Dec 11, 2013

Our Car and His Care


So....I was thinking, weather or not to post this little...story....but then I thought....well often...(if not always?!) I tend to only mention the good things that happen and not elaborate on the...not so good. 

And I think this is - because I do try to see the good in each situation - which is funny, because I'm not an optimist!  I tend to call myself a realist, with pessimist tendencies.  Hahaha!

;)

But God is good and I know that - so when things arise - after my initial meltdowns, woe is me's and tears - I will look to Him and thus ultimately to the good in what lays before us.




 
So when our car died a few weeks ago...I was needless to say, none to pleased!  Thankfully it died on the front lawn, after hubby returned home from work one Friday night - so we had a whole weekend (three days, in our house) to figure out the problem. (trying to see the good already! *wink*)  It wasn't so much, dead, I guess, as that it wouldn't start.  The ignition and steering wheel were both locked and would not budge.

Some Googling time later and a call to my hubby's mechanic uncle - we had diagnosed that the cylinders in the ignition were shot.  Our car is thirteen years old - so not a surprising part to break down.  We had worked out that it would run us around $300-$500 - not great....Christmas was around the corner and well....we didn't really have that money on hand. 

We had been trying hard the last couple of months to really focus on our budget.  We had been having weekly budget 'dates' to review our finances and to keep us on track.  We knew it was going to take sometime to get things straightened out but that if we were faithful, He would be faithful.  We had vowed to NOT go into debt for this Christmas - a bad habit from years past - and one we planned to change this year.

So this bill for the car was....realistically, going to have to go on credit, but only until the new year - so that we could make it through the holidays and keep on track.  (Yes, I realize that this doesn't make the best financial sense but we're learning here people - baby steps, baby steps! lol!!)

We told Dave's uncle to look into finding the part needed and then we waited.  Two weeks passed and our car continued to sit as a lovely, expensive lawn ornament.  As we put up the Christmas lights, I had half a notion to deck out the car with a strand because it looked like it was going nowhere anytime soon.


 



Tired of waiting on the uncle - we gave him a call, to discover that he had been so busy that he hadn't even looked for the part yet.  We were a little more then annoyed as we had been juggling getting hubby to work and the girls to school without our second vehicle.

But our amazing neighbours had been our heroes - and had lent us their van so that I could drive the gals to school and Dave could take our van to work.  But it was now nearing the last few days of November and they had plans to not renew the plates or licence on their van come the end of the month.

So we took matters into our own hands.  Hubby called around and in about 20 minutes we had the part ordered and it would be in the next day.  A few calls later and we had an appointment for the following week at the local garage.  Things were looking up.  And again, our loving neighbours offered to help us transport the car to the garage to save us money on the tow.

And I had meant to take pictures of them loading up the car on that flat bed, using a tractor! It was great - not the easiest job, because remember, the steering wheel was locked - but they got it done and in short time too!


So here is where I'm going to speed up the story a bit - because honestly, that's what it felt like living through it.  From the point our car got to the garage and to the time we picked it up - it felt like a snow ball, rolling down a steep hill, gaining in both speed and size!




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Yes....you see....when we bought our car, five years ago, it was not because it was pretty, or had a nice stereo or even because it had amazing heated leather seats - no, we bought it for two reasons.  One; we could afford it.  Two, it was small enough to fit on our front lawn.  That's all we had for parking at the time, in our last house, and that car fit the bill for size.

What we didn't know, when we bought our car, was the name - Infinity - apparently isn't just the type of car but the price tag that goes along with fixing it!  For the past few years, we had been able to fix up any problems with standard parts...but this ignition....well....as it turns out....can't just be 'standard'.

So the rest of the story played out like this; car part was installed on Thursday - the garage called hubby at work.  The part is in, but there's a code that comes up.  We need it moved to a Nissan dealer to reprogram the keys.  Nissan dealer is 30 minutes away.  Pay for tow.  Friday, Nissan calls; we can't program these keys - we need to order a chip key from an Infinity dealer.  Infinity dealer is an hour away.  Key won't be in until Monday - key cost $177 - JUST.FOR.ONE.STINKING.KEY!  Hubby calls part place from where we ordered the part, "You didn't order the right part!  I had said it was a chip key, now they tell us they have to order a chip key for this part"
Guy on phone: "Well, yes, I know - we can't order the chip keys with the replacement parts."  Hubby: "Okay, but why didn't you tell me up front?"
Guy on phone: "Whether I told you or not, you still had to spend the extra money!"

Helpful right?!?!  Anyways - Nissan ordered the key and we finally went Monday to pick up our little car.  Oh and not before they told us that the battery was dead so they had to replace it.  And so the final bill people on our $300-$500 job??

$1200!

OUCH!

We, were....a little....in shock!


We didn't have the initial money to pay for this fix and now, well, we really didn't have the money for this fix.  Exasperated, we took out all that was left on our line of credit.  That's it folks, maxed out! 

And so.....where's the 'good' side of this you ask?

Well, here is what we've come to.  We were trying to be faithful with our money, trying to be honouring to God and get on track and with this blow - we really felt abandoned.   But after a few days and some sleep, things cleared a little.  What we have concluded is, now we have no choice but to trust Him. 

We can't say, "Hey, we'll try, but if we don't do a good job we'll just borrow!" Nope.  Not now -there's nothing to borrow!  So, it's scary - because we've always had that back up, that 'if something happens' or 'if we just don't want to wait' access to credit.  But now....nothing.

So it's for real people.  We have to officially live within our means and that's scary.....and liberating....and extremely humbling!


So we will manage through the Holiday season and have, HAVE to stick to what money we have.  Hubby will work Christmas eve - even though he doesn't have to go in - because we also learned, for the first time in four years, they are not paying him for the week of plant shut down.  It's going to be a challenge but God is good and He will lead us through this...in whatever that may look like.


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And even when I sat in the darker days of, woe is me, tears and meltdowns, God was there.  No it didn't help when someone recommended I turn to scripture and I happen upon Amos and Jeremiah - neither of which was too encouraging.  But what did help was really looking for God, in amongst all of this.

Looking to see Him in the provision of amazing neighbours/friends, who towed our car, lent us their van, drove our kiddos to school and even bought a new snowsuit for our little boy!  My BFF who drove out to pick me up for my midwife appointment, watched my boy for me while I was at said appointment and even came to the hospital when they had to do an unplanned ultrasound to find the heart beat, (all is well, thanks be to God!).  Seeing God's care in the mystery giver who placed an envelope containing $50 in our church mail box and in having much love and support around us.

All in all - it is only money after all and most of what we are 'suffering' through, as I have taken to putting many things lately - are just first world problems! 

God is bigger then money, bigger then debt and bigger that the box I often place Him in.  We look with anticipation, unknowing and the occasional bout of doubt at the season before us and the new year that is fast approaching and look to our Lord for guidance, wisdom and strength.




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For this season, is truly about Him, is it not?  And I keep saying I need to focus on that, to really see the Christ in Christmas!  There is so much good, even in the 'bad' around us, if we look, focus and praise Him in it all!

So I'm praying for us and for each of you that as this Christmas season is underway, that our focus is on all the blessings that God gives each day.  That we focus on Him, praise Him and truly worship Him - no matter what may come our way. 



Blessings and much joy to each of you as you prepare for and celebrate this glorious season!







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5 comments:

  1. Ahh, life....and so it goes. Having been through some of these types of trials, I know. God is always faithful. Love you guys and praying for you. And if you turn to those Amos Jeremiah type scriptures, flip back to Psalms for a little while until things calm down. ;)

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  2. I wish, so bad, I would have read this post before sending you that FB message - late last night.

    (((HUGS)))

    You know - Kaitlin. This is certainly another "suspenseful" chapter of your, God written, life-story.. right here. Thank you for your exemplary showing of humility. You always continue to encourage me!!

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  3. Oh, I can so relate to the car expenses piling up - we have quite a bill we're working on too, all related to car stuff! Yuck.

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  4. Ugh, your key story reminds me of the time we had a Volvo! We had to buy one of those expensive keys! In all, they are so much more expensive to work on than your basic American made (Ford or Chevrolet!) cars are, though they will typically last a lot longer. I drive an almost 12 year old suburban and it just keeps on ticking. I keep waiting for it to leave me stranded on the side of the road with three children one day, haha!

    Anyway, I love the "moral" of your story, though! God IS faithful! And He is good. And there is nothing, no, nothing (!!) that can surprise Him.

    Hooray for sweet friends and neighbors! :) Blessings to you this Christmas, friend.

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  5. Praying for you and your sweet family. May God continue to watch over and protect and guide you through these next months. Praise God for awesome friends, neighbors and mystery envelopes! Have a very Merry and Blessed Christmas! {hugs}

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