Interesting title, huh? I kid you not – the Holy Spirit spoke this title into my heart the other day. I’m sure I had the same reaction as you… “What the?!?!?!” … but here goes:
Back in the spring of 2011, Tony (my husband) heard from the Lord that we should move from the luxury apartment we were in and move to another apartment complex in our local area. Nothing too crazy about that except, we went from a very nice, spacious, luxury apartment to a – what I call “hood” apartment. Tiny, old, run down place… embarrassing! Not a place where you want to host get-togethers or dinners… none of that stuff. Just a place for our family to bathe, dress, eat and sleep. Simple…
My car – in 2009 I had a nice Hyundai Santa Fe, with a pretty nice car note as well. One day it just decided to break down. It wasn’t under warranty so we emptied our savings to try to get it fixed, it worked for a couple more weeks and took it’s final breath. Praise the Lord that it broke down but started back up just enough for us to coast into my In-Laws’ driveway area, then it died… for real. That car got repossessed a couple months later.
My wonderful In-laws handed me a 1996 Toyota Corolla. They gave it to me. It took a minute to adjust to having an older car after riding in such a “nicer” SUV, but I adjusted none the less.
In the winter of 2010 a terrible snow/ice storm came through. My windshield became the victim of a terrible crack from the ice. Barely making ends meet at the time, the windshield repair would just have to wait.
Fast forward again:
For the past 10 months I have worked in Nashville. I remember when I first started working out there, I was scared. I’m used to my Williamson County “bubble”. The buildings are nice, the houses are nice, the curve appeal is nice… but in certain parts of Nashville, it’s not nice. In fact, you see the reality of some very sad things that are happening right here in our own back yard.
One day I stopped at Panera Bread in Nashville, which I regularly do, and as I was walking back to my car I saw a car that looked exactly like mine EXCEPT it was missing a hub cap. Seriously, it took me a second to size my car up, check out the windshield (yes, the crack is STILL there after 2 years) and realize this IS my car and apparently I have lost a hub cap along the way. I laughed for a second and thought, “Well, I fit right in with this area now.”
But at 5:00 PM I would pack up my stuff, leave Nashville and head back to my “hood” apartment in Franklin. My three hub caps are fine in Nashville or even at my “hood” apartment but my embarrassment built as I arrived at my church one Wednesday evening, or the Panera in Cool Springs, or to an outing for a friend’s birthday. God was starting to pull some things out of my heart that didn’t belong there.
Are we poor? Absolutely not! We have definitely had our share of tough times (2 lost jobs,losing a house, repossessed car, bankruptcy at the age of 24… the American Dream ay?). I’m sure one day I’ll share the deep details of our story via blog but you guys know me – I’m an open book. There is nothing to hide here. Our financial turmoil was a toxic concoction of circumstances, “young’n’dumb”, and the economy on top of 2 lost jobs and a brand new baby… not to mention that school loans stick around FOREVER and can’t be written off and just because you file bankruptcy doesn’t mean that any bills you accumulate afterwards (Doctors, Dentists, Hospital, etc) don’t belong to you. We decided from the start that our marriage and our child was more important than trying to keep up with the facade that all was well in the Poynter household but even more so in the Poynter checkbook.
Can I not buy new hub caps and get my windshield replaced? I can. Sure. But God has called Tony and I to a walk of obedience and it just isn’t time for those things yet. Can we move to a “nicer” place? We can… but it’s just not time for that yet. As Peter and the Apostles said in Acts 5:29 “We must obey God rather than human beings! “
I was telling God the other day that He really has a sense of humor! As I was giggling with Him I wondered how many people truly should be driving around with a cracked windshield and missing hub caps but are too afraid of what others might think of them if they ever allowed themselves to be seen for who they truly are underneath it all.
This obviously goes far beyond hub caps and windshields –
I just turned 27 years old… about a year ago I discovered WHO I am and Who’s I am. These two things alone have changed my life completely. I am continuously overwhelmed that the God who spoke the universe into existence could love me, care for me, and want the best for me. After 9 months of paralyzing, and I mean PARALYZING – fear, panic, anxiety, and depression, The Lord showed me who I am. “Hood” apartment, cracked windshield, missing hub caps, Goodwill clothing, DOES NOT DEFINE ME. Jesus Christ defines me!!! I have had plenty of stuff in my life and could have stuff now if I wanted to have it – it’s just not time. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with stuff, you know if you’re abusing it, I can’t judge you. Tony and I know what God has asked us to do and so we walk it out – even if that causes us to be laughed at, belittled, or overlooked… that’s okay – I know who I am.
Today my Pastor preached on Courage. It was an amazing teaching! My heart was convicted while listening to him speak the Truth. He talked about how God does not call us to have comfort. He does call us to have rest but NOT necessarily comfort. My conviction came because I often think about how once I get to move out of my “hood” apartment then my life can really start. I will be more willing to have people over, maybe host a small group, every thing will be more organized, I’ll spend more quiet time with the Lord because I’ll have more space. Wow! Wow! Wow! Talk about a shock to the heart! I’m totally missing the point here. I don’t have to wait until I’m out of the “hood” apartment! If anything God has stripped away so that I can spend uninterrupted time with Him and maybe, just maybe to show others out there that we can hide behind our pretty houses but if every thing is falling apart on the inside, is the house really that important? Who are we trying to impress? Why are we trying to impress anyway?
I can tell you that I am happier now than I ever was when I had all my stuff. Our goal is to have a house again and a nice vehicle again … in due time … the right way.
Until then – we march on in obedience in this season … with 3 hub caps and a cracked windshield.
Love to you always!