Our crisis

I don’t know if you follow Life in a Shoe on facebook, but our upcoming trip to Branson, Missouri for a family reunion has been in jeopardy.

Let me preface this li’l story by telling you that our vacations have always been a quick visit to out-of-state relatives.  We have never taken the sort of vacation where you check into a condo with your own hot tub, lounge around one of the 4 pools or walk down the lake to swim and picnic, and just generally relax.

Let me also emphasize that even though this sounds really fun, we never would have come up with the idea ourselves.  My grandparents, who live 1400 miles away, planned an entire family reunion and made it very clear that it was very important to them that any of their descendants who are able to attend do so.

So we planned to go in order to honor them.  It’s a sacrifice we were willing to make.  🙂

But we hit a few bumps along the way.

First, Vision Forum asked our family to drive to Boston and help staff the Reformation 500.   It ends the same day our family reunion begins, with about 24 hours of driving betwixt the two.  Try as we might, we simply couldn’t see a way that it was going to work.  We would have missed the first 2 days of the reunion and arrived exhausted.

Plan B was for VF to fly Perry alone to Boston and send him to join us in Branson when the festivities were over.  Did I say Perry? I meant Lieutenant General Oliver Cromwell. You should see him.  If you’re going to the Reformation 500, you will see him.  Send me photos, ok?

In Plan B, he kids and I would be driving up to Branson alone.  We would make a long slow trip of it, since Perry was leaving us several days early.  We would visit friends along the way, taking 3 days to make a 13 hour drive.  It was a beautiful plan.


The van needed a bit of work before we left.  And then it needed more work.  And then it needed a torque converter.  Since we were conserving every bit of money we could for the privilege of selling our white elephant, hubby decided to do the torque converter himself.

My hero came home from work on Friday with a new torque converter and a rented tranny jack, and crawled right under the van.  With the help of my uncle and my 13yo brother, he worked straight through the night.  My uncle has changed many-a-torque converter, and my brother makes a good go-fer.  Together they pulled the drive shaft, unbolted the starter, dropped the transmission, and did a lot of other cool, manly stuff.

It was a lot of work but a straightforward job, and went very smoothly.  They changed the torque converter and put everything back together.  They stopped once or twice to run to town for more tools, a new gasket, a few more quarts of transmission fluid.  Finally it was done and ready for a test drive.

Then bad stuff happened.

Many long hours pass, in which my husband still does not sleep.  Counting his full day at work Friday, he has now been working for over 30 hours straight.

He made some calls and I made some calls, looking for someone who could offer a clue why the van wasn’t fixed.  We consulted all the mechanics in the family, and those in the families of friends.  We consulted our favorite neighborhood redneck mechanic, a very nice man who once gave us 5 used children’s bicycles.

At hubby’s request, I called our pastor’s wife to tell her what was going on, and that we wouldn’t be at church the following morning.  I asked her to pray for us, because it looked like our trip was in jeopardy.  Hubby was flying out Monday afternoon and our van wasn’t running.

He got some sleep, and the following morning he went back to work at pulling the ox out of the ditch on Sunday.

Finally, they realize that the highly reputable shop which sold us the torque converter gave us the wrong part. Close, but no cigar.  Just plain wrong.

He was willing to stay up all night again, but the parts just weren’t available until Monday morning.  I made dozens of phone calls and it just wasn’t happening.  He simply didn’t have time to exchange the part and install the correct one.

We had resigned ourselves that he was not going to have time to fix it, and were wondering what to do. We sat down on the deck to think and talk about our options.

  • Should we pay Big Bucks for someone else to do it?  Even though the funds were earmarked for the white elephant?  If so, would it be done in time?
  • Should he put the old torque converter back on and let the kids and me take it on a road trip, far from home?  After all, it probably would have been fine if we had waited to fix it.
  • Should we pay Big Bucks to rent a van for the trip? Then when we got back we would still have to repair it, but at least Perry would have time to fix it himself.
  • Could he ask Vision Forum to move his flight back one day, so he would have time to fix the van?  It would probably cost them some money.  Would it be right to ask, and should we cover the add’l cost?
  • Should he bow out of his trip to Boston, after commiting to go?  VF had already bought his ticket, and was counting on his presence and labor.
  • Should we cancel the trip? We could always plan to visit my grandparents later, but it seemed important to attend the reunion.  This wasn’t just a trip for our own pleasure.

The phone rang. The voice at the other end said to have it fixed, and forward the bill.

We were stunned, and grateful.  The van was towed this morning by a wrecker who arrived 20 minutes ahead of schedule, and the shop that is fixing it assures me that it will be ready in time.

Lately I’ve been reading 5 chapters in my Bible every morning.  This morning, I started at Psalm 20.  I was shocked at how appropriate it was.   I’ve purposely left out some details  of our story that make it fit even better.

Silly me.  Why would I be surprised that the God of all creation could orchestrate a little “coincidence” like that?

Psalm 20

To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.

1 May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble;
May the name of the God of Jacob defend you;
2 May He send you help from the sanctuary,
And strengthen you out of Zion;
3 May He remember all your offerings,
And accept your burnt sacrifice.  Selah

4 May He grant you according to your heart’s desire,
And fulfill all your purpose.
5 We will rejoice in your salvation,
And in the name of our God we will set up our banners!
May the LORD fulfill all your petitions.

6 Now I know that the LORD saves His anointed;
He will answer him from His holy heaven
With the saving strength of His right hand.

7 Some trust in chariots, and some in horses;
But we will remember the name of the LORD our God.
8 They have bowed down and fallen;
But we have risen and stand upright.

9 Save, LORD!
May the King answer us when we call.


  1. What a great story! How encouraging to hear how God has worked on your behalf! Enjoy your vacation.

  2. Erin M in MO says:

    Praise the Lord! He always works things out, either for yes or no, and it is always the right answer.

    If I happen to see you in Branson this weekend I’ll be sure and say hello… I will pray for you to have a wonderful time with your family. 🙂

  3. Lisa in ND says:

    Hurray! Have a safe trip and a wonderful time at the reunion!

  4. Praise the Lord!! I love to hear about God’s provision! Our God is good and He is in time, on time, every time!

  5. I see, I was thinking the garage that gave you the wrong part decided to pay the bill since they made a big mistake……I guess not.

  6. I am confused who is paying the bill????????

  7. How exactly like God to plan all the little details so they bring glory to Him! Thanks for sharing this story, Kim! Enjoy your trips. – Kimarie

  8. Theresa Taylor says:

    I am thanking GOD!!!!!! Your story reads so well. Thank you.

  9. Praise our Great Lord and King! What a blessing!

  10. I loved the story of God’s provision for you!!!

  11. I love to hear stories like this. 🙂

  12. Sweetie that was beautifully eloquent.

  13. Hannah C. says:

    That is amazing! God is good!…and I hope your husband gets some good sleep soon!!

  14. Thank you for this reminder that God does all things well and that He loves us. He is trustworthy, even when we can’t see it!

    This post was an encouragement that I needed this afternoon, thank you!!!

    I appreciate your encouragement and hope that you have a wonderful, safe trip.


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