We got to the tires part, and the next day Keith took a day trip to Knoxville with a buddy for a football game. On the way home, a Saturday evening after everything was closed, the Jeep started acting funny and stalling. Scared to risk any more distance, and getting farther and farther into no man's land, they decided to pull over and call our road side assistance. It just so happened that the closest place they could tow to, that was opened, was a Jeep dealership. After towing the Jeep, the next step was to get home. Our insurance covers a rental for accident based needs, but not for simple car breakdowns. This posed a little bit of a problem, but with our God, who takes care to feed the tiniest insects let alone His most cherished children, it was no surprise when the dealership cheerfully GAVE Keith a loaner car to simply take home that night. It made for a long evening, but one that ended where he could collapse in his OWN bed.
We had to wait until Monday before we could hear the news on the Jeep. It was a long 2 days, but reality didn't really set in until we got the call. They basically said it was all bad news and they were happy to put in a brand new engine for $7500. Oh, and they needed the loaner car back ASAP. This is never good news when you still OWE on the vehicle that needs the new engine. Keith and I went immediately to prayer. We weighed our options, and even made a couple little "spider" charts comparing different situations and financially how it could or couldn't work. We wanted to be all "Dave Ramsey" with our decision, but also wondering how we find a trustworthy, affordable, "craigslist" car in only a few days. Plus, the Jeep WAS at a dealership, and a trade in for something new was very tempting. The next few days were filled with more phone calls (all while Keith was trying to continue working for the money that would pay for all this craziness) and they finally worked up a deal that if we wanted to, we could do a trade in with them and they could sell us a brand new Liberty for $398230892358 a month. Okay, maybe not that much, but close enough. We thought about it for about .02 seconds before we said NO! A "Ramsey" car just felt like it was what God was telling us to do.
Keith started hitting up craiglist. It's pretty funny(though not so funny when it's your only option), some of the stuff you'll find out there. We continued to pray about it and found a few options. We had to think fast because they were needing the loaner back. Don't forget, we had our beautiful Christmas gift Belinda (not even sure I've told this story), and Keith was taking her to work every day, but she's not kid friendly at all. Once the loaner was returned we would be short a car to take the kids anywhere. We stretched our privilege through Easter so we could go to church, and continued to make calls about cars, but each one we liked was already gone. Even the 4Runner we were really excited about and actually called about ON Easter Sunday. Then Monday rolled around and our friend Aimee of New Creation Blocks came by to drop off our winning prize block for Will. We won a photo contest and chose a customized memory block of his Dedication. When she stopped over I had mentioned the situation with the Jeep, and how starting the following day, when Keith was planning on returning the loaner, we'd be carless. She told us that her husband was selling his 4Runner and she would send me some information on it. Yes, My God is an awesome God. Needless to say, it was the. perfect. match. for. us.
Will's Dedication block
Now, getting the loaner to the boondocks and the Jeep back to Spring Hill was a quest in itself. It took a LOT of finagling a few desperate facebook posts, and one amazing Angel and her husband to meet our needs with a pickup truck to borrow. Keith spent the day loading, unloading, hitching, unhitching, driving, driving, and driving until we finally got the good ole' Jeep home at last. Our next door neighbor helped him push it into the driveway since the driveshaft had to be removed. (I'm adding that part because, as I had mentioned, God is present in every detail. You'll see what I mean.)
So, making this long story longer... All things were working together for good. We had put a deposit on our friend's vehicle and were waiting on a check deposit to close the deal. Keith calls me from work. "The Nissan's not working. I ran an errand and just got back to the parking garage and it just died. I had to push it into a parking space." I have to admit. In all of her 80s splendor, I really loved Belinda. Her silvery coat and rust colored hood. Eau de gasoline scent and white noise melodies. I had started to get a little too attached, and then she went and broke my heart (and something else under the hood.) Our amazingly gracious friends did an amazingly gracious thing, and let us have their beautiful 4Runner a few days early. They even included a thick covering of prayer over the vehicle that it would be a blessing to our family. It was a fantastic day. We were suddenly a family with wheels once again. Our neighbor, sweet as can be, gave Keith a ride over to their house to pick it up.
So it turned out that Angel was selling the pretty blue pickup truck that safely brought our sweet Jeep home. And it just so happened our next door neighbor had been needing a vehicle for quite some time and REALLY wanted a pickup truck. With a little more divine intervention, God gifted two more people who had gifted us with generosity, and provided a sale for one and a truck for the other.
What will become of sweet Belinda? Still praying about that one, and the Jeep? We hope to find out exactly where the problem is and hopefully get it fixed and running as a second vehicle. As for right now, this 4Runner is like a dream vehicle for Keith and I. The color, the make, the engine, the ride... Thank you Lord for your unfailing promise and overflowing provision.