The Moment I Quit Volunteering!

It’s not easy sharing your mini-nervous breakdowns with the world, revealing how you’re flawed, but I’ll do it anyway.

In my previous post, I shared how I was chairing an outdoor charity walk on Sunday with over 1,000 people expected, lots of vendors and volunteers and the hopes of making 100,000 dollars to battle congenital heart defects and benefit the Children’s Heart Foundation and the Adult Congenital Heart Association. Every piece of planning was set and, as feared, I woke up to rain.

The previous night, our tent vendor had a family emergency and couldn’t set the tents up the night before. So, some sleep was lost fearing he might get kidnapped by aliens and we’d have no tents or tables on top of bad weather.

I put on my brand new Walmart rain boots and headed out at 6 a.m., with a bubble of excitement inside of me, but a black cloud hovering over it.

Volunteers started to show and the tents went up. Coated in plastic, we all got to work, everyone telling my pouty face that all would be okay and the event would be terrific. A little voice inside of me kept saying – no one will show up and your hundreds of hours of planning will be for not.

I hate that little voice, he’s so mean.

Five different people said –“I don’t get it, I looked at the radar and it should be clear! I don’t know why it’s raining.”

God doesn’t look at radars, He’s got His own plan, I thought. I didn’t think this in a God’s-got-this-it-will-be-good way, but in a thanks-for-nothing-God way.

I hate my little negative voice, I can be so mean.

I’d lost faith. In that moment, I couldn’t see the big picture, I didn’t see that every other time in my life, things work out for the best. I was bitter.

Vendors showed up, but the annoying misty rain kept covering everything. The bouncy house couldn’t go up in rain and one of the mascots couldn’t get wet so she stayed home. The clowns didn’t show. And oddly, I couldn’t find three of my signs, they disappeared. I take great pride in my yard signs and was distraught.

Walkers started to arrive, but hung out in the parking lot and I noticed the crowd was thinner than it had typically been at that time in years past. Standing in the rain for 2 hours must have taken its toll because I snapped. I couldn’t fake the positivity. I lost it. I walked to the Boathouse restroom to let out a little cry.

Right before disappearing into the building, I looked at the sky and said, “God, I think you’re showing me a sign. I can’t handle this stress. I’m done. I quit. I don’t want to do this anymore.”

After a moment of composing myself, I emerged. I hoped that the sky would be sunny and God would show his faithfulness. Instead, the wind whipped a little more, the raffle table was drenched, and the sky remained a depressing gray.

And the rain. Kept. Coming.

Then the DJ turned on the music. First song: Blame it on the Rain. I laughed. I spun around to take in the whole scene. The place was filling up. The parking lot was packed. Walkers were erecting their own tents and kids were splashing in puddles and waving heart balloons. The Steelers’ mascot, Steely McBeam, was dancing with a grandma. I felt my positive self emerge and I let myself relax.

The rain stopped temporarily so we could deliver our speeches and do the CHD angel tribute. My daughter and another sweet CHD survivor led the countdown. Then we walked. We walked a mile through the scenic park with our umbrellas held high and strollers covered. Everyone smiled.

I ran ahead and off the path to snap pictures of the crowd wrapping around the lake.

People. Kept. Coming.

Lots of people.

No one cared that the clowns didn’t show, or that their socks were wet or the bouncy house remained flat. They were on a mission to fight heart defects and represent their heart warriors. We’d faced worse storms.

Then I looked across the street through the crowd and standing proudly were my missing signs. A volunteer accidently put them in the wrong place and I laughed again.

God will give us everything we need at the right time and not a moment sooner.

I walked back to the registration tent and our leader from headquarters said that by her rough estimate, we were at $99,000! I knew that meant we would well surpass our goal of $100,000. (We ended up over $101,000)

And, the rain stopped.

The local news station came and interviewed me for a story. Our cause would get more exposure.

By worrying, by fretting, by cursing out the skies, the only thing I did was waste a few moments where I could’ve been dancing or talking with my friends and family. It did nothing to change the outcome.

So, I was supposed to learn a lesson. He would always be faithful to me, and to our cause, I just needed to work on my faithfulness to Him.

I needed to focus on the 500 things that went right, instead of the 5 things that went wrong. Focus on the 30 signs that were in the right place and not the 3 that were in the wrong place.

So, I un-quit. And, started planning again for next year. This time, I’ll remember to dance when I can.

And to enjoy the rain.

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