I was watching Cars 2 the other night with the fam and I left pondering the story line where Tow Mater intentionally did not fix his dents because they represented a memory. I went to bed thinking on that and it's implications to my own life, both good and bad.
The next morning I was visiting with a dear friend about a topic the had nothing to do with Mater and she out of the blue shared an interaction from her previous evening where a pastor referred to a relationship of his as one that left him stained all over. I hung up and pondered the similarities between the two pictures and their timing. Historically, when God opens my eyes to the same message (theme) several times in a short period I know that He is trying to teach me something. It is just one way he gets my attention and speaks to me. Sharing it hear is one way I process it and hopefully encourage others along the way.
I will start with the dents.
I wrecked my car at the beginning of the school year and let me be real honest, I couldn't get that bumper fixed fast enough. It wasn't that I was too cool to drive a car with a dented bumper. Instead it was that I didn't want people to know that I was too stupid to not see the car behind me when I was backing up. I needed to fix my dent in order to cover up my weakness.
In life we are the same way. We cover up the dents of our bad choices and personal struggles in hopes that others won't see that we aren't perfect or that our imperfections are larger than your run of the mill door dings. I find it interesting that the Bible instructs us to do just the opposite.
2 Cor 11:30- If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness
2 Cor 12:9- But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.
I am still not sure what all God wants me to see through this right now and I am pretty sure the lesson is not over. I have a hunch it has something to do with Jack and all that he is walking through. Watching my child lose his ability to walk is harder than I ever anticipated and watching him grieve is even more difficult. Our bedtime routine that was just a few months ago studying about countries around the world has turned into comforting him as he processes out loud that day's struggles. I fear the suggestions for treating him and I fear the consequences of not taking them.
Our home is not defined by physical and emotional strength these days. Nope there is a whole lot of weakness around here leaving all kinds of dents on our shiny exterior, but what we do have is Christ. With Christ in our sufferings, we have the ability to persevere. I keep telling Jack that our perseverance is developing character in him (through lots of decorative dents). And the Bible tells me that character will lead to hope and hope steers us away from shame (or the need to cover our dents).
Romans 5:3-5 But we also glory in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
So I think Mater is right. I too would rather hold onto the memories and lessons of my dents than drive around shiny and smooth, pretending to be something that I am not.
We will talk about stains soon.