Fender Benders & Finding Grace


I had just flown home from a trip to San Francisco. My flight left at 7 AM which meant I had to be at the airport at 5 AM which meant I had to get up at 4 AM (and that’s 2 AM in Oklahoma.) Point being, I was exhausted. I was distracted. And all I wanted was to get home.

As I drove away from the airport, I made a few phone calls to let family know I had landed. I exited the highway and was waiting at a stoplight. I finished my phone conversation and turned to drop my phone back in my purse. From the corner of my eye I noticed traffic beginning to move. I pushed the gas only to find out – with a loud crunch – traffic was no longer moving.

I immediately burst into an irrational amount of tears. From any normal person’s standpoint, it was just a fender bender – an accident. From the way I panicked and sobbed as I called my husband, you would have thought (as I’m sure he did- until he got there) that it was a much more dramatic.

Being a recently married, I’m learning the “for better or for worse” line seems dreamy and romantic until you come across a “worse” and it’s double awful when the “worse” happens to be pretty expensive and all your fault.

At the sound of his voice on the phone, tears ensued again at the newlywed realization that this was no longer something I could take care of on my own – we both bore the weight of my mistake now – and that thought alone was crushing. He simply gave me a reassuring, “It’s okay! We’ll get it fixed. I’m just glad you’re okay.” Where I should have been comforted, his response brought a wave of shame and embarrassment.

Over the next few days, I wore that shame like a security blanket. I kept it close in case my husband decided to give up his bizarre way of acting like the world was rolling around normally on its axis and everything was fine.  Could he not see that I just made a mistake that now affects us both?

I knew I was being dramatic, it was just a fender bender, but I also couldn’t shake the uncomfortable feelings that came with costing Josh and only being met with the grace he continued to pour over me. It felt white-hot on my embarrassed, vulnerable heart. Why was it so hard to accept this from him?

It was uncomfortable because I didn’t deserve it.

It was uncomfortable because I don’t know what my reaction would have been had the roles been reversed.

It was uncomfortable because it was a perfect reflection of the grace I need every moment from my Savior that I so casually accept, and yet here I was in awe of my husband.

As all of this flooded my heart, I couldn’t help but immediately start to ask forgiveness and pray thanks to my God who used Josh’s tender response over a fender bender that wrecked me (literally and figuratively) to see grace with fresh eyes; to remember my desperation for such a precious gift; and to be reminded of how freely it has been given to me, and how soon I forgot – or even worse, feel I deserve.

I was made aware of my hunger over a fender bender, something so small, it shatters my heart to think about our world, starving for even just a mouthful of grace.

“But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself; if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”

Acts 20:24


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