Maybe it was being projectile vomited on in a Wal Mart parking lot. Maybe it was the imminent threat of tornados overhead and our windshield wipers being broken in the rain. Maybe it was the long car ride with a still-new baby. But I was DONE.
A few hours earlier we had packed our little Saturn up with babes and belongings for a long weekend back home. We had embarked on the 3 hour drive with a forecast of some light rain, but were not concerned about the weather, or our car for that matter. At nearly 14 years old, our trusty Saturn had never really given us any major grief.
About an hour in to our trip though, there was a whisper. As we went under an over-pass on the highway headed directly in to some ominous looking black clouds as the rain started to drizzle down, a still small voice, “Do you trust me?”
Excuse me, Lord?
A few miles and minutes later and we found ourselves under heavy rain. We turned on the radio for a weather report, and that is when the emergency broadcasting system kicked in. Tornado warnings. For the EXACT stretch of interstate that we were SMACK in the middle of. Which also happened to be SMACK in the middle of a huge stretch of nothing but cornfields.
Did I mention we had our two kids in the backseat, including our newborn son?
The only choice we had was to keep on going and hope we could outrun the storm.
We were nearing the end of the tornado corridor on the interstate when it happened. A whirring and then a a thud. The driver’s side windshield wiper completely gave out. In torrential downpour. Like the kind where you can barely see five feet ahead of you even WITH the windshield wipers in-tact.
Mike, my heroic husband, did not panic. I did. Good thing he was the one driving.
He got us over to the side of the road where we could make out from a sign that we were one mile from an exit ramp. Given the low visibility and the huge amounts of rain, we agreed it seemed like a safer bet to limp our car up to the exit rather than sit and wait for some semi to ram us on the side of the road.
Mike did the actual driving. I was pretty much his eyes. While his side was a sheet of solid water, my wiper still worked, so on we pressed with me giving out instructions. I was not 100% certain how this would all turn out.
A few minutes later we were safely in the empty parking lot of a large church out in the middle of nowhere. We started trying to map out where we were and find the nearest Auto Zone. The newborn, by this point, was frantic to be out of his carseat. I was frantic to be out of our car.
As the rain lightened up, we decided to limp our car a few exits farther north, to a small town with a Wal Mart and Auto Zone (and just general civilization). Mike had rigged up his wiper to (sort of) work, and we made it about halfway before I became his eyes again. Somehow, we made it to a Wal Mart parking lot safe and sound.
When it became apparent that our windshield wipers were not going to be simply fixed, and that the rain was not going to be letting up any time soon, we called my mom to make the 1.5 hour trip to pick us up, and settled in to wait. Sometime in that long stretch of time that felt like FOREVER, I was projectile vomited on by the newborn. Entire outfit: toast.
That night, a 3 hour trip turned into 6 hours, and I was never so happy to be safe, clean, and warm when we finally arrived at our destination.
Our car is 14 years old, and the most dramatic thing that has ever happened to us is: our windshield wipers breaking. Which doesn’t sound like too big a deal, unless you actually are driving in the rain and then it is a huge deal. But otherwise, our car has been like old faithful. Windshield wipers, although necessary, are ridiculously cheap to fix.
Aside from feeling slightly ridiculous every time we pile out of our little old Saturn sedan (especially when we are parked in the midst of a fleet of minivans and SUVs, the car of choice for most families…), I kind of love our car. It has been the instrument of several testings of our faith in the past few years.
You see, even though the most expensive thing we have had to replace in a while is our windshield wipers, we have had a few… incidents. Things like, our car sort of bucking and choking while driving. Or our heater breaking in the middle of winter. Things that we’ve been sure are going to cost us an arm and a leg to repair.
And maybe they would, if it weren’t for the fact that our little church body has a master mechanic in its midst, who very selflessly has helped us look at our car many, many times. I’m sure by now we would have sunk hundreds of dollars, if not more, into repairs on our car, goaded in to them by car shops looking to make a little extra profit.
Just yesterday our car was over at our friend’s house after it was having some trouble idling at stop lights. It turned out to be a simple fix- just had to clean out a pipe that was collecting carbon after 14 years of driving around. No big deal. So thankful for a friend who cares about us enough to spend his Saturday evening knocking carbon out of our pipes.
Our car has really been a provision to us. It is 100% paid for- 100% ours. It is in great working order, despite some aesthetic issues. And so far, it has been really cheap to maintain, thanks to the equal provisioning of a master mechanic for a friend. I think one of the gifts of the Spirit should be “car mechanic.” For real, it’s a gift in our small church body!
Sure, I would love to have a nicer or bigger car someday. I would also love to have a car that doesn’t give us mild anxiety every few months when something is off and we aren’t sure what. But right now that is more of a want than a need. I’m sure that the Lord will provide the resources we need when we do need to upgrade, but for now he is giving us exactly the tools we need to keep our car safely running.
And he is also allowing us to learn more about his faithfulness, his provision, and the way he interconnects us along the way.