My car died one day after our Babymoon.
I was in such a good mood right up to that point, planning to take a quick trip to the grocery store to pick up some vanilla icecream to go with the homemade apple pie that I’d whipped together. Nate was in the living room, listening to music and putting together the dresser that we had ordered for the nursery. In fact, I was in such a good mood that I didn’t even care that he was listening to 80’s music! (Sorry, I just can’t like 80’s music no matter how badly I try). 😉
Everything was just coming up roses, and I was plain happy.
Then I slid into the driver’s seat of my car, pushed a key into the car ignition, turned, and nothing happened. No purring of the engine. No groaning. No putter-putter-kerplunk. Nothing. Just dead silence.
I seriously wanted to cry. Again?? How could my car not work again?? Wasn’t there some kind of rule against this?
So instead of picking up icecream, I scheduled an appointment with our mechanic (who kind of sighed when I called and told him it was me). I assured Nate that I know that if this repair is expensive, we’ll have get rid of my treasured yellow car, because we can’t afford to put money into it like this anymore. And I accepted my Dad’s offer of borrowing his car, so that I could get to church the next day (since I’m the only pianist and Nate had to take the Jeep to his brother’s bachelor party).
That night, the head cold I’d been fighting all week hit with a vengeance, leaving me stuffy, sniffly, and nauseous. Then I woke up to my first pregnancy heartburn and had a midnight snack of TUMS, all while worrying about the car situation. Those happy roses were starting to wilt just a bit by that point…
When morning came, I tried to keep positive, as I threw my music books into my dad’s car and prepared to drive to church. But I instantly ran into one little problem… My dad’s standard is a six-gear (unlike every other standard I’ve ever driven), and I could not – for the life of me – figure out how to get it into reverse. Somehow, I always ended up in first gear and therefore moving forward. Little by little, my dad’s car became dangerously close to my car (which was parked just ahead of his), until I couldn’t try anymore. There was absolutely no way that I was going to risk hitting my car with my dad’s car (which is really nice and brand-spanking new).
(Turns out that you have to push down the shift and then it opens up another gear option, so that you can slide into reverse. Who knew!?!).
All I know is that – at that moment – I was literally stuck in my own driveway, unable to back up.
My pastor’s wife ended up having to drive to my house to pick me up, so that I could make it to church on time. Since my mom and sister were at work (and his car was in my driveway), my dad rode his bike – in the rain – to my house, so that he could pick up his car… and then pick me up from church.
(Yeah, my dad is pretty awesome like that).
Oh, yeah, and remember those adorable brown flats I bought the other day, since I can’t wear heels right now? Well, they apparently torture my feet. So do the black ones. I have blisters on top of blisters at this point, and – unlike this guy who we met at a nearby apple orchard – it ain’t cute.
So all this went down, and I suddenly found myself on stage at church, sitting behind my keyboard and preparing to lead worship. Ironically, my beginning song was He Has Made Me Glad. It’s not my favorite tune, honestly; but when I put the service together, I had added it for the opening song, since the older folks really enjoy it. But in that moment, I really didn’t feel like singing it. It was just too… glad.
Quite frankly, I didn’t feel like singing at all.
I didn’t want to be glad. I didn’t feel like trying to be happy. I just wanted to find a lonely corner, where I could wallow in self-pity, sniffle, nurse my sore feet, and freak out about more car problems.
Needless to say, I had to pray for an attitude adjustment throughout the service, which wasn’t easy to do. Not because I can’t pray and worship at the same time; but because when you have a bad attitude, the last thing you feel like doing is admitting it… and asking God to change it. And when you’ve come from a really happy place where everything was going well and you were seemingly in control, sometimes it’s hard to admit that you’re feeling overwhelmed, scared, and just plain emotional.
But as I prayed, I was reminded of something. It’s during those moments of weakness and frailty that God shows us just how big He is. He reminds us that while we can’t handle everything that’s thrown at us, He can. He’s bigger. He’s greater.
And it’s during those moments that we realize that He is God… and we’re not.
Granted, I’d prefer to not have those days. 😉 And I really, REALLY am hoping that the mechanic calls back with good news, because we can’t afford to go shopping for a new car right now. But I’m also realizing that these difficult moments mold me and help me to be a better, stronger person. Just as gold must be refined by fire, God can use those difficult times to make me a more beautiful person.
Sure, the other day felt rough and overwhelming. But it reminded me that I need Someone greater than myself. And sometimes, that’s a good place to be in!! 🙂
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 — “But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’