When Chad and I were first married, he drove a white Blazer with red vinyl interior. On the drive down the road to the little school where we taught, we mastered the art of keeping one foot on the brake and one on the gas, stopping when necessary, but still revving the engine so that it wouldn’t die. I still feel sentimental when I think about that car, remembering the nights we spent driving around, holding hands, so much freedom that we didn’t even recognize or appreciate. We were dead broke, but we were happy.
In the past sixteen years we have gone through a few cars. We had a few near death experiences. We had a few break ins. We had one night when I thought Chad was going to get shot over a CD player. I once drove a cute little sports car. Chad once drove a pretty little lawyer-mobile. Cars come and go, and every single one of them reminds me of great and hard and important and wonderful stages of our life together. In odd ways each one takes me back to little glimpses of God’s provision, His goodness, His care.
It’s funny how a big hunk of metal will do that to you.
And, this week, we got a big, burly, shiny, beautiful truck that will remind us of this time in our lives. Now, if you’ve been reading my blog for awhile you may be surprised to see me blogging about a shiny new truck. After all, I recently admitted that I take some sort of twisted pride in driving my trusty old peeling paint minivan. She is crusty, and I love her.
But this truck is more than just a really pretty piece of machinery. It’s a symbol of all the ways, big and small, that God blesses through His people.
It wasn’t until Chad became a pastor that I realized that there is a ministry in the church that I never knew existed. It’s not for everyone (I was certainly never good at it), and it’s not something that is broadcast or pointed out very often. But, our church has taught us that there are people who feel a very real calling to minister to their pastor and his family. Different people have lots of different loving, thoughtful ways to bless us. It’s amazing how creative people are. How much they are always thinking, anticipating what we might need or want or enjoy.
And, one day a friend called Chad up and casually said, Hey, a group of people in the church are going to buy you a truck. And, on Friday night, while the kids waited, giggling in the driveway, the truck arrived, in all its manly, west Texas glory.
I could cry at the thought of it. Not because we have a beautiful new vehicle that is the nicest car we have ever owned (although we do), not because the kids can’t wait for school drop off tomorrow in the huge hunk of man-mobile (although they can’t), but because that amazing gift sitting in our garage is a showing of how precious the people of God are. How generous. How giving. And, how much pleasure that they take in giving until it hurts, just to say to their pastor, we support you.
Last week, a dear lady made us a pecan pie, as she regularly does. It’s the best pecan pie I’ve ever tasted. Another friend has us over to dinner or brings us dinner here and there, just so that I won’t have to worry about it. One amazing woman walks up every once in awhile and presses two $20 bills in Chad’s hand. I could write thousands of words about how God’s people send notes of encouragement, text sweet thoughts, send flowers, give hugs. It’s just hard to even explain how far each and every kind word, sweet thought, and blessed gift goes in encouraging us, in helping us to see that God is near, and that He can use all of us, if we are open to His leading. I want to be more like the amazing examples in our church, those who never fail to see where the needs are and do all they can to meet those needs, even if it comes at great personal cost to them.
God’s people are simply wonderful.
It’s only a car. I know it. But, I’ll never forget the kindness behind it. The love. And the willingness to serve God by greatly blessing someone else. This truck will always remind me of this wonderful time in our life, loving our sweet church and being so well loved in return. God never fails to surprise us. He is so good, whether the paint is peeling or the topcoat is gleaming.
I’m so grateful for all of His undeserved gifts, and for the people who are so faithful to deliver them.