Tristin and Teresa

Uncontrollable laughter as the six of us were hootin’ and hollerin’ right smack in the middle of Chili’s.  Our server Vickie was fun and witty as our random outbursts of celebration over our friend’s birthdays didn’t phase her a bit.

It was about two years ago when this memorable moment took place. My friend had plans to go to Chili’s, and I thought it was the one closest to our house, but being that she needed to be somewhere afterwards she realized it would be better to go to a different location other than the one we normally frequented.

Meanwhile as we came together, it was no surprise that our time with one another caused the laughter to “spill over” as we attempted to collaborate with our singing efforts to the “Happy birthday” song.  Now in our obvious song choice, we were going to do so in our well mastered accents…ha! So it went like this, I was going to sing in a Korean accent, while Jacob sung in his well mastered Russian accent, Patty preparing to sing in an Irish accent, as Kelsey would do so in a British one while Paula prepared to sing with a Spanish accent and my daughter “Paris” randomly choosing to sing in what she would imitate as how a “Hillbilly” would sing.  As soon as we were about to ‘perform”, my daughter had just bitten into a southwest egg roll as she turned to me and smiled and right there in front of me stared a black bean as it had attached to her front tooth as we were about to sing.

Already tickled, there it was…the moment I lost it – and now it was to the point of no return as none other than the floodgates of my bladder burst forth and my dignity was swept away…it was over…not only was I soaked, but Jacob, Patty’s 17 year old son  was sitting next to me and somehow heard the subtle stream as his eyes became as big as saucers. Just thinking of that moment now causes me to laugh out loud as he looked at me with fear of what just may have happened was confirmed as he slowly looked down on the ground underneath the table to find a large puddle and in disbelief he exclaimed, “No! You peed!”  And at this point I couldn’t breathe as I still had the image of Trissy’s smile combined with his disbelief as well as the whole table of people in utter shock as they also began to slowly look underneath the table to find the evidence that “Laughing Mom” was in their presence.

At this point it was so many embarrassing thoughts rushing through my mind.  As timing would have it, Vickie our server approached the table finding none other than the mess I made and yet was so sweet as I had to break it to her what had just taken place, when she genuinely and so kindly offered to clean it up.  Meanwhile in sheer panic, I said, “NO! I’m so sorry, I don’t want you touching my mess, all I ask is if you could please bring me a towel and spray so I can spray the booth down and clean up the floor…”  After her incredible assistance we knew we couldn’t just leave a good tip – but we needed to leave a memorable one.

In that moment as the check was paid, we all contributed to the tip to ensure our server had well over than what she expected along with making it an opportunity as an outreach to give her one of our REACH Church cards along with finding a pen to leave with her! We thought for sure we’d never see her again when that next Sunday to our surprise there she was along with her precious family; with her husband and two children.

Of course we thought that was the end of the story until about nine months later our church did several videos of different people’s testimonies.  The testimonies were on how God had touched their lives through our church family. While watching I saw a young man whom I recognized, realizing it was none other than Vickie’s husband – as I heard his story, tears streamed down my face as we had no idea that the birthday celebration at that particular Chili’s was going to usher in with joy and celebration this young woman’s husband into the Kingdom of God. To hear his brief yet “telling” testimony was God revealing His goodness on this young man and his family. Watching the video, we were dumbfounded to realize Vickie’s husband had been an atheist, while still searching for truth, he walked into REACH Church and wanted more as he heard TRUTH being taught and proclaimed through our Pastor.

To look back on the grace of God – even through a messy, embarrassing moment – God would cause it to reveal His glory on a spirit of a young man that needed to be reconciled back to The Father.

The moral of this story?  We get to be “mess”engers of God’s joy – causing relief in more ways than we could ever imagine!!


Your Name Looks Familiar…

Tristin and Teresa

Bills to be paid, errands to run, “To Do” lists to be checked off; meanwhile I was beyond ready to get back home to unwind as I finally approached the last errand on my checklist.

With all the hustle and bustle that drizzly day, I entered the drive of my local electric company, intentionally thinking of the two options I had to pay my bill: I could either go inside or go through the drive thru.  The thought of convenience “won” and so as I turned to go through the drive thru, I miscalculated while turning into the port which was separated by a raised median as I unknowingly managed to drive up on when suddenly my truck bounced off the ground more than once to where both myself and my daughter were jolted up from our seats almost hitting our heads against the ceiling.  As I came back to reality, after almost peeing my pants, I noticed the lady in the car beside me who must have done the same as she had this incredibly concerned yet scared expression as she must have heard the bumping sound and perhaps thought I was going to crash.  From there it only got better…as I looked up, I saw a few ladies through the glass window watching from inside as they covered their mouths and seemingly gasped as it caused me to burst into nervous laughter as I waved at them. While rolling down the window I could hear the intercom switching on as the sweet lady who ended up helping me was giggling while saying something to the effect of,  “Did you think you were driving a monster truck?”  I was a bit embarrassed yet still laughing and said, “You know, I did that on purpose, right?” Ha!

As things settled down, still giggling from the little adventure, I sent in my payment through the tube and a few moments later the intercom came back on as I heard the lady’s voice saying, “Your name looks familiar…Teresa Criswell…hmmmmm…wait! Are you a writer?” Caught off guard even more, I sheepishly responded with a slow, “Yes”.  She continued, “You write for Triumphant Victorious Reminders, right?”  And I said, “Yes, how did you know?”  She said, “I just subscribed to it yesterday.”  We began laughing even harder as I thought, “Talk about meeting someone with a “BANG” – along with a little tinkle for this laughing mom…ha!

Since that moment, God has utilized it as a teaching one. You perhaps would ask,  “How so?”   Well, when I’m about to lose my cool or become impatient over something, I think of that moment…would I be recognized?  And if so, would I be recognized because of kindness and joy or impatience and complaining?

All in all, this laughing mom was reminded why I laugh…I laugh because of my God revealed by Jesus as the Holy Spirit unites us in Him.  I want people to be filled with joy when they know the Name of Whom I belong to and that is the name above all names – The Author of all authors – the Name that is Joyful, Victorious, Strength – I want to hear, “You remind me of Someone Who BANGS up shame, condemnation and sin – do you belong to Jesus?”