As a writer, I often think I can write my own life story better than the Great Author.
For example, a most recent situation would have gone like this in my version.
Then Jeremy and Marcy decided to take on an extra vehicle, both to help a friend and to re-sell to make up for the cost of their primary vehicle. After lots of prayer and wise-counsel, they signed the agreement and brought the Canadian van home. They paid the import fees, passed the TÜV inspection, and were handed their new German license plates. The van was posted for one day before a buyer snagged the good deal and took the van off the Pusey’s hands, leaving them with extra money in their expense account. God is good… He always provides, just not in ways we expect. The End.
Short and sweet. Happy and comfortable. But that’s not how it really went.
Then Jeremy and Marcy decided to take on an extra vehicle, both to help a friend out and to re-sell to make up for the cost of their primary vehicle. After lots of prayer and wise-counsel, they signed the agreement and brought the Canadian van home. They paid the import fees…
and it didn’t pass the TÜV inspection.
The Honda dealer thought the van looked great and should have no trouble passing TÜV. To our great surprise… it didn’t pass. The van, though perfectly good running, was just too… Canadian. The TÜV people wanted to take off the perfectly good hitch, and put on a German hitch. And 3000 Euro worth of other perfectly good parts.
What now? We certainly couldn’t spend 3000 Euro on this vehicle. We decided to post an ad on a military site… the military folks don’t have the same vehicle standards (see S.O.F.A.) as the rest of us… so they wouldn’t have to pass the TÜV. We had bites within 24 hours of posting the ad.
We began working with one of the “bites” on buying our vehicle. I scanned all of our documents and emailed them over using 3 different emails… My Yahoo is whacked (always tells me that the message can’t be sent but ends up sending it… most of the time). My TeachBeyond email sometimes sends images funny. And my Gmail is for my writing world… yet works the best. He finally received them all and things were looking good.
That was the week of my birthday. God made me a multi-tiered cake that day… complete with chocolate sauce and fruit topping, made with the ingredients of over 200 friends, both locally and abroad. Someone said it well, “Marcy, God is spoiling you today.” He did.
And, unless a car is registered in Germany, it can’t be insured by our German insurance.
I had no idea what to do… until I got word that our potential buyer wanted to come get the car on Wednesday. I began talking with mechanics about getting a new mirror… but none could get here in time.
On Monday night, In the midst of figuring out the mirror, I gathered all of the documents for the vehicle to have ready for the buyer.
The title was missing.
Not where it should be… and nowhere else either. I looked in every box, every drawer, every file, the scanner (where I’d last used it), the trash, every shelf, every room, every nook and cranny… at least three times each. Some places were searched up to ten times.
Just. In. Case.
NADA. NULL. Not there.
I didn’t sleep well Monday night. On Tuesday I felt like I was wearing a weighted vest. It was all I could do to keep together. I have worked SOOOOOO hard to sell this car. Hours and hours of my life have poured into all of the details, the detours, the derailing… only to watch it crumble right before my eyes. Watching this blessing transform to reveal a “curse.”
I cried out on Facebook for prayer. I knew I needed more help. The responses poured in… prayer after prayer being lifted on my behalf. Words of encouragement and faith and belief that this paper would show up. Friends stopping me wherever we were and praying a quick, “God, reveal this paper!” over me.
These Scriptures kept passing through my thoughts:
God said to Balaam, ‘You shall not go with them. You shall not curse the people, for they are blessed’… Behold, I received a command to bless: he has blessed, and I cannot revoke it.
Number 23:12, 20
Don’t curse that which God has blessed. Grrrrrr.
I sent the dreaded email to the buyer:
“The mirror is still broken and I’ve lost the title. See you tomorrow if you’re still coming.”
I got an email last night from one of the mechanics… they had a used mirror and I could come in today at 8:30am to have them secure it. It wouldn’t be the same and wouldn’t be a permanent solution- but it would get the buyer back to his town safely. My appointment with the buyer was at 10am. I clung to the hope that God knew where this title was and if He wanted, could show it to me. He’s done that plenty of times before. OR, He could choose not to give it to me, and work things out a different way.
As I left the house for my appointment with the mechanic, my time was up for looking for the title. My chances were over. I peeked into our paper-trash bin and rummaged through. The only place I hadn’t looked. Nothing. But still, I asked my oldest son if he would just look through and see if he could find it. If not, no big deal. I had to go.
As I drove, I cried out to the Lord, “All these people are praying with such confidence, believing that you are going to reveal this paper! So are you going to? I have an hour left, God! I know You can do this! But will you?”
But will you?
The lights in the van started getting wonky. The overhead light kept flashing on and off with a clicking sounds.
Really? REALLY? What NOW?
Ticked, I started to pray against any schemes of the enemy and pleading with God to thwart his plans against me. Right then the “open door” light clicked on. The trunk wasn’t closed all the way. I pulled over and closed the trunk.
My cell phone rang.
“Mom? I found the title! It was wrapped up in the “Happy Birthday” poster I’d put in the van for your birthday. It’s on the table.”
Cue the weeping laughter.
I felt like Sarah and Elizabeth must have felt when God did the impossible in their lives. When they laughed.
Oh, how like God to wrap up my despair in my birthday banner!
I felt Him wink… (if you can feel God wink, I felt it) and the weeping laughter continued. All the way to the mechanic, where I forced myself to pull it together.
They were above and beyond kind and gracious to me… taping on a mirror last-minute to help my buyer get home safely. (Roger Gross at Ford ROCKS!)
The buyer and his family arrived, also above and beyond gracious, signed papers, and left with the van.
PRAISE. THE. LORD!
I still think my re-writing is a “better” version… I had fewer grey hairs and it took less time and energy.
BUT God’s version has all the makings of a great story. A best-seller even. The drama, the tension, the twists… the last-minute harrowing rescue. The weeping laughter. The public display of hope. The irony…
… that my one child who would gladly dig through paper garbage for me also happens to be one of my greatest challenges (at times) and greatest pleasures (at others) and that he would be the one to find the title. (Remember, I had already rummaged through that bin, but I didn’t see it).
… that he would find it in my birthday poster… the week of my grand spoiling and giddy love-soaking. I haven’t fully wrapped my brain about this yet, but the wink tells me it’s not coincidental. I suppose it’s a reminder that I am always loved, just as much as on my birthday week… that God hasn’t forgotten, and that He doesn’t only dole out good things on birthdays…
I’ve made some great new friends through His version of the story.
I’ve also stood on a digital stage and proclaimed my need to the community, inviting everyone in to witness what God would and could do… leaning on the hopes and prayers of others, as well as my own.
If I’m honest, I’d pick His movie hands-down if given the choice between our two scripts.
BUT, the saga doesn’t end here. Oh, no. We are at that point in the story where things could wind down and tie up nicely in a package-perfect bow or a new twist could jump out and take the story in a whole new direction. I won’t tell you which version I’d write. 🙂
We will know by Monday if the van passes the U.S. inspection on the base. If not, it comes back (oh, boy). If SO, then yay for the beautiful-bow ending!
For the sake of the buyer and his family and our own, will you join us in praying for a passing inspection?
To be continued… 🙂