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I was already in the driver’s seat of my car when I saw the glass. I didn’t notice it when I was coming down the front steps, trying to balance coffee, keys, and briefcase. Yet sitting behind the wheel and looking straight ahead–glass ablaze in the morning light–I could barely see anything else.
A spring storm brought down a small limb with just enough force at just the right trajectory to completely shatter the back windshield of my daughter’s 2004 Mazda, a little white wagon she bought for herself by selling shoes at the mall.
I pulled out my cell and called her–she was upstairs asleep–and told her to come outside. By the time she got to me, I was standing next to her car, drinking my coffee and looking at the mess. She did not say a word. I did not say a word. Holding hands, we just stood there for a minute.
She was trying not to cry when she broke the silence: “I don’t have any money.” She had just turned 18 a few months before. This sweet and smart girl named Angel, who came to me when she was 10, was so grown now, so self sufficient. Despite the tough times she had endured, she rarely ever cried or seemed defeated, but she was clearly rattled.
“I am going to teach you something that you need to know, something you are old enough to understand.” Angel was half asleep standing out front of our house in her pajamas, and she was so scared of not being able to fix her car that she just looked at me. “Repeat after me,” I said as I took her hands in mine. “All is provided.”
“All is provided,” Angel repeated. She was fully there with me–no teenage resistance to be found.
“Amen.” This prayer is powerful; it’s an assertion of faith and an act of submission to the benevolence of the Divine. The strength of the prayer is not so much in the words but in the knowing, the feeling, the surrendering of all the details, and the believing in the perfect provision of the Spirit.
All Is Provided: A Prayer
The prayer came to me in a chaotic moment through the lips of a stranger. I was standing in the lobby of a grand hotel in the mountains watching very heavy rains fall. I had a seven-hour drive ahead of me, and my anxiety about driving in that weather was getting the best of me. As I stood there, paralyzed by fear, two women walked by me; I heard one say to the other, “All is provided.” I don’t know what she was referring to, but I felt the words were a message to me. That short sentence pulled me out of my panic and gave me the traction I needed to embark on my journey home.
Since that time–over two years ago–I have turned to this prayer often. It has become a mantra of sorts, a fortifying affirmation. I write it in my prayer journal daily. I have shared it with many, and I felt honored and moved to share it with my daughter.
I didn’t tell Angel this story when I was standing with her in front of the shattered windshield. I just shared the prayer. I also told her I would charge the repair costs of the windshield to my credit card, and we could figure it all out later. I called a tow truck to take the car away. I asked my mom, known as Nini to her grandchildren, to take Angel to pick up the car when it was ready, and I went to work.
Later that afternoon, Angel called me. “You’ll never guess what happened? When Nini took me to pick up the car, she paid for the windshield.”
“Ok. Great.” I said. “We can pay her back.” “No!” Angel shrieked. “She doesn’t want us to pay her back. I told her you were going to put it on your credit card, but she said she wanted to pay for it. She also said you have to listen to her because she is your mother.”
I laughed. It was funny to hear my daughter tell me that I had to listen to my mother. “What did you say to that?” I asked.
“All is provided.” And so it was that day. And so it is always. I want Angel to cling to that truth, to feel safe in the knowing that all is provided. I want that knowing for me, and I want it for you, too.
Jill A. Lahnstein is a mother, a teacher, a writer, and a jewelry artist. She lives in Wilmington, North Carolina, with her teenage daughter Angel and their little canine sidekick Sunny. She has spent over 20 years teaching English to college students. Most of her experience has been with those students who are first-generation, economically disadvantaged, or disabled. She fervently believes that every moment–inside the classroom and outside the classroom–can be a healing moment.