Long time no chat, eh?
So far this Christmas, I’ve seen family and old friends, come back to my home church in Essex, driven round my home town and revved like one of the lads on the seafront in my little car (joking, kinda), written essays, eaten chocolate, drank wine, and laughed a lot. I’ve hardly cried or felt sad at all.
But today, I cried a lot. Don’t worry, it’s not one of those sad-let-me-vent-my-feelings posts, because, well, you’re not a therapy group are you?
Today, I scratched my car up real nice. I was thinking about whether to post a photo or not for you to see, and I think I will. Part of me is just posting it so that the initial shock of seeing it in real life isn’t a complete shock for some of you and just so that the mockery can begin now rather than to my face if its still a bit sore by then. Basically, I’ve had a few driving issues recently. Some of them have been quite comical, like this –
Or the time I couldn’t park, and it looked like this –
(that’s my housemate Sarah in the car there, hi Sarah!)
See, that’s quite funny. Annie at her best, some might say. However, today, this is not quite as amusing –
LOOK AT MY BABY. LOOK.
Some of you are probably reading this like, Annie, what’s the big deal? It’s just a couple of scratches, oh and a MASSIVE DENT but it’s totally fine. And some of you might sympathise with me and remember your own first car and shudder at your own first major mishap like this one. Anyway, I turned too sharply in the car park at Sainsburys and hit a wall trying to come out of a space. Needless to say, my brother who was on the passenger side was a little bit shocked when Dame Judy (that’s my car’s name if you didn’t already know) took a little bit of offence and screeched a bit when I upset her (yes, I’m totally personifying my car, SHE’S A PART OF ME. And old and now seriously sad looking part).
Anyway. You may be wondering why on earth I’ve chosen to blog about this, especially in my series on what I think God is speaking to me about through this year of just dedicating time to Him. I’ll be honest, as I always try to be, and admit that me and JC haven’t exactly been on the best terms. I have some decisions to make about my future, as a third year at uni with basically a useless degree unless I wanted to be a vicar (Geraldine Granger come at me) and I have no real idea what to do. (Well, that’s not true, there’s a few ideas buuuuut) It’s hard to make a proper God-filled decision when you aren’t even talking to God about it isn’t it?
Well yesterday, I chose to talk to God. I got myself into a right state about uni, my dissertation, essays, graduation, money, oh you name it – Boxing Day evening ended with me curled up in bed with my sister watching Mulan. It was about as much interaction as I could take. But, the good thing is, I actually spoke to God. I handed over to Him the things I was worrying about, and the things I wanted Him to do something about – or at least speak to me about would be kinda helpful (see God, now I’ve put it on the Internet you have to tell me! Jokes, love ya JC!). I just never realised that God could answer prayer, or trigger a discussion with me, through a dented Nissan Micra called Judy.
I went into town today because I wanted to go shopping for some new clothes in the sales. My brother and I met the rest of my family there, and we parked in Sainsburys as you do, and then we were supposed to be on our way. As I said already, I hit the wall and massively upset myself and my car, and then walked around town feeling like a complete idiot (this was then made worse when we got home and I suddenly forgot how to park the car, and then I started crying in the street and felt completely hopeless, my brother stood there awkwardly but it somehow made me feel better #teamsiblings). Anyway, back to the time in hand. So I’m in town, I’ve just bashed my car and I’m walking to the shops.
I get halfway down the high street, and I realise something: do I want my car any less because it’s smashed up? Do I love my car any less because it’s smashed up? Does the car not work anymore because it’s a bit dented?
All three answers to those questions are quite simple. No, I don’t want my car any less. No, I don’t love my car any less. And yes, it does still work despite the ugly dent.
It was one of those times when I really felt like God was walking next to me and chatting to me about it – but to be honest, I didn’t feel like chatting. I felt like a rubbish driver and couldn’t see any good in it at all.
I got to Dorothy Perkins, and I grabbed some bits and headed to the changing rooms. I tried on about 12 different things today and walked away with 3. Typical woman, some of you might say, but actually, it was a battle with myself to decide whether I looked nice or not. Whether I was too fat or too ugly to wear the clothes I’d picked. Whether I’d look like Kim Kardashian or Susan Boyle (both of whom by the way Jesus loves very much, despite what people, including me, might say about them), and I just felt like a pile of poo.
It was at this moment in Dorothy Perkins, looking sad in a pretty dress and my eyes scaling my figure in the mirror, that Jesus decided then was a good time to pipe up again, with the same questions as before:
Do you want Judy any less because she has a dent in her side?
Do you love Judy any less because she has a dent in her side?
Does Judy not work anymore because of her dent?
And then I realised – I think Jesus was really talking about me.
It’s something I have been reminded of plenty of times by those around me and by God. I know that God loves me, regardless of how I look or what I do, and that there is nothing I can do that separate me from that love, or give me any more or any less love. Jesus has all the quantities just right, and just as I was worrying about how my car looked and wrestling with the idea that I might look a bit big or naff in a dress, I realised all over again that to Jesus, it doesn’t really matter at all.
I love my car despite the dent in it. I love that I can get from A to B in one piece, with my own music on in the car after 20 years of driving in my mum and dad’s cars with their music on and having to suffer that (sorry guys, I love you but there’s only so many times Van Morrison or Freebird can be listened to relentlessly), and I can buy my own air fresheners, drive my friends around; I can just be me in my own car. And I want my car just as much as I did before the dent situation happened – honestly I do. I wouldn’t trade her in for anything else, not while she’s got a working engine and I can still play Ben Howard through her speakers. She hasn’t suddenly stopped working because the side looks a little messy – the journey hasn’t stopped because of what happened today.
I guess you could say that to Jesus, I am Dame Judy Dench, the silver Micra from 2000 with a slightly clumsy first-time owner. I have my own dents, my own marks and wear-and-tears from turning the corner too quickly, or not quickly enough, or crashing into a thing or two from the experiences of my life. I have my own scratches and my paint is coming off in a couple of places, but Jesus still loves me. He still loves Annie, the 1994 model with no real sense of direction. Me. He still wants me, regardless of knowing all about and seeing those things that I’d rather not see, or let anyone else see. And I still work, regardless of those things. The journey hasn’t ended for me because of those things, because of my sin or my brokenness or my panic about dresses today. If anything, my journey is just beginning and it’s about to get really interesting.
Even when I chose not to talk to God, He still found the best way to engage with me (yeah that’s right, the best way). I never thought I’d see Jesus in the Great Scrape of Dame Judy 2015. Never. I also never thought I’d want to keep a car with a massive dent in the side, but I guess Jesus really does transform people doesn’t He?
Now I have a constant reminder of God’s grace, on the car I use nearly every day (until I get it sorted, maybe, if I can some dollar). I’d like to think that this can be a way that I am so aware of my own sin, that I am all the more aware of His grace and His love for me that covers all of that sin. I’ll keep you posted, I guess. Let’s hope God doesn’t have to use something as drastic as my silliness next time for me to listen to Him. I think I’ve learnt my lesson, eh?
Peace and blessings x
Photos from me and Pinterest.com 🙂