The Best Wreck: Learning to Navigate Life’s Messes Together

Crashing into our neighbor’s parked car is a topic I couldn’t speak on until recently. The embarrassment and shame were pretty intense, so I avoided discussing the event and the fact it wasn’t the first wreck I’ve caused.

Maybe I should add that we had just moved into the neighborhood. We baked cookies and took them to the surrounding homes to meet our new neighbors. Unfortunately, this home hadn’t made the cookie cut.

Focused on getting my son to karate class, I had reached for a bag of Jordan almonds only to be hit by the smoky smell of my deployed airbag and the sound of something dragging. Stomping on the brakes to stop my Tahoe from further disintegrating the silver Prius parked curbside, I looked into my neighbor’s pristine garage and spied him standing there, eyes fixated on the disaster I had caused. How’s that for “Hello neighbor! Glad to meet ya!”

Crying children, a bewildered mom and a calm neighbor. When this stranger could have been irate over his obliterated Prius, he procured eyewash for my injured eye, a phone so I could call my husband and continually told me, “It’s just a car. You and your kids are safe and that’s what matters.”

Other neighbors brought us water and helped comfort my kids while we waited on the soft grass for the police to arrive. I seem to know too well that when you total someone’s car, insurance companies like those police reports. While giving my guilty testimony to the police officer, apologies between every sentence, my husband was already on the phone with the insurance company sweeping up my disaster in a practical and tangible way. But car wrecks aren’t the only calamities I’ve caused that have devastated my ego and led to self-imposed exile.

A new marriage means new territory where wrecks are certain to happen.

Like figuring out finances… because the water has been shut off.

Or realizing that one wants lights on and the other lights off during wedding bed bliss.

Or discovering those unkempt flaws that can drive a spouse crazy.

We take precautions and shield ourselves from these moments as best we can for good reason. But, despite our best efforts, there will be embarrassing crashes and a longing to forever hide.

Peter, a disciple of Jesus, knew a thing or two about embarrassing moments- like doubting Jesus’ power when walking on water and denying Him three times. God had Peter record the most important message about these moments:

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” I Peter 5:6-7

I’m not suggesting I enjoy the process of growing humility, but I’ve learned these instances are gems because God faithfully mends all things. The best part about any wreck is the obvious extension of God’s immeasurable love for each of us through those who speak encouraging words, show kindness in practical ways and offer reassurance that lures us back.

The water comes on.

The lights can be dimmed.

The flaws become loveable.

Will you be the spouse that draws the other out from hiding through love? The spouse that breathes God’s hope into a wilted heart? Learning to take life in stride and respond in supportive ways takes time to develop in new marriages- and a lifetime to perfect.

You know one of my finest moments. Now it’s your turn! How did your spouse support you through one of life’s embarrassing wrecks? Comment below!

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Writing publicly was a humbling leap of faith for Julie who wrote as a private form of worship, a way to lean-in and draw-near to the Creator. A member of Redbud Writers Guild and blogger, she nurtures the wellspring of life while tackling gritty realities life (and sinful hearts) produce. Her second chance marriage has blessed her with an encouraging husband, two vivacious kids and a loving lab that keep her on her toes. Julie’s hands are spinning many plates: Wife, business partner, mama, teacher, community advocate, outdoor enthusiast and spiritual cheerleader. Visit her at Peacequility, just don't ask what's for dinner!

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