October 29, 2018
This Saturday that has just passed was one of a kind for my family. My youngest daughter had her first sleepover on Friday afternoon at a friend’s house, 10km from our home for a birthday party. She had been excited ever since she received the invitation and spoke about the sleepover every day. The arrangement was that she would go there after school with her friend’s parents and then I would pick her up on Saturday morning at 10:00. I packed her bag on Thursday night and a pillow as requested and got everything ready for the next day. I kissed her goodbye on Friday morning when we dropped her off at school with her sister and fortunately, her friend’s mom arrived at the same time as us and so I took her belongings to her friend’s mother’s car. My husband and I knew that she would be alright as we knew the parents very well and agreed to the sleepover.
I felt challenged at first as sleepovers were never in my calendar and we never had such when we were growing up. We only visited cousins during school holidays and vice versa but things have changed and the culture and the times that we now live in are different. I didn’t quite see the need for resisting because of my own upbringing since we know the parents very well. Our kids began Grade 000 together at the age of four and they’ve been together in every class. This brought us close to each other as parents because of their friendship and their participation in school activities and events that we also had to attend. My husband and I were therefore comfortable with the arrangement. We, however, informed the girls that not every request for a sleepover would be permitted and shouldn’t be expected.
My eldest has informed us as well that she would be invited to one in November which we are comfortable with too. The parents are our former neighbours; we parted ways when the girls were born, we each moved to different neighbourhoods and bought homes big enough to accommodate our growing families. We were reunited when we realised that our kids are in the same school and grade. On the other hand, we have to be consistent as parents; what you do on the right, you have to do it on the left, reasonably so nevertheless. The sister is looking forward to this as it would be the first one too and we are okay with that too.
I had planned that on Saturday morning before the pick up at 10:00, I would go shopping for the school stationary with my eldest daughter and perhaps grab some breakfast just to spend some alone time with her. After picking her little sister up, we would all go to the market and have a bit of fun shopping for ornaments we needed for the home and grab lunch. I had it all figured out in my mind and the weather agreed with us. It was pleasantly hot for the market day which only required sunglasses, a hat, sunscreen and us there. I was in good spirits and so was my daughter and I knew spending time with me made her even happier. Everything was perfect until I started the ignition. The car made a single sound and then went dead. I tried again and I could see that the hazards button was flickering and I knew something was wrong. I prayed that it shouldn’t be the key that was malfunctioning as I was using the spare key. The original key was defective and we haven’t taken it for repairs as yet.
I went into the house to wake my husband up for help and the first thing he said was that it could be that the battery was flat. I would have been totally lost if he was not there as I was already thinking about towing the car to the dealer and that was a cost on its own. My mind shifted to my daughter that had to be picked up and it was 9:00 a.m. when I looked at the clock. I only had an hour left and being late was not an option. My mind raised as I thought about who could I ask for help to pick her up and a neighbour who lived a few blocks from us came to mind as I remembered that her daughter was also at the same party. I dialled her number and when I asked she told me that she had just arrived home from picking her daughter up. I tried not to panic and began thinking about another alternative.
I called another friend and she didn’t answer and the phone took me to voice mail. I dialled again and when she finally answered she whispered that she was at a funeral and so my second option failed. I was still not panicky as I had the third person in mind, someone from my church who lived nearby. It is in these circumstances that you need to bring your circle closer. Just when I was about to call her, my neighbour called and said that her daughter had forgotten her camping mat at the party house and she was driving back to pick it up and if I was ready, she would pass by the house and we could go together. I really never saw that one coming but God Almighty always knows how to line up things together. I had been calm since the morning, began my morning at 4:00 a.m. with prayer and bible reading and was emotionally stable and focusing on what needed to be done. My husband was in the garage when our neighbour arrived, he went out to greet and I hopped in the car with my eldest daughter and we left. I was grateful that God had come through for us and the way He did it was impeccable.
We arrived at the house and my daughter was in the swimming pool with her friends enjoying themselves. She was not near ready to go home but because I had asked for a lift, I asked her to come out of the pool and get her things. I didn’t mind what happened next especially as far as the car was concerned but happy that I had my child and even if we had to wait until Monday to deal with the issue of the car, I was okay with that. We arrived home to find the car out of the garage idling. I was quite surprised but realised that I need to bring myself up to speed with the basics about vehicles, especially our own. My husband had simply requested a neighbour to jump start him and they both confirmed that the car needed a new battery. Now that we knew what the problem was and how to solve it, we decided to go ahead with our plan to go to the market and my husband decided to drop us off as the car had to remain idling for some time that the battery shouldn’t die.
We got to the market around 11:00 a.m. and my husband left; hardly ten minutes while we were in the venue, he called to inform me that he was still on the premises. He had switched the car off by mistake and it died and now we were really stuck as a family and far from home. I had seen a fellow congregant at the market when we came in and advised my husband to find him and seek help and in the meantime, I took the kids to the food court for drinks. My husband called a little later with an update that was not promising. He managed to find the brother from church who solicited assistance from other men, however, all efforts made to try to jump start the car again failed. We appreciated that they had tried and it showed how united people can be when there is a crisis. The world is full of many good and caring people indeed.
Time was running and the kids were tired from the heat and God impressed in my heart to call a friend for help, ask that she rush me to town to purchase a new battery, go home, borrow the jump start cables and tools from the neighbour and return that my husband could change the battery. I prayed that she would answer the phone and hurry since the place was closing at 13:00 p.m. By God’s grace she answered her phone and hastened. While waiting for her my daughter asked me why everything was going so wrong and I simply quoted the scripture that said “This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24). I was still calm as I knew that everything was in perfect divine order. It was an opportunity for me to teach my daughter to be grateful in all circumstances knowing that God will take us out and make a way. We had to accept everything the way that it came. The scripture says that “many are plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails” (Proverbs 19:21). Nothing was going wrong. Everything was perfect just the way it was.
God always brings the right people and they each play their roles perfectly. Even though the team of men came to assist and couldn’t get it right, they didn’t fail, they played the role that was assigned to them because God alone deserves the glory. Their efforts, though noble, couldn’t get us home and so my husband released them. This reminded me of the story of Gideon in the Bible, Judges 7. God had apportioned Gideon to deliver the Israelites from the Midianites who were constantly harassing them. He sent him to war against the Midianites with men of Israel, however, God told Gideon that the men who were with him where too many for God to give the Midianites into his hands because Israel might claim glory for itself against God and so asked Gideon to reduce them. The final number of men who went to war was a mere 300 who came against thousands of Midianites. The bible says the Midianites and Amalekites were “lying in the valley as numerous as locusts; and their camels were without number, as the sand by the seashore in multitude” (Judges 7:12). God caused confusion in the Midian camp and every man’s sword was against his companion and this is how the Midianites were defeated.
God works in His own mysterious ways. We can never guess how He is going to deliver or help us. When my friend came, she knew exactly where to go for the battery and we were right on time. The place was still open and we got the correct size battery with the right specs. We rushed home to find the neighbour in his garage, borrowed the tools my husband requested and the jump start cables. We then went back to meet my husband equipped with all that was necessary. God’s grace is amazing; my husband decided to try again and jumpstart the old battery using my friend’s car and it started. We were astonished as according to him, he had tried with four vehicles at the market but neither of them could get the car started. We placed the new battery in the boot and headed home, that way my husband would change batteries relaxed at home. God had been good to us, using ordinary people that we live with daily to assist us. He is a magnificent God. The day turned out perfect after all. Romans 8:28 says “and we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose”.
Footnote: Scriptures taken from the The Holy Bible, New King James Version, 1982: Nashville, TN, Thomas Nelson, Inc. & The ESV Global Study Bible®, ESV® Bible, Copyright © 2012 by Crossway. All rights reserved & The Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™
Kgalalelo Saane Mphephuka
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