Did you know our clutch broke on the way to Illinois? It was the strangest thing! Here's the story:
I was driving, and Matt had requested that we pull off for gas. We still had over a quarter tank left, but I did as I was told. The gas was pretty pricey, so I suggested we go to the last exit where gas was cheaper. Matt disagreed, and again I listened. Good thing, too, because we got back on the road with a full tank of gas, and for some reason the engine sounded loud to me. I shut off the loud music, and I pulled the stick out of fifth, and when I went to put it back in, it wouldn't go! I panicked! I tried over and over, and the clutch went right to the floor. Matt had me pull over, (he directed with a very calm voice), and I put on the hazards.
Matt sat for a minute thinking, and then he said he'd push the car onto the grass, so I could get out safely. He put the car on the grass, then we switched seats. I stared at him (he's so smart, so I knew he'd come up with a brilliant plan.) It was about a minute or two of silence before I said, "I'll run back to the gas station if you want me to." (I was being very supportive, and I didn't want to stay alone at the car with all the expensive stuff in it.) He looked at the tripometer and said that it was too far. We sat in silence again. I was waiting for his brilliant plan, like, maybe he suddenly remembered how to fix the clutch cable, or something. We decided to pray, and Matt prayed for wisdom.
Next thing I know, he says, "We'll drive it."
Okay, at this point I'm thinking, "WHAT?! Wisdom means you get help!!!" But I just say, "Oh... okay!" (Because I'm really supportive, remember?)
Then he shuts the car off for the first time. Don't you need the clutch to start a car? I don't say that. I'm just quiet, because I'm assuming God gave Matt a lot of extra wisdom. Turns out He did!
Matt puts the car in first gear, turns the key, and as the car lurches forward, Matt gently presses on the gas. The car starts moving! Then Matt somehow puts the car into second gear without grinding the gears... then third, fourth, and finally fifth gear and we're safely back on the highway going full speed with a car full of fuel. My brother-in-love, Ben, looked for a Chrysler dealer near Little Rock (where we were approaching), so we could pull off and get some help. He gave us the phone number, and after talking to the mechanic at the dealership, we found out we don't have a clutch cable, but a hydrolics system. This meant that the problem could be complicated (aka expensive--- especially as we're preparing to pay for my surgery from early December). We kept praying as we approached Little Rock. Matt wanted to drive to Joliet, (600+ miles away), but I wanted it fixed right then and there, so I got directions to the shop.
We knew we were getting close, because we got onto 440, I think, which was part of the directions (and part of our original path to Illinois), but we missed our exit. I was SO mad. Matt refused to turn around. So, like a supportive and mature wife would do, I called my dad and cried, complaining about my husband. My dad, though, told me to call him after Matt and I had everything figured out, and he told me to be a grown up. (Not in those words, but he said Matt really needs my affirmation and support, and that I had to provide that for him.) So when I hung up with my loving father, I grabbed my pillow and pouted by the window, and I fell asleep. About an hour later, I woke up, took Matt's hand, and I told him that I loved him so much, and that I would be with him no matter what.
He thanked me. (And I think that was a "thank you" for taking a nap, too.)
Enough with the mushy stuff, though! We found ourselves following semis at a very safe distance so that we could avoid the north winds, and therefore we got awesome gas mileage. Each time we needed to refuel, we prayed that we would not need to stop at a stoplight or stop sign. Guess what? God provided that for us. He even cleared intersections that were packed right before we approached it, just so we could get through safely! There was no need to stop (meaning we didn't need to lurch-start the car) in front of any traffic the whole way to Joliet, Illinois from Little Rock, Arkansas!
One time when Matt was shifting and speeding up, and of course the gears were not grinding, he laughed and said, "This is NOT supposed to be this easy!!!" So when it was time to shift to fifth, the car SCREAMED at him with this horrible grinding, and then it quickly went into gear. I chuckled and told Matt that he shouldn't tell God that He shouldn't be blessing us! :)
Around that time I said, "Wow, Matt! Doesn't it feel like God is right here in the backseat, or something?" Right then we heard a loud bang next to the cello in the backseat. We both laughed. (We decided it was God saying, "I AM right here!")
We made it to Matt's parents' house in Joliet very safely AND encouraged that God is with us always. The car was fixed by Tuesday of that week, and God provided the money for it! None of the money that was spent on the car came from our bank account! That was an answer to prayer, remember, because we needed to pay several hospital bills over Christmas vacation, and we would have very little traveling money left if God had wanted the money to come from our account. (One thing that's cool about this, though, was that we had an incredible peace about using that money on the clutch, if God required it. We kept remembering that everything is His anyway.)
We are SO thankful for the willingness to help that many of our friends and family had, and we are grateful for the help we received for fixing the car and for paying for my hospital bills.
Matt and I are pretty sure that we are now hospital-debt-free, which is very exciting. Please pray with us that we would continue to use our resources wisely. It sure incurs a different way of life... the knowledge that our money really isn't ours. I mean... does God really need "that necklace"--- even though it IS only $4.00? Learning to handle situations like that is so exciting.
Oh... speaking of which, date nights are VERY important to us. Tuesday nights are our date nights now because we found a way to have a date for a dollar! We go to the dollar theatre on Tuesdays when the movies are only 50 cents each! Last date we saw "Cloudy, with a Chance of Meatballs." We talk through the movies, and laugh, because no one else is usually near us in the theater. Oh, but Matt's waiting for tonight's date! Better run! More later!