It was a beautiful car. And it was fast.

Up to that point, my luck had been pretty good scoring upgrades on rental cars. But this one topped them all. Instead of the intermediate sized car on hold for me, I drove off the lot in a sweet, black, 2017 convertible Mustang. Don’t ask me how I got it. It still makes little sense. But I was ecstatic!

It would take slightly over two glorious hours to drive to my destination. The highway between Sacramento and Redding is wide open, cutting through endless fields and orchards, dotted occasionally by shopping centers, bridges, abandoned buildings and dairy farms. I couldn’t wait to get started.

Easing out of the parking structure, I settled into the leather seats, turned up the music and shot up the interstate.

Feeling lighthearted and free, I laughed as I wove in and out of traffic, effortlessly overtaking slower vehicles.

I was still chuckling about my good fortune, when I caught up to a semi-truck with the word “SWIFT” boldly printed on the trailer. This made me laugh even more.

Swift? You? No, I’M swift!

As I sped by, I noticed SWIFT was the name of a transportation company. The semi was loaded down with someone else’s stuff.

It then struck me there was a lesson I could learn from my rental car and that truck.

Semi-trucks are for hauling freight. Cars are for transporting people.

Much of my life I spent like that truck, hauling too much stuff around, some that wasn’t even mine. None of which God intended for me to carry.

Baggage like shame, fear, unforgiveness, despair, woundedness. This cargo became my focus, crowding out room for people. Feeling heavy laden and slow, my relationships became transactional and functional. Like the truck, my exterior appeared stalwart and strong. Inside, however, loneliness echoed.

The law makes life feel like that.

In contrast, the Mustang felt like grace. Built with freedom in mind and room to share, it was open and agile. Equipped to handle curves and hills with the same ease as the straightaway, it could readily adapt to its environment. It was anything but functional. It was FUNctional. There was space in the trunk for just enough cargo to meet needs but not interfere with the experience. It was built for speed, and it had room for other travelers.

The reason I was on that trip was to visit my parents. My mom is in her 70s and my dad, his 80s. When they saw me drive up in the black beast, they laughed out loud and asked to go for a spin. With the soft top down.

I can’t remember the last time I saw them having that much fun. Enduring memories were formed that weekend.

Now, whenever I’m on the road and see a convertible, I am reminded of the Grace I’ve received that offers to carry my baggage so I can be agile and adaptable – and have space for others. On this journey toward Home, we are meant to travel together and travel light.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” –Hebrews 12:1-2

  • hanjulee
    Posted at 14:10h, 04 January Reply

    I NEED a convertible! Great story!

    • Tamara Carpenter
      Posted at 19:53h, 04 January Reply

      Thanks, Hanju!

  • Bonnie Yeomans
    Posted at 19:32h, 04 January Reply

    You called me in my apartment, saying you had a surprise for me. Puzzled, I came out to see you in this gorgeous black Mustang convertible, hands held high, with a big grin on your face. It was magic! We had an awesome time and now with your post everything is pulled together to present a clear picture of His gift to us. It’s ok to have fun. It’s highly beneficial to lean harder and let God carry our burdens, many of which are stacked higher than we realize. I am open for more adventure, Tamara. Love you, dear daughter.

    • Tamara Carpenter
      Posted at 19:55h, 04 January Reply

      Thanks, Mom! I had so much fun that weekend. Loved sharing the journey with you! 🙂

  • Emanuel Resina
    Posted at 07:03h, 05 January Reply

    Very exciting story, raising some quite interesting reflections…
    It’s been a pleasant experience and a positive surprise to read the small but significant stories you share on this blog.
    I’m happy to hear how your life has been blessed in so many ways since you when back to the States.
    All the best for you and your lovely family in this new year!

    • Tamara Carpenter
      Posted at 14:16h, 06 January Reply

      Thanks, Emanuel! We appreciate you and Aninhas. God willing, we will see you in Portugal this summer!

  • Arlete Castro
    Posted at 13:14h, 05 January Reply

    This is you!!! I love it! I am glad you have given me a “boleia” in your special car! We are together on this journey toward HOME!

    • Tamara Carpenter
      Posted at 14:14h, 06 January Reply

      And it is a wild, but GOOD, ride! Thanks for believing in me and always challenging me to take risks 🙂

  • Rachele Woodman
    Posted at 19:27h, 15 January Reply

    Looking forward to more!

  • Christy allen
    Posted at 21:24h, 24 January Reply

    What a wonderful gift that Mustang was, and the revelation that came with it. Thanks for sharing this story with us, Tamara.

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