When I was close to twelve years old I started driving my family’s old manual farm trucks around our land. I don’t ever remember wrecking them but there was this little car that I was driving in our field one day. My brothers and my imagination would always run wild. That day I was acting like I was on a highway. I took an “exit” off the straight dirt path and as I was attempting to get back on, my little dog named Boo Boo jumped in my lap and blocked my ability to drive. We had one singlewide storage trailer on that side of the field…you guessed right: out of the entire field of places to turn, I ran right into the trailer, ripping the whole fender off! It was very embarrassing… but it hasn’t gotten much better over the years.
A few years later when Cameron and I were dating, I backed his Tacoma into our friend’s vehicle, ripping his fender off. The sad thing is his car was one of the only cars in the parking lot. (How could I possibly not realize it)!? I cried about that.
Then with Cameron’s Ford (our current vehicle), I drove into someone’s door while attempting to go straight in a inside turning lane… I also ran into a gas station pole a little. I have always had reasons why I just didn’t think straight, but they would be too long and embarrassing to share. (I will try not to bore you with details). The point is I have felt quite stupid to be honest, since I was completely to blame for all of these mishaps.
Reasonably, yesterday I was trying my best to drive very attentively, knowing my capacity for silly mistakes. I drove up the mountain with care, taking every curve wide so that I wouldn’t hit any car that may be driving too fast down the mountain. I drove the speed limit, carefully watched the mirrors… I was doing great. I felt relieved as I pulled up to where our fifth wheel home was parked. I didn’t mess up this time! I started to carefully back up… listening for our camera to beep when I got too close… but it didn’t. Without our sensors and any sound of alarm I had backed up into our hard steel trailer hitch, which is higher than our camera sensors… and created a six inch wide slice into the tailgate. Cameron told me to break, and got out to check if I had gotten to close. My heart sank when he told me to pull up… I knew I had done it again. AGAIN! Can I be honest? I felt horrible, so bad that it took me a few minutes to get out of the truck. So many thoughts were flooding in my mind, “I made another stupid mistake”, “I messed up again”, “why does this happen when I really try my best”, “how could I have possibly not seen that?”.
When Cameron saw the damage he just smiled and started laughing… soon he was belly laughing… I was upset cause I felt like he should be upset at me… at least he should say something about how I am a horrible driver! Or even have a hint of disappointment on his face… but instead, he genuinely laughed. When I got out I thought it must not be too bad cause he is laughing…. But it was just the opposite… it was the worst I had done to his truck! Cameron pulled me close in an embrace I felt I didn’t deserve and said, “its just a thing”. He also said “you don’t need to take yourself so seriously” His disposition didn’t change toward me; his attitude was one of love. He didn’t let a mistake change the way he felt towards me. I started laughing almost ready to cry as he helped me to stop condemning myself. As I was saying how I was stupid and a horrible driver, He said, “I don’t like when you talk about my wife that way”, He showed me unconditional love, the kind that only comes from having Jesus.
Tears come to my eyes as I type this because this incident and so many times in our marriage Cameron has showed me what Jesus’ love really looks like. Countless times I have realized how much Christ loves me in spite of myself, in a tangible way because of Cameron’s decision to love me despite my mistakes.
This morning I was overwhelmed by conviction as I started to think of times where I had been upset or frustrated with my family, my friends and Cameron… when they never meant to do the things that frustrated me. I thought of times when I could have understood, that it was “just a thing”. Times that wished I could go back and love better. How many times have I not used that same measure of love that Jesus loves me with for Cameron, my friends and family or leaders? It opened my eyes to how different life would be if everyone truly loved each other like Christ. I am reminded of the standard of love that we are to live by:
I Corinthians 13:4 (Amp) “Love endures with patience and serenity, love is kind and thoughtful, and is not jealous or envious; love does not brag and is not proud or arrogant. 5 It is not rude; it is not self-seeking, it is not provoked [nor overly sensitive and easily angered]; it does not take into account a wrong endured. 6 It does not rejoice at injustice, but rejoices with the truth [when right and truth prevail]. 7 Love bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one], hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times], endures all things [without weakening]. 8 Love never fails.
This is the God kind of love. The kind of love that we are to strive to be daily! Every marriage, friendship, and family relationship would be TRANSFORMED if we acted this way towards each other. There will be times that this is difficult, but it is not a suggestion, God has command us to love like this! We have the ability to do this because of the Holy Spirit residing inside of us. Every day we are called to be more and more like Jesus, more and more like love! We are becoming LOVE! This is my resolve.
The other part of this equation that rocked my world is how God sees me. I realized how many times I have been mad at myself for repeating mistakes, or embarrassing choices. I often have transferred my own disappointment at my imperfections on God. I figured if I am frustrated and disappointed in myself, God must be at least slightly irritated with me. Seeing Cameron laugh and smile over a terrible mistake I made me realize that God is not thrown off by our mistakes. No matter how hard we try, we are going to mess up sometimes… but God does not look down on us as a failure, He loves us… just because. His love is not based on our performance or ability to be perfect. He loves us because that is what He has chosen to do, in spite of ourselves or of what we may deserve.
- It’s amazing what love can do. For me, Cameron’s decision to act like Jesus helped me realize that I shouldn’t judge myself so harshly; that I am lovable by God and others in spite of my mistakes. His love also convicted me to love others that way. I encourage you to love others and yourself the way God loves you. You will be amazed at how love will transform your marriage, strengthen and heal your friendships, and family. A simple decision to say, “I love you more than trucks” can revolutionize someone’s heart!