Seven months ago, I was busy trolling craigslist looking for a vehicle that would more comfortably accommodate our growing family. I was on that site so often, I should have been getting paid for it! Of course, a mini-van was high on the list, but our budget was about half of what we’d be able to “afford”, in Dave Ramsey terms (if you can’t pay for it outright, you can’t afford it. period). I prayed and prayed and prayed that we would figure out some way to get a decent minivan, but after searching for months, I made peace with keeping our current car and squishing 3 butts into the back seat. We ended up buying a different car seat for Middle so all 3 seats would fit on the bench of our beloved Explorer. We paid $150 instead of $7000 to fix our problem. Wise choice.
Fast forward to our lovely visit with my in-laws a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, my mother-in-law’s dad has had some health issues arise, leaving my in-laws to swoop in to “save the day”. Her dad will be living with them, and they will be giving him the love and attention he is in need of. What he isn’t in need of is his 2005 Honda Odyssey. With only 40k miles on it. And a DVD system. And power sliding doors.
Now, we are TWO MONTHS AWAY from yelling “WE’RE DEBT FREEEEEEEEEEEE!!!”. That van is FAR out of our price range, as we haven’t saved for a new car because our Explorer is in good condition, and though squished in the backseat, our family does fit in it. But that van… man, I wanted it. Did I mention the leather seat?
I argued that the van was a blessing from God. I mean, He was rewarding
us me for having made peace with not buying a car, right? It would make the ferrying of children so much easier! The resale value is much better. We can drive for family trips rather than shelling out $1000+ for airline tickets. I wouldn’t curse the person who parked too close to me at Target anymore. God detests a wicked tongue, right?
But, we don’t have the money in the bank right now. We aren’t even debt free yet, and we certainly don’t have our 3-6 months living expenses Dave teaches you have before making any big purchases, and only then, you need to pay for them with CASH.
The hubby argued that we don’t have the money right now. I rebutted with waiting until we sold the Explorer and got our tax refund.
He argued that even the gracious “gift of time” of two years before we had to pay his dad for the van was a debt. As much as it pained me to say, he was right. We’ve worked too hard to be right back to being slave to the lender.
He argued that we’d be huge hypocrites, seeing as how we teach the class and are mentors for many just starting out. I rebutted that it would be an awesome victory story, to be able to pay cash for a $16,000 car!
So, we prayed.
The Hubby prayed for direction.
I prayed that The Hubby would see the merits of my argument and understand the benefits and blessing of buying the van.
We got conflicting answers.
I asked myself how we could get past this while both still feeling like we honored what God was telling us. The Hubby’s answer was to concede. He told me that we could get the van, but I knew he wasn’t happy about it. I sat silent. And then it hit me.
Don’t Do It.
As hard as it was, through my tears, I told The Hubby I couldn’t drive around in a van that I knew he wasn’t happy about owning. I told him “I made peace with it once, I’ll do it again. But I can’t say I’m not bummed”. I knew, past my extreme want of the minivan, I needed to stand by my man. I needed to have faith.
With that, he took the phone outside to call his dad in private and I went about making PB&Js and doing my best to not soak the bread with tears and/or snot. I opened my Bible to Proverbs and waited to hear that we were making the right decision. I prayed, out loud, for God to find blessings for our family in ways we could both enjoy. I prayed for the peace I knew would come at some point. I prayed for The Hubby, who I knew had to make a hard decision in obeying what he had heard instead of giving me what I WANTED.
Ten minutes later, he walked in and put another extension of our home phone in my hand. My in-laws on the other end wanted to know what was wrong. I was ugly crying by this point and could hardly breathe through my nose, let alone articulate what I was feeling.
Then they dropped the bomb.
They wanted us to have the van for what we could sell our Explorer for.
No debt. No waiting. No strings attached.
One of my arguments had been taken from this past Sunday’s weekend service: “Stop telling God how and when to bless you, because He’ll probably do it differently”.
All this time, I had thought the van being offered to us was the blessing. It just shows you, God is SO much greater than you can imagine. He is capable of things bigger than your own understanding can conceptualize. But it wasn’t until I let go of my want that His blessing would become evident.
So, let go.
It turns out, The Hubby had gone outside to tell them YES. He came to find out, only after I told him not to do it, that he just needed to know I was capable of letting go so that he, in turn, could let go.
Let go, and Let God.
Cliche, yes. But even more, true.