I never imagined I’d be the type to name an inanimate object like a car—didn’t think that was my thing. But then I met Beepy. The Jeepy. And she just sort of named herself.
A Jeep has been my dream car for as long as I can remember. If you were to have asked four-year-old Kaci what she wanted to be when she grew up, she would have answered without skipping a beat: I want to be a singing waitress with a pink Jeep.
I fulfilled the “waitress” part of that dream for a time when I worked at Outback Steakhouse throughout college, and while the “singing,” and the “pink” parts of it faded as I grew, the “Jeep” part of my dream stuck—but remained unfulfilled.
I bought my first car the summer before my junior year of college—an ’03 Ford Escape I got off my mom at a generous family discount. It was a necessity, seeing as I’d be working while going to school come August, rather than simply saving up through summer jobs as I’d done the first two years. The Outback I worked at back home agreed to let me transfer to the one down by my school—which meant I’d need a car to make the 30 minute commute from campus.
All summer long, I scoured Craigslist for the perfect used Jeep. Ideally, it would have a tan interior, white exterior, not too many miles, and a miraculously low price point. I was determined to find it.
I imagined myself cruising around campus in my cute new ride, with a deep sense of satisfaction. I was certain once I got this car, I wouldn’t want anything else. Every day, I came home from my serving shifts and continued the search, and every day, I came up dry. The problem was, everything I found within my price point wasn’t worth the money, and anything I found that was worth my money wasn’t within my means.
Toward the end of July, my mom decided it was time for an upgrade. Out with the old, in with a brand new 2012 Nissan Murano—which is how I ended up with her Escape. I was incredibly thankful—don’t get me wrong. If it weren’t for my mom’s generosity, I wouldn’t have been able to buy a car at all. Still, a small part of me was bummed because it felt like my Jeep dream was dying. But I accepted it, gave the Escape a good wash and duct taped up its disintegrating center console, and got excited about finally having my own car—then off I was to conquer junior year.
I think sometimes when we don’t get the good thing we desire when we thought we would get it, we feel like maybe it’s just not for us. The dream begins to feel distant as it becomes buried beneath each day that passes. We doubt whether God cares about it coming to be, so we quietly let it die.
But sometimes, it’s simply a matter of timing.
I quickly grew to love my Escape, and went on to drive it for 5 ½ years. It served me well. Until it stopped serving me—or rather, it simply failed to stop. ON THE FREEWAY. Talk about your life flashing before your eyes.
I was driving to work back in January when my brakes suddenly gave out—and only by the grace of God did that not give way to a crash. Instead, I was able to swerve and slide safely to a stop on the shoulder. Even so, an inspection at the brake shop later revealed a whole slew of other problems that made it clear the time for a new car, was now.
This was obviously unexpected. A new car was on my radar, but I was planning to buy it later in the year, once I’d paid off my student loans and was able to save a bit more. Getting a car now meant I’d have to take on a car payment for a bit. But God is never too early, and never too late. As “coincidence” would have it, at the beginning of January I found out I got a promotion. Then three days before my brakes gave out, I found out what that was going to translate into in terms of a raise. The verdict? Enough to cover my unexpected new car payment—plus change.
Just like that, without any warning, my Jeep dream was suddenly resurrected.
I got to work researching cars and establishing a budget with the help of my dad, and decided on a Jeep Compass. I wanted to be prepared, so I made a list on my phone of what was important to me—my “musts” vs. my “nice-to-have’s.” The latter greatly outweighed the former because I didn’t want to break the bank, but I figured I’d at least write down my ideals in case it worked out. It looked like the one thing I for sure wasn’t going to get was a tan interior, because all the 2018’s I saw had dark interiors—but that wasn’t a big deal. Then, a couple days into my search, I came across a dealership offering a lofty rebate on 2017 models, and it just so happened they had one white Jeep Compass left—with tan vinyl interior.
My dad and I walked into the dealership, and I drove off several hours later in a car that not only checked off the two “musts” on my list, but also six of the seven “nice-to-have’s”—at a great price. The one “nice-to-have” it didn’t have was seat warmers, but I wasn’t worried—it had a heater.
I drove away from the dealership beaming. Not only did I have a new car I loved, I had the special memory of going through the whole experience for the first time with my dad by my side, guiding me.
Then, while at a stoplight, I started playing around with the interface, and I came across a button that looked strangely like the symbol for a seat warmer. I switched it on, and sure enough, slowly my buns started to warm. I smiled and sensed God was winking at me. Six out of seven ain’t bad, but I can do you one better than that.
Beepy’s name came about naturally in my excitement—she was just so cute and, well, Beepy! But it also came about because she deserved a name. Because as much she is just a car, she also became to me a tangible symbol of God’s heart toward our dreams.
When we’ve been waiting for a dream for a long time without tasting its fulfillment, it’s easy to begin to believe that even if it does come to be, it will be less than. Sure, God still might provide a spouse, or a baby, or that career we’ve been longing for. But we imagined it happening a certain way. On a certain timeline. And we’re so attached to the picture we had in our heads, we can’t possibly imagine how it happening any other way, or on any other timeline, could possibly be anywhere near as good. We pridefully assume we know best, and when God doesn’t bow to our plans, we begin to believe He’s withholding good from us—giving us second best.
But as I’ve said before, this is allowing our circumstances to name God, and our circumstances don’t get to do that. God already has a Name, and it’s Good Father—the Giver of every good and perfect gift (James 1:17). His character isn’t dictated by our circumstances, so if our circumstances are tempting us to believe something untrue about Him, then by necessity there must be some other explanation as to what’s going on that we can’t see.
As happy as I was to buy Beepy, I have to admit it was bittersweet parting with the Escape. What I couldn’t see when I bought it from my mom, is that it wasn’t second best to getting a Jeep at all. It was actually the perfect GIFT for the season I was in. It came with no car payment, a minimal insurance payment, and it was an older car that wasn’t in pristine condition, which meant less pressure—especially for a first car. It gave me freedom—to learn and grow and take road trips. To begin to see a car for what it truly is: a tool!
During my first search for a Jeep six years ago, I thought buying my dream car would make me happy. But a car isn’t a destination. Its sole purpose is to get you where you need to go. And if you don’t already have somewhere you’re going, the plain truth of the matter is, a car isn’t going to be much use to you at all.
Marriage, babies, careers—or fill in the blank with whatever it is you’re longing for—they’re good things, and they’re meant to be good gifts from God. But if we think those things will fulfill us or give us a sense of identity and purpose, then those very things will cease to be gifts at all but rather become disappointments, because we’ve distorted them through the expectation we’ve placed on them to fill a role they were never intended to fill.
I’m learning that sometimes when God makes us wait, it’s actually His GRACE. It’s Him protecting our future marriage or baby or career or fill in the blank—by preventing us from putting a pressure on it that will ultimately crush it.
We see this in Deuteronomy through the story of the Israelites’ journey to the Promised Land. What could have taken 11 days took 40 years, because God needed to use that time in the wilderness to shape the Israelites’ hearts to see that HE was their Provider, their Guide, their Security, their Everything. The Promised Land was overflowing with milk and honey, and it was meant to be a good gift. But God knew that unless they first learned dependency on Him through the barrenness of the wilderness, the extravagance of the Promised Land would make them prideful. They would turn from Him—and that which was meant to be a good gift would ultimately become their destruction.
I believe God cares about the desires of our hearts because I believe that if we’re abiding in Him, those desires are FROM Him. But more than our dreams and desires, He wants our hearts. He wants to invite us into sweet intimacy with Him, and He wants to bestow on us identity. He wants to properly orient our hearts toward Him so that when He does bring us into the Promise, we can appreciate the way it complements the course He’s already set us on without looking to it to complete us.
I finally have the Jeep I always dreamed of. Do I love it? Yes. Do I think it’s super cute? Yes. Do I enjoy it for what it is? Yes. But I’m able to enjoy it for what it is precisely because I know what it is: a means to an end, not an end in itself. Something that allows me to drive the course I was already set out on more effectively and enjoyably. And I can’t say with confidence that would have been the case had I gotten it six years ago.
Can we take a moment too, to notice how lavish and over-the-top God is? He provided in a way that addressed not only my needs, but every single one of my most wishful wants. Every item on my “nice-to-have” list was checked off—because that’s who God is. We fearfully worry we can’t trust Him with our dreams, but as He showed me with my car and as He’s so clearly beginning to show me in other areas of my life right now, what He has had planned for us all along is a MILLION AND FIVE TIMES BETTER THAN ANYTHING we could have dreamed up on our own.
God is ALWAYS faithful to His promise, but He first has to prepare US to possess the promise. Otherwise, what was meant to be a good gift that blesses us will end up becoming a burden that destroys us.
I believe with every bone in my body that GOD IS GOOD AND HE IS FOR YOU. I want to scream this truth so loudly because I know how viciously the enemy fights to get us to forget. God cares about your dreams. But more than your dreams, He cares about YOU. He will graciously enable you to endure the waiting, because it’s shaping you into someone whose heart is humbled to receive the gift. Otherwise, like Israelites, you might start to believe you did something to earn it. You might start to believe it will satisfy you and you’ll forget God—the only One who can satisfy you. You might forget that HE was the One who gave it to you in the first place. That HE is your Provider and your Guide and the Author of every single good thing in your life. And the second that happens, is the second your gift—your Promise, ceases to be a gift at all and deteriorates into something that destroys you because it draws you from His heart.
And that—THAT—would be the greatest tragedy of all. Because of all the good gifts God our Father could ever give us, the GREATEST gift He has ALREADY given us, is HIMSELF.
P.S. If the dream you’re waiting on is marriage, I have a resource for you—an online devotional for singles! My heart in writing this was to speak the encouragement and truth I myself have needed to hear on the hard days when I’ve wished God’s timing looked a bit more like my own. If you’re watching all your friends get married, wondering when it will ever happen for you, or simply having a hard time waiting on God’s timing, this devotional is for you!
Hello I’m Kaci!
I love encouraging and discipling others in the Word of God, and I really love the One it all points to: Jesus.
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I love this post. I have several examples of similar scenarios in my own life – the biggest being homeschooling. Ever since I can remember, I DREAMED of being a teacher. I had a desk in bedroom to play school, teacher’s copies of text books, etc. I came from a family that didn’t believe in college & sent us packing to work full time prior to our 19th bdays. Work it was, my dream tucked away. Until one day when CKL was about 6 and being homeschooled. He innocently asked if I had ever thought about being a "real" teacher. Bam!! The tears started flowing as I realized how graciously God had granted the dreams of my 7yo – 19yo heart. I got to teach my own kids, pick my own curriculum, didn’t have to mess with difficult parents, etc. I couldn’t have dreamed a better dream than what God provided me with…. many years later than expected, but so much more than I had anticipated.
Thank you Dawn! I love this story you’ve shared! Such a beautiful reminder that we tend to think our dreams have to look one way, but God truly is so creative and unique in the ways He brings our dreams to fruition. Might not look anything like we envisioned, but it’s always so much better! Hope you are doing well.
I absolutely love this post!
Ah, I’m so glad! Thank you for reading, Hannah.
Excellent, refreshing, and wise. Thank you.
Thank you so much Barb! So glad you liked it.