Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: TRUST (07/21/16)
TITLE: The Parking Meter
By LeslieJean Anderson
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“I’m coming into town tomorrow, and I want to see the kids,” he barked at me.
I started to tell him about their after school activities, but he cut me off.
“I don’t care,” he snarled. “Have them ready when I arrive. Court-ordered visitation, Gloria.” Then he hung up.
Fear invaded my gut, making me nauseous. I slammed the phone down and put my head in my hands. Helplessness drowned out my thinking. There was no negotiating with my ex-husband. I felt just as trapped as an ex-wife as I was when I was married.
My parents were dead. Family, friends and neighbors had looked the other way as his abusive behavior got worse and more obvious. I was told it was my duty to hold the family together. But one day, after begging God for help, a crossroads appeared in my mind’s eye. One road led to a perilous escape and the other led to an early death. Mine.
So I threw myself on the mercy of the Lord and planned my escape.
“Nobody walks out on a Spencer!” he roared when I moved out taking the children to a safe place. Lawyers were sympathetic at first, then they tricked me and sent huge bills. To my amazement, I learned the laws no longer helped mothers, even if they were innocent of any wrong-doing.
But I trusted God and moved two thousand miles away to start over again. It worked for a while but then he followed me and began harassing me in my new community. The same cycle began all over again.
I had to work the day of his arrival, and my assignment took me downtown. My brain was fuzzy from lack of sleep as I looked for a place to park in a rather deserted area. I spotted an opening, but then my heart sank when I realized a bedraggled man was directing me towards the parking spot.
“Oh, no – he’ll want money for doing that,” I groaned to myself. My head was pounding, and my eyes ached from crying all night.
When I finished parking, I dug out my change purse and panicked when I saw only a few pennies inside. The ragged man was at my window. No one else was around. I rolled it down a few inches, and held up the pennies in my hand. I didn’t even have enough for the parking meter. Silently I berated myself for being so stupid and unprepared.
“I am very sorry – I have no money!”
He was unshaven, but not threatening, and I heard him mutter something reassuring. Then before I could roll up the window, he stuck his hand inside and dropped a handful of change into my lap.
One coin rolled on the floor, and I bent down to retrieve it. I couldn’t take money from this person - he looked homeless! But when I looked up again I could not see him. I gathered my things quickly and stepped out of the car to find him and return his coins, but he had disappeared completely. I scanned the entire area, and saw no one. Not a single soul.
I looked closer at the coins in my hand and noticed that it was the exact amount I needed for the parking meter. A tingle ran up and down my spine. Suddenly I remembered the scripture in Hebrews that says, “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers for thereby some have entertained angels unawares…”
At that moment, all fear and anxiety fled from my heart. A sympathetic old man - who may even have been an angel - had pity on me and met my need for parking meter money. But on that particular day it might as well have been a million dollars because my spirit rejoiced. I recognized a God moment.
“Thank you, Jesus,” I whispered as cool tears of gratitude fell on the coins. “Today you have sent me proof that I am not abandoned. Even now, I can still trust you with every little thing in my life. If You are for me, then who can be against me?”
I put the coins in the parking meter and went on with my day, refreshed and unafraid.
741 WORDS Based on a true story.
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