“(You Got A) Fast Car…”

I’ve mentioned in older blogs about my father and my worries/worst fears about growing up and living life without a dad.  See here.  I’ve also mentioned a V specific concern of me trying to buy a car without my dad… See here. (Side note: instead of saying very I’ve taken up saying “V” and I love to hate it about myself LOL)

>just V embrace it…

All that to say, this past weekend I was put in a situation where a perfect storm of these concerns came up.  I needed to buy a car STAT and there was no one to go except me, myself and I. The morning of my car appointment, I woke up and literally prayed  “Man! Lord.. It really sucks not having not having a dad (or really any male figure) here to go with me.”  I felt a little alone at the moment, but then I was reminded that even though my earthly dad isn’t here, my Heavenly Dad has my back and is with me always. 

If you know… you know

NOW. Let me state for the record that I *KNEW* this already.  I knew in my heart and my mind that God is my Father and I can rely on Him to be all the Dad I need and more.  HOWEVER, experiencing this/letting God show up for me in this way?! A whole different story. 

In my 32 years, I’ve learned to be a pretty independent woman.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but when you bring an all knowing, all sufficient, all powerful, all mighty God into the mix… I *should* probably have ALLLL the seats.  Note the emphasis on SHOULD

“What up with that?” you may be asking! 

Well, Cleetus, to answer your question: I SHOULD have all the seats, but many times I take things in my own hands, thereby, preventing God from truly working/moving in my life in the ways that only He can…………… until recently…

Sort of.  

Self Preservation Nation

Here’s a little tidbit about me that may be PAYNE-FULLY obvious…

I *live* for self preservation. 

I’m not what you would call a “control freak” but I AM a very intentional “planner”.  In my “life planning”, I try to avoid as much crazy, pain, and unnecessary nonsense as possible.  And I fail… all the time! But even in my feeble my attempts to plan, most of my choices take a more *cautious* route by planning according to the outcome I’ve imagined in my head.  I think of numerous variables, choose the least painful option and normally come out on the other side alive and still in control– or at least the illusion of being in control.

Welcome to… DON’T GET ME WRONG
Season 1:

Now, don’t get me wrong! Living cautiously isn’t a bad thing— we need to be wise about every choice we make. Buuuuuut… do you think that sometimes we cheat ourselves out of God’s blessings because we use our human logic instead of God’s wisdom? Do you think sometimes the Lord is calling us to do something and we justify our actions (or lack thereof) by simply saying we are “being careful” or trying to be “a good steward”? Do you think, maaaaybeeee, we are so out of touch with our true feelings that we fail to call certain behaviors what they really are:

A lack of trust in the Lord? 

indeed.

Hello, Fear 

Listen, we have all lived through quite a bit of *stuff*.  We’re in the post 9/11 age, post Columbine, living in the COVID-19 pandemic and the world quite literally on fire! I’m not even touching the surface on what each of us is going through personally. No doubt, this world and life can sting like angry wasp (honey, I know ALL TOO WELL what a wasp sting feels like #triggered)… so there’s really no judgment in the systems we’ve each established to get through this madness.  Whether it be survival mode, fight, flight, people pleasing, Netflix, or some other controlling mechanism, we all have our *ways* to best cope. 

Unfortunately, many times our “coping” has a foundation of fear; fear or loss, fear of pain, fear of rejection, fear of disappointment, fear of love, etc. etc. It’s in these fear driven coping mechanisms where self preservation and lack of surrender come in to play.  We don’t necessarily make *bad* decisions, but we don’t make the *best* Godly decision either. At the end of the day, we do everything we can to preserve our comfort and stay in control– without actually *admitting* are preserving our comfort and staying in control.

We replace God given boldness with “keeping the peace”.  We don’t take good faith leaps and call it “stewardship”.  We refuse to love our enemies and say it’s “justice”. We turn away the refugee and label it “safety.” We don’t follow the amazing but risky call on our lives and dub it “financially responsible.” And even when God makes its evidently clear we can *trust* Him fully, no matter the outcome– we throw away our foundational faith and sow small, yet deadly, seeds of unbelief.

Why?

Because our “experiences” and the “cares of this world” have trumped the sovereignty of God. 

Welcome back to… DON’T GET ME WRONG
Season 2:
Again… DON’T GET ME WRONG!!  We *need* to be smart! We *must* be good stewards. We *should* be cautious in some situations.  Don’t be reckless with the life and resources you’ve been given. PLEASE. 

Here’s the thing… I do think at times we are disillusioned about our realities and our true feelings on certain circumstances; and instead of digging deeper/getting to the root cause of certain beliefs and attitudes… we fall back on our “Christianese”! We explain away our human reactions/emotions with biblical terms to keep the illusion that we are in control. But that’s not okay, my friends! It’s fine time to normalize being honest and real before the Lord, asking Him for discernment and wisdom to be real with ourselves, sift through our feelings and surrender to Him no matter what’s on the other side.  ESPECIALLY as Christ followers.

Cuz listen, sometimes it’s wise to be cautious because it’s the Lord’s provision.  But sometimes God is V clearly telling us to take the leap, make the call, do the dang thing, and accept the unknown because it’s by His provision.

okay okay okayyyyy….

… So your experiences and the cares of this world have trumped the sovereignty of God, huh?

I know it sounds harsh, but honey, we gotta call it what IT is.  I can understand the argument behind self preservation. I totally get how scary it is to be totally out of control and SURRENDER. Nevertheless, just because we can justify something doesn’t make it right!  No matter our circumstance, no matter where we came from, no matter the state of events, no matter how DIRE things seem, no matter what our HUMAN EXPERIENCE has taught us– we still need to let go and let God be GOD. The key is that HE is guiding us by His holy, perfect, infinite logic.  Not that WE are guiding ourselves by our human, sinful, limited logic. Our spirits demand that we let Him show up and show off in the ways we couldn’t ever imagine.  And every fiber of our being wants to know Who He is and trust that He is Who He says He is!  

And the only way we can have this is by LET-TING-GO.

Different Level Type of Stuff…

You see, God is completely outside of human parameters. HE CREATED HUMAN PARAMETERS. He is not like us in the best ways and will never be like us in the best ways.  God is completely OTHER from us.  He makes ways where there are absolutely NO ways.  He finds things that were thought to be lost for eternity. His mere presence is transforming! He brings the dead things to life.  He creates complex, beautiful beings from out of literal dust! He is all fulfilling, all knowing, all powerful, all miraculous, all faithful, all loving, all compassionate, all mighty, all wonderful, ALL THE AUTHORITY, ALL THINGS AWE-SOME!! God *is* ALL THE THINGS.  

Yet, there are so so so many times where God gives us opportunities for us to see Him as ALL the things and we simply miss it.  Not because He didn’t show up in a cloud of fire (which is what I think we expect 99% of the time LOL)… but purely because we refuse to be fully dependent and fully surrendered to Him in the little, yet vital,  moments of our lives. When we put our trust in things outside of the Lord, go off our experience, take things into our own hands, and stay within our comfort… We miss amazing moments to sow seeds of trust in the Lord.

To sum… God be on some DIFFERENT LEVEL TYPE OF STUFF. But do we fully grasp that?!

Get out of my dreams… and into my car!

So how did we get here?!?! AND what does this have to do with your dad & the car?

Okay, sorry Cleetus… Lemme stay on track!

So this past weekend I had to go buy a car and I was concerned about going without my dad so I prayed to the Lord and He reminded me of His Dadness….. RIGHT. 

I obviously had lots of concerns.  Can I afford a car payment? What if I get taken advantage of?! What do I even know about cars?! AGH… so in this moment I had a choice to either give into ALL the excuses (and a lot of them were just!) and do what I’ve always done: be “cautious”, stay comfortable, take things into my own hands and not get a car (cuz I can totally “make it work” by walking everywhere right?!)

OR

I could trust and lean into Who God was revealing Himself to be– my Dad who would guide, protect and carry me through this process, despite the worries and excuses I had.  

I chose the latter. 

I leaned into what I knew Him as and what He’d revealed Himself to be. I asked the Lord to give me wisdom on what to buy.  I asked Him to make it easy… so easy in fact that there would be absolutely no doubts or worries on my end.  I asked for something affordable.  And I asked Him to make it V CLEAR if anything was off and to remind me not to explain it away (I have a way of not trusting my discernment because of past crazy.  We will get into that LATER…much LATER LOL) I also I asked other people to join in the fun and pray for me to fill in the gaps where I may have missed! 

So we prayed. and I went.

AAANNNND?!!

Here’s the dirty deets: …GOD DID THE DANG THING!! 

My Heavenly Father showed up and showed OFF! He gave me a salesperson I knew and liked from the year before.  He whittled down my options to literally two cars to make things clear.  Whenever my mind would start to spin out, He gently reminded me every few minutes that He was there (I often just envisioned Him just sitting right next to me smiling and reassuring me that HE HAD IT.) My mom was able to help in truly tremendous ways which is also such a testament to His goodness!  The Lord even gave me a cheaper car payment, $100 cheaper than I was quoted and $10 less than the very specific number I prayed on!!

WON’T HE DO IT?!!

Father Knows Best… 

Guys. Let me be clear. I am SO GRATEFUL the Lord provided this amazing vehicle for me…   But this whole testimony isn’t about the CAR.

This has been a SEASON of God teaching me to let go and just let Him be HIM in my life.  And every day, every moment, I have a choice to trust or a choice to take.  Now, I DO NOT GET IT RIGHT ALL THE TIME.  (Heck, I get it wrong most of the time LOL) but in His amazing, outrageous, completely undeserved grace- he gives me even more chances to see Him as He truly is and to believe in Him. I am just so humbled that, yet again, this amazing Creator of the Actual Universe, took intentional time out to foster my faith in Him and to sow an essential seed of hope and trust in Him as my Heavenly Father. 

And noooowwww… DON’T GET ME WRONG
Season Finale: 

Again… don’t get me wrong!! I don’t want you to take this as a “if you pray God will give it”. There’s no formula.  I also don’t want you to think this is purely about material things.  This is no prosperity blog by any means! NOTE:  This is alllll about focusing on WHO God is. We must realize the WHO because the WHO helps us in the WHAT.  Why? Because sometimes God doesn’t give us what we want on this side of Heaven. And that’s okay. But if we know WHO He is, when we don’t get what we want, it doesn’t make Him any less loving, or all knowing,  or grace giving or holy or Godly.  Father knows best what we need and when we need it. But we only can trust that when we know Who He is!

There’s a lot that I can say! But lemme stop before I get on another soap box.

So.. IN CONCLUSION.

As Rod Roddy from the Price is Right would say:

A NEEEEEEW CAR!

Bless all the blessings.  Praise be to the Lord where all the good things come from! Here’s some takeways:

  1. GOD IS COMPLETELY OTHER FROM US-
    Seriously, God is on SOME DIFFERENT LEVEL TYPE OF STUFF. Are we really here for IT tho?! Do we really take Him at His Word on Who He says He is and trust it?
  2. LET GO:
    Let God be GOD for you. In every circumstance. In every fear. In every moment where you want to cling to comfort! Now, if letting God be GOD involves you holding back, being cautious, HAVING A SEAT, may He show up as a the Alpha and Omega, Who knows the beginning and the end. May you be assured that his timing is always best and may you wait with patience until He says otherwise. However, if God being GOD involves you taking that leap of faith, doing the scary thing, going against the grain!? May the Lord show Himself at the Great and Powerful Provider & Protector Whom will uphold you with His right hand! May you know in your heart of hearts that HE’S GOTCHU! And even if we all misstep and go in a way that wasn’t a part of His plan… may we know our King as the GRACE GIVING, LOVE POURING, ALL MIGHTY, “you may have gone the wrong way… but I can fix it!” AMAZING GOD THAT HE IS!
  3. GOD IS SO GOOD… PERIODT.
    I saw and experienced God in a new way that could connect what was in my head to what was in my heart.  He gave me just another opportunity to see him as Dad and I’m forever grateful for his intentionality, grace, LOVE and Father-ness in my life.  He is SO SO good. I pray you see Him as He truly is and you trust Him in it!
  4. Do you feel cheated?
    You wanna see the new car don’t you? LOL
    SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM!!! (read the verses too tho, friend! :))

Until next time… 

God spoke to Moses: “Send men to scout out the country of Canaan that I am giving to the People of Israel. Send one man from each ancestral tribe, each one a tried-and-true leader in the tribe.”

When Moses sent them off to scout out Canaan, he said, “Go up through the Negev and then into the hill country. Look the land over, see what it is like. Assess the people: Are they strong or weak? Are there few or many? Observe the land: Is it pleasant or harsh? Describe the towns where they live: Are they open camps or fortified with walls? And the soil: Is it fertile or barren? Are there forests? And try to bring back a sample of the produce that grows there—this is the season for the first ripe grapes.”

With that they were on their way. They scouted out the land… they cut off a branch with a single cluster of grapes—it took two men to carry it—slung on a pole. They also picked some pomegranates and figs. They named the place Eshcol Valley (Grape-Cluster-Valley) because of the huge cluster of grapes they had cut down there. After forty days of scouting out the land, they returned home.

They presented themselves before Moses and Aaron and the whole congregation of the People of Israel in the Wilderness of Paran at Kadesh. They reported to the whole congregation and showed them the fruit of the land. Then they told the story of their trip:

“We went to the land to which you sent us and, oh! It does flow with milk and honey! Just look at this fruit! The only thing is that the people who live there are fierce, their cities are huge and well fortified. Worse yet, we saw descendants of the giant Anak. Amalekites are spread out in the Negev; Hittites, Jebusites, and Amorites hold the hill country; and the Canaanites are established on the Mediterranean Sea and along the Jordan.”

Caleb interrupted, called for silence before Moses and said,
“Let’s go up and take the land—now. We can do it.”

But the others said, “We can’t attack those people; they’re way stronger than we are.” They spread scary rumors among the People of Israel. They said, “We scouted out the land from one end to the other—it’s a land that swallows people whole. Everybody we saw was huge. Why, we even saw the Nephilim giants (the Anak giants come from the Nephilim). Alongside them we felt like grasshoppers. And they looked down on us as if we were grasshoppers.”

The whole community was in an uproar, wailing all night long. All the People of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The entire community was in on it: “Why didn’t we die in Egypt? Or in this wilderness? Why has God brought us to this country to kill us? Our wives and children are about to become plunder. Why don’t we just head back to Egypt? And right now!”

Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, members of the scouting party, ripped their clothes and addressed the assembled People of Israel:

“The land we walked through and scouted out is a very good land—very good indeed.
If God is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land that flows, as they say, with milk and honey. And he’ll give it to us. Just don’t rebel against God! And don’t be afraid of those people. Why, we’ll have them for lunch! They have no protection and God is on our side. Don’t be afraid of them!”

But, up in arms now, the entire community was talking of hurling stones at them.

Just then the bright Glory of God appeared at the Tent of Meeting. Every Israelite saw it. God said to Moses, “How long will these people treat me like dirt? How long refuse to trust me? And with all these signs I’ve done among them! I’ve had enough—I’m going to hit them with a plague and kill them. But I’ll make you into a nation bigger and stronger than they ever were.”

But Moses said to God, “The Egyptians are going to hear about this! You delivered this people from Egypt with a great show of strength, and now this? The Egyptians will tell everyone. They’ve already heard that you are God, that you are on the side of this people, that you are present among them, that they see you with their own eyes in your Cloud that hovers over them, in the Pillar of Cloud that leads them by day and the Pillar of Fire at night. If you kill this entire people in one stroke, all the nations that have heard what has been going on will say, ‘Since God couldn’t get these people into the land which he had promised to give them, he slaughtered them out in the wilderness.’

“Now, please, let the power of the Master expand, enlarge itself greatly, along the lines you have laid out earlier when you said,

God, slow to get angry and huge in loyal love,
    forgiving iniquity and rebellion and sin;
Still, never just whitewashing sin.
    But extending the fallout of parents’ sins
to children into the third,
    even the fourth generation.

Please forgive the wrongdoing of this people out of the extravagance of your loyal love just as all along, from the time they left Egypt, you have been forgiving this people.”

God said, “I forgive them, honoring your words. But as I live and as the Glory of God fills the whole Earth—not a single person of those who saw my Glory, saw the miracle signs I did in Egypt and the wilderness, and who have tested me over and over and over again, turning a deaf ear to me—not one of them will set eyes on the land I so solemnly promised to their ancestors. No one who has treated me with such repeated contempt will see it.

“But my servant Caleb—this is a different story. He has a different spirit; he follows me passionately. I’ll bring him into the land that he scouted and his children will inherit it.

~Numbers 13: 1-2, 17-21, 24-25, 36-33; 14: 1-3, 6-24 (MSG)

Me & Michonne (my new car)

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