A good choice

Eight, nine, maybe 10 times I signed my name on the paperwork, the J getting a little loopier with each go-round.

I handed Rich the papers. He handed me the keys. I grinned and gave a little happy hop. The car was officially mine.

(A quick note here … I know there are differences between SUVs and sedans and trucks and crossovers … I’m just going to call them all cars to keep it simpler. I hope that’s OK with you.)

There are two teens of driving age in my house. That means that lately the white Soccer Mom van I’ve been driving for years has been commandeered by the offspring for carting friends around, getting to work, and hauling drums. We decided it was time for Mom to have her own wheels.

It was fun to shop for a car for me. We test-drove scads of cars, comparing features, comfortableness, and cup holder counts. (They kids were entranced by one car that didn’t have power windows. “Mom, check it out! You get to roll up these windows by yourself!!”)

Each vehicle had its good points and its not so good points, things to like and things to critique. There was no perfect car out there. But that was OK. The goal wasn’t to find perfection. It was to find a car that I loved.

At long last I settled on a 2008 Jeep Compass, forest green, the basic model with lots of miles on it. It doesn’t have any of the little niceties that new cars these days have (except seat warmers — my, but I do love seat warmers).

It does, though, come pre-loved with a handful of dents and dings. The back bumper guard is cracked. There are perky rust bubbles starting to form around the tire wells. Inside, the tan fabric seats sport a number of snazzy burn holes to match the mysterious puncture marks in the ceiling.

It’s not much to brag about, my little green car. But it’s mine. And oh, how I love it.

My car was sold to me in an “as-is” condition. There’s a 30-day warranty to cover anything really horrendous, but I had to buy it knowing that it isn’t in factory-perfect condition. It will probably have some problems down the road. In fact, there’s a rattling sound coming from somewhere down below that probably shouldn’t be there, and I’ll probably need to get that looked at.

Before I decided on a car, I was worried that if the car I chose turned out to be flawed, I’d regret my decision.

I don’t think that will be a problem, though. Yes, it might give me trouble. It might cause an ache in my wallet and make me shake my head. But I don’t regret my choice. This is my car. I’m willing to take care of it. It’s not going to be perfect…and that’s okay.

I chose this car because I love it. And I love it because I chose it.

You did not choose me, but I chose you … John 15:16

I’ve got dents and dings that give evidence to some rough patches in life. My odometer is ticking away, and I ain’t getting any younger. I may not be rusting just yet, but I can be rough around the edges.

But when God went looking for someone to be His child, He wasn’t looking for perfect. He was looking for me.

Jesus didn’t live-die-rise for the elite. He didn’t come humbly to raise up those who are grand. He came to walk beside the incompletes, to share life with those who have rattles that need to be fixed and holes in the upholstery that need to be accepted as-is.

We were chosen, my friends. Our Savior pointed at each of us and said, “There, that one, with all the flaws … I want that one.”

The One who paid our price to make us His now holds us dear. He treats us with care we don’t deserve. We are His, chosen and loved.

We were chosen because we were loved. And we are loved because we were chosen.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Colossians 3:12

The people in our lives, even those nearest and dearest to us, come to us as-is. They are going to need maintenance, and they will sometimes make us shake our heads, and they might cause an ache in our hearts.

If God chose me, as-is, then it seems to me that I can accept some dents and dings in the people I love. And the people who try my patience. And maybe even in the people who drive me nuts.

I think that’s what I’ll try to work on this week as I drive around in my nifty green car. Remembering I’m the one God chose to be His. And choosing to keep loving as I have been loved — dents and all.