Ode to Moses

Moses is my former car. Former as of today.

When reaching a certain age, my sister said a car needs a name. Our last vehicle was the mini van we inherited from David’s father. “Hannah” the Montana mini-vannah drove over 200k before she was totaled. She was still drivable when she was deemed unworthy to repair by the insurance company.

I drove Hannah into the ground and prayed her through. Her radio brought me words to inspire me to pray. At 9 am, I would tune into Joy @ AM 134o when I dropped my daughter off at school to hear the preaching of a popular televangelist. I don’t believe in prosperity gospels– name it; claim it– that sort of thing. The teaching offered by Joyce prompted me to face some of my own challenges so I do appreciate where she is coming from and where she brought me to.

Recently I was reading chapter 6 in the book of John and was struck by this verse…

“—you are tracking Me down because I fed you, not because you saw signs from God.”

I’ve included the entire link of Chapter 6 because it is a very familiar story. But chapter 26 stood out to me. Even Jesus called out the followers who followed because of what they would get [tangibly] from the Messiah. I wanted to introduce this to you before I continue with my testimony for fear one might think I believe in Christ for the tangible blessings He provides. This could easily be misconstrued from this story.

Our van, Hannah, died a slow, painful death. She was a greenhouse on wheels. The engine overheated so I would often have to crank the heat to cool the engine. The middle section windows were manual opening and a beast to open at that. The rear window opened just a crack as well, thankfully electronically. The drivers side window was busted from the track. You couldn’t take it down all the way because you needed to grab it from the top to pull it up with the assist of the electronics and quickly remove your hand as it got to the top so it could close all the way. The passenger side window was the only one that fully functioned.

Mechanics told us the ball joints were dangerous and needed to be replaced to the tune of $1200+. Some mechanics said there was very little play in the joints. We took the advice of 2 out of 3 mechanics as one selects a chewing gum based on a dentists recommendation. Just to be safe, we never took it outside the city.

Many mornings after hearing the preaching from ‘Enjoying Everyday Life”, I would earnestly pray. Often these prayers were prompted by a luminescent light that would appear on the dash. The prayers went something like this…

“God, this is your car. Please help it to last.”

“God, we can’t afford a new car. Can you somehow total this one so we can buy a new one with the insurance money?”

“God, can you somehow total the car without anyone getting hurt? Oh, and can you be sure Sienna isn’t in the car??”

Oh, yes. These were real and authentic. Prayed from the heart, just as sister Joyce inspired me to. I didn’t pray just for the result… I prayed out of desperation!

I recall driving down the expressway in Hannah with my daughter. We spotted a beautiful car. It was a white Sebring convertible. I said to Sienna, “That’s the kind of car dad would like.” [pause a few seconds] We both broke out in laughter– David’s car is a file cabinet on wheels. We both had the same image of a car driving down the road with papers flying behind him!

Sometimes I would see a Sebring on the road, covet it, and then think… “Maybe someday an elderly couple will trade in their car and we can afford to buy one.”

These are real, authentic thoughts from yours truly. And here is how it played out…

I was on the way home from work one night. I was only driving 35 mph when a van turned in front of me, safely, into the High School. The man behind the sober driver followed suit and Hannah and I T-boned his van. It was his first offense as a drunk driver. Three-times over the legal limit and on the way to pick up his teenagers from an after-school practice.

When you ask God to use you any way He sees fit, don’t limit the possibilities.

No one was hurt in the crash. I had a class to teach that night so Sienna wasn’t in the car. If you’re not already, pretend to be surprised by this detail. I made my way to my class and was able to drive the car for another week before she couldn’t make it any longer. Considering the circumstances, the inebriated man’s insurance company was quite accommodating. I was able to rent a small car to test if we could downsize to a compact model as I hoped. Driving a minivan was much too much for my personal liking. We rented a VW Bug. She was so cute!

I spent the next month looking for a replacement when I had time. I had very little time.

One lunch hour, I ventured into a Chrysler dealership. I had visited a few on the recommendation of a friend who works for the manufacturer but was discouraged by what I found in our price range. Most were still promising makes and models with at least 100k miles on them. Who knew how long they would last? Finally, I was shown two cars in my price range. Both had 100K miles on them. Both were convertibles. One was in import, the other domestic. The sales manager said to the salesman, “Hey, is that Sebring on the lot?”

It was.

31k miles
White
Tan top
Immaculate interior

Seriously, how could this be?? It was the exact car I coveted on the freeway. The car I used to think we could afford when and elderly couple tired of their little toy. That is exactly what this car was– the only flaw was the dried tires from sitting in a garage too long.

I put money down on the car after a test drive. It was December so convertibles weren’t flying out the door but someone had shown up at the dealership after I drove the car to check it out too. That night, I said to my husband, “This is the car you’ve been talking about for years, why aren’t you more excited?”

“I like the convertible”, he said.

“It is a convertible”, I replied.

We’ve enjoyed the car for almost five years now. We even put the top down in December (in Wisconsin) to view Christmas light displays in full 360 viewing. Hot cocoa and a blanket made it more like a sleigh ride.

But the top of my knees are now more tan than the rest of my legs and the car has 118k miles on the engine. My trusty mechanic said they rarely make it above 90-95k. I feel blessed to have made it this far. When it reached 100k miles, I took it to the lakefront and contemplated a name. Since the finish was intensely white, the name Moses seemed appropriate. It wasn’t as trendy as “Hannah” though.

I finally experienced a ball-joint busting with Moses. You know, the repair I feared when we owned Hannah. I had just come off the expressway and was in a not-so-wonderful neighborhood on the way to pick up my daughter from her inner-city school. When the joint snapped, it was literally as if the car was placed on the side of the road between a driveway and a city street. No one… No one bothered me in a neighborhood that is intrigued by fair-skinned folks, especially those in distress. The tow truck arrived to take me to my trusty mechanic II… this one near our home as opposed to trusty mechanic I whose shop is near my former office. Mechanic I was the one who told me I’d have about six months of life on the ball joint. He was precise.

Trusty mechanic II fixed the ball joint at about half the estimate of trusty mechanic I.

A few months later, I took the car to a dealership for a diagnostic. It was making front end noise that my husband could not fix. The end result was just that a better after-market part was needed for the repair. I’m including this part in the story because the service manager was surprised at how little damage was on the front fender considering the ball-joint snapped while the car was in motion. I told him my testimony– how blessed I felt having just driven over the high-rise bridge. Had the joint snapped five minutes earlier, I could have sailed into the bridge wall, perhaps over it and into our favorite Mexican restaurant below for my final visit.

I’ve been prompted to put Moses up for sale. My dear husband kind of wanted to keep him. David likes to keep everything. While I’m grateful he has kept me around, there are many things in our home that have served their usefulness. We have a ’72 Datsun in the garage as a testimony to his optimism that everything has potential. I may take a welding class next semester to finally start the repairs on that rat-trap taking up half of our 2-car garage. I digress, once again.

Something in me [read: Spirit-driven] prompted me to wash the car late last week. On Monday I was compelled to drive to a dealership recommended by our friend to see what they had on the lot. At the very least I figured I’d get a used car saleman keeping watch out for a gem for us. That wasn’t necessary. It was already there.

I looked at trucks because I’m hopeful to work with David at the beginning of the new year to assist with his remodeling business. Scoff if you must. I don’t blame you considering you only know a part of our marital testimony. It’s going to have a happy ending… trust me!

Trucks, even used up trucks, are not in our budget.

I’m happy to report God provided another low-mileage gem. I’m going to pray it through to ensure it’s not too good to be true. Once again, he knew the earnest desires of my heart…

“God, I’m ready to let the convertible go for someone else to enjoy. Can you find us a car with a sunroof? I just want to look up and see you when I’m driving.”

He did.

Just 44k miles on the odometer and a sunroof.
Four doors so my daughter’s 6’+ friend of a boy doesn’t have to crawl behind the front seat when he returns to the States.
A fifth seat belt so we aren’t limited to transport more than a few [live] bodies.
Seats that are not so low to the ground for my aging body and a smoother ride for the same reason.
Fold-down rear seats so I can haul large-format artwork or a daughter to college… whatever the need may be.

I could go on about how divine this appointment was. The saleswoman is a stamper too… he added that detail like a cherry on top of a hot fudge sundae!

No, I don’t believe in ‘name it/claim it’ gospel messages. I do believe God knows the ernest nature of your heart as well as the desires of your heart. With me, He has to be VERY specific so I pay attention lest I believe I’m coming into something by my own fruition.

Cars are not my favorite necessity. We have a long history of mistrust. Until the day I drive a bike or Moped around the quaint village near my modest home, I will trust God to provide what we need. He’s going above and beyond doing exceedingly great things for us. We are blessed.

Moses was just a car.
Hannah was just a van.
Store up your treasures in heaven.
Here on earth, moths and rust destroy that which we covet.

Don’t worship the tangible blessings; worship the provider of the blessings.

Ride on!

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