Trust Restorers... at the Auto Dealership?

“Trust, once lost, could not be easily found. Not in a year, perhaps not even in a lifetime.”
-J.E.B Spredemann

Trust is complicated; once it is broken it is hard to recover.  Thankfully in life there are people who are Trust Restorers.  These are the people who work and wait (and wait and wait and wait) to earn the trust of those whose faith is lost.  One of my favorite Trust Restorer stories comes from Love What Matters:

I read this story over and over.  How easy it would have been for the mom to respond a different way.  The rebuilding of trust is hard work.  She chose the long road.  The road that leads to transformation.     

This past week I met a group of Trust Restorers…. at the auto dealership.  Ohhh the irony.  First, to catch you up to speed, let’s just say that my last experience at a dealership was less than ideal (it was horrible). I’ve needed a new car for quite some time, but kept putting it off.  Finally, I decided to look online.  Within seconds I found a great car.  It had everything I wanted (and more) and was within my budget.  I went to the dealer for a test drive fully expecting:

1. for it to be not as advertised
2. for them to bully me
3. for them to scam me

Well, it was as advertised.  In fact, it was even more wonderful.  I tell the dealer I’m interested in purchasing the vehicle.  As he’s talking me through the buying process I begin to melt down.  He notices.  Before I know it I’m spilling my whole story in the middle of the dealership.  He stops me and says “I’m sorry that happened to you.  I want you to trust me.  I need you to trust me so you can recommend me to others.”  He gets up and comes back with a stack of papers.  For the next hour he walks me through every charge and every line of the contract. There is nothing hidden.  The contract is completely transparent. 

Then they send me to manager to sign all the finance papers and of course I begin to melt down.  The manager notices.  And once again I’m spilling my story.  He stops me and says “What happened to you was illegal.  That is not okay.”  Then he breaks down the price of the vehicle piece by piece.  He gives me a calculator and lets me calculate every charge over and over again until I was comfortable.  This whole thing took hours.  Not once did I feel pressured to hurry up or to agree to anything I didn’t understand.  They choose the long road for me, someone they will forget about in a few weeks’ time. 

Almost a week later and I am still in shock.  I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop.  (Hopefully the family mechanic will give it a clean bill of health on Thursday!) 


Have you ever walked in somewhere and instantly felt at home?  That's how I felt the moment I walked into the doors of the church I've been attending the past few months.  Every Sunday Americans, Ghanians, French, Chinese, Mexicans, Canadians, Cameroonians, Philippinos, South Africans, Swedes, Colombians, Brits, Germans, New Zealanders, Taiwanese and many more stand side by side worshiping.  International churches are unique.  Each culture and each denomination represented brings truth to the community.  I love international churches.      

During worship today we sang a new song:

"Give thanks to God for he is good..."  As we sang together this morning I began looking around and was overcome with grief.  This place was suppose to be my home.  This was where I was suppose to dig my roots in deep.  This was suppose to be where I would serve.  This was suppose to be where I would grow.   I don't understand why I moved across the world only to move back again, but I know...

that he is good
that he is trustworthy
that he is true
that he is steadfast

and for that I am thankful.

Reflections on Cities, Nature, and Emotionally Healthy Spirituality

Yesterday I was moping about living in big cities.  Since graduating I have lived in some of the biggest cities in the world.  Don't get me wrong there are some wonderful things about living in big cities; however, I have found there is a certain tiredness that comes from living in a big city.  Nature has always refilled my soul.  There is something calming about the top of a mountain or the middle of the forest.  I assumed that this tiredness was directly related to the lack of nature in big cities.  

Then last night I opened up the Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Day by Day devotional and found this quote by Mother Teresa:

"We all must take time to be silent and to contemplate, especially those who live in big cities like London and New York where everything moves so fast.... I always begin my prayer in silence, for it is in the silence of the heart that God speaks. God is the friend of silence - we need to listen to God because it's not what we say but what He says to us and through us that matters.  Prayer feeds the soul - as blood is to the body, prayer is to the soul - and it brings you closer to God.  It also gives you a clean and pure heart. A clean heart can see God, can speak to God, and can see the love of God in others."

Maybe it isn't so much a lack of nature as it is a lack of silence. 
Maybe it isn't so much a lack of nature as it is a lack of rhythm.

As I enter into an unknown season once again it becomes clearer what is important.  

Less is more.

P.S I still think nature is important.

You want me to what?

A few months ago as I was riding the boat to work I knew that my next step was moving back east.  I threw myself whole heartedly into that plan.  I gave up my apartment, sold my things (sold my car), invested money in visas, travel, etc. and hopped on a plane not knowing when I would be back (thinking I may never move back).  Well fast forward a few months and now I am preparing to move back west.  *insert face palm* As I’ve said to a few friends recently: 

God says sell all your things and follow me to other side of the earth.


Now turn around and move back.

Had this happened 5 years ago I would have fallen apart.  In fact someone who has known me my whole life recently said to me “you are oddly calm about all of this…” And I replied “that’s the nice thing about getting older.  You just don’t care.”  Don’t get me wrong I have a lot of emotions and a lot of questions running through my head about the whole shebang, but its not putting me in a tail spin.

I am a little worried (and a bit curious) to know how I am going to land another job.  From an employer standpoint I know its going to be hard to see past the last half year and give me a chance. My resume and cover letter is going to need some serious work. 

Tonight I was reading through some old notes I came across a quote I had scribbled down at church: “God gives you an experience to carry you to your purpose.  The devil wants to make your experience your purpose.”  I tend to get tied up in the details and can sometimes forget the big picture.  Its reassuring to know that there is a bigger picture.  I may not understand it now… or ever… but its there all the same.

Empty Room Reflections

Tonight I'm sitting in an empty apartment.  After 3 years its hard to say goodbye.  This was my first place (that I didn't have to share).  It's been an apartment of discovery.  I've discovered what I like and what I don't like.   And how to say no....loudly.  It's been my refugee in the midst of difficulty and disappointment.

As I packed my boxes I have wept.  When I moved back to the states 3 years ago I expected to find community and healing.  And while I found a lot of healing I didn't find community.  Don't get me wrong I did see community and I've met people here with great communities; however, this round peg couldn't seem to fit in a square hole.  I tried so hard to fit that I cracked.  Dejected I crawled away.  Eventually, I stumbled upon a small group of people who loved and encouraged me for 10 weeks.  They helped me to find my faith again.  (And interestingly enough not one of them is a believer.) As I entered the new year I had no idea what was next and I wasn't sure I wanted to.

Then a few weeks ago an opportunity opened up in a country I've lived in before on a small island off the coast.  And all I wanted to do was get on a plane and go, but I said no... for a long list of reasons.  But life can change in a moment.  I stepped onto a boat 2 weeks ago thinking the answer was no and stepped off 18 minutes later knowing the answer was yes.  For the next week a few "lucky" people heard me agonize over the decision.  And every time after I laid out why I shouldn't go they would smile and say it sounds like you're going.

When I first pulled into this place 3 years ago I thought I was going to discover life with others, but what I discovered was something quite different.  All of that to say once my visa is processed (hopefully quickly) I will be boarding on a plane and flying back to the other side of the world for the foreseeable future.