Two weeks ago, we bought our first brand new vehicle for our family. We crossed over into minivan land, a glorious world of tri-zone air controls and cup holders as far as the eye could see. We’ve never owned anything with less than 6,000 miles on it, and we loved knowing that it would be ours for at least the next 5-10 years.
This week we took the inaugural road trip with Odessie (That’s her name) to Arkansas to spend spring break with our families. We unloaded the car, left the kids with the grandparents, and we drove into town to buy some supplies. A storm was on the way, so Todd and I decided to take shelter and rest until the storm had passed.
At first it didn’t feel like we were going to get much more than some rain, and I was beginning to feel a little silly for waiting. Then some pea-size hail fell intermittently, and during that time, some women pulled up behind us in a minivan. One of them came to the car and told us that they cleaned the building we were at and needed to park there to get into the building. They kept circling and staying close and I began to be concerned that we were holding up their job and keeping them out in the elements. As the storm seemed minor, we decided to find different shelter …and then the storm really hit. Hail. A lot of it, and it was large. We were probably only caught in it for about 3 minutes while we found a Sonic to hover under, but it did damage.
After the storm had passed and our nerves had calmed slightly, we drove past our original shelter, where the women were nowhere to be seen. They lied. Honestly, that hurt far worse than the damage to our new van. I found myself ashamed, guilt-ridden for asking Todd to move, and angry that someone would take advantage of us. Every time I pass our van right now, I relive these emotions, and I hate it.
I know that as a follower of Jesus Christ, I am to be kind, full of grace, and in a ministry of calling people to him. I should put others before myself, and I should always strive to be a servant in whatever capacity I can. So what do we do when we feel we are being faithful to our faith and find ourselves feeling punished? How many times in my life have I thought, “God, I’m doing what you called me to do, why isn’t this easier?”
Yet I know I’m not called to have it “easy.” In this instance, it’s just a thing. A new, treasured, expensive “thing,” but it’s just stuff. I won’t have it forever, and while it will cost time and money to repair, it’s just money. Money we have right now, thankfully. We know what it’s like to be in need, and we know that while we’re finally in a place where we can breathe a little, it’s not even the tiniest bit important in the scheme of things. We know where our true treasure lies.
For me, my heart right now is wrestling with feeling violated, and I don’t like losing my sense of security. I need God’s help in teaching me how to forgive, not just them, but as a whole. I have secretly wished bad stuff to happen to their van… but that’s not the answer. I’m just being honest with you about my emotions.
I’ll tell you what I am thankful for. I’m thankful for Todd. For him keeping his head and keeping us safe. I’m thankful that when I was sure he would be so mad at me, he wasn’t. He looked me in the eye, and talked to me about how he was feeling, and reassured me everything would be alright. I’m thankful that he doesn’t hold onto things with an iron fist — he knows where true value lies. I struggle with that, growing up poor. I tend to get swept up in those details. Todd teaches me so much with his generosity. I’m also thankful for the period of time when we barely had anything. When we truly understood what Paul meant when he said, “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
It’s just a van. It’s just stuff. Those women might have gotten their shelter, but I refuse to allow them to rob me of my emotions any longer. My security is in Someone far greater than anything or anyone else.