Last week, I had to pay 500 dollars for a new water pump and fan belt in my car. It had been making some pretty terrible noises for a while and then finally, it could be put off no more. At this point, I’m not even surprised. In fact, on my drive home yesterday, I started to laugh. And then, I started to cry.
Because sometimes tears just come when the words won’t.
Here’s the thing about my car trouble. I’ve come to expect it. Whenever God is taking me into a new season of trust and challenge and blessing, I wind of encountering some automotive financial nightmare.
In 2011, after a year of struggling with almost debilitating anxiety attacks and bouts of depression, and severe doubts in how constant our Father is, I had a sort of glorious mountain top experience in a cathedral in Edinburgh, Scotland. Just me and an empty church and an altar. And a newfound understanding that the Lord had never left me. As I ended my time of prayer, a choir began singing. Their voices resembled angels. Life was like a dream.
And then, on my drive back home to Nashville, my water pump burst or broke or fell apart (I know literally nothing about cars), my fan belt wrapped around my fan, my engine overheated, my steering wheel locked up, and I was stuck on the side of the interstate in no man’s land Tennessee.
I hadn’t slept in 24 hours, my phone was dying, and it was getting dark. I said some choice words, locked myself in the car, and ironically didn’t break down into tears until I saw my Dad walking towards me two hours later. Hadn’t the Lord just taught me he was always with me? Somehow I had forgotten the angelic Scottish choir.
In 2013, God was leading me and encouraging me to go to India for the summer. I’d felt it for over a year at that point, but money was a thing for me. But isn’t it always? I literally only had enough money for the cost of the trip and I felt strongly in my spirit that I wasn’t supposed to ask anyone to support me. Logically, it made no sense. But I quit my jobs and committed to spend the majority of the summer across the ocean.
And then, I wrecked my car.
And then I busted a tire.
And as the money slowly began disappearing from my bank account, I asked myself over and over if maybe India was a bad idea. But as always, God is the ultimate provider and without a bit of eliciting, I was given over 4,000 dollars in three months.
I shouldn’t have even been surprised when this past December, right before I was headed to Northern India, I had another car accident and the entire front of my car had to be replaced, otherwise the hood would fly up when going speeds over 50 mph. Interstate drivers hated me for a while. But that trip to India renewed me spirit. Grew my passion for the growing church in the UP. I wound up going on that trip for free.
Driving home from church two Sunday’s ago; Molls asked me how I was doing.
“I feel like I’m having a hard time trusting in God’s provision. Even though I’ve seen it over and over again. I worry about money.”
“I feel like that’s your thing. You constantly are learning that.”
Ouch. But so true. And I hate it.
He’s doing good things in me. He’s growing humility and graciousness and gentleness. Trust and strength and bravery. Compassion, wisdom, and love.
But then, deep down in my ever so grumbling and sinful spirit, there’s the doubt. And really, the need for control.
But rent is about to be more expensive. And I need to pay for this. And I don’t know how I’m going to supplement my income. And these people aren’t emailing me back. And these people aren’t hiring. And how am I going to save for this or that.
And the one that kicks me in the gut to write or admit.
Why would God ask me to do this if He wasn’t going to provide me with X, Y, Z.
And that’s why, yesterday, after talking to a stranger over Skype about her husband’s near death experience, stroke, and bankruptcy—I wept.
I wept. The snotty, loud, embarrassing sort of weeping that comes when the maker has gently touched you with His hand. And her words tattooed themselves on my heart.
“We were on the brink of ruin. We had no money. No food. And one night, I awoke from my sleep and walked around my house. And I said goodbye to all of the beautiful things I loved. My paintings. My furniture. The table we had made memories around. And I began to understand that those things were keeping me from trusting God with where He was taking us.
I was holding on when He was asking me to let it go. I began to realize that when I was taught to pray for my daily bread that I was never taught to be content with only that daily provision. That God asked the Israelites to gather their bread each day as an act of obedience and trust. And that by worrying about money, I was clutching control of my life.
So, I said goodbye to my things and each day I gathered my bread. And never desired more than that. And each day, I found that He provided.”
And that’s when I realized I’m a doubtful, grumbling Israelite. The one who has their manna and quail put out for them each day but refuses to practice the daily act of obedience of gathering it. Of trusting it will be there. I want to gather more than I need to ensure there will be enough.
Because really, when it comes down to it, I say I want to follow the Lord wherever he takes me, but I don’t really want to make a sacrifice. I don’t want to have to trust God with my finances. I don’t want to say goodbye to the things that I own. I don’t want to trust God with my ability to buy what I want when I want.
And it sounds ugly and dirty and gross coming out of my mouth, but it’s truth.
Her words were the kick in the butt I needed. And I think her words are the kick so many of us need.
Because most of us have something keeping us from fully diving into God’s faithfulness. Something keeping us from fully trusting His plan for us.
So, today, I ask for my daily bread. And the trust to be able to say goodbye to the things I have and the things I think I need. And smile, because I know that if my car is falling apart, He’s about to give me one heck of a killer adventure with Him.