One-hundred-twenty-seven-thousand-one-hundred-and-fifty-four miles. When we bought our van six years ago, it had 74,000 miles on it. We promptly drove it across the country to California, then back again eight months later. It has seen the birth of three kids, many u-turns, beautiful roadtrips, and at least one or two sets of new tires. It has experienced extreme gas spikes, survived blizzards and blazing sun, and heard many Adventures in Odysseys.
When we were living in Roatan, Honduras, we knew we would need a vehicle once we returned to the States. About a month before we left I started looking online. I got so discouraged because there was nothing within our price-range. Matthew reminded me that we didn’t need it yet, so that is why it wasn’t available yet.
About a week before we left I gave in to the urge and looked again. There is was. Everything I had prayed for: CD-player, sunroof, the right color, cruise control, and all under our price-range. I knew that it would stay un-bought until we arrived, if God wanted us to have it. The previous year we had saved up enough money to buy it in cash. So, when we got home, the following day we drove all the way up to New York, took it for a spin, prayed and felt God’s peace over buying it, and plunked down every penny.
We somehow all fit and somehow have survived without a DVD-player (although now that the kids know they exist, they are praying our next van will have one!)
In California, our Christmas tree was longer than the van. We drove home very slowly on the twisty-turvy road with the 17-foot tree hanging down over all of the windows. What a memory. Another memory that stands out is when we were driving home from CA. Right before we left, Matthew noticed that one or two of the tires had become so worn and thin that they had developed bubbles on the rims. I’m so thankful he never told me. Since we were penniless at that point in our lives, after having spent 8 months without a job and doing a Bible internship program, we didn’t get them replaced. We spent the bulk of our driving through the night. He said he remembers just praying through Kansas that the tires wouldn’t blow. We had all of our stuff packed very carefully around the spare tire. Two-thousand miles later, safely in my parent’s driveway in PA, he showed me the tires. How thankful we were!
So, although the paint is no longer shiny, the seats have perpetual crumbs and stains on them, the rugs are caked with years of little snowy, muddy, dirty shoes and feet standing on them… it is a part of our family and has brought us to so many places. It has to be one of the top material blessings that God has gifted to us. And, today, it passed inspection for another year. I think it deserves a vacuum!