Thursday, February 13, 2014

Broken Van… Lots of Love

On Sunday we spent the evening with a couple of families from church.  I wrote a little bit about some of these new friends in a previous blog post.  I brought cookies to the dinner with the apologies that the cookies were missing vanilla.  I explained to the sister from church that I had lost several of my spices in our move from Michigan. 

On Monday night, I walked by my front door and was surprised to find the same sister standing there holding a beautifully wrapped package!  She had been ringing the doorbell, but we didn't hear it.

She lives 20 minutes away from us!  She presented it as a house-warming gift and left before I could even open it. 

All of us anxiously opened the package, and I cried as I saw what she had delivered…. a beautiful box of spices. 

How thoughtful!  How kind!  How loving!  She listened to my needs, and she acted on it!  She even included 2 containers of pure vanilla. 

I of course called her immediately…. still crying from all the love I was feeling in my heart and thanked her for blessing our family. 

I am grateful for her service, and I am grateful for the spices.  I am ALSO very grateful that my children were able to learn from her shining example of how to show love. 

After we opened the package, Mariah said, “Mommy, people remember you.”  I thought that was an interesting comment.  She continued, “People love you because they want you to be safe.”

The Broken Van

Yesterday morning, Abe left again to go on another business trip.   I left shortly after to take Jackson to his college class.  On the way there I noticed a weird chugging with the engine.  I hoped it was nothing and kept going. 

On the way home, I noticed the chugging was actually getting worse.  I pictured myself 20 minutes from home… stranded with all 6 kids and nobody to call.  Abe had just spent $600 getting new tires on his car, so I took the van to the same place where his car was fixed.  The man drove my van and confirmed my worries that it was indeed the transmission that was beginning to fail me.  He said it would cost between $2500-$3,000. 

He didn’t have time to fix my van that afternoon.  The technician sat in my van for a moment after the test drive and told me that he thought my transmission wouldn’t stop all of a sudden.  He thought I would have time to get home first.   While he sat there, I warned the kids that we would be riding our bikes from now on to church… to the grocery store… everywhere.  The technician confirmed that it would be a smart idea to do that until we could afford to fix the van.

I called Abe to inform him of my troubles.  He was in Houston waiting at the airport.  He broke the news to me that his car stopped and wouldn’t start again after he parked it at the airport in Orlando.  I felt my shoulders slump and my heart drop… 2 broken vehicles??

As I started the drive home, I prayed that our van would make it.  My GPS took me a different route home.  Just before we crossed the bridge, I looked to my left and a saw a sign that read, “Aamco Transmissions.” 

I immediately pulled over!  Feeling vulnerable, alone, and worried, I walked into the transmission shop hoping for a 2nd opinion saying that our transmission wasn’t so bad after-all.  An elderly lady sat at the desk.  I told her, “I have 6 kids.  My transmission is going out.  My husband is out of town, and we just moved to the area.” 

I don’t know why… but in my rambling mess I also told her about a conversation I had with a friend over the weekend.  I said, “I just told a friend that if we don’t make enough money, the Lord will help us in other ways… maybe our car won’t break down.  If it does break down, then God sends people to help us. Now both of our cars are broken down!!”  I rattled it all off so fast I’m not even sure if she heard everything, but the general manager came to help.

He said they would inspect it for free.  They would start the inspection right then, but they wouldn’t be able to finish it until the next morning.  I told him I would have no way home if they did that.  He suggested I get a rental car.  I told him I didn’t have any extra money to pay for a rental… especially if I was going to be getting my transmission fixed.

He was the sweetest man ever!  He understood my situation but refused to let me leave in my van even though it was still a moving vehicle.  He sat me down and made me drink a bottle of water while I explained the problem with our van.  He was so kind that I started to cry. 

He said that our van COULD leave us stranded on the way home.  A big thunderstorm was rolling in, and he did NOT want us to be stuck on the side of the road.  He tried to figure out how to get all 7 of us home.  The elderly lady’s husband offered to squish my 6 kids and me into his 5-seater station wagon. 

I couldn’t believe his generosity!  It was a 25-minute drive to our house, so he would be going almost an hour out of his way to help our little family.  Aamco didn’t even know if they were going to get any money out of us since the inspection was free…but they weren't giving us a ride for the money...

On the drive home, I didn’t know what to say to this man besides thank you.  He was a quiet, elderly man.  He humbly replied, “Well… I just couldn’t leave you stranded.”  I thought about Mariah’s comment.  “People love you because they want you to be safe.”  This really was about love for mankind.  This was not about money or business.  This was about love.

So… last night.  I arrived home safely with all the kids needing to prepare for a severe thunderstorm watch… possible 100 mile winds heading our way.  I was feeling a bit of anxiety knowing I was home alone with all the children with no vehicle.  

We prepared for the incoming storm, and I made whole wheat pancakes for the children for dinner.  As worries ran though my mind, I flipped the pancake over and look what I found!!  I have no idea how this perfect smiley face formed, but I think that I needed to be reminded to smile… all would be well.  Every time I look at it I smile!!  I couldn't have made that even if I had tried! :-)

Last night I sent a text message to my friend about our broken car. 

This was her loving, faith-filled response: 
“Praise the Lord!  Rachel, you know and I know something totally wild is gonna happen.  Miracles are for believers!  We expect them!  Can’t wait to hear bout it.”

I woke this morning feeling confident that I would receive a phone call telling me that my van was miraculously ok!  No problems!!

This morning in my personal scripture study I read in the Book of Mormon in the book of Moroni 7:13.  It says:

“But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God.” 

Everybody in that transmission shop was so full of love and compassion that I knew their actions were inspired of God… therefore, I knew God was taking care of us and something great would come from this.

After my personal scripture study, our family morning devotional happened to be in the same book and same chapter that I was reading… it also talked about love:

The first part of Moroni  7:48 says:

 "Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with his love...

Shortly after, I received the much anticipated phone call…

The general manager started off by saying, “I’m sorry…. I don’t have good news.  I think I’m going to make you cry again.  We're going to have to take your transmission out.  It will cost about $2,000 to fix it."

So…  here I am… stuck at home… no car… no answers… yet…

However… I believe in Jesus, and I believe HE will guide us and help us to find a way… I believe in miracles even when they're not as blatant as I would sometimes prefer.

Luckily... Jackson, Juliana, and I went on a 12-mile bike ride to Lowe's on Monday, so we already know that we can get most anywhere we need to on our bikes….