I’ve been intending to write about this for over a month. Now I’m finally getting to it!
In the month of May, the brakes on our van quit working properly. They worked, but only sometimes. We took the van and had the brakes fixed for $400. We decided that we would stop our debt snowball and save up for a replacement van. We figured that we could have enough saved by the end of August for a $4000 van. Goal set, plan initiated!
June was a sad month — my husband’s grandmother passed away. Without going into all the details, we were leaving for the funeral in separate cars. We were already running a little late and my husband was supposed to be a pall bearer. As I began to back out of the driveway, a car passed behind me. I pressed the brakes and nothing happened. NOT good!!! I pushed again. The pedal went all the way to the ground and I got a slow stop. This was a Friday. We went on to the funeral and made it home without incident. I am SO thankful that no one pulled out in front of the van or stopped suddenly or any number of things that could have happened.
Over the weekend, we discussed what to do if the brakes were unable to be fixed. We were not in a position to be able to buy a new van. We have made a commitment not to go into any more debt — no matter what. We have pushed through desires and needs sometimes wanting to give in and just use a credit card, but we have refused and continued on the path to financial freedom. This time I was feeling like we needed to just give in and get a loan that would get us something reliable, then put it into our debt snowball. Several discussions later, we decided that we needed to wait and find out what the mechanic said.
Monday morning, Chris took the van in. Sometime later he called and left me a voicemail… the brakes were not able to be fixed. As he later put it to a friend, our van was a big paperweight! Sigh. I had made up my mind the night before that I wanted to stick with the committment to find a way to deal with this debt-free. I did not tell Chris about that, so I don’t know exactly what he was thinking. As soon as I got the message, I said through tears, “God, you’re going to have to drop a van in our laps. We’re stuck unless you do it.” Then I picked up the phone and called Chris.
He works in our church office and before I called had told the church secretary about our situation. Her response?
“If I had known two weeks ago, there was a family who was trying to give away a van!” After two weeks, it was probably a long shot, but he was going to call and see if it happened to still be available. Chris told me all this when I called. Just that bit of hope caused tears of relief and joy in me. I didn’t even know if they still had the van, but it was enough hope for me!
The family did have the van. In fact, they had offered it to the elders of our church for a new ministry that we have. The elders had just told them Sunday that they appreciated the offer but couldn’t use the van. Sunday night, this family had been praying for a family in our church that needed just such a van. Give you the chills? It does me! So she told Chris to let her talk to her husband and pray about it and they would call us back Tuesday. Chris told her that we couldn’t pay much but we could pay something. They called us back and asked $1500 for a van that’s probably worth $4500 to $5000!
That was so perfect. It allowed them to get a little something for the van, but kept us from feeling any obligation towards them. By Friday we had the money gathered together for them and had a new van. God provided at the exact moment that we needed it!
The story gets better still. Our old van had about 150,000 miles, only one sliding door, and no rear air. Not having rear air is a difficult thing in Florida! The air that did work was leaky and had to be recharged twice each summer. This van has 60,000 miles, two automatic sliding doors, fully functioning air (front & rear, no leaks), AND a reverse sensor that beeps when backing up close to something. God blesses in so many ways. This is one awesome tangible way that I think my 4.5 year old will remember for a long time! Over a month later and he still sometimes thanks God for the van that He gave us. For that matter, I very often continue to give Him thanks for not only providing but abundantly blessing!