As the week comes to a close, I pause to reflect on all that has transpired. It’s been another whirl-wind week. But as I wait for Friday to come, I am once again in awe of God faithfulness.
The week started with Amy and I already in a dark place. And while we hoped for a bright start, Monday didn’t offer anything change. Let me begin with the cars. Through some weird paperwork, we discovered that our Town and Country was due for inspection. Now this wouldn’t have been a big, except that our Uplander was also due for inspection. Now, we’ve had the Uplander since 2005, so we knew that the inspection was coming up. However, the town and country caught us off guard.
Last week we took the Uplander in like we do every May. The result of the inspection left us having to cover an almost $900 mechanics bill.
Then came Monday. Van #2, the Town and Country was on its way to the dealer for its inspection. The van is barely a year old, so we were hopeful that all would be well. As it turned out the van ended up needing rear brake pads, not a horrible thing, and 4 new tires.
Paula, our service coordinator was super sweet. The brakes that Chryselor recommended came with a price tag of $90! Okay, so maybe brakes are a bigger deal than I thought. But them she said, she had found an after market pair of pads for $20. Yes, please. Thank you. However, the pads would need to be ordered and wouldn’t be in till Tuesday.
Now the tires. She found two sets of tires. The first came with a price tag of $480. The second set of tires came to $402. Better, but still expensive. Since I had to return on Tuesday, I said that I was going to try to find something a little less expensive. So that’s would I did. Or at least I thought I was doing.
I left the dealer and drove right it a tire store and explained the situation. Fortunately, the dealer had given me the printout of the tires they had quoted me. The guy behind the counter of the tire store searched for tire that could beat the dealers numbers. After some searching, he found the tires. Four of them. And boy, did he have a price. Only $383.00! BUT… These tires would need to be picked up at another location. He wouldn’t be able to install them till later that afternoon. Okay, fine. Let’s make it happen.
Now in the mean time, I wanted to check with one more tire dealer. But in talking with the service guys, the best they could do was 4 tires for over $500. No thank you.
So it was back to the first store. They made arrangements to pick up the tires and told me to come back in an hour. Good. I had a few other errands to run.
When the hour had passed, I rolled into the tire shop, handed over my keys and took a seat in the waiting room feeling good that I had shopped around and found a good price for my tires. So maybe Monday wasn’t going to be as bad as I thought. I pulled out the iPad, opened the YouVersion Bible app, and started reading to prepare for the sermon I would need to write this week. Just as I started, the guy behind the counter called me I not the shop.
It appears that the Town and Country had the wrong tires on it. The vehicle specs call for 225/65 R16. If you don’t know what that means, don’t worry. All you need to know was I had the wrong tires. Since the time of purchase, we had been riding on 225/60 R16’s. First, how does that happen? Wouldn’t the dealer, from whom we purchased the vehicle, have checked and discovered the bad tires when he had inspected the vehicle when it pulled in? Regardless, the tire guys said they would have to put the right size tires on. So back tot he computer to search again. Only this time the search was for the correct size!
Well he found a set, but this time, the price wasn’t as nice. Over $500! Know thank way!
By this point, I was fried. So decided to head home, all the while battling with God over why we were experiencing some really difficult times.
When I got home a made a few more phone calls, trying to track down tires that wouldn’t deplete our bank account. I also called over to the dealer to see how in the world did they miss this with the inspection. Four wrong tires? And yet they were trying to sell me new WRONG tires?
Well needless to say, the service person was surprised. But she set to work to help me find a set of tires that would meet specs and not empty the till. But the best she could do was an other of $500+ tires. It suddenly became clear, this was what we were going to have to do. So, I said go ahead, get the tires, and that I’d see her on Tuesday morning.
I get that it’s important to have cars that are safe and working properly. But the part of the story that I haven’t told you was, this was the week we would leave for vacation. Between the earlier expense for the Uplander, and now the projected bill for the Town and Country, all the money we had put aside for our vacation would be gone.
That evening we really struggled with the place we found ourselves. The last couple of weeks have been tight as we have tried to use steward our moneys faithfully. The salary of a church planter isnt enough for a family of 7 to survive on, but we believe that God has asked us to step out and trust him. But it didn’t feel like he was doing anything to care for us. We just kept seeing bills and expenses with no apparent income on the horizon. We were seriously questioning our call. Monday night was another difficult, dark night.
Tuesday arrived and I made my way to the dealer. On the way to the dealer, I prayed. Staring at a potential $700+ repair expense was frightening. But I said, “Lord, Your will be done. Whatever you are doing, we will praise you and trust you.”
I arrived. I parked. And I went to see our service person. She had a smile on her face. We exchanged our greetings, and then she leaned in. “I have to show you this.” she said. “Your $500+ tires? I found a coupon that you can use. It’s a buy 3 get the 4th for $1, with no strings attached.” I was about to save, $120. I almost cried. This was a huge blessing. God was doing something.
Suddenly the darkness broke with a slim, bright ray of light. God was beginning to remind us that he was still there.
*The story continues in the next post.