The other morning as I was getting ready to go preach the good news of all God's promises at a women's conference in Orange County CA, I needed my loving husband to help me prepare for the trip. The theme of the day that I would be speaking on was "Princess Mentality- Becoming a Daughter of the King." I had spent weeks preparing my message and then my comedy presentation. So the night before the journey my sweet husband Ron assured me I could go to bed and rest assured all the merchandise would be packed, the car would be gassed up and washed, and everything would be ready to go. He has to be extra nice to me because I'm carrying his child. I think I'm still getting the short end of the deal since I'm the one that has to go through labor but I'll milk it for all it's worth for now. So I did my best to get some sleep but at 6 months pregnant if I get 3 hours in a row without running to the kitchen for snacks or the ladies room I'm doing well. I think our baby loves to eat ice cream in the middle of the night just like her mommy.
So the alarm goes off and at 6:00am, I'm up and ready to leave because my sound check is at 7:45 am. It's about a 45-minute drive with no traffic. Ha! I just said No Traffic and I live in LA! Well at 6:00am on a Sat it's a good shot because everyone is still asleep except for the granola eating, beach jogging dog walkers and those people think cars are evil. I get dressed and notice Ron was out of bed. I thought to myself "Wow! He's so awesome. He must be up packing the car." I came out of the bedroom rejuvenated and ready to be the "super spiritual woman of God" that I am and what do I see? None other than my fully asleep husband sprawled out on the floor in his clothes from last night, TV still on and he's snoring like a train horn. I thought this might be a joke at first but then when I saw the drool coming from his mouth I knew he was out cold. He must have passed out last night while he was working away at packing for our trip. I didn't see any boxes so I assumed they were all packed nicely into our car. "Ron! Wake up dude! We gotta go!" I said. He didn't respond. I shook his shoulder and resorted to my" Mommy voice "(the one I developed shortly after we were married. I shouted, "Ronald Andrew McGehee! You get up this instant because we're going to be late!" All I got was a mumbled" Five more minutes..pllllllllllleeeeeeease five more minutes!" I finally was able to rouse the sleeping bear and get him showered and dressed and out the door.
At 6:55am we get to the car and I ask " Ron I don't see any boxes. Where is all the stuff you were going to pack for me?" He replied sleepily "What? What stuff? You asked me what? When?" I told him " I asked you to pack my things last night and you said, "Ok honey. Go to bed I'll take care of it remember?" He replied, "I must not have heard you. I was tired." He was tired! So that was his excuse? I was supposed to just live with that one? "I didn't hear you" is now a get out of jail free card for husbands? What if he "didn't hear me" whenever the heck he wanted? My mind started racing. The blood was rushing to the veins in my forehead and there was no stopping the explosion that was about to happen. When the emotions and frustration of a hormonally imbalanced very pregnant woman hit you better take cover. I hadn't even had my sugar yet in the morning so I was in no mood for any of this.
All I cared about is that we were totally late and I was about to lose all religion at this point because nothing I needed done had been done. I know I'm supposed to pray for grace in these moments. I know I'm supposed to be the Christian wife I promised to be on our wedding day but there had to be a loophole for situations like this! I started ranting and raving about how disappointed I was in his lack of organization and how he was ruining my day and a few other not so nice things were added in this diatribe as well. He felt bad and got defensive. The next thing you know we're having it out with each other has we hurriedly pack the car and get on the road to give all these women spiritual enlightenment and the joy of laughter. What a way to start my morning. I just felt so emotional and out of control. I knew I should calm down but I didn't know if it was physically possible. We drove and I tried to look in my bible for some verse from God and the first thing I got was in Psalms 34 and it says in verse 22 "May your unfailing love is with me. As I put my hope in you." Funny thing was some other time in the margin I had written and "Not my husband!" I'm not supposed to rely on Ron to meet all my needs because God is my true provider! But I didn't know how God was going to get all the boxes in my car without Ron's help!
So needless to say it was a long car ride and I was pouting and brooding. I reverted back to my old childish thoughts of God saying to Ron in the car. "Now look what you've done. I'm all-angry and my show is going to suck now! Cause God won't bless it! We won't sell anything to help pay our expenses cause you made me mad and sin!" I know I sounded like a 6 year old I'm aware of that. He said to mw "Kerri, You really need to re think about the God we serve. You know He loves and He's not mean and vindictive the way you're portraying Him. Stop that! Get all that childhood guilt out of your mind!" I knew he was right. I wasn't going to verbally admit it though. My pride was still full blown. Sometimes I get so mad I can barely pray but I gave it my best shot trying to get my head together on the car ride down the 55 freeway.
At about 7:38 am I see Ron slowly pull our car over to the side of the freeway and say the words "Uh oh" under his breath? I ask, "Are we getting pulled over? Is the car on fire? What's up?" He mutters back to me "Um…well…we're kinda sorta…uh…out of gas." He's inching the car off the freeway and onto the exit as I start to here the frightening sounds of our car stuttering. It was like the "Little engine that could…I think I can I think I can!" I was so in shock I didn't even know how to respond. I have to admit it was so hysterically ridiculous I almost had to laugh. But I knew we were definitely going to be late to my sound check and also I remembered he promised to gas up the car. Those two things were making the veins in my head pulsate fiercely again. It's just a physical reaction and I don't have much control over it .I'm being honest here.
The next thing you know I see Ron with a gas can literally running through traffic at full speed on this busy street looking for a gas station. I've never in my life seen him run like this. We should have been on "The Amazing Race" it was so reminiscent of a reality show. I just laughed to myself amidst my complete hormonal frustration. I looked up to heaven and just felt the prescience of God absolutely laughing his head off! The bible says He doesn't give us more than we can handle but He had to be kidding right? Ron gets back in the car and it's now 7: 55am. I 'm just about to lose my mind and my cell phone rings. I put on my fake phone voice and answer. It's my sponsor wondering where the heck I am. "Oh Judy we had some tiny car issues. Nothing to worry about. Praise God! I'm just peachy and I'll be there in a jiff!" I hung up and said, "Now what do you have to say for yourself? Ha? Huh?" He said he was sorry and then he did the unthinkable. He said, "Can I pray for you??" I 'm thinking "What? What? Prayer? You want to pray for me?" He's pulling that card? Oh no he didn't! I answered" Well you can pray for me but I'm so mad at you I'm not closing my eyes! And you better pray something good cause I have to be Christian in 30 minutes in front of 450 women buddy! You better pray I pull it together right now! And by the way speed if you have to. The cops will understand! So he prayed and I kept my eyes open!
I arrived at the conference and everything was fine. Ron set up my table and I had about 5 minutes to prepare by myself before I went on to teach for the morning session. I was so convicted and humbled and scared I would completely mess this up. "God! It's me Kerri! I know I sucked this morning! I know it! But I need you right now! Please forgive me and help me to do some good for these women and give me the right words to say." All I could hear in my heart was the words "Tell them about your morning!" God always does this to me. Whenever I mess up. He forces me to share it with the world. I went on stage and started off my talk with "Well my husband forgot to put gas in our car this morning. When we ran out of gas, I showed him my "real princess mentality." They laughed. I continued. "Ya know? I couldn't come before you today without letting you know how hard it was for me to even get here. Did anyone else have one of those mornings?" Just about every hand was raised. I went on to share with these women that we're never going to stop having crazy mornings until Jesus comes back. We will continue to fall down and make idiots of ourselves in front of others and behind closed doors. I told them I think the best gift we can give each other and ourselves is to take our "Perfect Christian" masks off and get real. Especially because we know that we're all struggling to fit in and live up to some false notion that we're supposed to have it all together…all the time. I reasoned that if we did have our acts together, what would that leave room for God to do in our lives? God totally blessed me that morning as I shared more than one example from my own struggles since I was young girl to appear "perfect." Maybe it came from our mother's expectations or something we learned on TV. Who cares, because it's all a lie and what God wants us to do is to stop pretending to be "super woman" and just admit we're all works in progress. It's the only way we can truly experience that unconditional love God has to offer us all. Maybe we've never had unconditional love so it's hard for us to believe there's a God up there in Heaven that will forgive us every single time. I strive to have more of that attitude towards my husband and of course my children someday. But I'm on the journey and I've got a long way to go. But I'll tell you one thing, I'm not quitting. The sessions ended and within 20 minutes I had sold every single book I brought to the conference. As if that wasn't great enough. God ordained 450 women to come up to Ron one by one and say 'Hey! So you're the guy who ran out of gas? Nice work honey!" God's got my back. I always knew it!