Choosing Joy

Hello friends and family! I hesitated sharing this, because I didn’t want people thinking I was after any attention or sympathy. Plus, I feel like social media should be a platform that is used to encourage and uplift others, so keeping what I share on here positive is what I’m always after. The more I thought about it, I decided that if my circumstance could be used to encourage someone, then it’s completely worth sharing….Last month, on May 6th I bought my dream car. I’ve had my eye on a vintage VW bug for several years now and had been saving up my money for quite some time. We finally found one in my price range in amazing condition- A beautiful 1968 bug in a gorgeous blue-teal color. The interior was flawless, paint job was beautiful, engine looked good, and it ran great! The guy we bought it from was a really nice guy and seemed to me that he was honest about it’s condition. He did mention briefly that there was a leak of some sort coming from the back and that he assumed it was brake fluid. We intended on driving it straight to a shop to get it tuned up and looked at regardless. For the price, we were willing to put more money into getting it perfected. Needless to say, we bought it and I was on cloud 9! I couldn’t stop smiling and laughing. It had been awhile since I had felt that level of happiness! Right after we drove the car away, we took it to a parking lot where my dad could refresh me on how to drive a stick shift. After driving around the parking lot for 30 minutes or so, we decided to head home before it got dark so we went to a gas station to fill up and then we headed home. I was with Dan and my dad and we decided that it would be better for my dad to drive it since I was still getting the hang of driving it. Plus, we were in Atascadero headed back to the coast and driving highway 41 didn’t seem to be the safest route for me to drive, especially since it was getting dark. Dan followed behind us in his truck. Halfway through the 41, Dan said that he saw fluid spilling out of the back of the bug so he tried calling my dad and I to let us know. But we did not have any cell reception on the 41 and thus, kept driving. All of a sudden my dad and I heard this loud/huge pop sound come from the back of the bug. We quickly pulled over on the shoulder and then we see Dan running over to us yelling at us to get out of the car because it was on fire! I called the fire dept and my dad reached for the fire extinguisher that was in the back seat of the car. The fire extinguisher looked about as old as the car was and obviously didn’t work. The fire department came but by the time they arrived, the whole bug was up in flames. It felt like we were in a movie and it didn’t seem real. We sat there, completely helpless, watching this beautiful car that I literally just bought an hour prior, go up in smoke.

I’ve been thinking and praying a lot since this incident and I believe that God can use the horrible things that happen in our lives for good. Through some personal struggles and battles I’ve been faced with, in addition to this incident, I’ve been learning more and more about what it means to have the joy of the Lord as my strength. The reality is, horrible things happen in this life, and there is evil in this broken world. No, God did not “do this” to me. No, this is not some act of “karma” and no, this isn’t a “punishment” for something I’ve done in my life. God is good and wants the very best in my life. We can choose to be affected by the negative things in our lives or we can choose to have joy. It’s really that simple (much easier said than done, of course). I can choose to focus on everything good that God’s blessed me with, or I can focus on what I don’t have. More and more, I’m learning how important it is to take control over my thought life. I’m in the middle of reading “Battlefield Of The Mind,” by Joyce Meyer. She said “Although we may not always have the power to keep disappointments from happening to us, we do have the power to choose how we are going to react to them. We can allow our thoughts to dwell on them until we become totally discouraged and devastated, or we can focus our attention on all the good things that have happened to us in our life-and on all the good things that God still has in store for us in the days ahead.” Disappointment and negative things will happen in life, and we can let it discourage and devastate us or we can “use it as a stepping stone to higher and better things.” I want to encourage anyone reading, no matter what you are facing to choose joy! Stay thankful, stay positive, and focus your mind on higher things. It’s not a “one and done” thing. It is a constant battle that you will face every day in your mind. Sometimes every few hours, or even minutes, haha. I’m going to quote Joyce Meyer again because her book is just that good- “Don’t meditate on the disappointment that comes in your life. Let it go and let God take care of you. Instead of focusing on your problems, focus on God. Meditate on His promises. Confess His word and submit yourself and your situation to Him in prayer.”

I’m so thankful that nobody was injured. I’m thankful that the place we pulled over was next to a hill of rock and dirt instead of foliage and trees that could have caught fire. I’m thankful that the scene didn’t cause any car accidents. And I’m thankful for the moments of pure joy I felt with my Daddy driving it together in the parking lot, and getting to share the whole experience of buying my dream car with him and Daniel.

We weren’t sure how this would all work out as far as insurance coverage was concerned, but I’m so stoked to share that my insurance came through. They were so kind, helpful and understanding, and I will be getting back what I payed for the car, and then some!

I believe everything happens for a reason and choosing to trust God and staying rooted in Him will always get me through the trials in this life. I pray this encourages whoever reads this. Choose joy and gratitude today friends!

-Love, Kari Jane

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