Ok, so here’s the deal…I
absolutely, positively thought I was a cool kid. Then, the older I got, the less cool I thought I was. But, then you go to college where it is all about fitting in by not fitting in. Be your own person. Wear whatever you want. Date whoever you want. Drive whatever you want. It’s all good.
Not for me. Somewhere along the line, I grew pretty concerned
borderline obsessed that not only was I not cool now, but Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God! what if I was never cool, like ever? (insert ahhhhh! from the depths of my soul)
Fast forward to just a few years ago. Now, I
thought I was a completely mature and self-confident chick in her mid-twenties. I had the husband – check. I had the college degree – check. I had the new cookie-cutter home – check. I even was one of those ridiculous people who stressed over whether or not “lulled beige” was the right color for the interior walls. It’s beige people, seriously. And what if the color we chose for the outside trim and fascia board yes, I had to google how to spell that matched the brick or if it had too many “rose tones” in it. And yes, I loved using “homeowner words” like fascia board…and mortgage loan…and the fact that our house had good “bones”. Oh, goodness gracious. Someone should have shot me.
But, let me tell you…I was still
desperately hoping to be cool. I still said things like, “Me? A minivan. Um, no. In fact…heck no! There ain’t no way. No how. I’ll drive a Toyota Seqouia if we need a third row. And yes it’ll have leather and a DVD player and blah, blah, blah.” Clearly I was smoking crack pretty unaware back then since my husband and I were both public school teachers. And we would be committed to me being a stay-at-home mom domestic goddess cutting that whopping income in half. And last time I checked, teachers don’t get any monetary help ever incentive bonuses that include a fully-loaded SUV. Once again, thank you for not shooting me goodness gracious.
Fast forward a few more years and now I am a chick
that is still in denial about being in my early-thirties and I have some shocking news for you. Are you ready? I mean really, are you sitting down…and not drinking anything that you cold spew from your mouth and/or nose once you receive this shocking news? Ok, good. Deep breath…
I’ll give you time to recover from that one.
Ya, I know you don’t need any time. Humor me.
I mean it. I’m just not cool,
dangit. I drive an 11 year old car with a windshield crack across the entire driver’s side. I have ugly feet with unpainted toenails and a bunion. My teeth severely need whitening. jana, are you reading this? 🙂 And although I’m improving, I can still on my best day only cook about as well as a newly married twenty-something who hasn’t unpacked all her wedding serving dishes. Some of Mine are unpacked, for the record. Used yet? Maybe not, but they are unpacked.
I wear normal undergarments that never match each other. I have one earring hole in each ear, at the normal part of the lobe, and normal sized. No quarter-sized, floppy holes here. (Sidenote: how in the world do they think that is going to look in another twenty years??
It ain’t gonna be pretty. I mean seriously!?! Ok, sorry)
I can’t name any artist on the top 40 list lately. In fact, I don’t even know for sure if they still do a top 40 list.
Is Casey Kasem still around?
I can’t pull off the cool new trendy bow/flower/feather phenomenon that is sweeping girl’s hairdos and hats and lapels across the nation. Shoot – I just found out what “jeggings” were like two months ago. By the way – jeggings: leggings that are jean material. That’s for the rest of you kids out there that are repeating the word over and over in your head like I did, as if you should know it.
Or maybe not? It doesn’t matter either way to me, to be honest. I am what I am. But, I’m telling you what, friend…not too long ago, I would have been wearing jeggings…while driving in my late model SUV…listening to p.diddy or fergie or that chick with the weird costumes…um…lady gaga. See? I can hardly even make the reference to sound funny!…but man, I’d have been blaring that music with the windows down, wind whipping through my highlighted hair tucked under my blingy hat with coordinating bow attachment…as I hurried from getting my teeth cleaned to my mani/pedi appointment…all before my roast was done in the crockpot at home.
Not now. Not me.
But, that’s just it…none of that is bad. Some of the people I love dearest
and envy the most rock those trendy bow thingys…or get manicures…or love top 40 music…or could be on Top Chef…and darn near all of them every single one drive cars newer than mine. I will repeat…those things aren’t bad…for some. But, for me…it wouldn’t be real. It wouldn’t be me.
But, we all have something…don’t we? I mean, I used to
100% kinda wish I could pull off some of that cute stuff other chicks wear. I used to sometimes pretty much always wish that a lot of things were different about me. Sad, isn’t it?
We all have that “thing” that we do truly wish was different about us…or our home…or our lives. For some of us
pretty much every woman, it may be that we desperately wish we were taller or thinner. For some women all who are married to teachers, it may be that we wish our husbands made more money. Still, others may just want to be noticed and appreciated more by their friends and family. Maybe it isn’t so “deep” for you…maybe you just wish that they hadn’t ended your favorite TV show Gilmore Girls for no good reason. I don’t know. But I think we can all relate with the “if-onlys” in life. Because I know there are a few of you, like me, out there that think that things would be so much better if only I was…married…or a mother….or in ministry…or out of ministry…then….then surely things would be better. Surely.
For me, over the past year or two, my “if-only” has been a little ironic, really. I do believe that God is laughing
uncontrollably with me about it right now because of the years I spent promising up and down that I was not going to do this. Not me. No way. No how.
What is my “if-only”??
thanks so much for reading! brace yourself.
SHHHHHHHH!! Yep, that was the sound of my last chance at being cool flushing down the toilet.
Ironic, isn’t it? The one thing I knew I would never do was own a
old lady minivan! Once again, I think God laughs at the “nevers” we announce. Therefore, I’m convinced that I must keep Him just flat out rolling!
That’s right. For me…this has been my deal. Crazy, isn’t it?? I mean, it is not like I wanted liposuction or a vacation home in Italy. (Don’t judge, these are just examples!)
I wanted a stinkin’ minivan. Period.
Not too outlandish is it?
And, it didn’t even have to be new. Used was fine, I just wanted a third row for our three small kiddos to sit on so that I didn’t
want to curse when I rub my skin raw squueeezing my hand in between the three carseats that were sardined in our backseat every flippin’ time we got in the car.
Silver colored cars
are the coolest make me happy. Keyless entry would be great.
Oooh… and leather would be a huge bonus for the inevitable spills and daily bodily fluids that come along with motherhood.
And one of those fancy automatic doors would be like icing on the cake.
But, really. Just a third row in a used vehicle with good gas mileage was fine with me.
It was fine.
Then, it was
Then, it became
borderline obsessive compulsively crucial.
And, then it sort of became a little ultimatum in my head to
our completely Sovereign God. (I know, I’m awful!)
My thoughts about it went something like this
but sometimes not as polite…
Lord, could you please just DO THIS for us? I mean really, we have had quite a difficult couple of years. We deserve this. You know this would make our world so much easier. We have faithfully given to our church and our dear missionary friends throughout all of these trying times. We do not live lavishly. We don’t even live “normally”. We don’t have debt. We have paid off more than enough medical bills over these last few years to pay cash for a luxury SUV for each of us. Are we really asking for that much? What is the problem here? Every single time we even begin to save up a bit of money – something happens – and there that dream goes, further and further away. Why can’t you allow us to have this one thing. “If only” we could just get this minivan – then, Lord, then we’d be satisfied.
Ugh. Disgusting, isn’t it?
The answer is yes.
My prayers didn’t start off that bitter.
Ya they did. Regardless, months and months went by and literally every single stinkin’ time we saved even just a few hundred dollars to put in our “Van Can” (which, by the way, was literally a V8 can with sliced hole in top so we ok, so that I couldn’t get the money back out) – something would come up. A medical bill. I tell myself I got voted Most Popular by Blue Cross Blue Shield this year, by the way. Some sort of drama with our thirty year old falling apart house. It. Was. Always. Something.
Meanwhile, I kid you not, lots of people
every single Mom of small kids in the free world that had previously not had a minivan before, got one. And they all moved to my town. Every single one of them.
Even some of my friends got minivans. Two of them hated having a minivan – and they
had silver, leather, 2 automatic doors, keyless entry, DVD players were brand spankin’ new. I was completely and 110% not too jealous, though.
Ya sure. Ever heard the expression “salt in the wound”. Yep, I was feeling wounded, sitting there holding my empty salt shaker, for sure!
Am I babbling endlessly here or can you actually relate to this?
Yes to both questions, eh?
So, maybe you are a cool kid
please friend me on facebook and don’t want a minivan, but is there something that “if only” you had it, then life would be good? Then, you’d be really satisfied?
A bigger house?
A bigger income?
A smaller waistline?
Something that so-and-so has that you don’t.
Maybe just an attitude or personality trait change for you? Or maybe your spouse?
Yes, Lord, then we’d be satisfied.
No we wouldn’t.
Friend, have you ever heard of the Israelites?
Take some time and read Exodus Chapters 13-16.
Did she just suggest I read four chapters of the Bible. Ya sure. I know it’s a long read, but I promise it’s a humbling one. Yes, you need it just like I do.
The Israelites sounded a little something like
“If only we had freedom…”
“If only we had a leader…”
“If only we could cross this sea…”
“If only we had water to drink…”
“If only we had meat to eat…”
“If only we had a different leader…”
“If only we had never left slavery…”
“If only we weren’t lost…”
“If only those giants weren’t so big…”
“If only we had a minivan…”
Ok, so I added that last one. But, good gosh, I would have fit in there quite nicely. Sad, but true. Would you fit in with me? I want you to really stop and think about that. Think about your “if onlys” and see where you heart is about them.
Being that I’ve had a lot of “down time” over these last months and months,
twenty three months, to be exact, not that I’m counting I’ve also had a lot of time to really evaluate my heart.
every single stinkin’ time it wasn’t even close to pretty.
Satan will take your innocent desire and turn it into an sinful “if only” quicker that you can push the button to open your automatic sliding minivan doors.
You see, this had become satan’s minivan. That
stupid, relentless, crafty, evil enemy can get a hold of anything in your life if you let him. Anything.
after way too much time kicking and screaming God got a hold of this issue in my heart. He got a hold of it and He wouldn’t let go. I, however, did.
I let go. I gave up. I flat out told God that if we had to drive the eleven-year-old 4Runner and the twenty-year-old Celica for years and years, I’d just be fine with it. I had to choose to be fine with it. I had to give it up and just trust Him.
I think it is interesting
so wacked out by the way, that I can trust God with my family, my safety, and my eternal salvation, but not with our flippin’ mode of transportation. Oh geez.
Anyway, friend, I am beyond excited,
now two years after I began pouting to announce that I am now the proud owner of a minivan. (insert Hallelujah chorus)
I mean it – I wouldn’t lie about something that serious. 🙂
And in true God fashion – He totally outdid Himself.
To make a long story as short as I am physically capable
ya, go ahead and get comfy…
I now own God’s minivan. And its name is “Grace”.
Yes, I name my cars. All the cool kids do.
We could have rushed through it. We could have gone against our personal convictions and just accrued some debt to make this happen. We could have. But by the grace of God alone, we didn’t. And I am so happy, because now, on this side of it, I know we would have missed His blessings.
First of all, we would have missed out on an amazing opportunity to own a van that we bought from some of our dear friends. Grace has been my sweet friend for years and years. She held my hand during these last few years and helped remind me of the foundation I was, in fact, standing upon. She and Tom have been in our home group for a while. They are salt of the earth kind of people.
And they were moving to Austria. (insert weeping) I have
had no choice but to come to terms with her leaving. But, then to find out she was trying to sell her minivan before they left. No way! Another dear friend already had “dibs” but in true Dianne form she was happy to allow us the chance to purchase it first. (I love you Dianne, thank you!) And then (yes, I’m not done with the blessings yet!) someone anonymously gave us some money to help put towards it. (Thank you, someone – I hope Grace gave you the note I wrote you!) Then…we were able to sell the twenty-year-old car within a week, giving us exactly what we needed to purchase it.
And by the way, in true God form – my van, “Grace”, is silver, has two, that’s right, two automatic sliding doors, leather and has been driven, immaculately cared for, and even prayed over by one of my dearest friends.
Does it get any better than that?
Well, I guess free would have been better. But, not really. After all the fussing we’d
ok, I’d done we needed to sacrifice some money to make this happen. It needed to hurt a little. We’d, ya, ya, ya, I know…I’d earned it.
But, before you get to thinkin’ I’m sounding pretty proud of myself about this – be assured that I am
incredibly selfish and ridiculously prideful enough to have more than one hundreds of “if onlys” in my life. So don’t think I’m sitting here all cool and pretty and self-righteous.
Remember, I’m not a cool kid.
And don’t get me started on my waistline.
Friend, would you please give it up? Are you willing to just let. this. thing. go? Pray about it often. Search Scripture to help you with contentment and joy. Look around at all the blessings you do have and soak in the thankful bath tub for a while.It’s great for the skin.
Our gracious God wants to take care of us in every way. He knows what we need and He knows what we want
incentive bonuses for teachers.
Don’t miss out on the blessings He is anxiously awaiting to give you.
If you do, you may not fully take ownership of the “Grace” He has in store for you.
By the way, I totally rock that minivan. Hey, I’m just sayin’.:)
Psalm 37:30-34 “The mouth of the righteous man utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks what is just. The law of his God is in his heart; his feet do not slip. The wicked lie in wait for the righteous, seeking their very lives; but the LORD will not leave them in their power or let them be condemned when brought to trial. Wait for the LORD and keep his way. He will exalt you to inherit the land; when the wicked are cut off, you will see it.
You ARE cool. And you're totally rocking the strikethrough. Love you!
You have a wonderful sense of HUMOR!!! This was cracking me up and I could so relate to similar life lessons. Thank you for the laughter! Your intimacy with Jesus is beautiful and I am honored to know you. Enjoy many joyful rides with GRACE!
You didn't know?? You have always been the cool one!! Even in a mini van…I know you totally rock it…what a hip little mama:)
I am always so excited and proud of you when I read you revelations. God goes BEYOND sister!
This particular passage spoke to me about my own patience and waiting for God to bless me in His own ways rather than just “granting” my desires.
One thing that I find very COOL about all that you are going through is that you have become a preacher from the couch. You don't need any fancy buildings, a large staff, websites to help you deisgn your sermon, a theme to attract people etc…. You have a captive group and your sermons are right on! They are encouraging, truthful, and better than any planned sermon that I have heard. You need to have them published into a book, because I'm certain your book will make the top seller list.
Thank you for allowing God to take hold of your life. Thank you making something FANTASTIC out of your situation. You will be rewarded for all that you are going through!
I'm crying with joy for you. What an amazing way that God provided EXACTLY what you wanted, just not in the timing you expected. God delights in surprising us that way.
I have an if-only that I can't really comment about (though I'd be glad to tell you in person), and I've gotten just as cranky in my prayers, and given up praying altogether sometimes. I need to find the balance between giving up and just letting it go in a good way. This gives me hope that if I am faithful, and learn patience yet again, God will go beyond for me also.