It had been a wonder-filled day. I would venture to say I was having a mountain-top day with a beautiful drive through the mountains of North Georgia, lunch with a sweet Sista that I met online through the blog of Living Proof Ministries and then a stop at my favorite store that has no bake chocolate oatmeal cookies. Yes, life was grand.
My perfectly scheduled day was working according to my plan. I remember getting in my car and saying a little extra prayer for God’s protective hand to guide me on my journey. Little did I know just how much that simple prayer would cover me.
Lunch was lovely and my journey home was almost complete. It was time to stop for those yummy chocolate-oatmeal cookies. Normally, when I visit this particular store in Helen, Georgia, I park across the street. That way I do not have to back out of the parking space and across two lanes of traffic in order to head home. However, today all the parking spaces were available in front of the store and, after all, I was planning on scurrying though the store making my purchase quickly. No problem.
Soon I was on my way out of the store with cookies in hand and a smile on my face. Mission accomplished. When I came outside I was shocked. Right beside my car was a huge camper. Oh, my, I thought, this is going to be a challenge. And did I mention there were people everywhere? Again I asked the Lord help me to watch out for everybody.
I got in my car, put on my seat beat, started the engine and proceeded to back up. As I took my foot off the brake the car moved a little and I heard in my heart, “Stop, it’s not safe.” I immediately applied the brakes. As I looked from the left mirror to the right, I caught a glimpse in my rear-view mirror of a man running straight toward my car, waving his hands and screaming at the top of his voice. I immediately put my car in park and opened my door. Like any southern belle would do, I said “yes, sir can I help you?”
He screamed “YOU HAVE RUN OVER MY MOTHER!” To my horror I looked down to see his sweet mother laying on the ground only inches from my back tire. It was if time stood still and everything was moving in slow motion. I could not believe that I had hit this precious lady with my car. We got her up. Other than a scratch on her elbow and rattled nerves she was fine. I was crying and saying, “I am so sorry, I did not see you.” This precious less than 100-pound lady named Rose Marie said words I’ll never forget: “Honey, if you had of killed me, I would have been all right.”
“Oh, No, Ms. Rose it would not have been all right with me, my life would have been over, just put me in the ground…I tell you…My life would have been over.”
Ms. Rose Marie told me her husband had recently died, and she was ready to go be with him and Jesus. It also was her birthday and I mean birth day. God had given her the gift of more life. I instantly fell in love with Rose Marie. She was tender, loving and forgiving. We checked her over really well and cleaned up her elbow scrape. When the time came to say goodbye, I asked if we could have a word of prayer. This was directed by the Lord because I still was crying and for 10 minutes the only words I had muttered were, “Thank you for your grace and mercy!”
We prayed and hugged necks. I watched as they drove away. Walking back to my car, I felt like I was going to collapse, but I knew that would come later. Now was the time to seek the Lord about what just happened. I was driving home and I asked Him why He allowed this to happen to me. I heard His voice so tenderly speak to me. “Grace and Mercy.”
“What, Lord?” I said.
“You were taught Grace and Mercy today. There you were doing all the right things to be careful. You were not on your cell phone, the radio was off and you were watching through your mirrors. Still doing all you could, something happened. Staci, when you make judgment calls based only on what you see, you can get it wrong. Just like someone could have said you were being careless and hit Rose Marie. You must always give Grace and Mercy.”
At this point, I was crying and confessing to God. How many times have I formed an opinion or made statements based on what I saw, not knowing all the facts? Lesson learned, Lord!
Another thing that God revealed to me about that day; when I heard that still small voice that spoke to my heart to stop – I immediately stopped! When we are obedient to God’s warnings; we are protected. I had an onlooker ask me why I stopped backing up. I told him “You may not understand this, but God told me to stop, that it wasn’t safe.” He said, that he did understand. And we must understand that God speaks words of wisdom and warning to his children.
I am asked all the time: how do you know the voice of God? The answer is easy. I spend time with Him, reading His word, praying and just dialoging with Him on a daily basis. The word of God says in John 10:27(NLT) My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
Here’s a little example: You can be in a crowded room with many children and parents. But let your child say “Mama,” and you respond because you recognize the voice of your child. The same applies to God; you will recognize His voice speaking to your heart when you learn to be still and know that HE is GOD!!
Odd as it may sound, looking back, I thank God for allowing me to “bump into” Rose Marie!