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A Shiny New Car is Not Always All It’s Cracked Up to Be

As most of you know, we finally replaced Old Blue Van and paid cash for a new-to-us car recently. We’ve never had a car with less than 60,000 miles on it (most of ours have been purchased at closer to 100,000 miles!) so buying a less-than-three-year-old car was a pretty monumental purchase for us.

When Jesse brought the car home, we were so excited for him to have reliable transportation. But I have to admit that we both were excited about more than the reliability of the transportation: we liked having such a beautiful car in impeccable condition.

A few nights later, we drove it to an event and when we parked and got out, a random stranger hollered from a few parking stalls over, “Nice car, man!” I looked over at my husband and said with a huge grin, “I bet that’s the first time someone’s ever said that about your car, isn’t it?”

However, our big bubble of pride was just about ready to be burst.

A couple of weeks ago, I heard Jesse pull into the garage but he didn’t come in the house like usual. Instead, he called my phone.

“This is weird,” I thought. “Why not just walk in and tell me instead of calling me from the garage?”

After answering the phone, I heard him say in very upset tones, “I can’t believe it. I can’t believe it. I can’t believe it!

I started getting worried at how frustrated he seemed. It’s very rare for him to get upset and he was really worked up about something.

But my heart went up into my throat when he said, “I just shut the garage door down on the back of the car!”

It was my turn to be upset now. “You what? How could you have done that?? Please tell me the car’s not ruined!” I exclaimed in harsh tones without waiting for him to answer.

The car’s back bumper was no longer in impeccable condition. Instead, it had an indentation and gash from our garage door imprinted on it.

I was angry at my husband. He was angry at himself. And we were both sick that our beautiful car was now marred.

After 30 minutes of huffing and puffing over it, we both finally stepped back and realized how stupid we were being. Here we were all upset over a dent on a vehicle when people all over the world are wondering where their next meal is going to come from or how they are going to pay the medical bills for their child with cancer. A dent in our shiny new car is very microscopic in comparison and it’s certainly not worth having a fight over or losing sleep over.

This incident has taught us a very important lesson: when you buy nicer things, it’s easier to become more attached to them. If we had shut the garage door down on Old Blue Van, we would have laughed and let it go because it would have just been one more flaw to add to the van’s character.

But our reaction was completely different when it came to our new car — and it made us realize how we’ve wrongly become too attached to this car. Three months ago, we were content to drive a clunker. But, after buying a new car, we were all of a sudden getting angry over a dent in the bumper!

It was just the reality check we needed to jolt us out of our selfishness and pride and remind us that things are just things. We can’t take them with us and they are all God’s anyway.

We likely can get the dent fixed on the car, but at this point, I’m not so sure we will. It’s serving as a constant reminder to us that it’s just a car. There are much more important things in life than driving a shiny new car in impeccable condition.

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  • NMK says:

    Sorry this is OT, but I tried replying via the post but it wouldn’t let me. I am curious as to the results of the ebates contest? I haven’t seen anything and am curious:) Thanks..

  • Tobey says:

    Great blog and so true! Thank you for the very important reminder!!

  • Amy says:

    And THAT is exactly why I told my husband (who is thinking of replacing our junker mini van with a full size van) that he better get me another junker! (especially since I haven’t driven a full size van more than a couple of times lol)

  • Trista says:

    Thank you Crystal this post! Sometimes it can be so easy to forget that things are just that-things. One can get so caught up in the idolatry of things that we forget it is by GOD’S grace and will that we have those things! THANK YOU for your reminder!

  • Becca Filley says:

    I love this post! I think we all need that “in your face reality check” once in a while. We are struggling to learn to live without so many “things” and it’s hard. Glad to see we aren’t the only ones who slip up sometimes!

  • Bethany says:

    Anytime I buy a new car, I just get myself in the mindset that something is going to ding that car in the next 6 months — and something always does and while I don’t like it, I’m kind of prepared. Because, you’re right, these material items don’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. So happy you could laugh about it eventually

  • Angie says:

    Great story. *giggling* My car is almost at 200K miles but I won’t part with it. It still runs and repairs have been minimal. A coworker/friend once put it in perspective for me when she lent her car to a friend in need, she said “It’s just a heap of metal.” So true.

    • Deb says:

      @Angie, or nowadays, a heap of plastic. =)

    • Savannah says:

      @Angie, Just curious – what do you drive?? I’m having to replace my 2004 Dodge Intrepid after the motor is fairly well shot (after just investing in new tires, battery, and fixing the transmission) – and it only has 114k miles on it! Terrified of buying anything at this point, since I don’t wanna pay $$ that I don’t have! 200k on a car sounds so appealing right now!

      • Megan says:

        @Savannah, Honda Honda Honda. The end =)

      • Joi Thomas says:

        @Savannah, I drive a 1999 Toyota Sienna, and we recently hit 200K and it is still getting us everywhere we need to go. (and we are very thankful)

        • Sylvia says:

          @Joi Thomas,

          My husband had a 1998 Toyota Camry that we just replaced, it had 160,000 with minimal repairs and honestly we could have kept driving it. But the AC was broke (which isn’t pleasant in the south) as well as the drivers inside door knob. We had been saving up the money for a new car and ended up replacing it.

      • Michelle M says:

        We also have a Toyota with 150K going strong. I hear you on the dodge transmission issue. My last car was a dodge and the transmission had to be rebuilt every 50K miles, like clockwork. Unfortunately I got to break the news to 2 friends who were having the same problem with the same make of car what was in their future so it wasn’t just that one.

      • Ms.M. says:

        @Savannah, We ditched our Chrysler after just one year for the same reason – so many repairs, it just felt like expensive junk! I like the idea of buying American, but I can’t subsidize an industry producing an inferior product with my limited resources, you know? I downsized to a smaller, used Mazda 5 and I couldn’t be happier. Cheaper to own and run. Also, my DH’s Honda CRV is at 180K+ miles and still doing well with minimal repairs.

      • Shelly says:

        @Savannah, We have a 1997 Buick Skylark with over 200,000 and have had very minimal repairs over the last 10 years my hubby/we’ve owned it. We also have a 1992 Toyota Corolla with about 160,000 that’s going strong.

    • @Angie, We have a 2001 Nissan Maxima and it is so full of life! Nissans are also one of the safest cars because the engine drops out of the bottom in a head on collision instead of going through the dash – something I became painfully aware of in college when my best friend and I were in an accident in her Nissan!

  • Ashley says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I have also been driving clunker after clunker and getting into accident after accident and not really caring. When I finally do get to the place in my life when I can afford a new or semi-used vehicle, I hope to remember that it is still just a car and there are more important things in life than it’s newness.

  • Jessica says:

    So true! My husband and I are also committed to paying for our cars in cash, and when we got married, he had an old ’95 Monte Carlo, and I had recently purchase a *new* ’99 Honda Civic. So we started saving to replace the Monte Carlo when it’s demise finally came… Unfortunately, one day someone made a left turn from the right lane, and our beautiful CIVIC was wrecked! But my husband wasn’t hurt, or his younger brother, so I I was thankful, but still grumpy to lose our “good” car. But God was in complete control, we soon saw He had great things in store for us. We live in northeastern Ohio, and while visiting family in Texas, we looked at used cars down there (that wouldn’t have rust). God provided a beautiful 4-door Honda Accord with hail damage that was in our price range. Five months later, we found out we were expecting our first child! Putting our son in and out of a 2-door car would have not been as fun. With my husband being a youth pastor, we have the reliability of our Honda, without ever having to worry about someone adding a ding to the 100-150 we already have! (they look more like water ripples than dents) God always provides! (and the Monte Carlo is still being faithful, and we’re still saving for the next vehicle!)

    • Rachel says:

      @Jessica, We also had a Monte Carlo that was GREAT. It was up over 250,000 miles before we replaced it.

      It probably could have gone longer, but we needed a four door car for expanding our family.

  • Robin says:

    That is way, I am never at ease with something new until it gets it’s first flaw. A nick, a dent, something always happens, so I say get it over with early and then it puts things back in perspective. With my last car it was turning to sharply into the garage and scratching the whole area above the back wheel welll. This car it was a rock hitting the roof and denting it. I like to think God is gently humbling me when I am prideful.

  • Priscilla says:

    Does your garage not have a sensor that senses when something is in the way and it won’t close and goes back up?

    • Crystal says:

      The bumper sticks out *above* the sensor — which we only learned after the garage door shut on it! 🙁

      • Cilicia says:

        @Crystal, eek!, good to know, because I have just kinda been counting on our sensor to do the job for me(we have too much junk in the front of our garage!)!! lol
        I’ve always thought people that freaked out over car dings to be silly! 😉 (aka my hubby) a car is a car is a car 🙂 …and another reason I don’t ever want to buy brand new or spend a ‘lot’ 🙂 (I drive a 2004 Toyota Sienna that I got off ebay for a GREAT deal a couple yrs. ago.) 🙂 We don’t have any debt except our mortgage, and we own 4 nice cars…but NOT new…and all at least 5 yrs. old. :)) God has richly blessed in all areas of my life! 🙂

      • Michelle says:

        @Crystal, I have an expedition, so I know how tight the squeeze can be to park a larger car inside. My suggestion to your husband is the either find a “landmark” to line up with his driver’s side door when he’s in all the way, or hang a rubber ball from the ceiling that lines up with his windshield when he’s in. 🙂

    • Amanda K says:

      @Priscilla, That’s what I thought of too. My garage door would just go back up.

    • peever says:

      I was wondering that, too. I really think our garage door would go back up if the bumper was sticking out.

      Sorry about the car! You’re right, it’s just a car, but I have to admit I know my husband and I would have initially reacted exactly the same way! That is the one nice thing about driving a clunker- scratches and dings and dents aren’t a big deal!

  • Charlotte says:

    Thank you for your reminder!!!
    Please tell Jesse not to feel like he is the only person to do this…My husband and I payed cash for out van which was new to us. In less than a year after getting it I closed the garage door while the back “trunk” was open!!! I was pretty sure I had ruined the van and the garge door, but by God’s grace We now only have a scratch and dent on the van. 🙂

  • Elizabeth says:

    How true about the car… how true.. Most of my cars have been in the one thousand dollars or less… much less.. like the one I drove for 5 years that cost me 350.00- true it “lived” for 3 years in a goat field prior to me getting it.. but it was in great shape, mechanically… just as long as you looked past the marks on the hood and top where the goats had climbed on it… And the goat story was always a great conversation starter when I traveled to remote or bad areas as I often did as a Social Worker… “Nope, don’t need to pay you to watch out for my car.. it survived goats so I am sure people can’t hurt it.” Then we came into a bit of extra money and splurged on a “newer” car… I found myself so worried that something would happen to it that I still drove my “Fredia the fixer up ‘er” .. soon I just left the “newbie” parked and we finally sold it.. Why have a car you are afraid to drive. We have since decided will stick to our “no-longer-loved-by-others” cars….
    So enjoy your blog!

  • Cynetta says:

    I don’t usually comment, but I just have to say what a great post! I experienced similar when we bought “new” vehicles and my husband’s truck was shiny, red and in immaculate condition! The van we found for me, however, was more “used” shall we say! I felt a little jipped at first…I didn’t envy him, I just wanted the same for myself! Let me tell you though, I realized very quickly, when my 5 year old spilled an entire drink in my van, that a not so shiny, immaculate condition van was just what I needed! Kids are messy, and now I love that I don’t even think about getting bent out of shape about spills or bumps or whatever! Things are definitely just things! Thanks so much for posting this!

  • Erica says:

    This is a book I read in college called A Severe Mercy. It is a true story about a couple who falls madly in love and then the struggle they go through together when later in their relationship they become Christians (through corresponding with C.S. Lewis) and have to learn to put their love for Jesus before their love for each other. In their story, before they are even Christians, they get a new car and to help make sure they don’t become too attached to it, they go right out with a hammer and put a dent in the side. Although your instance was accidental, it created the same result and made it instantly think of their story 🙂

  • Kathryn says:

    It is so funny that you would post this, because the same thing happened to my husband and myself the other day. Only I was the only who put the garage down on the car’s bumper. We purchased our newer car three months ago. Oh well, guess we shouldn’t sweat the small stuff because things could be worse. I am very thankful for the things that I have today. Thanks for posting this!

  • Kellie says:

    Great story! My husband works with a guy who says that every time he buys a new car, he takes a hammer and smashes a dent into part of the car, then runs a key down one side. That way, he says, the car is already marred, so he won’t get mad when the inevitable damage occurs later!

  • Amy says:

    I did the same exact thing to my van yesterday! I didn’t even know it was possible but when I told the hubby that the stupid sensor didn’t trip and I scratched the bumper he just laughed. Seems that I was misinformed as to how the sensor worked and he is apparently an expert in garage door sensor usage. At any rate the van is older and has many dings so it’s not that big of a deal. Thanks for making me feel less bad about it though!

  • Jennifer says:

    Loved your blog. I can so relate. We have a old SUV and a brand new car we got in April. Love both cars, but the new one is now in the garage and the old one is out in the driveway.

  • Priscilla says:

    Another question. Are you a one car family?

  • kim says:

    I think this happens to all of us at some point with some item or another. I remember the first piece of clothing I bought new for my first child. I was excited because everything she had was second hand and I really wanted to giver her something new. I saved up and found a beautiful down winter coat from Gymboree that I bought on super clearance sale. My mom bought some of the matching accessories. My daughter was 2 1/2 and I can remember being so proud of how cute she was and feeling like I’d finally be able to fit in with some of the moms who dressed their children so beautifully. She wore it for less than one week when she vomited on the coat and it stained! I was crushed at first, but I quickly lost any desire I previously had for buying things new for small people, and realized that matching cute outfits really aren’t all they seemed to be. 10 years later we are expecting our 5th child and new is still my last resort shopping option. It’s a bummer about your van, but thanks for sharing your story!

    • melissa says:

      @kim, almost like the first pair of jeans i bought my son when he was months old. he got them a little wet while iwas out visiting my grandmother, not having a chane of clothes with me and seeing that there was no metal on the jeans, my grandmother thought it would be fine to microwave them to dry them faster. needless to say, the little leather patch was flamable and those cute little jeans were ruined.

  • I am so sorry to hear about it, and I can imagine your initial pain. My sister bought a new car and two weeks later, a deer bumped in to it, and she was so upset.

    I am glad you got over it so quickly, as she was so upset about it for a while.

    Great post, definitelyI am going to show her your post.

  • Chelle says:

    My family always freaked out when anything like this happened. When I met my husband and backed into his car, I thought he would freak out and ditch me. He walked out the front door of the house and didn’t even care. He said, “Oh, that’s okay it’s only a car.”
    Since then I haven’t cared about dings, spilled stuff on carpet (old or new) etc. You can’t take it with you. Realizing as well that I will always remember my husbands reaction more than the incident itself. I won’t freak out if my kids spill something on my carpet or dent the car…they are more important and at the end of the day I want them to remember the great things about the day instead of how Mom or Dad yelled at them for carpet or cars.

  • Faith says:

    I admit I smiled when I read this post. The lesson you mention is all too true. We did the EXACT SAME THING with our new van last summer… only a month after we bought it the garage door placed a nice big scratch and dent in the shiny back bumper. We never got it fixed because it’s helped us keep that valuable life lesson always in front of us. The Lord is wonderful at helping us remember what’s most important, isn’t He?

  • Elizabeth says:

    My dad always said that the first thing you did with a new truck was throw a cement block in the back of the bed to scratch it up. I always thought was a good advice!

    However, if it is something that is going to rust or get worse as time gets on, I encourage you to fix the damage. Take a picture if you need a reminder. Just because your husband made a mistake, it doesn’t mean that you guys don’t deserve to be able to take care of your nice things.

    • mindy says:

      @Elizabeth, I agree with the second part. You need to be good stewards.

    • Marie says:

      @Elizabeth, I’d have to agree with them on this one. Mistakes happen, and they can be expensive but you learn your lesson from them. My husband accidentally cracked our huge window while he was trying to fix the trim. $350 mistake. We couldn’t really blame it on being attached to our “shiny, pretty new house.” It was just a mistake and as you know, it’s just money. Give yourselves some grace over this one, yet I think it’s perfectly acceptable to take good care of your nice things so they’ll last longer.

  • Jan says:

    I LOVE love love this post! what a great reminder! a few months after we got our new-to-us used minivan I accidently backed into a neighbors mailbox and the mailbox won. Now we have a big dent in our back van door. But you know there are hundreds of silver minivans and I can always pick ours out in a crowd!

  • I had something similar happen to me. We bought a really nice van, at a very cheap price though, but it is really nice for us. Our other cars had dents, scratches and all. This one looked pretty nice. Anyhow, I was backing up and put a dent in the front bumper by hitting our fence. I was so upset! I had to remind myself that it is only stuff, and thank the Lord it was not something worse.

  • Andrea says:

    We call those “God’s mark”. He is the ruler of everything and the only one worthy to be praised. It is inevitable that when we get something new that we huff and puff and are proud of, He puts His mark on it and reminds us He is sovereign. Now? We just look at each other and just say, “God’s mark.”

  • What great perspective! We have had our share of bangs ups on our ‘nicer” car too… and you learn to let it go. sorry it happened though!
    After moving to DC we are now parking our van in a one car (not 1 van) garage (literally with just inches to spare). Needless to say, we have some huge dents and scuffs where that right turn in just didn’t go as planned. And I have put the garage door down on it 3 times (thankfully it pops right back up due to a safety feature) because you have to literally bump the wall in front in order for the van to fit. Hubby and I have bets on which bumper is going to fall off first. 🙂

  • Colleen says:

    On the bright side, speaking from experience, the next time it happens it won’t be important enough to matter. Or maybe it’s only me who has managed to do that multiple times 😛

  • Christina says:

    This is slightly off topic, but my grandfather was afraid of both not pulling the car in enough and having the door come down, and pulling in too far and hitting the wall. One day he parked the car exactly where he wanted it and then hung a tennis ball on a string so that it barely touched the windshield. Then all he ever had to do was pull the car into the garage until it tapped the ball and his worries were over. You might consider something like that.

    • @Christina,

      My sister and her husband live in an apartment with a parking garage. Her space is VERY tight to pull into, but they’ve figured out if she turns the wheel at certain points she can get in easily. So they lightly put pen marks on the concrete wall. You can’t see them unless you are really looking for them, but it works!

      A few years back I had just gotten my current vehicle (new to me, but not new) and I was so excited to finally have a non clunker. I was overconfident and pulled out of a parking spot without noticing that the truck next to me was actually an extended cab. I busted the taillight and scared the kids I was nannying at the time to the point of tears.

      I fixed the light, but left the dent as a reminder to be careful and not overconfident. The repair guy thought I was ridiculous.

      Oddly, my husband fixed the dent not long ago because he now drives that car. It’s funny the small things we do to keep ourselves in “check” though.

    • Jessica says:

      @Christina, Funny, my grandfather did the same thing!

    • Blaire Ruch says:

      @Christina, we have the tennis ball in our garage too! HUGE help for me!

  • Our old junky car went into the shop three times during November, and this is the first time I’ve felt close to grateful that I didn’t have something newer and nicer. Thank you.

    My mom always sticks a smiley face on the garage wall which lines up with the side mirror so she knows she’s pulled in exactly enough.

  • Wendy says:

    Love this post! It is so true that these are just things and there are much more important things to get upset about! Enjoy your “newer” car dings and all!

  • Rae says:

    Aw that stinks that something happened so fast after getting it. But I am glad you were able to get past it quickly. My husband did the same thing to his car except he was actually farther out so it hit his trunk instead and did less damage. Fortunately (I guess? lol) his car already had a HUGE crack across the windshield and a few small dings so the small scratch that the garage door made didn’t upset us. If it were a newer car I would have been bummed right off the bat too. To the comment above, yes the sensor is just a few inches above the ground (to prevent it shutting on a child) so most cars will still be above the sensor :/

  • Liz says:

    I bought a brand new vehicle last year. On the fourth day of driving (with less than 400 miles on it) a woman turned in front me and trashed my front bumper. When I saw how pregnant she was when she got out of the car I can honestly say that I wasn’t upset about my car. I was so thankful that she and the baby appeared ok that it really put things in perspective for me. When the police came they were going to give her a ticket for inattentive driving and I talked the officer out of it, a ticket was probably the last thing she needed at that time. My husband wasn’t very thrilled about the damage to my car, but like I told him; The damage was relatively minor, everyone was ok and she was insured. It’s easy to get upset about ‘things’ and say hurtful things to the ones we love when the things get damaged but it truly is important to realize these are just things and they aren’t more important than the people we love.

  • Courtney says:

    I also appreciate this post and like one commenter said, I always feel uneasy when I have something brand new, and am so relieved when it gets its first mark! Though I don’t know that I would go as far as other posters and inflict my own damage before anything else happened!

    Crystal I’m not sure you should be so hard on yourself. As a long-time reader, I have a hard time believing it was just pride that caused your anger about the car. You work so hard to pay for this new-to-you car, the newest you’ve ever owned! And I know with anything very useful and valuable that you’ve carefully worked and planned to pay for, you want to take care of it as best you can so it lasts for a long time. I know I get frustrated when my own relatively careless mistake means that a useful material belonging may not last as long as I hope for. I may be slightly upset that it doesn’t look as “nice” as before but usually I mainly worry about having to replace something sooner than later if it gets damaged. I’m not sure if this makes sense but I was thinking this as I read your post.

  • Gina says:

    Love your perspective on this and the thought of not repairing the car. You’re right, there’s much more important things in life. 🙂

  • Susan says:

    Hi Crystal, Just wanted to recommend something if you decide to get the dent fixed. Look into “paintless dent removal”. Much less expensive than normal auto body repair, it’s becoming very popular.

  • Michelle says:

    Thank you for being brave enough to share this story! You can only learn and grow by taking a step back and learning – that you shared this helps spread the lesson.

  • Amy Lauren says:

    My coworker got a brand new Hyundai Santa Fe over Thanksgiving weekend (she traded in her other car). Well, today at work we finally had some time to walk outside on break so she could show my coworker and I the car… and she’s like “oh, and this back fender, my dad accidentally hit when coming into the garage yesterday”. Pretty ironic.

  • robin baker says:

    Lovely story and reminder. We don’t a car and never have; they are far too expensive for us. But for the same reasons you mentioned, I don’t spend a lot on clothing for either my daughter or myself. I try to make sure we look nice, but none of the clothing we wear (except a few choice pieces for me purely for professional reasons). I don’t want to be the sort of parent that is all over my kid, not allowing her to have fun because I don’t want her to stain her or my clothing. Life is too short.

  • elisabeth says:

    I feel so much better knowing I am not the only person who has caused damage to a “new to you” vehicle. We got a nice Honda Odyssey and I caused damage in TWO places in less than a month. I felt so bad and have felt bad every time I see those spots for over two years. Now I can look at it differently. Thanks!

  • Mary says:

    We are expecting out 3rd child any day now. In August we got a brand new 2010 mini van that we paid cash for. Not a fancy one but a nice middle of the road Kia. About 2 months ago my husband (who likes to pretend it is a truck) was hauling a big ladder with it. He pulled into the garage door with the back hatch open. The back window shattered when it hit the garage door. He came and got me and said…just listen to what I’ve done. And I heard the glass continue to crackle. He was so upset with himself. I felt so bad for him. I told him, “I never liked that back window anyway and I was happy to get a new one.” 🙂 We have been saving to move into a larger house for 2 years now and have a good amount of money set aside but can’t seem to find a house that both of us like in our price range in the neighborhood we want…so I also told him…we have no plans for that $700 (yes, to fix the window and the windshield wiper unit that was smashed) anyway….lets just put it to use now. I tried to giggle a bunch to make him feel a little better. No use adding to his suffering. He hates to spend money on pretty much anything but vacations and a Hy-Vee Chinese meal out so I knew he was beating himself up. I like how you looked at this in the end…and I like the God mark comment. I’m gonna use that one. 🙂

  • mindy says:

    My husband said you may be able to change the torque on your garage door so this doesn’t happen again. It sounds like it is too high because it shouldn’t make that kind of damage if it is set right.

  • Angie W. says:

    My mom and dad have a good story about something like that too. I was about 13 when it happened so I remember it vividly. We had just gotten a brand new mini-van–I know, not glamorous, but it was my dad’s first brand new vehicle ever. To make a long story short, my younger brother poo’ed his pants in the middle seat. It smelled so bad, I vomited in the back seat and my mom in a rush to get me a bowl, knocked over an open milk jug we were taking home from the event. Milk in the front, poo in the middle and vomit in the back. Took them hours of cleaning to get it out but by the end of cleaning, my poor dad had his perspective back. 🙂

  • Joy says:

    It could be worse. He could have hit the garage while pulling in and damaged the garage door frame (which I have done) or he could have broke off the mirrors backing out of garage (which I have done also). LOL. Garages and I don’t get along. 🙂

  • Roberta says:

    I’ve learned a lot about how quickly we can become ungrateful when we finally have what we didn’t have. It makes me so sad that it happens all the time, and most of the time we don’t even realize it.

    We spent the first part of the year in Finland, and there were so many things I missed and PROMISED myself I would be so grateful for when I had them again–a car, shopping carts, Walmart, certain restaurants, but the second I came home, I forgot it all. Even though I had prepared myself to not forget, it just leaves.

  • Becky S. says:

    So sorry that this happened, but I absolutely LOVE how you turned something negative into a POSITIVE!!! I so needed to read this tonight. Thanks so much for sharing!!!

  • Mikki L says:

    Thanks so much for this post. You’re such an inspiration to me and this post is exactly what I mean. I am trying to find myself not taking things so seriously and reading this has given me another example on how to become a happier, healthier person.

  • Julie says:

    I just read this to my hubby and we had to laugh. We had the same thing happen and then a week later my dog scratched a seat (badly). Ugh! So frustrating! Now 7 years later I’d love another newer car but this is paid for and already broken in. 🙂 Thanks for the post!

  • Kasey says:

    Thanks for the great reminder that our attitudes and our relationships with one another are more important than things.

    However, I would like to say that it’s understandable for you to be upset, and I don’t think you should think less of yourselves for being upset, because you both worked very hard to get to where you are, and I think that in a way your new van is a physical manifestation of the fruits of your labors. Should you go ballistic? Certainly not. But I think it’s okay to feel a little bummed that it happened and then move on. 🙂

  • Larissa says:

    I have had a similar experience and I am blessed to be married to a pastor. I joke that it only makes for a great illustration in his sermon. In a time period of about three month I had put 3 larger marks on our newer van and to top it off hit his car while backing out of the driveway. We have learned that you can’t take it with you and eventually they all end up as clunkers. Mine might make it there a little quicker than others.

  • Katie says:

    The most important things in life aren’t things.

  • Chelsea says:

    My mother-in-law just got a new-to-her van, a 2003, and she said she misses her old clunker because she is much more paranoid about little dings- backing into the driveway, hail, etc, and she was never worried with her old clunker.
    Also, I know my mom and step-dad have been blessed by their garage door which stops going down if it detects something below in its track, I’m by no means saying you should get this, I just hope it’s comforting to know that obviously ENOUGH people have done this for them to invent such a feature 😉

  • Anitra says:

    Sounds like a good reminder to be content! Be content that you even HAVE a garage to put the car into, too! Our house does not have one, instead we have a storage shed. Left in our driveway, the cars get very hot in the summer and often snowed/iced in in the winter. Not fun to deal with, especially when transporting little ones as well.

    When we got our last new-to-us car, there was one minor cosmetic flaw on the inside – the latch for the cover on the armrest/console didn’t work. We got the part and fixed it, and then 2 days later, I almost broke it again! I pulled it open HARD without unlatching… oops! My husband was really mad.

    • Crystal says:

      You are SO right! We lived in apartments for the first few years of our marriage and were so thankful when we finally moved into a place with a garage. I well remember those days of trekking through snow and scraping off ice with a baby to go somewhere!

  • Dawn says:

    I have done the same thing with our van. Our bumper is higher than the sensor also and I felt so ridiculous for doing it. But it happens!

  • Katherine says:

    Thank you for sharing this story. Great reminder to all of us, and particularly seasonal for me. Bless you!!

  • cathy says:

    I haven’t read all the comments, but I’m sure you are getting story after story of people who’ve been in similar situations. After saving a ton of money, we bought a new (to us) van with lots of wonderful bells and whistles. It was perfect. And then I scraped it up against a pole in a parking garage. It’s still driveable, still in overall great shape, it just has a nasty scratch along one side. I felt horrible for about 24 hours, but then I got my blood perssure down and started to think about all the terrible things that are happening in the world right now. Makes my scraped up van seem like no big deal. It’s so hard to have worked hard saving for a new(er) vehicle and then having that happen so shortly after you buy it. But isn’t God good that no one was hurt, it’s still driveable, and we can still wake up with our husbands and children? 😉

  • Lacey says:

    I have done this!! I’ve had a dent/gash in my bumper from shutting a garage on it for over four years now…of course my car was much newer and shinier when it happened. It was very embarrassing, too, because I’d just moved into the new home as a nanny, and the family was asleep as I tried to tiptoe in from a late evening visiting my fiance when “crash!!!” the garage door slammed onto my car. My bumper was over the sensor. I feel your “paine,” Jesse! :o)

  • Kristine says:

    I think your post might’ve been aimed right at me tonight. Tonight my kids tore a hole in my son’s brand new quilt, and I admit I WAY over reacted 🙁

    I need to remember to not be so worried about “things”. Swift kick in the behind has been administered!

  • Gwen says:

    That’s nice that you can have perspective about it being a thing, but you are allowed to be mad. You worked hard for it and now, b/c of a dent and broken paint, you’re going to need to fix it. Otherwise, the snow and rust that is coming this winter will not make the car that was supposed to last X years last. Maybe X-1 year…

  • Lisa says:

    This ALWAYS happens to us! We now look at things and just laugh and say “we can’t have nice things!” but seriously it has taught us that if it is so expensive we’re scared to use it or we ‘want to protect it like one of children’ we need to think on it some more. Please celebrate you only stewed about it for 30 min. Others may not have spoke for days! Lol God bless you all!

  • Megan says:

    Thank you for admitting you both got angry. It’s nice to know that even the most faithful and humble of servants are human too!

  • Heidi says:

    A few months ago I was backing out of the garage and my husband was in the garage saying goodbye to me. Out of habit he hit the garage door button to close it as he turned and walked in to the house. I didn’t realize he had done this until the door was coming down on the back of the car. It forced the door back up, but not before taking off the antenna and leaving some nice scratches. I took a few deep breaths and told myself if I had been the one to shut the garage I would not want him to be upset with me. I got out of the car and he felt horrible. We both laughed it off and every time I try to listen to AM radio I am reminded of the incident (no antenna=no reception). It is our “nicer” car, but it is just a car. Thanks for posting this. It helped me to be reminded of the incident and to remember how truly blessed I am to have a car that is reliable.

  • Jen says:

    Haha, great post. Such a good reminder about “stuff!” Thanks for blogging about something that you could have easily just not shared. It’s encouraging.

  • shelly says:

    It really always amazes me when something like this happens. We recently got rid of an old beat up clunker and purchased a brand new car. We were so proud because we had saved and payed cash for the vehicle (we were wanting to buy a used one, but got the new one cheaper!) Not 2 months later, we had one of the worst hail storms ever to come through our town…and the new car was in the driveway. It’s not worth it to claim it on insurance because the rates will go up and the value of the car down. It’s our reminder that we were grateful we weren’t out driving in the terrible storm and we safe and sound at home!

  • gwen says:

    girl, you sure know how to tell stories for a minute I thought the stranger stoled your car. 😮

  • Krystal says:

    awesome post.. TFS~!
    Lately I feel like we have too much “stuff” and am having a huge urge to seriously purge our stuff.
    Reminds me of Madame Blueberry on veggie tales 🙂

  • Helene says:

    Nice post 🙂 2 1/2 years ago I bought a new to me car with 39k miles. It was the first car I ever bought on my own (and I was about 48 at the time!). I made 5 payments when my boss’s 88 yo dad who drives a huge Durango backed into my driver’s door. Dent #1. Last winter when the snow piles had turned to ice I had the bright idea to go to Walmart at night. Trying to avoid one of those piles at the corner turn as a van came down the aisle I ran up against it and heard a crunch. Nice big dent in the other door.
    Now 2 weeks ago a dear friend of mine who worked at church and was there for me through many trials and joys died suddenly at 56 of a heart attack. No warning or anything. She left behind a clunker but the joy she left behind to those of us who were blessed to know her was immeasurable. She didn’t take anything with her but what she left behind was a memory in everyone’s lives that can never be bought. And it’s not a small country church. Like the Randy Travis song Three Wooden Crosses.
    ps I wish I had a garage here in Chicago winters! 🙂

  • Melinda says:

    We paid cash for a brand new honda pilot and I had parked it half in and half out of our garage because it was raining but I couldn’t fit the truck the whole way in because we had too much junk in the garage. My son popped up to the front seat and pushed the garage door button. And crash it slammed down into our new truck. I would love to say I kept my cool but I didn’t I lost my temper and a huge way. Of course 5 minutes later I felt horrible! And I apologized to my poor son. Since then our beautiful new pilot has been backed up into by a car in the grocery store parking lot, scratched on the side by a stroller. Food spills, mud stains…etc And I actually like it better now. It’s damaged…we are keeping it until it stops moving so who really cares about a few scratches and dents ….You are right, it’s just stuff

  • dani says:

    Great post! It’s amazing how quickly we can let our perspective change isn’t it? You were wise to quickly realize what was happening to your thoughts and let it go. I will say, though, it made me grin to see that you are, in fact, human. Thanks for continuing to inspire us to be more frugal.

  • Misty says:

    the first ding always hurts the worst!! however, if you choose to have it fixed you can buy the parts yourself at Certifit Auto Body Parts, they have locations all overe the US. You can buy the part, install yourself then find a maaco or some body shop to do the primer/paint….I only know this b/c my husband is a manager there and since they don’t advertise (they cater mostly to the people that fix your car) most people don’t know about them.

  • Ellen says:

    Thank you for posting this. It brought tears to my eyes because it is SO, SO true. I think many of us need this reminder, especially at this time of year. Thank you, Crystal!

  • Becky says:

    I have done that before…it’s always stressful being so careful with things until they get their first “injury” LOL! Whether it’s the new (to us) leather furniture that I’m warning the kids to be so careful with…until one day it somehow gets a pen mark and it’s all downhill from there.

    Thankfully when I shut the garage door on our SUV it was up on the top of it. I have no idea if it left a dent or not because I can’t see up there!

  • Very true! When you own too many nice things, they start to own you.

  • Marie Ponsonby says:

    I am at high risk for closing our garage door on the back of our van. My husband solved my dilemma by hanging a rubber ball from the ceiling of the garage. I now pull into the garage right until the point where the ball touches the windscreen. It has saved me many trips out of the car to check the position of the back fender before turning off the engine. And Crystal, you are right. It is only a little dent in a van. When my husband was young his father got a brand new volkswagon van – you know the lovely vans of the 70’s. Well, my husband was only six at the time. He was afraid his father might lose his new van, so he took a compass and scratched his father’s initials into the back door. His Dad was not very happy, as you can imagine. But really, it was only a van.

  • Tenille says:

    Amen! I get so worked up over my “broken down home” and then I am convicted. I am completely, overwhelmingly, totally, wonderfully blessed by God! Salvation, health, love, food, shelter…got everything I could ever need. Thanks for helping me remember that today.

  • christina says:

    That had to hurt for a few minutes, for sure. But at least you got things back into perspective – which is a blessing even though it stings.
    I’m laughing because I just remembered the time I backed into my daughter’s WHEELCHAIR and dented it. Thank GOD it was all right. I had put it in the garage behind the car to remind myself to put it into the trunk. That plan obviously did not work…haha.
    The part that hurts for a minute is that you just feel so stupid for making a mistake, you know? We are not perfect!

    • val says:


      Oh I hate to laugh at your expense but that was funny! The part about the plan not working. Classic. I can’t believe I haven’t done something like that….yet. 🙂

  • Kimberly says:

    I always am glad to get that first dent or scratch out of the way with a new or new-to-us car. It’s just a matter of time anyway:)

  • Renee says:

    We sold our old van at auction when the transmission went out for the second time. It was a lovable hunk of junk we had a name for and we had driven (after buying it slightly used) nearly 200,000 miles. We actually missed it…well, a little bit anyway. We bought a new van and were so proud. It was so nice to pull up to the school and not have people stare because something was squealing. One month later, someone scratched it on the back end with a key. The scratch came out but it was so hard to see our beautiful van already scarred. I have always believed God’s hand was in it, giving us back our perspective. Thanks for sharing.

  • Debi says:

    Thanks for sharing and being so transparent with us. Things are ever so attractive and we are constantly bombarded but God is faithful and always reminds us when we get off track. I love how God is constantly speaking to us, if only we are willing to listen and learn from Him.

  • mich says:

    Sorry!! I’m *very* sympathetic to your frustration, though! Bummer to have something new to you slightly ruined. Post a picture of Old Blue and new car with ding – it’d all give us a bit of (visual) perspective. We’d probably say the ding is not that bad and help realign our priorities, too.

  • Brandy says:

    My husband has broken both of his rear view mirrors backing out two different times and I left the back of our SUV open while opening the garage and something on the garage door got caught on it. Thankfully, it didn’t tear the door off. And at least a couple of times a year I back into our big garbage can when it’s on the road for pickup. It’s in my blind spot when I back out, so unless I specifically remember that it’s trash day…boom! These are just some of the reasons we don’t need new cars.

  • Melissa says:

    We have never driven nice cars, and I thank you for giving me another reason why it isn’t necessary for us. I currently drive a Pathfinder that we got a great deal on because the paint on the hood and top are all icky. I believe “oxidation” was the word the person used when I got a quote on how much it would be to fix? Anyway, it looks just terrible, but I drive it, I don’t eat off of it. And, I’ve never had a car that I cared if someone scratched or dinged. Yet, I forget that the things we own end up owning us if we let them. It’s much easier to let them when they are nice. So, I thank you again for your post. It was quite timely for me.

  • Aileen says:

    I backed into our CLOSED garage door twice! The car only had about a inch paint scuff, but the door was trashed. Earlier in our marriage, when my husband adored his precious cars, he would have killed me. But…he took it well. We spent most of our marriage with new cars and debt like a noose around our necks. When his business began crumbling and being able to pay the basic bills became difficult, we knew we had to change. We decided that having stuff was making us miserable and we were teaching our kids to store up treasures on earth…which is pointless. Now he drives a 14 yr old car (that he paid cash for) and we are enjoying letting go of all the things (and wanting things) that we don’t need. Thanks for the post and reminding us not to hold dear to things that don’t matter in the long run!

  • iammaryelizabeth says:

    HAHA! I DROVE THROUGH our garage door when I was pregnant! (Pregnancy drains the brain…) 🙂 Our car insurance paid for a new rear windshield and home owners insurance paid for a new garage door, but I felt like an idiot for sure. However, we still giggle when we look at the pictures. In a year or so, Jesse will laugh at himself and it is a story you will tell your kids when they are learning to drive!

    • Crystal says:

      Oh my goodness! Now *that* is classic… though I am so sorry it happened and grateful you are okay!

    • Brandy says:

      @iammaryelizabeth, Pregnancy does drain the brain. When I was pregnant with my second, I thought I put leave in conditioner in my hair before drying it. I dried and dried and dried and it would never look dry. Turns out I had used sunscreen that was in a similar spray type bottle. It turned out to be a ponytail and hat day.

  • Lise says:

    I’m so sorry this happened to you all :-(. I had a new (new, new) car and 3 weeks into it hit a column in a garage (long story). I was sick to my stomach about it and later realized how ridiculous it was to allow something like that to make me so upset and disappointed at how little grace my husband had shown in the situation (he later apologized).

    To add some levity to this, though, my husband insists that we park at the very BACK of any parking lot so that no one can park by us and ding the car, etc. Of course he also shines all of his shoes every Sunday night so he’s just my crazy perfectionist. 😀

  • Christine says:

    Wow, Crystal…this is an amazing post! Thank you for your transparency. Blessings!

  • Natalie says:

    Yes. I think we can all relate. I learned my lesson in high school after being a stupid kid, I totalled my awesome, red Dodge Neon (that yes, I paid for myself at 17 by a creative deal in which I traded a horse I’d trained for a mare in foal and enough $ to buy another horse to ride, then breaking the filly and selling her and her mom for yes… a profit actually). Sad, sad day. Anyway, I finally found a deal on a newer, black Neon that I could almost pay cash for with the insurance $$. I was on the way into town THE SAME DAY I BOUGHT IT and a huge deer (6 point buck) jumped from the berm directly into the passenger’s side. I cried and cried and cried, then drove it directly back to the dealership who charged me $1800 to fix the damage! I didn’t know any better of course and I didn’t have that cash, so I had to add it to the loan balance. AND my Neon forever had black swirly buffer marks all over the entire passenger’s side. In the end though, that little car brought me to and from college, brought my daughter home from the hospital and back and forth on at least 3 family trips from Ohio to Florida and back. In fact, I had that little thing for 185,000 miles believe it or not and 7 years until I got pregnant with my son. Truth be told, the only reason I traded it in at that point, was because my daughter had thrown up in it the year prior and we could NOT get that smell out. (Puke smell did NOT help my morning sickness!) LOL!

  • val says:

    Truly truly you are one amazing woman. I love your site and all the tips and things I have gleaned from it. Thanks for sharing and for being open and transparent. 🙂

  • Sally says:

    I love the humor in your title: “Cracked Up”. I got a chuckle out of your choice of words.

  • Diana says:

    Thank you for blogging about this. I am certainly in that struggle right now. You see in 2008 we were homeless staying at a friends house for a couple of months & then at a family shelter. We were left with the clothes on our back, my husband’s job, & our 93 rodeo. We were bothered to have had to let go of our stuff, but still let go of it pretty easy, realizing it was- just stuff- after all. Thanks to the Lord’ provision we have now been pretty stable for a year and a half. However I’ve become extremely attached to what we do have now, and I get angry or extremely upset when something breaks, or when I find the kids toys on the floor missing pieces or they can’t find their shoes(when we’ve bought them a shoe box to keep them in!!!) or their beanies, or whatever.. I noticed it is pretty bad about a month ago. I am so attached..I do want to teach my children to take care of their things, and I’ve used that experience to try to lead them to be thankful and appreciate their things… but I know I have been going at it all wrong, and my perspective is certainly off.. I know, that I need to go back to that time and realize that indeed they are just things, and I can’t sacrifice my kids ”just being kids” because I want it all to look and be in good condition. I’m not sure how to strike the balance yet..but hopefully and prayerfully I’ll be able to soon. Thanks.

    • Allison V. says:

      @Diana, I understand your feelings about your “stuff.” Almost everything we own was given to us, and couldn’t be replaced anytime soon. I get so upset with my kids when they destroy things (they are all preschoolers so it’s a common occurrence) because I want them to appreciate the things we have, and I want to be a good steward of my resources and not be stuck replacing things I already own.

  • Angela says:

    Thank you for this reminder… it is very easy to get trapped in the consumer mindset. Personally, we battle with teaching our children on a daily basis that owning every electronic device & brand-name clothing isn’t going to make them happy. We remind them what the Lord has to say about why we are all here & what we will take with us when we leave this world. We also show them ways of purchasing some nice things, but by saving their money & finding discounts (thank you for the help Crystal). At this point, our girls love to go to garage sales, make things & look for bargains… so I pray we are making an impact.

  • Reminds me of the book A SEVERE MERCY (a must-read, I think). In it the Christian author and his wife buy a new car and immediately take a hammer to its hood to show that they didn’t buy the car for vanity’s sake. It’s just a car. Be thankful it still runs and gets you where you need to go. That is the point of transportation!
    Enjoyed reading this.

  • Lana says:

    About 20 years ago we were able to buy a mini van that was only 2 years old. Our small children were so proud of it that they got some rocks and scratched their names on the sliding door. Just like you we got over it in a few days and their names were there into their teenage years for everyone to see!

  • Stacy C says:

    Call a local jukyard and see if they have another bumper for your car, it’s cheap.

  • Marianne says:

    This story made me laugh because I’ve done the same thing myself (a few times over!) with our van.

    When it was brand new, I backed out and hit our OTHER car. That was a two-fer-one smackeroo and I was SO upset. SO upset!

    However, since then (that was in 2003), I’ve:

    -Backed into a light pole base (I was backing into a parking spot at our library, down a small slope -duh!- and the cement base was completely covered by two HUGE ornamental grasses (which was all I could see in my mirrors). This one we fixed.

    -Backed into another lightpole (after a camp day; took a bunch of my girls scouts for ice cream and the noise level in my van was EPIC – distracted much?)

    That second one we didn’t fix; it wasn’t bad enough and it was, just as you said in your post, a good reminder that Claudine – while loved and adored by me – is JUST a van.

    Anyhow – thanks for sharing and no, you guys aren’t the only ones! 😉

  • Christine says:

    Just after we bought our last car, an older model, I backed into a dumpster in a tight alleyway (tough way to learn about that blind spot on the back of a minivan!). For the first time in my life, I was upset for only a minute and was then like, “Oh, well! It wasn’t a perfect car anyway.” And off I went.

    That isn’t to say that I’ve always had a new car. It’s really just a matter of perpe ctive on what the car is for and what it means to you. It’s great to keep cars int eh category of transportation rather than status or even a money sink. Cars need to do what they do, get you where you are going (safely) and that’s about it. A little green paint and a ding on the bumper does not affect that.

  • Christie says:

    In A Severe Mercy, Sheldon VanAuken and his wife buy a new car, and the first they do is ding it with a hammer for this very reason. Your post reminded me. If you haven’t read it, it’s a great read (though the first couple of chapters are a little sappy). He was a friend of C.S. Lewis.

  • Ruth says:

    Thirty-five years ago my husband tied down our brand new end table on the rack of his VW bug in the JCP parking lot. While bringing it off the rack however, he put a deep, long scrape in it. It never even made it into the house before it was ruined! I don’t remember what happened to that end table, but it joins the long list of ruined couches, stained carpet, dented cars, etc., that we no longer own or even remember what happened to them. Thanks for the reminder of what is really important.

  • Rhonda says:

    Oh boy, the older you get the more this lesson really sinks in!
    Everything is in a state of decay and possessions are very fleeting. Whenever I would get upset about the “decay” of some possession, my son would always remind me, “It’s all gonna burn one day, mom~great reality check!

  • Merlin says:

    Can I add a hearty “AMEN!” to that post? I didn’t want to buy a brand new car, and get just a nicer used car, but my husband “claimed” that many of the used cars were just as expensive as the new ones, so what’s a few hundred more bucks?! I told him, “Fine, it’s your money.” U-G-H. Funny thing is, I’m the main driver of that new vehicle on most days anyway. lol However…. I can tell you that this car will remain ours until it falls apart (which is what happened to our old one – we got it brand new because of an accident, and we had it for nearly 9 years and m-a-n-y miles!), so it’ll eventually be paid for and then kept longer until then. So, our two oldest boys will have graduated, gone to college, and moved out by then. In my almost 20 years of marriage, we have only bought three brand new cars, the rest were used. My first car I bought in college was an old 1980 Honda Civic Hatchback (stickshift), and as ugly as it was, I loved it!!! 😉

  • Heather says:

    I can COMPLETELY relate to this story! I closed the garage on my car a couple of years ago. I was mad at myself for being so careless. My husband now drives my old car and we love it. We know we can take the car anywhere we want without worrying about parking it next to the cart return or in a tight parking lot. On the other hand, I drive a new car that I am paranoid about taking anywhere. I park 20 miles from the door and avoid going anywhere in the car that might have a shortage of “approved” parking places. In my heart of hearts, I know it is silly and very petty, but I can’t help it. Reading this story helps me realize that I am not the only one that becomes overly attached to shiny new things. My husand claims I will never again have a new car (or couch, or appliance, or carpet…) because I become overly neurotic. I have to agree, I much prefer the comfort and enjoyment of a well loved beat up car.

  • Lindsay says:

    Hi Crystal, I love reading your blog. Not sure what part of the country your husband and I own the Charleston bumperman franchise. There are franchises all over the country. Bumperman is a christian franchise that uses a patented technique to repair bumpers at low cost. Bumpers that have to be replaced can cost 700 dollars. Which it sounds like the damage is minor. Most bumpermen charge 60-125 to take out dents, reatach or realign. Here is the website of the should be able to find one in your area.

  • kimme says:

    I was like that too when I first bought my brand new car. It was my first new car ever so it was very special to me. When I saw the nasty door ding after only having it for a year I was so upset. I didn’t understand why someone could be so careless to do that! But then I quickly calmed down and thought to myself how I needed to get over it and not let it bother me. It IS just a car, it serves its purpose and yes we may choose a car for the appearance of it but I learned that we can’t avoid the little blemishes that it will have over time. I’m sure it was an accident and that person didn’t mean to door ding me so bad. There is so much going on in our lives right now that this is really nothing in the larger scheme of things 🙂 I love reading your daily blogs!!

  • Colleen says:

    OH so true! My husband and I in our youth and stupidity bought a new car right before we got married. It was the cheapest new car you could buy but I regret it ever single day. We got a 8 year loan and have been paying it off for a while. At the time it seemed like a good idea but now with kids and a house I wish we hadn’t done it. We did learn though my car I had since High School just broke down and instead of taking a loan out for a car we bought a used car that we could pay out of pocket for. It was so the way to go!!!!

  • Sharee says:

    Thanks for your post. I struggle whenever I buy something I’ve been saving up for a long time for and my kids break it or mark it up somehow. I’ve been amazed how shopping at thrift stores has helped me relax. For example the other day my son had gotten hold of a permanent marker and I asked him what he had, he tried to hide it. In the process he wrote on my new pants. I couldn’t get the stain out. Luckily I had only paid $5 for them, had I paid the normal price of $30-$40, it would of been much harder to stay calm. Which is really sad when you risk ruining your relationship over material items or money. I’m striving to not let such insignificant things get in the way of building strong relationships with those around me. No matter how hard you try things will get broken and the test is really in how you react.

  • Becky says:

    I have not read all the previous posts, so this my have already been mentioned, but we have a sensor on our garage door that if something is in the way, it will stop going down before it hits it. I like this feature, mainly for the safety factor if a child or animal accidentally was in the way when the door was going down it would not crush them.

  • Mary says:

    That is funny!!!! Made me laugh because…well…. a few years ago, my aunt and uncle had brand new carpet put in their home. They were so stinkin’ excited about it — they had raised 5 girls, they were finally empty-nesters and they were splurging.

    Well, my husband was deployed to Iraq, and I was homeless with my then 1 year old. I was driving around the country staying with people who would have me until he returned. Me, my 1 year old, and our 2 dogs and 1 cat. My aunt and uncle happily invited us to stay for a while, and when we arrived and started carrying things up their stairs, we noticed that our dog had been there first. And pooped. Right on their brand new carpet.

    I fortunately have an aunt and uncle who are mature Christians and sat down on the stairs and laughed until they cried about the poop on the carpet. 🙂

  • Denise says:

    My father in law was a drag racer, and always had the coolest, most awesome cars around when my husband was growing up. But he said, and my husband always repeats to me: “Don’t fall in love with your paint job.”

    We have a beautiful shiny new car that we love, and due to my clumsiness or careless or just plain bad luck we’ve gotten some scratches. But where he’d usually flip out, my husband always repeats: “Don’t fall in love with your paint job.” I feel so blessed when he takes this tranquil attitude about it. 🙂

  • heidi says:

    In the last few years I got to buy all new funiture. We had had old stuff – even stuff I had when I was single (I am in my 50’s). My newly adopted grandchildren came to visit and drove little cars all over everything. I found out later that all my new cherry tables have marks all over them. It wasn’t the 1st thing to happen to the new furniture, but it was the worst. Nothing stays new – the minute you get it it starts getting old – and it is worth less than it was the minute you paid for it. I wish they weren’t scratched, but so what. I love those kids and they had no idea what they were doing and neither did I. We will leave it all here when we leave this world – so who cares. Next visit I will cover the table.

  • Leighann says:

    I understand the point of your post, that we shouldn’t get attached to material things, but I would like to point out that damaging your car’s bumper could put the rest of your car into structural jeopardy.

    By driving a car with a damaged bumper, if you were to get into an accident and rear-ended, that damaged bumper is not going to provide you the protection that an undamaged bumper would be able to provide. That would increase the chance that you or your passenger(s) would be injured, severely or not.

    In addition, proper paint jobs on cars help protect the car itself from rust. Rusted cars are safety hazards to the person driving it as well as to other people on the road.

    If you’re going to have an automobile, you should make sure that automobile is properly maintained. That doesn’t mean expensive paint jobs constantly, but it does mean making sure that structural damage (such as seemed to have been done to your bumper) is repaired so that you are safe and protected. Unfortunately, when one owns an automobile, one has to accept that accidents happen and sometimes we must pay in order to have the automobiles running properly.

    Properly maintained automobiles will last you a long time and do you in good stead. They can even be passed on to children when the time comes. Not having to buy a teenager a new (even a new-to-them) car when they reach age? That’s a lot of money savings!

  • Amanda says:

    Thanks for the post Crystal! I too have been guilty of reacting negatively to my husbands mistakes instead of taking the opportunity to build him up and make him feel better with instant Christ-like forgiveness. I always feel so awful for it later, but it seems like it’s out before I can stop it! I am lucky that he is forgiving about it. And in a relatable story: last year we purchased a used but amazing to us SUV. We were so proud of it and all it’s cool features… until I went to pull it into the garage one night and scraped the whole passenger side against the garage opening. Completely tore off the siding over the back tire and left a 3 foot scratch down the side. I was horrified and also sat in my car lamenting my stupidity and being weary of owning up to what I had done to my husband. Luckily, he is much more gracious then me, and outside of some joking about my driving ability, was very supportive about the whole thing. I think if your insurance covers it you should get it fixed! Jesse has worked so hard and has been so humble even in a profession that typically brings out the urge to showboat… you both deserve something beautiful!

  • Kate B says:

    I drive a 2004 Olds Alero. It has a hood where the paint has been slowly peeling off. I tell people it has cancer. She has been a great car for me. When I see people smirk at her visual defects, I just giggle to myself because she is paid for. I laugh all the way to the bank, because when I sell her to my son later this winter, my next vehicle will be paid for in cash as well.
    Thanks for all the inspiration, Crystal. Some days it is hard to see God’s grace, and stay focused.

  • I read this post earlier and thought about it a bit. What really came to mind for me is that all the mistakes I’ve made in my life have made me a more understanding person, and I try to appreciate my mistakes in this way. What I mean is, had I been Jesse, I would be sooo mad at myself, as it sounds like he was. However, in a few years, should Crystal, or someone else make the same mistake, he’s likely to comfort you and say, it’s just a “thing” we all make mistakes, don’t worry!! I try to think of my mistakes as things that have made me a more sympathetic and empathetic person toward others. I might not have made the same mistakes as some, but I’ve certainly had my own, and felt horrible for it, so I try to use that to remember nobody is perfect! 🙂 I hope Jesse doesn’t feel too badly, in the scheme of things, that was such a minor thing, he should lose no sleep!

  • Becky says:

    Oh my…i’m sorry…but that’s really funny. I’m sorry. That’d be the sort of thing I’d do. With my old car I kind of hit things a lot. Nothing serious, but I wasn’t that careful about parking so i tore the weather stripping on the garage and hit the curb a lot. Didn’t feel like taking time to care when there weren’t people around. I also didn’t wash it often.

    Now I have a new car and am so careful with it and am always checking for scratches. I even continuously wipe it down the first day or so after getting it washed. >.<

  • Allison V. says:

    Awww, that stinks. I’m sorry! It happens though. Ten years ago I backed my brand-new-just-bought-it-ten-days-ago car into a flatbed pickup…it was a small car so I thought I could squeeze through. Nope. Drove with that big dent and smashed taillight for a few years before I finally got it fixed. I did eventually end up with a leaky trunk, but at that point I didn’t care. It still took me from point A to point B, and never had any issues. The day I sold it, the guy didn’t even get home with it before something broke on it though!

  • Karen says:

    Hey Crystal. Sorry to hear about your van. I haven’t read through the comments to see if anyone has mentioned this, but wanted to let you know that most garages have a motion sensor that will stop the garage door if something is there. I know this is hindsight now, but you might want to look into getting one for the safety of the kids.

  • Brooke says:

    I have, also, decided new isn’t as great as I thought. Several years ago we got to the point in our marriage where money wasn’t as tight as it once was and we began replacing all the cheap or used furniture with nicer, new items. In one 24 hour period, a child banged a fork into the new dining room table, another child wrote on the table with a permanent marker and a pan fell out of a cabinet over the glass stovetop and landed on the edge of the glass causing it to crack all the way across. I, also, realized I felt stressed when one of our friends kept loudly banging his domioes on the table each time it was his turn to play. I decided that I really don’t want a lot of new things around me to have to stress about. I really like being able to tell my friends of young children not to worry about things in my house because their children can’t hurt anything. As a side note, I have had one new car in my life. I discovered that it did not bring any more joy into my life than my used cars.

  • Adrienne says:

    We did the EXACT SAME THING on our brand-new Town & Country last year! And when I say “brand-new”, I mean it had less than 1000 miles on it at the time. In our case, it was just a paint scratch, and we can easily touch it up ourselves, but guess what: we still haven’t fixed it! It is, as you said, such a great reminder of what the van is for: safe and roomy transportation for our (quickly growing!) family. It is NOT for showing off!

  • Shasta says:

    It is a good lesson to learn. New things don’t take long before they stop looking new. And things are just things anyway.

    I did the same thing too. Luckily I had recently replaced the garage door opener, and it has that sensor that goes back up when it feels anything. I can sleep much better knowing that some child isn’t going to get hit by the door now.

    • AmandaC. says:

      yes, please get a sensor for the garage!!! We have one (I got hit on the head by the garage door before we had one), and it’s SO much safer. It will save all sorts of things. The car, the garbage cans, someone’s bike, etc.

  • Rebecca says:

    Don’t know if anyone else has already made this comment – if so, my apologies for being redundant – but here’s what I learned several years ago in Crown Ministries. If we consider all that we have as belonging to God, and we are just stewards of these items, then when we are doing our best to care for them (which of course we do because they belong to God), and He still allows something to happen to them, it’s okay, because He allowed it. If God wants a dent in his new vehicle, then He’ll put it there. If He doesn’t want a dent in it, then He’ll not put it there. The same can be applied to all we own.

  • sharlene says:

    thank you for this.

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