Car Cleaning Lessons

My wife and kids recently returned from an extended “vacation” from visiting our family, who all live out of state.  They live on the East Coast, and we live in the Heartland (Midwest).  We are separated by nearly 750 miles so you can see that it’s not a little hop, skip and jump away.

It takes a lot of coordination and planning (drive time, route of travel [ie.never go through West Virginia in the dead of winter], stops along the way, who to see first [ie. grandparents, aunts and uncles, or friends],

We love Bojangles

and most importantly–how many times can they eat at Bojangles [home of the most amazing chicken biscuit sandwiches and our family favorite soft drink, Cheerwine].

During their stay they have an amazing time visiting new sites, laughing with family, swimming, grilling out, and usually a week long trip to the beach or mountains [I am IMG_6301fortunate enough to usually join them in this part of the yearly expedition–some of us have a limited number of vacation days because we work-haha]. There are days of play and days of relaxing, days of shopping and days of studying because our kids are IMG_3812homeschooled and we are super mean and make them read and study over the Summer. All in all it is a great time for the kids to spend getting to grow closer to their grandparents, extended family, and most important to them–their cousins.

They have an absolute blast together and each day brings new surprises: self produced movies, acting out plays that they write together, ice cream, video games, muddy clothes, scrapes, bruises, surprise dress up parties, music concerts, and the occasional trip to the ER (yep, we had one of those this year with a skim boarding accident at the beach).

Our Little ER visit this year

However when the fun and games all ends, the family makes the trip back to the midwest where we are all reunited in our quaint little suburban house and they began to share with me all of the stories that I missed out on while they were away. AND, one of the annual traditions I get to partake in is the cleaning of the family car complete with wash, vacuum, and detailing of the inside (sometimes it looks like a battlefield, and other years it is much more subdued and civilized)–either way, this cleaning always tells the story of their Summer adventure together–this year was different.

There were no empty cups from stops along the way, there were no left over tickets from sites they had visited, there were no “cheap” souvenirs left for me to enjoy–I guess they are growing up and being a bit more responsible for taking care of their areas.  However, what I did notice in the compartments of their doors and surrounding floorboards told a new story to me:

  • my daughter’s side–glitter, lots of glitter (thank you Henry Ruschmann), lip gloss, hairbands, some finger nail polish and some sort of jeweled bracelet
  • my son’s side: ground up doritos, a spare french fry, Super Mario figurines, and a flashlight.

Seeing all of this reminded me, that God is amazing!  He has a plan for each and everyone of us. Just as the two sides of the car tell two different stories, God knew these kids and He knew each one of us before we could even imagine (Jeremiah 1:5). Cleaning the car was such a simple reminder that God wants each of us to know that as believers He cares about us with such a deep compassion that we can not even begin to grasp it or even understand it–He formed each of us with unique special traits that He wants to use to bring glory to Himself! He has a well intentioned plan (Jeremiah 29:11) that integrates our finite mortal existence into His eternal and never-ending meta-story.

Will you today trust in His plan-His creation and set aside selfish goals and ideals?

Will you today grasp and hold secure to the fact that He has a plan for you and for me?  

He has indeed designed us for His purposes.

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