

God has told me that I will “tell of the wonderful things He has done.” So I wait patiently for Him, for the wisdom to handle the difficulties that come my way, and for strength. I just keep maintaining a positive attitude that everything is going to work out. How can it not?

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” —Reinhold Niebuhr, The Serenity Prayer.

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