I recently read Grace for the Good Girl by Emily Freeman and immediately identified with the good girl Miss Freeman described. Over the past decade of my life, God’s given me one situation after another to force me to overcome the false security I’d spent a lifetime building up in my head by playing the good girl game. Reading the book was kind of like putting a punctuation mark at the end of an issue I’d spent a long time working out with God.
Or so I thought. Maybe it was just a comma because last month I got a big test from the highway patrol.
The kids, a friend, and I took a road trip to Kansas last month to visit family. Since we are a one-vehicle family and Tanner needed our vehicle to get to work and back while we were gone, we got a rental car for our trip. It was a fancy new Dodge Avenger – a major upgrade from our humble family car with the dangling rear view mirror (that’s my fault, too, but a story for another day).
It was a looooong journey. What usually takes just over four hours took a solid six. If you’ve traveled with an infant before, you understand my pain. Also, I’m not the kind of person who loves to drive. I get major claustrophobia when it comes to semis on the highway or being sandwiched between vehicles of any size. However, I put aside those fears, braved the screaming baby in the back (only because I had my sweet friend soothing her with a pacifier as much as the baby allowed), and trucked on down the road.
We were in the home stretch, with only thirty minutes left to go! I could taste sweet freedom.
Then the baby woke up.
I had put off stopping to feed her as long as possible, and I knew any cry she had uttered up to that point on the trip was a mild whimper compared to what was coming. My phone also rang about that time and I made the foolish decision to answer it and try to answer a quick question that required engaging my mental calendar.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the patrol vehicle whip his way across the median, but it couldn’t be for me. I glanced at my speedometer and felt confident I was going in a safe range to not catch the radar. You see, I’d never been that girl. I was a good girl who doesn’t get in trouble with the law. We’re talking squeaky clean record here
When he followed me and pulled me over, I was in shock. What on earth could I have done wrong? Then he told me my speed, and I thought he must be joking. I know this sounds ridiculous to most of the world, but really. I could NOT believe that I was speeding.
But I was.
That rental car’s speedometer and my car’s speedometer don’t look the same, and let’s face it, I was not paying one bit of attention to it because deep down, I never worried about getting in trouble for something like speeding since it has never been an issue for me before.
He asked me why I was speeding and I told him I was trying to get to a place where I could feed my baby. Lame! Insert obvious answer from officer about needing to arrive safely with my baby first. Also note that my precious, darling baby decided to be cool as a cucumber the entire time we talked to the officer. Thanks a lot for choosing that moment out of all the rest to not scream your head off, child. 😉
As I sat there waiting for him to process my ticket, I processed what was happening in my head. First off, I was really ticked at myself for driving that fast with my babies in tow. How could I put them at that kind of risk by allowing myself to be distracted and frazzled? Second, I wondered how on earth I was going to pay for this ticket (I’m still trying to figure that one out, by the way. I’ve decided that being an adult running a lemonade stand might not be as effective, but one can dream.)
I was also struck with reality. No matter how long I have made it in my life without getting in trouble with the law, one infraction has tainted my record. It’s only by paying my debt that I will I get out of trouble with the law. No amount of, “But…I’ve never been in trouble for this before!!!” is going to make the debt go away. No number of excuses – it should be noted about now that the baby started screaming at the top of her lungs the second we pulled back onto the highway, thank you very much – make it disappear.
As I am a few weeks on the other side of it, praying about how to pay for this ticket, I see the beauty of grace in an even greater way than before. The funds for this citation are so minimal that they are hardly fair to compare to the pile of debt my sins would have accumulated by now if it weren’t for the grace of God present in my life, washing me clean and giving me an identity that is greater than good girl…who has only one speeding ticket on her record.
How has life shown you how much you need grace? I’d love to hear your stories, too. 🙂
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