It's a new year which is usually a time for fresh starts and new beginnings. In keeping with the tradition of many others, I have chosen a word for the year instead of a resolution. This year my word is Pursue, meaning I want to further pursue the things I'm already doing, not necessarily start new things.
In the effort of doing that, though, I had to re-evaluate my schedule, commitments and to-do lists. I had to create some more margin so I could put more effort into the goals I’m already pursuing (like this ministry).
That's when a good friend introduced me to this amazing service called Instacart. I know I’m a little late to this grocery store delivery service game, and many people are already using this beautiful thing but it has recently become a game changer. So let me tell you about my unexpected experience and how it reinforced my resolve to pursue my family.
The first time I used Instacart I was surprised by how easy it was. I put our groceries in my virtual shopping cart and this lovely woman named Sarah, whose picture I could see on the app, was shopping for me.
Sarah has selected your milk.
Sarah has replaced your green peppers with red peppers. Do you approve?
Aldi’s is out of Cheerios. Do you have another preference?
Every move Sarah made I saw and I could approve or change my mind or even chat with her if I wanted to. Then I got the text message: "Your Instacart delivery it’s on its way!" Yay! I was about to meet Sarah and thank her for saving me two hours at the grocery store with two preschoolers.
Imagine my surprise when a little blue sedan pulled up and in the driver seat was a man. Not Sarah. The man was very nice. He explained that Sarah, his wife, sprained her ankle while in the grocery store so he left her at another store that was nearby while he dropped off my groceries. It all seems fine and my kids were home so I wasn’t concerned about this man now knowing where I lived.
And I went on loving this idea of Instacart, so a week later I placed another order. To my pleasure Sarah was my personal shopper again. Again I was updated on Sarah's progress as she selected my items. In a short amount of time I got the message saying Sarah had completed the shopping and was on her way.
But for a second time Sarah was not present. This man, her husband, was.
Immediately my guards went up. My oldest son was the only other person in the house with me and thankfully I have trained him well on what to do in case of emergencies, but I was still nervous. This man immediately made excuses for Sarah not being present. She has slipped on a grape the previous night and was sent to the emergency room for x-rays therefore she was unable to shop. However, Sarah didn’t want to let her customers down so her husband had taken off of work from his management job so that he could deliver groceries for her...
None of this made sense to me. When I asked his name so I could thank him and he got nervous.
"I’m not supposed to be shopping for her. She could get in a lot of trouble for this." I told I wouldn’t mention it, but in my mind I was gathering information and making calculations.
He then asked me to check the grapes that I had asked for. "Sarah picked those out and she was very proud of them so she wanted to know if they were OK for you." After looking at them, I told him they were perfect, but to myself I was thinking, "You just said Sarah was home because she slipped on a grape last night!"
The story was getting sketchier and sketchier. When the man left I immediately grabbed my son and headed to the grocery store. I was on a mission to find out who this guy was. There was no way I was going to allow him to come back into my home for a third time if "Sarah" was a cover.
My mind was racing. This is how predators do it. We’ve made it so easy for them. We called them up, asked them to come to our house, and give them money for it. All the time we are setting ourselves up to be assaulted or worse. There was no way I was having it! My fighter spirit was raging.
Once inside the grocery story, I tracked down the manager and asked her to verify this very odd story about a woman slipping on a grape, fully prepared for her to say she had no idea what I was talking about. She smiled and said, "Oh yes, we did have a woman fall last night. I have the incident report and everything. They’re a very nice couple who are just trying to earn some extra money."
A wave of relief gave me breath again. His story checked out.
Reflecting on the situation now I have asked myself, Do I feel bad for mentally accusing this man of being a predator? Do I feel like I somehow wronged him without him knowing it?
The answer is a resounding NO. I do not feel bad. I do not feel guilty for questioning who was coming into my home, especially when his story had so many holes. I don't feel wrong for immediately going to worst-case scenarios, thinking this man was a predator, with the knowledge I have of how perpetrators work.
Do you know that song "Reckless Love?" There are lines in it that reassure me of my reaction.
There's no shadow You won't light up
Mountain You won't climb up
Coming after me
There's no wall You won't kick down
Lie You won't tear down
Coming after me
The song is a depiction of Christ's love for us, but in it I see what my love should be for our children and my spouse.
I imagine scenes from the movie, Taken. Liam Neeson is literally kicking down doors, chasing after cars, threatening the enemy, all for the sake of his child. He's willing to risk everything for her. That's the visual I have when I hear the song "Reckless Love" and the images I get when I think about any form of danger my children might be in.
There's nothing I won't do to chase after them.
There's no difficulty, no scary circumstance, no uncomfortable conversation that will stop me from running after them.
There are no lies they tell themselves or others tell them that I won't do everything I can to destroy.
These are my children. My greatest privilege and responsibility. I will pursue them and every aspect of their health and safety no matter the cost. I will do whatever I have to to pursue a life in which they feel and know they are safe.
I was given the opportunity to show that again to my oldest son and I was honored to show him a glimpse of what I'd do to pursue him and his safety. A small version of my reckless love for him.
Plus I can continue using Instacart, so that's nice too.
Liria Forsythe is the founder and president of Speak Truth Ministries. Her blogs are reflections of her experiences and struggles in the aftermath of her past abuse as well as how she chooses to thrive now.