From Ferrari to Food Stamps.
She was a sight to behold, a dream-turned-reality for my husband. A 328, GTS (Gran Turismo Spider) Ferrari featuring a 3.2-litre V8, 4-valve-per-cylinder layout. She boasted the ability to reach a top speed of 166 mph, zero to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds. He chose the color red (Is there seriously any other color?). That racy red sports car was his Sunday afternoon mental decompressor, the hum and force of the 270 horse power engine soothing to his soul. She was the envy of on-lookers who were privileged to lay rounded eyes on her. At stops for fuel heads turned, jaws dropped at the sound of the approaching thunderous engine. It took me awhile before I realized it was the car those guys were ogling…
The Ferrari was a romantic ride for my husband and me along the Blue Ridge Parkway. So long as I secured my hair in an elastic tie he could accelerate with the top down to his heart’s content. No sense in turning on the radio once he reached maximum speed; neither of us could hear the music once it had been muted by whipping wind. And meaningful conversation? Pointless. A man’s paradise! No doubt he turned to me and grinned on our first trip out to see only flapping – yet blessedly silent – lips as I detailed the events of my day.
My husband cleaned that thing meticulously. Exiting the purple mini-van one afternoon the younger of our two sons, with metal Matchbox car clasped in hand, thought nothing of wheeling his little prize along Ferrari’s shiny red side. So I warned him, “Kid, you’re gonna have to live elsewhere if you so much as touch this car again.”
But she was costly. As our quiver filled to four and other expenses began to squeeze our bank account my husband made the wise, yet difficult decision, to sell her.
That was then. Today we’re no longer residents of Easy Street, a place we freely traversed for fifteen years. While living in this bountiful place I gave little thought to swiping a credit card, writing checks to various organizations, department stores, satisfying compulsive wants. A place where Biblical discernment between wants and needs had become increasingly blurred.
We’re approaching four years of increasing financial pressures, at times gasping for air while waters rise. My foot remains pressed to the metal in prayer, yet life isn’t letting up. If it weren’t for pictures of that racy red Ferrari I’d never have believed she once lived secured in our garage.
Yet here’s what’s good…
While my bank account has dwindled my spiritual accounting ledger reconciles the fact that I’ve become increasingly rich. The Ferrari created priceless memories. It was my husband’s joy to offer a ride to those who otherwise would never have an opportunity to experience the rush of that wicked-cool race car. Imagine the thrill for our oldest son when in second grade his daddy picked him up from school in…the Ferrari. A little girl’s date night with her daddy in that thing? Magical. At times I found myself interfacing with other Ferrari owners. Some shrugged while showcasing their custom-built garage that housed several classic cars as if owning them was no more out-of-the-ordinary than a rock collection. Created the perfect platform to redirect conversations toward eternal matters. All because of an Italian Stallion logo.
And intensified financial pressure has become an effective teacher.
~ I’ve learned (and am still learning) the secret to biblical contentment.
~ I’ve tasted the bitter command to give thanks in all circumstances “for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (I Thessalonians 5:18).
~ I’ve asked the hard question, “Are you willing to do without?” Not every great deal means I need to make a purchase.
The trek from Ferrari to Food Stamps significantly humbled me. It was never about that racy red sports car anyway, but about where I allowed the gifts He’d given to take my heart in the journey. More so when He took them away.
“I lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”
…the Maker of all things red, all things ultimately good, the Provider of all I need.