Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Total Loss ...

Jerry and I bought a new (to us) car last summer. We went to numerous car dealerships. Talked over cars, trucks, suv's ... couldn't make up our minds. Mostly because we've made some poor vehicle purchases in the past ... we didn't want to revisit those poor choices. Finally, a good price ... low miles ... good shape ... fit our whole family ... nice size trunk for all the baseball equipment (and suitcases for vacations). We signed the dotted line and drove it home.

Since last summer, we've put a large amount of money into unexpected repairs. I won't list them all ... too many ... too much money. But, there are two specific repairs that have me thinking ...

This winter, a deer decided to play tag with Jerry. The deer didn't make it out of that mess ... Jerry's car came out with nearly $5,000 in damages. Of course our insurance covered it. But ... the waiting ... waiting ... waiting. Jerry drove a rental car for two weeks while the insurance company tried to decide if it was worth repairing or if it should be totaled. They ended up fixing it. We brought it home and agreed ... the body shop had done a great job. The car looked beautiful. It was evident the shop owner took pride in his work.

This past Monday, Jerry called me at work. Someone pulled out of an alley and smashed into the passenger side of his car. Jerry and the other driver were fine, no injuries. But our car ... injured. We both wondered ... will they total it? After he got home from work that evening, we looked over the car. Both doors were beyond repair and would require replacements. Neither of us know a lot about cars, so we couldn't tell if the frame was damaged.

Yesterday, Jerry talked with our insurance company and then took his car to the same body shop for inspection. The mechanic told him it didn't look like the car would be totaled. But ... finding two doors in as good of shape as our originals would be a tough job.But, he wouldn't put doors on our car that didn't 'measure up' to the existing body. He had Jerry bring the car home and said he would call when he found the doors. Could be days, could be weeks. He reassured Jerry that the end result would be worth the wait.

So, we're waiting. And I'm thinking ...

That car keeps taking hits. Keeps crying out for general repairs you would expect from a used vehicle. Keeps going. But, I wonder ... how much more can it take? Maybe we should just park it in the driveway and not risk taking it out on the highway. We need that car to take Jerry from home to work and then back home again. We need it to get the boys to and from sporting events, school, practices.

Sometimes, my heart feels like that car. Have you ever felt that way? Like your heart hurts too much to keep going? Like it would be better to hide it someplace ... find a place where nothing/no one can touch it ... hurt it? This world and all it's imperfections ... it keeps denting my heart.

I keep giving pieces of my heart away. I keep going to the places where I know my heart will be smashed ... dented ... damaged. I don't keep it hidden away. I allow the hurt because I know God can heal it. He takes pride in His craftsmanship. Regardless of the damage, He will never count my heart as a total loss. Repairing the damage may take more time than I like ... but, it's worth the wait. And while I wait, His light will shine through the damaged places and give others a glimpse of what our God can do.

Tonight, my heart is damaged ... for one of my boys. As parents ... we love our children beyond measure. Seeing a hurt coming their way ... well ... it hurts us as much (if not more) than it hurts them. I know all of my boys will have to go through struggles to become the men God has planned for them to be. I just wish ... it didn't have to hurt. Not for them, not for me. I know He can heal any hurt, if I just let Him. So, I will. I will give Him my hurt and give Him my son ... it's hard to imagine, but I know that He loves my children more than I can even conceive. I will do the one thing I know to do ... I will pray.

If your heart is broken, damaged ... take it to the only One who can offer complete healing.

Psalm 91:4 "He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler."

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Grass is Always Greener ...

The drive between our house and Jerry's family is beautiful ... summer, winter ... spring, fall. The road bends around dense groves of trees, vast farm ground and open pastures. Rolling hills take you up and down, carving out a passage through God's country. During the summer, wild flowers poke through tall grass. Large tree branches perch high above the road ... their leaves offering shade.

Over Memorial Day weekend, we took that drive to meet Jerry's family at his sister's house. Like many other trips, we made a game out of who could spot the first deer. This is easier during winter when their stark brown bodies stand out from the white snow covered pastures. In the summer, they fade into the tall grasses, soybeans or corn stalks.There could be large numbers grazing in the open fields or a single one peaking out from the roadside trees. Our boys love watching for them and it keeps the boys busy for the 20 minute drive.

Each of us spotted a few deer. Even one deer standing just off the road, nearly hidden by the shadows cast from trees. As we rounded one of the curves, I noticed a herd of cows grazing ... meandering down the fence line ... enjoying the warm sun and green grass. The field around them and behind them was covered in tall grass, wild flowers and trees. For some reason, they all gathered by the fence. The fence row was lined with a muddy path. The cows sunk deep into the muck and stretched as far as they could ... munching on grass. We stopped (because I wanted to) and watched.

That is so dumb, I thought. I looked at their legs, completely covered in a thick layer of mud ... up to their knees. Dumb. All around them stood long stems of bright green grass ... they could eat those and not end up in such a mess. I'm sure cows don't really care about the appearance but surely it's uncomfortable.

We drove on and I thought ... dumb? I do that exact same thing. I am surrounded by blessings. Yet ... I reach as far as I can ... stretching to try and achieve something ... obtain something. it's not that I don't love the life He has given me ... for some reason it just seems that what someone else has might make me ... more content. I have everything I need all around me. I don't need to have what's on the other side of the fence. I always end up making a mess of things when I try to gain something that really isn't intended for me. I walk back and forth at the fence line, making a huge muddy trench ... starring at what someone else has on the other side, trying to figure out how I can get what they have ... if I stretch far enough maybe I can reach it, pull it back to my side of the fence. I'm sure the farmer who owns those cows has given them plenty of pasture. I'm sure he planned it out, knew exactly what his livestock would need ... gave it to them and cares for their well being. God put me on this side of the fence for a reason. He knows what's best for me, he cares for me and satisfies my every need.

From now on, when we pass that open field and see those cows ... I'll be reminded of how much I have and how much I love what He has given me.

Deuteronomy 5:21 "You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife; and you shall not desire your neighbor’s house, his field, his male servant, his female servant, his ox, his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s."

Matthew 6:19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."