For the first three years of my driving life, I drove a really crappy car. I had expected and hoped for a nice, sensible, modest five-years-or-so-old car, but instead I got what I could afford: a ‘92 Grand Prix that was the stuff my nightmares were made of. The windows, locks, radio, and tape player (yes, tape player) didn’t work. Every time I turned left, a strange cloud of smoke trickled up from the steering wheel. The car would randomly shut off as I was driving, so I never quite knew if I was going to make it through a stoplight or across the highway.
And, worse yet, someone had tried to make this piece of junk look cool by adding flashy hubcaps, official NASCAR tires, and a sunroof.
That sunroof was the one and only thing I liked about that car. And good thing I had it, because I had to escape out of it a time or two when I was locked in.
I was mortified to be seen in that car. It looked like whoever drove it was proud to be behind the wheel, but that couldn’t have been further from the truth. I arrived to school at least a half-hour early every day just so nobody would see me pull into the parking lot.
I hated that car.
I dreamed of owning literally anything else, but what I really dreamed of was a convertible. A jet-black, hard-top convertible that could be disguised as a regular old car so I could remain as inconspicuous as I wanted. Until summertime, when I would feel the breeze on my face as I sped around to all the local lakes and Dairy Queens. I knew it was unrealistic, not to mention cliché, but, well, the heart wants what it wants. I wasn’t even sure something like this dream car of mine existed, but the picture in my mind persisted.
Shortly after I graduated high school, I found it: my dream car! Pontiac had just introduced its G6 model in convertible form, and it was everything I wanted and more.
It was beautiful. I had visions of sunny days at the beach, windblown hair, and a working stereo.
But, of course, I couldn’t afford it.
I ran through every calculation and moneymaking scheme I could think of, but I was 18, a part-time nanny, and determined not to take out a loan for anything that depreciated in value.
Instead, when my hopeless Grand Prix died a year later, I spent my savings on a newer Grand Prix instead. I looked longingly at the lineup of G6s in the lot and reluctantly wrote out the check for the much more affordable, sensible, and still very nice car. It had more miles than I would’ve liked, but it was in great condition, it was a whole decade newer than the hunk of metal I’d just traded in for parts, and I was excited just to have a CD player! So long, cassette tapes!
I got home, grabbed a stack of CDs, backed back out of the garage, pushed a CD into the player…and was met with a thud.
The CD player didn’t work. 😔
I was thrilled to have a new car – any new car – but I was secretly bummed about the CD player.
This isn’t what I had signed up for! I did the responsible, practical thing and bought a car I could afford. I’d been longing for a car with a CD player, but I’d really been longing for a G6 convertible, and now I didn’t have either one even though I’d done the right thing.
I allowed myself a moment to get angry at nothing in particular, and then I looked at my beautiful new-to-me car and decided to be content with it. Maybe someday I’d find a new dream car.
I kept saving.
Just two years later, GM went bankrupt and announced that they were discontinuing the Pontiac brand altogether. Noooo! All I wanted was to get a G6 Convertible before they all started to disappear, but, as a college student, buying that dream car of mine still wasn’t an option.
Another couple years later and much sooner than I expected, a brutally cold Minnesota winter finally did my second Grand Prix in. Everything started shutting down, and soon I was in the market for a new car…again.
The timing couldn’t have been worse. I was struggling to make ends meet, only putting my paycheck toward three things: 1) tithing, 2) rent (including utilities), and 3) gas for my now-dead car. I was “grocery shopping” in my parents’ pantry for expired food whenever I was home and desperately trying to contribute whatever extra dollars I had to my savings account. I had also given notice at my job and knew my income was about to end indefinitely, but I still had one extra month of rent to pay on an apartment that I would no longer be living in during a pay period in which I wouldn’t be getting paid.
I was extremely stressed, I felt like I was losing everything that was worth anything to me, and I moved back in with my parents feeling like I had nothing left. I started doing odd jobs and nannying again, sharing a vehicle with my mom while I researched options for cars in my price range (which didn’t feel like a whole lot).
By the time summer came around, I was still trying to find the vehicle for me. I’d managed to save up a bit more, but I knew I wasn’t going to be able to afford my dream car this round, either. By now, I figured anything out there would have astronomically high mileage, anyway, so I decided I’d just have to defer my dream once again and be okay with it. At this point, I decided I’d just be happy to have a car, as long as it ran and didn’t turn out to be another money pit like my last two vehicles.
One day I decided to plug in the specifications of my dream car online…just in case. I knew there was a 0% chance of finding anything, especially within driving distance of my small town, but I typed in the specs on a whim.
And was shocked when two options came up.
One of the vehicles had a ton of miles and was out of my price range.
The other only had 30,000 miles (exactly what I wanted) and was somehow at the exact maximum price I could afford. It was carbon black metallic (the exact color I’d been looking at for years) with heated leather seats (a feature I only dreamed about), a CD player that by all appearances actually worked, and even an auxiliary input for the iPhone I didn’t have! Heaven!
My eyes bugged out.
It can’t be. Something must be wrong with it. It looks too good to be true, I told myself.
I showed my mom, expecting her to tell me to forget it and search for a Ford (which I was about to do), but she surprised me. “Looks like exactly what you’ve always wanted! Let’s go look at it tomorrow!”
So we did. We picked up my retired mechanic grandpa from the nursing home and drove two hours to the dealership that advertised the car.
I saw it as soon as we pulled in, all shiny and sparkling in the summer sun. It was still there. It was still available. And it was exactly as described. Exactly what I was looking for. Exactly what I’d wanted all these years.
The dealer offered to let me test-drive it. I slid into the smooth leather seat and the salesman sat down beside me. “Want to try out the CD player?” He asked.
How did he know?!
I fully expected it to be broken, just like my last one. But I took the CD from his outstretched hand and it glided effortlessly into the six-disc player. Soon the sounds of early 2000s hits – my favorite kind of hits, I might add – filled the car.
I started driving on a frontage road. Moved onto the highway. Drove on newly paved roads and old bumpy ones, flat freeways and hilly streets. The car worked like. a. charm.
We went back to the dealer, I signed the paperwork, I paid in cash, and I drove my dream car home that day.
After six years of saving, eight months without a car, and three of the most difficult years of my entire life, I actually got my dream car.
Logically, it shouldn’t have happened. The car shouldn’t even have existed with such low mileage that many years after being discontinued. I shouldn’t have had enough money. I’d gone from a college student to an intern to a graduate student to an intern again. I hadn’t exactly been working with a whole lot of income.
But I had waited and saved, waited and saved, waited and saved. And it was all about the timing.
It just so happened that at the exact time when I could finally afford the car at its exact price, an older couple who’d purchased the car new as their “fun” car had decided to trade it in for a Mustang. It had low miles, was in perfect condition, and was exactly in my price range.
It had every. single. feature. I had always wanted. Even remote start, which wasn’t advertised.
I got everything I wanted and more.
The wait was worth it.
And I’m so, so glad I waited.
My car’s not as new and it’s not as flashy as it was the day I bought it, but I still love it. I still smile when I hop in and turn on the seat heater. I still love that CD player. And every time I look at it I’m reminded of God’s faithfulness to me – to us – when we wait.
The wait is worth it.
You can stop reading here, or you can stick with me as I use my dream car as a metaphor for the rest of my life.
Namely, I’m single. I’ve been single for a long time, I know I’m supposed to be single right now, and although I don’t always like being single, I know I’m waiting for the right one and that the wait will be worth it. I know what I want, I know exactly what I’m looking for, I know it when I see it, and I know I SHALL see it – him – if I keep on waiting.
Waiting and saving, waiting and saving, waiting and saving.
For a long time I never actually thought I’d get my dream car. Sometimes it feels the same way with my future husband. So much of the time, by all appearances, it looks like he’s never going to find his way to me, like I’m going to have to give up that dream and settle for something less.
But if God cared enough to give me the exact car I wanted – in the exact year, color, number of miles, price, and every other feature down to the smallest detail – don’t you think he can do the same for my future husband?
I do. I KNOW he can. And I know he WILL.
If only I wait and save, wait and save, wait and save.
If you’re in the same boat as me or if you’re waiting on any dream at all, be encouraged. God can still come through, and he is fully capable of fulfilling your dream. Even the long-awaited ones. Even the ones that seem like they’re never going to be realized. Even the craziest, most random, ultra-specific ones.
Most of the time? God’s the one who gave you those dreams in the first place.
If God cares that much about a car, he cares infinitely more about you and the dreams that you hold close to your heart.
Trust him. Believe in him. Wait. And save. Until you see your dream become a reality.
The wait is worth it. Every time.