A couple of years ago I arrived home one day to find a Ninja blender on my driveway. Confused, I brought it inside and called Kohl’s to ask what happened.
Apparently my account had been hacked and the perpetrator ordered us a Ninja blender. I was perplexed as to why someone would hack my account and send me the item rather than keep it. But the agent seemed nonchalant about the whole thing so I shrugged my shoulders and set up the return.
The next day, another Ninja blender appeared on the driveway. And a few days later, another one was left on the porch. For the next couple of weeks, we were bombarded with Ninja blenders. They appeared on the sidewalk, on my front porch, on the inside step of my garage – sometimes two in a box. And each time the UPS truck arrived to pick up a blender that I was returning, the driver would grin and sheepishly inform me there was another one on the truck. Mike (the UPS driver … we quickly became first name friends) thought this whole thing was hilarious. I thought it was a huge headache.
I called Kohl’s over and over in an attempt to stop this deluge of blenders. Each one was being charged to my account and it was getting hard to make sure we were being refunded each time I returned one. A stream of flabbergasted customer service reps weren’t quite sure what to tell me or how to stop it. After weeks and countless calls begging them to get to the bottom of this, I finally reached a security agent who was able to explain what was happening.
It turns out, there is a well known scheme whereby hackers go into your Kohl’s account and change the email address to their own but leave the billing information the same. Then they order high ticket items so that … wait for it … the Kohl’s cash gets sent to them.
In other words, I was being scammed for Kohl’s cash. KOHL’S CASH. It felt like a joke. Except it wasn’t a joke.
The security agent was able to put an end to our blender nightmare. Too embarrassed to face Mike and his teasing one more time, I returned the final three to the store, relieved this was over.
I’ve been thinking about those blenders lately. Because the past year has felt like a series of Ninja blenders that won’t quit being delivered. Each trial has been complex and affected my entire family.
From dear friends moving away last fall, to months of tears and palpable loneliness of my children, to a conflict at school, to being called out of a ministry I’d invested heart and soul in for seven years, to dealing with all the ups and downs of building a new ministry, to facing spiritual attack, to major changes at church, to even having two of my young goats die one month apart for no discernible reason … it can feel like just when I get a handle on life, the UPS truck shows up with another blender.
But I also think about how the same things that helped me make it through the admittedly innocuous blendermageddon with grace and humor also help me with the actual struggles I have faced in the last year:
Good friends who laugh with me, pray with me and keep me sane.
Staying rooted in the Word and in prayer.
Being mindful of the amazing ways God is at work all around me.
Doing the next thing rather than letting the mountain in front of me scare me off.
Fully trusting in the Lord to work His purposes.
God’s promises to refine us in the trials of life are true. He used this past year to strengthen my character. He taught me to shut my mouth and prepared me for a much larger trial I had no idea was around the bend. He has overwhelmingly blessed a new ministry to families in need. He has proved Himself faithful over and over again.
I can honestly say I wouldn’t trade any of it for an easier path.
In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:6-7
Maybe your life feels like you are being bombarded with blenders. I can’t say the hardships will end. But I can say with absolute certainty that God is right there with you. He will work his purposes through the trials of this life and you will come out stronger, more grateful and more in awe of God’s goodness if you don’t give up.
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
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