Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Check Engine....

I am having some serious writer's block so I decided to share with you something I wrote before I started The Dailies.  This is old school....circa July 2009.  Enjoy!

I drive a fire engine red 1996 Subaru Impreza (with WV tags no less), aka...Big Red. She's a five speed (not fun to drive in DC traffic, people...not fun at all!). No options. And by no options I mean none...no power windows. No anti-lock brakes. No sweet sound system. No leather seats (in fact, even my Wal-Mart seat covers are ripped). Not even a passenger side mirror came factory.

My Dad got me Big Red brand spanking new when i was 15 so that I could have a new car as well as learn how to drive a standard. When I first got the car, my dad sat me down and explained to me the importance of responsible driving. He taught me how to drive the car (thank goodness it was him...my mom was a little to happy with the 'fake break' if you know what I mean...sorry mom) and how to take care of it. He showed me how to drive but he also let me take the wheel and make some mistakes too. He showed me how to change the oil, change the tires, etc. Every weekend I would wash my car (and sometimes in between when I would go muddin). I was so afraid of losing my car that I made sure to be as responsible with it as I could.

'Ol Big Red and I have a lot in common. We are both small in appearance but big in heart, a little banged up and dented, missing a few pieces, have more power and drive in us than our engines should allow, and though unpredictable and prone to break downs...people just can't seem to get rid of us! : )

Some days I am sitting in traffic on 270 just looking at all the new cars, trucks, and SUV's and I am just amazed that I still have Big Red. I can't totally explain why I never had the desire to get a new car over these 12 years, but I feel like I have learned a lot from having her.

One thing that Big Red has, that i am totally envious of is the "check engine" light. I don't really think I have an equivalent signal hardwired into me. I can always tell when I need more "oil"...aka...coffee. I get sluggish and hard to run at top speeds. I can always tell when I need a new "battery"...aka...food. I am hard to start and can't stay running. I can even tell when I need some carborator cleaner, but we won't get into that! : ) I just wish that I had some way of knowing when I have pushed myself too far without stopping to check and make sure I have everything I need to run smoothly and safely.

We've probably all had the "check engine" light come on in our car before. Sometimes it's obvious there's a problem...your car is barely able to even pull off the road. Other times, things seem just fine when that light comes on. That's the tricky one. Now we have to decide whether we are going to take this little light seriously or if we are just going to keep driving with it on (or put electrical tape over it so you don't have to face the red glare...not that I would ever do such a thing...I'm just sayin'...you could!).

We do the exact same thing with ourselves.

Just like Big Red, I had spent many years of my life just goin', goin' goin'. Not enough time for repairs. I ignored a lot of my dents and scrapes. I lost a few pieces of myself. At first, there were only a few...nothing to worry about. No one would even notice if they took a quick glance. Only if you got close to me would you realize that there was something missing...something in need of repair.

If left alone, those little dents and scrapes will start to rust. The rust will spread and eat away...inside and out. If you don't replace the little pieces you lost, they will only turn into bigger pieces gone. Just like my car, I've had times in my life where I broke down...didn't think I could keep going. Just put me up on blocks in the front yard and call it a day.

We all know when that little red light comes on that it is potentially going to cost us something. We groan when we see it. We think, NOOOO! Not now! I don't have enough money for car repairs! I don't have enough time to take my car to the shop! I can't miss work! That is the reason that we are tempted to just keep on driving it. Take the gamble that it's just a fluke. We ignore it and hope for the best.

Usually when we get to the point where we are in need of repair, we are too afraid to stop and evaluate the situation because it most likely means that we are going to have to make a change...and us humans...we aren't known for our affinity for change. If we are working too much and that little inner "check engine light" turns on...we put the electrical tape over it and keep on truckin'...time is money and no one has enough of either! There are so many ways that we miss our "check engine" light....or better known as....God's still, small voice telling us something us wrong.

Just like Big Red...I was falling apart...but I had ignored that still small voice telling me that I had neglected myself too much.

Go, go, go! No time to stop right now. Stopping means thinking. Thinking means realizing. Realizing means change. Change means pain.

Let's just avoid all that mess and drive until we fall apart.

Too much rust.
Too many pieces lost.

Repairing takes time.

I had wished that I could trade my dented and fragmented heart in for a new model....so I did.

It might have cost me my life, but my old life wasn't that great anyway. I died to this world only be blessed with eternal life with Jesus....I think that sounds like a more than fair trade! : )

I know a lot of my notes have the same theme...God talks to me through people, events, and things in my world...I LOVE that about God! I knew last month when I turned my key in the ignition and the "check engine" light came on that I would eventually be typing this note. LOL! It's funny really. I laughed when the light came on because I knew that not only had I been neglecting my car, but that I had been neglecting myself (not that that's funny)...and that God was going to use this whole situation to show me the importance of taking care of my engine...the heart of my car...but WAY more importantly...taking care of the heart of Katie.

Some days when I am walking out to my car...I just look at Big Red....all her dents and scratches...I love her just the way she is...she is imperfect, weathered many storms, strong, uniquely beautiful, and serves a purpose. I remember back to when my dad first gave her to me. I washed her every weekend. I cried over the smallest scratches. I made sure never to put her in harms way. I protected her because I was afraid of losing her.

Now, when I look at her, I see how these last 12 years have taken a toll on her. At some point I started slacking on my care of her. I stopped crying over every scratch. Dents went unfixed. I ignored her and now she has scars that will only be able to be removed at a high price.

Even though I would never change anything in my life,because everything has brought me to right where God wants me.... I have had to struggle and pay for many of the decisions that I have made. The scars I allowed on my heart have not been easily healed. The rust had spread. I wish that I had been as afraid of losing my soul as I was of losing my car. As I allowed the world to toss me...my car got dented too. I stopped caring about me, so why would I care about my car.

So now here Big Red and I are. 12 years later. Healing.

No matter how long you have known God...any one of us is just one bad experience away from losing heart....losing faith....allowing the dents and rust to encroach upon us. It's usually slow. Rust doesn't form over night.

When people talk about "fearing the Lord" it's not necessarily meaning a literal fear (although sometimes it does....God will discipline His children...and He is the warrior of all warriors)....most of the time it means that you fear losing Him. Not always of Him punishing you. It's never God leaving us....He has promised to never leave us...He's with you right now as you read this sentence. Believe me...it's us who leave Him.

Now that I have experienced the sweetness and abundance that comes from having a relationship with God, I fear losing it more than anything in the world. I would rather lose everything else in the whole world than my relationship with the One that Created me. Maybe you think that sounds extreme. If you do, it's probably because you've never been in the presence of God. All other joys are temporary. It sucks. But it's true. I spent the majority of my life thinking the other way, struggling...running in the wrong direction.... only to realize that the only Truth is Jesus.

No one can heal my dents and scrapes but Jesus. Oh, I've tried. I've tried to fill my missing pieces with relationships, for example, but no one could do it. It was too much for anyone to handle but Jesus. That is one of my biggest regrets, that I tried to put the burden of my happiness and fulfillment onto someone else. Very selfish. Very desperate. Desperate people do desperate things to be filled. When that "check engine" light comes on...we all would rather do anything than take it to the place where it's going to cost us. We may wheel and deal and gamble when it comes to our cars, but we really can't afford to do so when it comes to our souls. When we take our emptiness to someone other than Jesus to fix all we are doing is putting putty over the holes while we rust away under the facade we've created.

I am sharing this with you in order to encourage you to trust that little voice that tells you to slow down, take inventory, spend some time with God...get healed. Even the smallest dent is important to God. Smaller scars are easier to heal.

If you don't know God, I challenge you...ok, i triple dog dare you...to ask Him to show you that He's there, that He loves you...dents, rust, scrapes and all. He wants to fix your scarred heart. Nothing is too big for Him. Nothing is impossible with Him. If you've never talked to God, but you want to peel back the electric tape and face the fact that you need help...I promise you...just tell Him your fears, take that bold step...risk the cost. It's not in us to have the strength to make it without God. When we try and find the answer in ourselves...we always fall under the pressure. Telling you to fix yourself is like telling your car to change it's own oil....

I really love this post!  I wrote it as a note on Facebook over a year ago.  It's so amazing to me how much I have changed in just one year.  I don't have Big Red anymore.  My parents sold her to some nice country people in my hometown.  I'm sure she's happy.  :)  And I'm happy that I've moved on. 
Katie Mae

(My brother, Kirk, pretending to fix Big Red)


  1. I know I'm supposed to read the WHOLE post before I comment, but I got stuck on WV tags! Are you from WV (and if you've said this and I missed it, I'm sorry :( )????

  2. I AM!! I'm from Buckhannon, WV. You live in Morgantown, right? I went to school at Marshall and worked in Morgantown at Ruby Memorial for 3 years before moving to DC. I'm a proud WV girl! :)


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