Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Scribbles and Scrambles ~In Praise of the Old Green Van and God's Faithful, Patient Teaching Skills.

I just have to say Wow! And Whew!

See. Several years ago we entered into a rough, rough season financially. Rental property can be a wonderful, lucrative, nest-egging kind of investment. It can also be a nightmare. We chose the nightmare route. And interestingly enough, the nightmare that goes with bad investments doesn't just touch the investment. It kind of sucker punches you right in the breadbasket of life.

Without all the horrifying and gory details I'll sum it up thusly. We were broke. Real bad. Foreclosures, unsecured debt, horrific debt repayment plans, zero credit cards, living on a budget that wasn't actually living, more like existing. In the hey day of this period, our beloved van, Chip, developed yet one more leak, and another rattle, his death rattle. Friends, kind friends, offered us, Bruce, the green, high-mile but more dependable van, for a small monthly payment and we accepted their kind offer.

Bruce took us all sorts of places, even after we paid him off. Even after he ate two transmissions, and praise the Lord, one was still under warranty. Within the past two years we had begun to really see some light at the end of the tunnel but also feared that our credit was still trashed for years to come, and we hoped that Bruce could still keep on, keeping on. Then last year Rob's source of income nearly dried up. We didn't have any other ideas. Our payments were still due. God intervened with the kindness of family members who helped us out, and then He sent Rob the perfect scenario job. Yes!!! This required a car that could travel long distances every day and do that inexpensively. Enter Little Blue who ate up over 300 highway miles a week and did it with a great attitude. But, could he do it again? And what about, Bruce? Is that his transmission slipping again? And that new chugging and clunking sound. What does that mean?

Then a "For Sale" sign went up at church. A small vehicle, less miles, decent price. We could maybe sell Bruce for a grand, but could we willingly sell a van that we knew wasn't feeling so hot and had a history of some serious surgical procedures? Little Blue would be a better car to keep, though. What to do? What to do? When investigating further, another family member suggested something so terrifying I nearly choked. The Cash for Clunkers deal. A new car. A car payment. Qualifying for a loan. Two of the four sounded great. But no way would be qualify. No way.

But we did. Rob put down the money he'd saved for the cheap used car he'd hoped to find. I offered up Bruce, the van, as the clunker and the bank actually approved our credit application. Wow.

So thanks, God. Really. Thanks wonderful family members and friends who encouraged us to keep plugging away and to trust in Your generosity even when the numbers didn't add up. And thanks, Bruce, for your sacrifice. May you rest in peace.