4-Wheel Drives, Geysers, and Grace


Last year when visiting my in-laws in California– where my husband and I lived for almost ten years of marriage– they graciously allowed me to drive their new, 4-wheel drive truck.  I’m accustomed to driving a small car.  This truck and I had our share of conversations—with me doing all of the talking, of course— about how it was way too big for me to drive.

Despite my hesitation, I accepted their graciousness.  Running over a few curbs and taking up entirely too many parking spaces, I drove it to the best of my ability—aheem– with a grateful heart.  Then on the last day of our stay—did I mention the truck has four doors—I was pulling through the gate into their back yard.  Unaware one of my children had left their door open, I pulled forward.  Wham!  Yep I dinged the door as the gate slammed it shut.

I felt so bad.  This wasn’t the first time I had put a dent in one of their trucks.  The last time was when we lived in CA, and I had to drive the truck for their stock trailer.

Today, I’m in CA visiting again, and guess what I’m driving!  Yep, the 4-wheel drive truck.  One would think my in-laws would’ve learned by now not to put me in their big trucks.  But, they not only trusted me with it, they washed it and filled it with gas!

This morning was eventful to say the least.  Before leaving, I sat in the truck praying, “Lord, please protect and help me drive safely.  Prevent me from denting this truck you’ve so graciously provided.”  I was headed out to visit my nursing friends in the ICU where I had worked.  When I showed up in soaking wet sandals and pants legs, I had to explain.

The driveway was narrow with a house and fence on each side.  The only way out was to back out.  Feeling so good about my ability to drive backwards,  I got the truck turned around and thought, “Yes!  I have managed to maneuver this thing to get out!  It’s a miracle.”

Then it happened.  Before pulling into the road, I glanced up and saw water shooting up behind me.  This seemed a little odd and more fierce than a typical yard sprinkler.  As panic rushed to my toes, I parked the truck and ran around to investigate.  This was not a small hose or a busted sprinkler head, no, this was way worse.  This was a real problem.  It looked like a geyser.   I didn’t feel or hear anything when I backed onto this thing, and now the yard was flooding!

 I ran into the house yelling at my mother-in-law, “We’ve got trouble.  You might want to come and look.”  Emphatically, I said, “I think we may need a plumber.”  My father-in-law is one of the town’s most famous plumbers– TV commercials and all!  My brother-in-law, Johnny, and my husband are both plumbers as well.  So my mother-in-law began laughing.

As God would have it, Johnny pulled in during the commotion.  He welcomed me with a hug, and then ran down the street to turn the water main off.  After assessing the damage, smiling he quietly said, “I think I can fix it.  Good to see you again.”

Thankfully there were no new dings on the truck, and my mother-in-law kept saying, “It’s okay.  It’s really no big deal.”  Her words soothed and were a bigger deal than the actual geyser.

In years past, my relationship with my mother-in-law has been less than perfect.  She didn’t want her firstborn marrying a girl from NC.  Only in the past couple of years have I felt that she may actually love me.  Her words and grace toward me in that moment saturated my heart more than the water flooding her front yard.  It soothed so many things.  She really wanted me to know it was okay.

I knew it was.  I glimpsed Jesus in her.  Her words extended grace and love.  They healed more than my momentary anxiety.

No matter how many times we ding the truck or run into the water pipes of life, He gives grace.

We are a bunch of broken messes filled with anxiety, worry and regret, but He loves.  He says, “it’s really going to be okay.  Just come to Me.  Your mess isn’t a big deal.  I died for it, and I can redeem it!”  Jesus loves relentlessly.

He forgives and gives.  He keeps giving.

His supply is as endless as that gushing water main.  My in-laws continue giving, when I clearly shouldn’t be trusted driving their trucks!  And Jesus not only gives us the keys and tells us to try again, but He cleans the truck and fills it with gas.

He goes beyond what we deserve.  His love for us doesn’t depend on our performance, it simply hinges on His grace.

Recognize Jesus’ love for you and accept His forgiveness.   And whatever you do, NEVER give me the keys to your 4-wheel drive truck!

12 thoughts on “4-Wheel Drives, Geysers, and Grace

  1. Courageous Jane says:

    Aha! Amazing grace at it’s best! What a fantastic story. Thank you for thinking it through, finding the grace embedded in it, and then sharing it for all of us to learn from! … You can drive my truck anytime! We bought it with the dent already in it … saves tears in the long run. The only catch to you driving my truck? You have to come visit me in Ohio! 🙂

  2. Pamela Healy Nogueira says:

    LOL!!! Oh, Rivera! I’m so glad you can laugh about this!!! With all of the seriousness in life I think God makes these things happen to remind us of our humanity!!! It’s also a great example of God revealing Himself, over tiime, through your Mother-in-Law!!! Have a great vacation, Sweetie!!! ❤

    1. Rivera Douthit says:

      Thanks Pamela! Miss seeing your smiling face. You’re one of those people who can always make me laugh and relieve me from some of the seriousness of life 🙂 Comic relief is a wonderful thing! 🙂

    1. Rivera Douthit says:

      Thank you Mare! I loved lunch and pool time with one of my favorite nurses and treasured friends! Xo Sweet conversations, as always! Looking forward to my time with all of you on Wednesday night:)

  3. sandra says:

    Wow loved your story this morning. Welcome to California hope your visit is a great one. We miss you all very much. Have a question for you. Why is God not answering my prayers to teach? Am I not praying enough very sad right now miss teaching very much. Beyond what anyone can understand. Miss you

    1. Rivera Douthit says:

      Sandra! We miss you too 🙂 wish we could see you all while we are here.

      To answer your question, I’m not sure why God chooses to answer our prayers sometimes in a way that’s not what we want. But what I do know is that He is good! There’s no evil in God! So His answer is for our good in some way, whether we like it or not. Sometimes he’s working something out in us, refining us or teaching us to trust Him more! Sometimes it’s for our protection, and we cant see it. We may never understand why he does what he does in certain situations, but we can trust that he is good and he knows what’s best.
      Believe me, I have a situation in my life right now causing me to live the very words I’m speaking to you. So I understand your pain. But faith tells me to look beyond my circumstances and hang on to what I believe about God. I know he’s faithful.
      Hang in there! Love you Sandra!

  4. JoAnn says:

    This is a great saga of you and the truck 🙂 I can see you running in saying you need a plumber and Johnny grinning & almost shaking his head when he arrived.

    And David’s thinking of getting a truck??? Ha!

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