I love my car; it’s a blessing. Although, it may not have seemed so as I stood in the Walmart parking lot holding my bumper in my hands today. My 1998 Oldsmobile Cutlass (without an original part in its engine I might add) is a blessing reminder to me. It is constantly reminding me of God’s goodness and provision, as well as, I assume, His desire to keep me humble.
Our relationship started in April 2003. It was actually one of the worst times for a Youth pastor and his wife. We were having to bury one of our former teens who had chosen to go astray. Ministry, youth ministry in particular often comes with the pressure of wondering if you’re really making any difference in anyone’s life for the sake of Christ. Teens aren’t the most forthcoming with thanks and appreciation. So this was definitely a time of sorrow and reflection. But one bright shiny spot on that gloomy day was with the arrival of two more of our former teens who were in town for the funeral. They were now married and themselves in the ministry. Stopping by the office to share their great news of being able to purchase a new vehicle they pulled my husband aside. They felt like God wanted them to donate their former car to someone. They had prayed about perhaps a missionary, but the car isn’t one that would probably be very good for long distance travel. Knowing that we had been sharing one car for several years, they felt like God was telling them to give the car to us. Yes, that’s right GIVE it to us…free of charge! What a blessing. I was overcome with emotion and gratitude. It was as if God was giving a little confirmation that someone was listening and all was not for naught.
The car itself was ok, at best, to look at, maroon with some scratches and dents, the interior was ripped and worn, and the carpet stained. I didn’t care so much. It was for use in town and really freed up my time for errands, meeting people, and grocery runs. As time went on the tires were showing wear and a hail storm really took the best of the body. Only having covered it with liability insurance, we didn’t bother to fix any of this.
As the years have passed, I’ve been able to loan it to friends who needed transportation for one reason or another for a week here or there. I was even able to use it as a blessing for a family to borrow when they were in a time of crisis. Six months later they returned it with new tires! Only thing is, I think they’re snow tires, because now, when I’m driving, the tires are so loud it sounds like an airplane getting ready for takeoff. I sometimes even imagine myself taking off as I drive down the highway stretch to church. The other day my mother thought I was sitting next to the washing machine while on the phone with her, “no Mom, I said, I’m driving in my car.”
The windshield has been cracked from an ice storm and the back turn signal somehow shorts out every couple of months, and has to be changed. The radiator leaks and the window tint is peeling. With all this wrong I sometimes feel like it’s a thorn in my side like what Paul had. I’ve even asked God to remove it on a couple of occasions (ok probably more than three times) but, He has not. So, I choose to look on the bright side and be thankful to have a car at all.
I was in one of these thankful moods just recently and was trying to fix it up a little. I took it to the car wash and got it cleaned inside and out… well, as clean as it could get.
I was even excited this morning when I realized my power window was working again (sometimes it gets in a stubborn mood and won’t budge). That’s when I had to go to Walmart. After loading groceries, I shut my trunk and the bumper fell off right onto my foot. I looked around to see if anyone else saw, sure enough a lady was heading my way trying not to snicker. I just laughed and quickly shoved it into the trunk like that was supposed to happen. The same woman was parked next to me and tried to shimmy her cart through by my open door. I moved it a little and replied “I don’t think the door will come off” (insert hesitant laugh). At least it brought a smile to her day (another blessing). Actually it even brought a smile to me as I laughed hysterically, singing “I am blessed” all the way home.
The best part was when I left the parking lot and was behind a very new, shiny black mustang. The license plate read “idsrvit” . My first thought was “Oh how cocky.” Then I thought maybe I should get the same plate. I mean really it’s as if God’s grace and mercy have been extremely abundant in all areas of my life except this poor little Cutlass. I haven’t received a quarter of what I deserve in this life. The wonderful husband and children I have, the great church and church family. Why, salvation alone is reason enough to know I haven’t gotten what I really deserve. Then I get in my little junkster and think, “ I deserve it.” Truth be told I deserve even worse. So, as I putter down the boulevard in my little cutlass that you can hear coming (and you’ll hear me coming, you may even hear me stopping) don’t feel sorry for me. I am blessed. And I drive a blessing reminder.