"As for man, his days are like grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
When the wind has passed over it, it is no more, and its place acknowledges it no longer.
But the lovingkindness of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him..."
~Psalm 103:15-17a

A Very Long Story

Saturday morning, I woke up to my alarm at 3:30am. By 4:00 I was out the door and on my way to Grand Rapids, MI for Civilian First Responders' Training, where I hoped to learn more about human trafficking and how to respond to it here in the U.S. The training was excellent, and I learned a lot about recognizing the signs of trafficking and how normal, everyday people can intervene. That, however, is not the topic of this particular blog post (though I'm sure you'll be hearing more about it soon). The story I want to tell begins after I started my journey home.

I left the church where the training was held at about 4:00pm. My plan was to get well on my way before stopping for dinner. I got on the highway and headed out. About fifteen minutes down the road, I heard a loud bang. It sounded like a large rock had hit my car, and then it started sounding like something was dragging on the ground. It did not sound good, so I decided to pull over to take a look. However, this was in a construction zone, so there was only one lane open and no shoulder to speak of, and the next exit went to a street with no shoulder at all and just lots of houses. After a couple of blocks, I found a church driveway to pull into. All this time, it seemed like the car was getting harder and harder to drive – not a good thing when you know nothing about cars and are four hours away from home.

Well, once I got into the church driveway, I hopped out to take a look. Yep, there was a major problem: multiple holes in one of the rear wheels. Great. So much for getting home early. After calling home and calling the roadside assistance service my insurance provides (so thankful I got that plan!), I was able to get a guy out there to change out my tire for me. (Hey, no laughing at me! I didn't think it would be wise to figure out how to change a tire on my new car four hours from home in dress clothes and in the rain. Plus, why have roadside assistance if you never use it, right? Right.)

Dad helped me find a tire place, so after getting two new tires (and spending $225 I wasn't expecting to have to spend), I headed out again. Strangely enough, the tire place was near the training location, so I was going the exact same way I was before. Yep, there's the construction zone again. Oh, great. Stopped traffic ahead.

About the time I stopped, I realized that while the car behind me stopped just fine, the two cars behind him weren't stopping fast enough. Of course, I'm a bit paranoid, and have thought before that cars would crash into me, so I wasn't too panicked (it's never happened before, why should it now?). But I turned my steering wheel so I wouldn't crash into the car in front of me...just in case.

Wow, they really are coming fast. *Crash* Oh, I guess they stopped...with a bit of help from me and the guy behind me. To be honest, at about that point, I just started cry-laughing. It was so ridiculous, and I was so tired (I'd been up for over 12 hours at that point) that I just couldn't help myself. Thankfully, I was able to pull myself together after a few minutes (thanks in part to a phone call to Mom...who by now was wishing she'd taken my car away and tied me up at home before ever letting me drive alone to Michigan).

Anyway, to make a long story short (yes, it's too late, I know, but the title of the post warned you!), I was perfectly fine. My car was perfectly fine besides a few scuff marks (at least, it's fine as far as I know...). The other people's cars didn't fare so well, but nobody seemed too seriously injured. After waiting around to make sure the police had all the information they needed for the accident report, I was able to head out. Again.

You may not believe this, but I actually made it home without further incident (albeit three hours later than planned)! This was probably due to my mom and her friends all praying hard! Which leads me to the last thing I want to say before I wrap up this extremely long post. There are just so many ways that I can see God's hand protecting me in all of this. 1) I didn't cause an accident when my tire blew. In fact, the car didn't swerve at all (which is why I didn't know what had happened). 2) A very fast response from the roadside assistance guy. And he even asked how far I would be traveling and gave a suggestion of where to go for new tires. 3) A very close tire place...and one that was easy to find! 4) The apples I found on my way to the tire place. Mmmm! Michigan apples! 5) I was not the one who caused the accident. 6) I have insurance! 7) No one was seriously injured in the accident. 8) My car was hardly even damaged in the accident. 9) Friendly people from the other cars in the accident to talk to while we waited. 10) Safety the rest of the way home. (Though I have to admit I was a lot more concerned when people tailed me!) And finally, I'm thankful for the opportunity God gave me to learn to trust Him more...even when things don't go the way I plan.