It's huge. It's red. And it's amazing that it is sitting on our driveway.
We, the Chew Crew, are pleased to present to you the newest member of the family.
After accepting a job offer at University of Virginia, Claude's and my thoughts turned toward the lack of heat in our van. One day, as I drove past a large car dealership in our area, I thought to myself, "Wouldn't it be great if God just bought us a new van for our trip?" I laughed about it then. But I'm laughing even more now!
As some may remember, last week we came to a crisis(ish) point with our Chrysler van. I left that post with an addendum saying that the car was going to the mechanic because the repair might be about half of the original quoted cost. It turns out that the mechanic was hopeful but not accurate. Once he had a good look at the van, he gave us the news we knew to expect.
Everything. Absolutely everything, from the dashboard would have to be removed. The HVAC needed to be taken out, and one or two small, inexpensive parts would need to be replaced. It would take 10 hours of labor to get it all done. The mechanic even asked Claude if he really wanted to pay for this work since the van was barely worth the price of the repair. But we didn't have another vehicle, so what else could we consider?
The question still remained, though. How were we going to pay for such a pricey repair?
In the midst of all of this, Claude had emailed our church community and asked them to pray. The problem needed some big intervention from God and we needed a lot of wisdom to make appropriate decisions. So, our church prayed and we prayed and after a couple of days we thought we came to a solution.
We would get some heated blankets for the kids, rig up a space heater to warm the inside of the car in the mornings, and wait until some funds that we hadn't considered using before would be available to purchase a different vehicle. This seemed like a reasonable solution that would work within our means.
On Sunday evening we were about to make an online order for electric blankets for the car when we received an email.
The Lord had provided a very generous gift to us to be used for the repair or to go toward a car that would fit our needs. We were stunned.
As we prayed to thank God for giving so abundantly through His people, we started asking how we should use the funds. I'm not sure what happened, but something switched in both of our thinking. We sat down, ran some quick calculations, and realized that we could probably get a new van before we left Texas.
Claude hit the ground running on Monday morning, calling a dealer where we had found a van within our price range. By the end of the day we had put a deposit on it and were getting our Toyota Corolla ready to be traded in.
Come Monday night, I was feeling a bit nervous about the whole thing. What if we weren't supposed to be going through with this? What if the cost ended up being too high? What if the wheel covers for the Corolla didn't arrive in time for the trade in? What if...what if...what if???
We even realized that we had a gap in our moving budget. A gap that we couldn't close on our own. I would be lying if I said I wasn't stressed out about this!
So, we just kept praying, knowing that God would do something.
About 11:00am on Tuesday morning I got an email from Claude. His department at work had won some award or recognition and everyone in the department could expect a bonus in their next pay check. The amount was for nearly the exact amount of the gap in our moving budget. I couldn't believe it!
Five minutes later the doorbell rang. On our doorstep were the wheel covers Claude had ordered just two days prior - wheel covers we needed to put on our Corolla to help out its trade in appraisal. Again, I was blown away by God's timing.
Then came Tuesday night. Claude came home to tell me that more had been added to the monetary gift we received word about over the weekend. He put down two checks and an envelope of cash. We were amazed!
Before the week was over, God provided again and again. Envelopes from people at church, an email saying that someone was giving toward our move/car needs, and support from family and friends.
Needless to say, it is incredible that just one week from writing a post about coming to the end of our resources, there is a monstrous red van on our driveway. For a few years Claude and I have been talking about our next "move" with a car. We would love to have more children, and if the Lord gave us more then we would need more seats in our vehicle to accommodate them. But we never imagined that it would happen like this or at this time.
This process has reminded me of how God gave me a violin back in college. He could have been conservative in His provision, but He wasn't. His gift, through a very generous believer, was extravagant. With our heater situation He could have also been conservative. We could have been driving to VA with electric blankets and a space heater. We would have been warm and we would have been content. But God didn't stop at just providing a working heater. He blessed us above and beyond our needs and our expectations.
We praise the Lord for His abundant blessings! And we are incredibly grateful to each person who played a part in the pouring out of His provision to us. We don't even know who most of you are, but we want to thank you for being a part of God showering His love on us. It has been overwhelming and so amazing!
The kids are calling the new van "The Big Red Van". Jeremiah has deemed it "The Big Red Bus". But I have been thinking of it as "The Blessing Mobile" to remind us of this time, when receiving the Lord's blessing has been like standing at the foot of a breaking dam.
And who knows. Maybe one day the seats will be filled with blessings. And no, that's not an announcement of more additions to the Crew. ;)