If you make mistakes, rest assured that you are not alone


There is no way to sugar coat this. I have to say it flat out. I overdrew my checking account. Yes, I did. Of course, it was not my fault. Well, it kind of was my fault but not on purpose. That is exactly what I told the bank lady. The “inside bank lady.”

My banking is done by drive-up. I like the drive-up people at both of my banks. Our primary bank is in Clyde Park, 10 miles north of where I live. My business account for Time Out is in Livingston, 10 miles the other direction.

My mom always said that her dad always said, “Don’t keep all your eggs in one basket.” So I chose to have two different banks. Before you millennials groan, I realize all our eggs, so to speak, are probably out in cyberspace somewhere and it does not matter much where your basket is.

But my generation dates back to family banks where everyone knew everyone. And we would stick together “for better or worse, for richer or poorer, till death do us part” mostly.

I can remember He-Who-Took-Long-Steps calling our Forsyth bank one time from Texas. I listened as he said, “Hey, Gil, I think I will buy two pickups and a trailer to haul the one back on, instead of just one pickup. Can you do that?”

He-Who said, “He said, ‘No problem.’” That was many years ago. Now that I am a notorious over-drafter, it is a good thing I do not plan on buying any pickups. The bad part of this mess is that it was my ministry account, for crying out loud.

I went to the bank (the drive-up window) to get money from savings for a gift. When the teller sent it back to me, she said, “I sent your checking balance, too.”

“I didn’t need that,” I thought. The note had $ -161.41 written on it. My eyes popped wide open. “Minus?” That couldn’t be. This was my Time Out account. I had $298.06 last week. I can have little money when I pay for cases of books. I can have much when books are sold. Plane tickets and other variables happen regularly, but not a minus!

The minute I got home, I got online to my account. I figured I had been hacked. But I learned I was the “hacker.” There in my Time Out account I saw checks for the electric bill, the phone bills and the Billings Clinic bill. All paid out of the wrong account.

I had just ordered new Time Out checks. My household account checks are yellow graffiti. My Time Out checks are pink with a Bible verse, the same for years. Yet right there in front of me were Time Out checks in yellow graffiti! And I written out my bills on the new checks.

I transferred money to cover the deficit and the NSF charges. My first stop in Livingston the next day was the bank — inside the bank. I said, “It kind of was my fault but not on purpose. I’d like to get the NSF charge refunded.” The answer was “No” since it was not a bank error. The mistake was made and it was mine.

I decided to tell you about it because maybe you have made a mistake lately yourself. We do make mistakes. The good news is that I know God still loves me. This isn’t the first mistake in my life for sure. Right away I was thankful I could fix it. Maybe your latest mistake was not easily fixed. Or you are feeling the older you get, the harder it is to keep stuff straight.

I found a Bible verse for us. “Even to your old age and gray hairs I am God. I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” (Isaiah 46.4) I know I need Him. I think you do, too.

This morning at breakfast in Clyde Park, one of the guys poured his coffee in his water glass instead of his coffee cup. I liked him better right away. See, we are not alone.


EDITOR’S NOTE: Lois Olmstead is an inspirational speaker and author who lives in the Shields Valley. Email her at loistimeout@gmail. com or visit www.timeoutwithlois.com.