6.20.2010

Dude, Where's My Car?

There is something therapeutic about sharing one of your most embarrassing moments with the world. At least, that’s the idea I’m starting out with today. Let’s see if I’m right.

It was 1995. I was a wide-eyed college freshman and first-time car owner. Technically my dad owned it, of course, but it was my car. A 1990 Geo Prizm that sported a hatchback. I had wheels. (Cue the “Oh Yeah” song from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off). Mine was light blue, but you get the idea from this picture:

I named her Prissy. I drove her all over my college town of Florence, Alabama, finally free from relying on the good-will of my friends.

One spring afternoon, I grabbed a McDonald’s hamburger for lunch (the food of champions, as far as I was concerned), and parked my little car in the dormitory parking lot for the afternoon.
Later that day, on my way to ensemble practice, I headed straight for the parking place I had snagged earlier. I looked around, feeling panicky. Where was my car?!? I surveyed the entire dormitory parking lot, to no avail. Rational thought falling by the wayside, I immediately determined that my Geo Prizm had been stolen. That’s right. Lifted right out of the parking lot by some villainous thieves who had coveted the awesomeness of my hatchback. They had taken my Prissy from me, and I would never see her again.

I rushed back to my dorm room, emotions rising and heart pounding. Following through on my knee jerk response, I reached for the phone and made several calls…to my parents, to the director of the ensemble who sympathetically said he would tell all of my friends and they would pray for me, and to the police. Yes. I called the police to report a stolen car. They calmly told me they were on their way.

I rushed to the elevator and pushed the down arrow button to go meet the police. Alone, in that rickety old elevator on the way down, my rational thought, which had been rudely shoved aside earlier, began to make itself heard. Loudly.

“Jennifer,” it said. “You drove to the library on campus after you got back from McDonald’s. And you WALKED back to the dorm. Remember?”

I wanted to slump to the floor of the elevator. My friends still tease me to this day.

Few things make me more aggravated at myself than forgetting something. It is a trait common to mankind, bestowed more prominently on some than others. No one remembers everything all the time. That’s why the inventor of Post-It notes made a fortune. People forget keys, important dates, items that should have been packed, meetings, groceries, and, as I’ve just proven, where they park their cars. It’s as if our brains can only hold so much information…anything over and above that set limit is subconsciously labeled “FORGET,” against our wills. We certainly don’t want to forget important things, but sometimes they fall through the mental cracks. Human beings are limited.

Sometimes, people forget the big things, too.

The people of the Old Testament, who notoriously walked away from those Ten Commandments, knew that they were prone to forgetfulness. On several occasions, the Bible records instances in which they set up piles of rocks called “standing stones,” (the first Post-It notes), to remind them of some great work that God had done. The old hymn “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” says, “Here I raise mine ebneezer, hither by they help I’m come.”

I always thought the word “ebeneezer” sounded so antiquated and strange. I had never heard it used alongside anything other than Scrooge. But it means this:

"Stone of help, the place where Samuel erected a monument, in grateful remembrance of the divine help, given in answer to prayer, in a great battle with the Philistines. The same place had before witnessed the defeat of Israel and the capture of the ark." (1 Samuel 4:1; 5:1; 7:5-12)
Source: Smith’s Bible Dictionary

So in modern terms, that line in the hymn means, “Here I put up my monument to God’s faithfulness in my life. It’s only by his help that I’ve come this far, and I don’t ever want to forget it.”

My mom says, “Never forget in the darkness what God has shown you in the light.” That means, put up some ebeneezers here and there…you never know when you’re going to need them. They might be big rock piles (figuratively speaking), the results of dramatic, life-altering events. But sometimes they’re just your own small reminders that the hand of God is at work. Either way, we would do well to dot our life-landscapes with them, very intentionally.

I raised an ebeneezer on that day in 1995…not just because my car had not been stolen by villainous thieves, but also because I learned a humbling lesson about jumping to conclusions, one that I still need and have never forgotten.

Sometimes I put up my rock piles by writing them down. But they could just as easily be shared verbally, meditated upon, or raised up in some other creative way. The point is that we remember, just as Jesus gave us the bread and the cup by which we remember His sacrifice for us. Forget your keys…forget your entire car…but don’t forget to raise your ebeneezer. It’s hither by His help you’ve come.

29 comments:

  1. Hey, I gave you an award today at http://somegirlswebsite.com/showing-love/2010/06/id-like-to-thank/

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  2. Jennifer, I think you should write a devotional book. You always have such wonderful insight and seem to relate to Biblical stories so well! I love reading your blog!

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  3. Just hopping through via the Tuesday Tagalong. Come check out my blog if you get a chance, there are some great ecofriendly coupons, freebies, and giveaways! I'd love it if you would follow along on my journey to a greener life!

    Have a great week!
    Diane
    www.turning-the-clock-back.blogspot.com

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  4. Hi visiting from Tuesday Tagalong! Great post, very insightful. I'm a new follower!

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  5. I'm a new follower from Tuesday Tag-Along.
    I hope you'll come check me out at PS Mom Reviews and follow me too!

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  6. Great blog! I am a new follower from TTA. I hope you will check out my blog http://www.livingonloveandcents.blogspot.com While you are there take a look at all the great giveaways! I look forward to reading more from your blog!

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  7. Happy Wednesday...stopping by and following from iFellowship.

    Have a blessed week!

    Much love

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  8. I know I already commented but just linked up to iFellowship and saw you were the featured blog this week! Congrats!!!!

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  9. lol! The car thing totally sounds like something from my life! hee, hee! And your insight was a great way to start my day. Thanks for the follow; I'm thrilled to be following you back! :)

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  10. That SO sounds like me...I love the don't forget what God has done in the light when in the darknes, very thought provoking. I found your blog through iFellowship. Have a great day!

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  11. LOL! I've done something similar. I parked on one side of a dept store and after came back out, I was like "Where is my car?" After looking all around in parking lot in the rain, I realized it was on the other side as I had gone in a different door.

    God is so good! I'm so thankful for all He has brought me through. I pray that I never forget his lovingkindness and mercy.

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  12. I am visiting from iFellowship today. I enjoyed reading your post. I felt the same way when I lost my wallet. I was thinking someone had found it and went on a shopping spree and I would get stuck with the bills. When I calmed down for a second I remembered I had it at the grocery store. I called and they had it there waiting for me. What a relief!
    ~Theresa
    www.beingrefinedassilver.blogspot.com

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  13. What a great post! I studied Hebrews years ago and over and over it said about Israel "they did not remember". Remembering is so vital to moving forward with God!

    I love the image of writing being putting down stones of remembrance! that is beautiful!

    Have a super day,
    Stacey

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  14. Visiting from iFellowship and am now a new follower. Loved your post, thank you for sharing :-)
    -Angela
    http://homemadewisdom.blogspot.com/

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  15. What a funny story! (and embarrassing, I'm sure) And what a great lesson to be shared!

    (I only stopped by briefly the other day... today I had time to read):)

    Congratulations on being the featured blogger on iFellowship today! ♥ Michelle

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  16. I'm so glad to know I'm not the only one who does silly things like this! LOL

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  17. I have to say I did something similar with my first car too.

    Stopping by from iFellowship! Congrats on being the featured blogger today! I hope you have a great Wednesday!!!

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  18. Hi, I am now following you from iFellowhip. I loved your story and it is so true. Many of us are so quick to jump to conclusions. When I think of times like that I try to ask myself, What would Jesus do?. It may sound funny but no matter how old the Bible is it still helps us today with our every day situations. Have a great week!

    http://www.honoringtheking.com

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  19. Hi,

    I am visiting from iFellowship. What a great reminder about not jumping to conclusions. This was a timely reminder for me. Thank you.

    Blessings
    Honey

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  20. Hi there! Just found you through a blog hop and I'm your newest follower. It's nice to find someone else so firm in their faith - I'm actually doing a post about religion tomorrow morning.

    I look forward to getting to know you more!

    Kate @ This Mom Loves

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  21. Now even I've never done anything THAT embarrassing ... LOL Just kidding. This is a wonderful post! I found you through iFellowship, and I'm glad I did!

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  22. Stopping in from iFellowship. Loved your post. I like the idea of setting up reminders of God's faithfulness. I need lots of post-it-notes!

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  23. Happy iFellowship Day to you!!! Thanks for joining us. :)

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  24. Thanks for the good chuckle! That totally sounds like something I would do. :)

    I love how it became an ebeneezer in your life. One of my favorite hymns too, by the way.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog!

    m :)

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  25. Wow, you are an amazing writer! I was really able to relate to your story, not about forgetting you drove to the library and walked home...but just the forgetfullness. I'm following from iFellowship! :)

    Can't wait to read more!
    http://inallitsglory.blogspot.com/2010/06/our-husbands-should-come-before-our.html

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  26. Great post, again. Love reading your blog...a cool ride. Ebeneezer would be such a new cool name for a boy, but then, he'd be called "Sneezer" at school. Still, my first boy is called David, which is sort of an Ebaneezer in itself: I was told I couln't get pregnant and if I did, I wouldn't carry to term. The prediction (by a doctor no less) was only partially right. I had a horrid pregnancy and spent months on my back in hospital. The good part is David was born healthy and whole. His name means "Gift from God". It reminds me what God did in my life to give me a family. Congrats on your special blogging honour. Rosemary

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  27. Wow what a great, albeit embarrassing story! I found you through Seeds of Faith. Looking forward to reading more!

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  28. I am your newest follower! I look forward to reading more of your blog!
    Have a wonderful weekend!
    ~Shanna
    http://mommyofoneandcounting.blogspot.com/

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  29. Great blog!! Stopping by to say hi!! I am your newest follower!!!

    www.justtryingtosavemoney.com

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