7 Days. I gave God 7 days to prove to me that He loved me. Seven days to prove that not only He existed, but that He cared. Cared about me. What if He failed? What if He didn’t prove it to me? Well, let’s just say that would have been my last 7 days here on Earth. I wasn’t just a little depressed. I had been living with depression for most of my life.
As a child who ended up in foster care at age 15, I had already tried suicide the first semester of my senior year. Now I was 25 years old and my life seemed to be falling apart again. It seemed I was the issue. I felt as though there was something wrong with me, so no one could love me. I was certain that even my own daughters wouldn’t love me when they were older and could make their own decisions. I gave Him 7 days.
At that time I was working at TGIFriday’s. Remember back in the day of flare? I still have those suspenders with all my flare. I worked Saturday nights and Sunday mornings, while my girls’ dad watched them. Molly was 5 then, and the twins were approaching their 1st birthday.
It was March 11, 2001, day 7, and I was looking toward the final hours of my life. My goal was to make as much money as possible and win the contest for the most Long Island iced teas sold, so I could leave the prize for my girls with the little money I had. It was all I could give them, and I finally had the prime section in smoking to win. Remember smoking sections? It was a dream come true. Smoking section on a Sunday morning, away from all the Christians who obviously never heard a sermon on how to tip a waitress. Then the dream of all dreams, a party of 16. Instant gratuity. No matter what happened I was guaranteed 15% gratuity on the check. Now all I had to do was get them drinking to rack up that bill.
Bad news bear! They were church people. The first 2 came in and let me know that the pastor had preached just that morning on “Just say no to the first”. That was just my luck. Two by two those church people came in like animal for Noah’s ark, and all refused to drink. My chances at winning this contest were over.
I waited on them, messed up one guy’s order and laid down the check. Then the miracle happened. They tipped on top of the gratuity, and that first couple who came in and sat down, invited me to church. 30% gratuity and a church invite? They had my attention.
As I was driving home and remembering my day I thought about my ultimatum with God. I gave Him 7 days and he sent 16 church people who knew how to tip and had them invite me to church. As it happened I didn’t have to work the next Sunday because the girls’ dad would be out of town at a March Madness game. So what else was I to do, but go to church.
The Wednesday night bible study group nicked named me “Tammy the waitress” on their prayer list. Their prayers worked and they welcomed me in. It was a weird to go to church Sunday morning and see so many christians being kind and welcoming. The next week I was back to work, thinking that maybe we would go back on Mother’s Day.
It didn’t take that long though. Two weeks after I had been to church, God was already talking to me in my sleep. I was done with life as it was, but I did not want to end my life. I wanted to change it.
When I lived in New Orleans six years earlier I saw this man on Bourbon street who had a sign that read, “I’m a fool for Jesus. Who’s fool are you?” On March 31st I remembered that sign and thought of how foolish my life had been. The drugs, alcohol, sex, and craziness that had always surrounded my life, I was tired of it. I knew if I went to church my friends, well drinking buddies, would laugh or mock me. It seemed no matter what I did, someone would think I was foolish. So I did the most foolish thing a single mother could do. I quit my job and decided to go to church instead. On April Fools day, 2001, I stepped in the church doors, uninvited and ready to change my life.
Today I am proud to be a fool for Jesus. He has taken away the addictions and depression. He has given me back my smile and joy I had when I was very young.
So I wonder…how many bibles do you have? Do you own more bibles than you need? When I walked in those church doors, I wanted a bible. One with all the important verses highlighted for me. I didn’t know many of the stories inside of it, but I wanted to learn. Do you have one of these bibles? Or maybe a new bible that you don’t use. If you could donate these bibles for all the, “Tammy the waitresses” out there, I would appreciate it. Happy April Fools Day!! Who’s fool are you?