Satan is SOOO persistent.

*WARNING: If you're an avid reader, you may take joy in this "light reading", if not, you may just want to skip to the bottom summary. :) Either way, be blessed*

So, Sunday all day I had highly anticipated going to the Rock. It has been such a long time since I've actually been to a service since I've been in and out of Barstow, that I have actually skipped a couple of weeks of service. Yeah, yeah... don't judge me. :P Earlier that day I made up my mind, 7pm service it would be, end my day on the right note and meditate on God's word as I began a new week, right? Right... guess what folks, it's testimony time.

So Saturday evening I text Michelle (coworker) and Monica (running partner/friend) if they want to go to service at 7pm. Michelle hits me back and says that she wont be able to this week, which was fine. Monica on the other hand anticipated going to service with me since the week before so I was determined to make it happen this week. Later that evening, Bea (roomie) and I go walking downtown and hear this strange call from the otherside of the street "Uh uh, uhhh uh!" -- lo and behold, it's Monica bein' noisy in laughter. After girl chat, Monica says that she's down to go to service. SWEET, we're gonna make it happen right? Maybe...

Sunday rolls around and of course, I am completely lazy out of pure tiredness. I roll around in bed, go downstairs, watch TV and end up eating leftovers from the day before. 3 o clock rolls around and I tell myself I'm going to take a nap, wake up around 5:30 and get ready for church and be there for worship. Wooo, gotta plan, lets execute!

I fall asleep around 4pm and then I wake up around 5:45. I'm gettin' ready and I text Monica to remind her of service... she ends up texting me being unable to go becuase she has family in town. SAD FACE. Now I am going to church by my lonesome. Invited two girls, and both for whatever reason are not coming, so I tell myself, okay God, it's me and YOU time. I'm down. There's always a reason for everything right? :) I wash up, prepare myself mentally as I begin derssing myself for service. Even though it's night service and the Rock is a very "come as you are" wardobe type of church, I always hear my mom in the background saying "You're not wearing that to church" so I always try to ensure that I wear something she wouldn't respond with that saying to. 

I hit the road and I'm early enough that there is ample parking spaces in the side parking lot. SCORE - it usually takes a good 15 minutes and half a tank of gas to find a parking spot after circling and circling, but today, I found a spot easily, so I pull right in. As I open my door and put my keys in my purse, I lock my door because late, I've been catching myself on random occasions not locking my car, I was determined not to forget tonight though, haha, very deteremined. So after locking the doors, I hop out of the car and hold the door open with my foot (trying to multitask, which I have proven on several accounts to be terrible at) and attempt to fix my very "stylish" scarf (Bryan said so at work, haha) so that I am not lookin' a hot mess on my way in to church. I end up pulling my leg out from stopping the door to close to keep my balance, and yeah, guess what... the door closed, not completely, but it definitely locked. There I stood, hitting myself in the forehead becuase there in the front seat sat my purse, with my wallet and car keys flashing - luring any passerby to simply break into my #1 stolen car in San Diego of a Honda and be on his marry way maxing out what's left on my credit cards. Great, this is JUST. MY. DAY. I stood there thinking, hmmm, how should I proceed? Should I forget about church and try to figure out how to get my spare key from Bea? Should I call and pay for a locksmith? Should I just go to church. Like I said yall, Satan is so persistent, I decided NOT to give into him, so I told myself - Dess, you're at church, these are Godly people, and God is on your side. Go to church, trust that God's got your back, and lets go to church" -- Done deal, I was sold, so I took a deep breath, said a quiet prayer and proceeded to the entrance of the church empty-handed (feeling super unprotected without my sword). I've seen plenty of people go to church empty handed, mostly because the church provides bulletins and handouts with the scripture, but I am alwaysin the habit of bringing my bible to church, and find it very odd when I see people without one... then again, there's my mother's voice againg "WHERE'S YOUR BIBLE?! GO LOOK FOR IT." - as loud and demanding of a voice as you can imagine, is the tone she would take with me and the brohams. Ha.

I'm sitting there in church, trying with every energetic atom in my body to not think of my car and the situation. Satan can't hold me down yall! Lemme praise and worship and forget about the car... nope, Satan was winning, worry filled my mind, I kept trying to figure out how I was going to call ANYONE without my phone (people don't memorize phone numbers like they used to), and I the worst thought I had... I had no offering. :( I had two dollars left in my wallet and I was really excited to be a cheerful giver and give "all that I had", and yet, nope, I couldn't even do that. Pastor Miles wasn't there today, sadly (please forgive me Lord) I always get to disappointed when he's not there to deliver the sermon... I really ought to stop that, God uses all people to deliver the message, I  need to recieve it whenever it comes and by whoever delivers it. The sermon was about when God is silent... sometimes it means you jut have to be silent too! Be silent and WAIT... LISTEN... PRAISE him. All these points were def hitting right on the money, but Satan was still tuggin' at my thoughts with worry about the car. So, half way through the sermon, I think, God, I know there is reason for everything that happens, I'm going to ask these church folks if I can use the phone to call Bea and have the key delivered to me by some way of divine intervention. I counted to 10 (nobody likes to just get up and leave in the middle of a sermon) and got up and proceeded towards the exit.

I ask the front desk if I can use the phone and they were such caring Christians, one dude asked if I had an atenna bc if I did, he could "break in" to my car with it... I kinda laughed, he was def a volunteer for the church... however I didn't have an antenna. I decided in this event, I'd just phone a friend, but first I had to phone 411 becuase I didn't know Bea's work number. I dial 411 hesitantly, because I didn't know if the folks at the desk thought I was lying or something... hey, anything could happen. I ask the operator for the number to Bea's work and after finding it, the operator says "we will now connect you at no additional charge" -- I suddenly felt shameful... I just charged the church .75 cents to make this call bc of my stupid mishap of locking my keys in the car. Long story short, Bea was able to get Preston to deliver the keys to me, but he said it would take him another hour to get here. I debated -- hmmm, sit here in the cold and wait (for free)? Or call the locksmith and pay? -- Seein' as it's the end of the month and I only get paid at the beginning of every month, I decided, I'd have to do some laps around the lot to keep warm, because waiting was gonna have to do. Ha.

I waited, and as I waited I strolled through the Vons shopping center. Funny thing, I was in a section that sold all kitchen gadgets and appliances and I literally saw every item and every price and was completely amazed and the stuff I saw. Someone invented a measuring spoon that has a sliding measurement boundary, slide it up for 1/8, slide it down for 1/4, down again for 1/2, etc. SUPER COOL! Same thing for a measuring cup, it was pretty awesome. (Don't judge me, I appreciate the little things in life). I see all these people walking around and I keep telling myself - ask her nicely to use her phone, or ask that dude sitting at his laptop for a quick gchat session with Bea... I failed at all attempts because I was too embarrassed. LoL. So I just sat on a bench in the parking area waiting for Preston. I see this kid gathering carts in the lot and texting on his phone and I tell myself "Ask him, he's not working anyway" LoL - he gets nearer and I grow the courage to ask "Hey, would you guys happen to have a phone for customer use?" he directs me to the inside office, and off I went. SCORE, after asking the cashier, she leads me to a phone, and I call Bea (I had written the phone # on my hand, and almost washed it off three times after using the restroom). Bea tells me Preston is in the lot and he can't find me, I jump for joy in Vons, hang up and speed out to find Preston driving right past me so I yell for him. After unlocking my door with the spare key, I thank him humbly and he heads off and I end up sitting in my car thinking. Thank you God, you are the best.

So what do I do? I realize I'm hungry and I head to iHop. LoL. I know right? Don't judge me. haha. "Table for 1" I say as the waiter greets me at the front. He takes me to a booth and I sit there and think - wow, WHAT A LONER! LoL. But, as said before, I'm alone, but never lonely. :) So I order up hot chocolate, an appetizer sampler and a short stack of pancakes (don't you DARE judge me hahahaha). While waiting, and after a brief phone call, I tell myself - oh, let me go through the scripture from today, it'd be a great time to reflect. Yeeeah! So I pull out my bulletin from today and grab my Bible and flip it to Mark 7. The story of the woman who asks Jesus to heal his daughter. Heard this sermon plenty of times, but there's always something different to take each time. So after reading the scripture, I read the spotlight story to the right of the passage (my special women's Bible has spotlight stories from different women with different questions). The spotlight story is about a woman who is strong willed, just like the woman in the story, strong willed to ask Jesus to heal her demon possessed child. After reading the questions began reaching out to me. How was this woman strong willed? How have you been strong willed lately? - Ooooooh, God you is GOOD!!! Like a nail that drills perfectly after 1 pound of the hammer, I was set in place and everything that happened tonight made sense.

Satan is very persistent. Michelle cancelled and so did Monica, and despite me feeling very lonely and a bit shy to head to church on a solo tip, I had to see through it. I almost decided to make up an excuse and not go to church becuase I didn't have anyone accompanying me. Nope, not gonna let Satan win this one, I begin my trip to church. After that, I make it to church and BAM, I lock my keys in my car, with my wallet, my phone and my bible. Feeling completely stranded and helpless, I could have easily ignored church and paid full attention to my car and ended up not going at all because I had to tend to this car issue. Nah man, not gonna let Satan win this one either, I head inside the church becuase this is God's time, not mine. After an hour and a half of waiting for the spare key to get into my car, I could have easily just headed home and slept and blown off every lesson to be learned today, but as I sat there at ihop sipping on hot chocolate, I decided to pull my Bible out, my notebook and bulletin and WAIT... LISTEN... and PRAISE God for helping me defeat Satan. The word spoken to my heart that night came strong, and in perfect timing. How have I been strong willed lately? My will was pretty strong to keep from letting Satan win all night, and what a reward I received after being persistent-errr than Satan. ;) Not only was I persistent there, I began to reflect and realized, I've been pretty strong willed in different areas in my life that don't allign with Gods. Wow, Jesus take the wheel, is it me, or do I feel super convicted right now?... "Convicted, but not condemned" Pepa and Romeo said... the theme for YFC's camp this year. Wow, I didn't' even go to the camp and the theme speaks volumes.

After journaling in my notebook I asked for a box and the check. Boxed up half of the appetizer left, sipped the remainings of my hot chocolate and signed the receipt with a nice tip for the waiter - he was so polite, and kept calling me sweetie. LoL. In addition, he took good care of me (hot chocolate refills) while I was reading my Bible, so I left a $3 tip on my card and the $2 in my wallet that I wanted to give for offering today. I figured, if I couldn't give it to God today, I'll give it for being in the likeness of God, serving with a cheerful heart... I prayed a blessing over him in my thoughts as I walked out the door. There are good days, and there are great days. Despite today starting off lazy and ending up rough, it concluded in being a GREAT day. :)

All in all, the testimony is that, I invited 2 friends to church with high anticipation. Both weren't able to go. I ended up locking my keys in my car but still went to church. I left half the sermon to figure out how to solve the situation. I had to wait an hour and a half in the parking lot after church ended for the spare key. Instead of going home to sleep I went to Ihop to eat and read up on the rest of the sermon. I read the strong-willed spotlight and realized, everything today happened for a reason, and despite the blundrs of the evening and missing half the sermon - I took home a message that really hit it on the money. Satan always presents the obstacles that keep you from going where you're SUPPOSED to go, and doing what you're SUPPOSED to do. Whether we pass of fail at these obstacles, rest assured, Satan will try and come up with another one - Satan is sooooo persistent. But, there is a STRONGER man than he who attempts to plunder all the goods... and through it all, God had me, everything worked out in the end and all was well. :)

So, that's it. The end.

Goodnight, world.