Thursday, March 3, 2016

Dodgy's Last Ride

Today we said goodbye to Dodgy, the 2003 Dodge Status we've been driving for the past twelve years.  I first started driving her in January of 2004, after I returned from studying abroad and needed a car to get to my off-campus job.  My parents blessed me with this car and she faithfully got me through college, through Eli's med school years, through residency and beyond.  For many years Dodgy was our only car, and my 6'5" husband willingly squeezed into that small car time and time again because it was our only way to get from Point A to Point B.  Despite all the bumps and bruises she acquired along the way, Dodgy served us well...all the way to Africa.

During the grad school years, we started praying that Dodgy would last us until we returned to Africa.  Our eyes were set on Africa even then, and we wanted to live in such a way that was financially responsible (to minimize debt in the years before eventually heading back overseas) as well as being content with what God had already provided (instead of expecting and asking for something else).  In light of that, we thanked God repeatedly for our car - which was the only car we drove during those four years - and prayed repeatedly that Dodgy would last until we could return to Africa.

God did not disappoint!

Time and time again, He provided the means for us to repair Dodgy when she needed it.  We were living on loans during grad school and couldn't afford a new car without taking out more loans, so in His goodness the Lord was repeatedly faithful to provide the money to repair Dodgy instead of replace her.  And break down she did!  But we offered our willingness to keep driving her as long as He allowed us to, and He kept offering to help her get fixed.

Even though she wasn't a perfect car, we were content.  Despite the many times people asked, "You're still driving that thing?" we laughed and said yes, we're satisfied.  We don't mind getting around in a car that's too small for Eli, or whose driver door lock hasn't worked for approximately six years, or whose exterior has been rusting and falling off from years of driving in Midwestern winters.  In other words, the condition of a car is not what matters to us, and we hope that value will serve us well no matter where in the world we are.

Dodgy took us many places, and on many road trips, and built up many miles, and she never left us stranded on the side of the road, thanks be to God.  We've been praying for at least eight years that Dodgy would last us until we returned to Africa, and ultimately the Lord let us drive her until last month, when she had her last ride just two months shy of our departure for Kenya.  Eli was driving Dodgy home from work at the urgent care when the driver-side wheel started acting up enough that he put the hazards on and made it slowly back to the house.  We knew it wasn't safe to drive her again in that condition, and it was finally not worth putting money into repairing her anymore.  For the first time since I began driving her twelve years ago, God officially put the brakes on.  In essence, He said, "I've heard your prayers and I've seen your content hearts.  I've provided for you with this car.  Dodgy has seen you to Minnesota to Chicago back to Minnesota and then to Michigan.  And now her job is done because I'm sending you to Africa."  We cannot thank God enough for His faithfulness to us, for literally providing for us with this car as well as further preparing our hearts for what lies ahead.

We donated Dodgy to an organization called Mother Waddles, which will use the car in whatever fashion they see fit to help the poor in Detroit and Southeast Michigan.  Our final prayer as the tow truck hauled Dodgy away this morning was that He would still use her to bless someone else, however He sees fit.  To God be the glory.

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