The Mundling Zone

Thoughts, rants, and raves from the desk of Michelle Mundling

Wednesday, July 18, 2001

Count Your Blessings!

If I were asked what was the most powerful message from God that I have received, it would be "Count your blessings," and I immediately think of this story. I swear to all who read this that this really happened, and I don't doubt for one second that God spoke directly to me.

From May 1991 until September 1997, I lived away from home in a town called Conyers, Georgia. I had several acquaintences, but no one close by that I could really call "friend." The economy at the time forced a lot of people to take on second jobs just to make ends meet. I was one of them. I worked my day job from 8:00 - 4:30 Monday to Friday. Then I went home to nap for about three hours until I went to my second job working from 10 PM to 6 AM night shift in a convenience store Friday and Saturday night every weekend.

I was able to deal with my schedule the first year, but eventually, things started to take its toll on me: I had no social life, most of my free time was spent sleeping, all the money from that second job went to pay bills, and I still wasn't getting ahead but struggling just to keep up. Physically and psychologically, I was becoming more and more depressed. I kept asking: why do I have to work two jobs? Why must I work so hard just to make ends meet when people I know seem to be able to afford luxuries I'm having to do without? I became resentful of my situation.

Well, God heard me, and he answered my questions early one Sunday morning while I was on duty at the store. A pregnant woman with two children (a boy and a girl, both looking about ages 3 and 4) came to my store in a battered station wagon. She and the children looked dirty like they hadn't changed clothes in days. The pregnant woman came in and asked where the nearest Western Union was while her children headed for the restrooms. I told her the direction to go to get to the Kroger store in which had a Western Union station.

She suddenly burst into tears. I asked her if she was okay, worried that she might need medical help (she was pregnant, after all). She proceeded to tell me that she left her abusive husband and took the kids with nothing but the clothes on their backs. The alternator in her car later went out and needed replacing. She had to give the repairman her wedding ring to pay for it. She was able to contact her mother, and her mother agreed to wire some money to her, but the Western Union would not be open for a few more hours. Moved by her story, I asked her when was the last time she or her kids ate. She told me that they had some crackers and water earlier that day. I then asked her how much gas she had in the car. She told me that she might have a couple of gallons, but not much.

I paused for a moment to think about the situation. I had seen my share of people coming into the store pretending that they were needy and asking for handouts. My heart told me that this woman and her children were truly in need of help and some kindness. I told her to go back to her car and pull it up to one of the gas pumps and I would give her five dollars worth of gasoline. She quickly responded, "I promise I'll repay you ... " but I stopped her and told her that she was not to worry about that right now. I asked her to wait a moment, and I went into my purse and scrounged up all the cash money I had on me ... about five dollars and a little change. I handed the woman the money and told her to go to the Waffle House at the corner and make sure she and the kids ate something. I also added that if the money was not enough to have the waitress call me and I would vouch for the bill. She looked at me funny as her children came out of the restrooms. She then instructed them to go to the car. Then she looked back at me and said with a mixture of disbelief and gratitude, "Thank you." She went to her car and put the amount of gasoline I preset the pump for (at the end of my shift, I wrote a check to pay for the gasoline). Then she left, driving toward the Waffle House I directed her to earlier.

As her car disappeared into the darkness, I fell to my knees and wept. I started praying, thanking God for sending that woman to me. Not only was I able to help someone who was in need, it was a reminder about how lucky I actually was and that I should be grateful for what I do have instead of bemoaning what I didn't have.

I never saw the woman again. No one from the Waffle House called me about the bill. I just hope that she was able to make it to wherever she was trying to get to. If you are her and you're reading this, thank you for coming by my store and I hope your life has changed for the better. I will never forget you.

Thank you, God, for humbling me and showing me how blessed I am.