It’s no secret that I tote three kiddos around in the back of a Toyota Corolla. Three carseats smashed in that back seat like sardines (two Radians and a Scenera… poor baby in the middle). I love my Corolla, but it’s just time for the mini-van. We were saving for it and praying for a van.
Late August Derek got in a wreck. He barely bumped the truck in front of him at 10mph, but sent the truck’s trailer hitch right though his headlight and into the radiator. His 1999 Saturn was officially totaled a few days later.
We were committed to paying cash for our ‘new’ van and did not have nearly enough yet saved to purchase one even with the cash for his totaled car. We asked his very generous parent if they could lend us their “child emergency fund” and we could pay them back come spring and our tax return. They agreed and gave us a figure to shop for.
We had around $8000 total with his parent’s loan and shopped in earnest. Being that we want to drive the ‘new’ van into the ground, we wanted her to last a good long while. We searched for as long as the insurance would let us keep a rental and then another 2 weeks I stayed at home while Derek took my car. We were interested in a few vans (and one Chrysler Pacifica Touring wagon/crossover), but they either came not passing inspection or would/could not drop the price to be in our range.
All the mini-van doors were closing and, yet, we had peace.
Our small group leaders talked to their car hoarding father about parting with their Toyota Camry. We purchased it a half week later for $500 less than the money received for the totaled Saturn.
We smiled at our still full emergency/saving account and had hope for purchasing a minivan in the spring. Yet, we still wondered why our van prayers were unanswered.
A week later we closed on a refinance of the house. We were bringing our interest rate WAY down and allowing ourselves to prepay an extra $200 a month toward being debt free. We had thought the process would be mostly free for us, but because our home valued at less than we thought, we were required to pay enough to bring the debt down to less than 90% of our house value. A $1000 dollars slipped out of our emergency savings toward being debt free.
Six weeks later, I elbowed Derek awake in the bed startled by a strange noise that sounded like a cross between a motorcycle and a cat in heat. He popped out of bed and immediately started flipping breakers off. Our air handler was having an issue. We called an HVAC service company. It not worth it to repair it, we had to replace it.
All of the remaining money except $300 disappeared from our emergency savings account.
All of our van money.
Gone in an instant.
Yet, Derek and I were giddy like the kids at the beach. We knew why we didn’t own a van! We knew that our God had prepared us financially for this emergency (lows the week of no-heat hovered around 52 degrees IN the house) by saying no to our van dream at that time.
The day the repair was complete Derek opened an envelope and pulled out a check. He started laughing.
“What?” I said.
“We just got a check for over a grand.” He replied.
I looked at him skeptically. “You’re kidding, right?”
“No. Really.” He said between laughter. “It’s the leftovers from our old mortgage escrow account.”
Our emergency fund (which we try never to let go below a grand) was restored above that point.
I don’t own a van. I still have three kids strapped across the back of a Sedan (though I’m currently driving the Camry so the kiddos have a wee bit more wiggle room). I don’t even have 1/2 of what we had had saved for the van.
No, but I have a God who provided for all our needs through a very strange set of circumstances and the faith to trust him more. That’s a pretty awesome trade-off, don’t you think?
(Thanks here from our beach trip. Written in a spare notebook… taken awhile to track down the graces)
- Sunrise 9 stories high on the beach
- Ham and eggs
- Sand and pools
- Aeralind jumping in the lazy river when I wasn’t looking
- Giggles and singing with my girls in the lazy river
- Sleepy boy cuddles
- Shovels, buckets and a net in the condo
- Heading over to Huntington to see the birds and alligators
- Derek and I praying for an alligator to be close to shore and seeing one with the girls just as we left
- Bronwyn cautiously approaching the alligator “Mommy, I scary.”
- More sand
- Sedryn lying over our sand pit and splashing when the waves filled it
- Just a few scrapes and bruises on me and not on Sedryn when I slid/fell into the kiddie pool
- Pineapple and hot chocolate with a sunset and all my family
- early bedtime for all
- Yummy breakfast
- Long beach walk
- Aerie walking behind me “I walk in Mommy’s feet” (Footprints)
- Singing with Sedryn
- One good long nap for Sedryn finally on this trip
- Bronwyn and Aerie beggine for Kay Kay to ride with them
- Toddler girl wardrobe shopping in styles that fit their personalities
- Nerd shirt for Sedryn
- All 3 kids gleefully coming down the slide
- Sedryn waiting for daddy to push him down
- All of us exploring Anthropologie
- Little girls pouring over tons of books at Barnes and Nobles
- Ice Cream
- Quiet evening with Sedryn
- Sedryn fighting a nap and for once falling asleep on the bed with me. Napping in a big boy bed.
- A new book that corresponds so sell with Ladies Bible Study
- Girls coming back with Halloween art masks and Necklaces and spiders and tales of feeding fish at the Papa’s fish show at Bass Pro
- Everyone safely asleep