If you told me I’d be a minivan-driving mama of four when I first got married, I wouldn’t have believed you. I had no idea what lay ahead, and how my faith, becoming a mom, and driving a minivan would shape me.
Motherhood changed me, and my minivan got me there.
Early in my career, I discovered that work was not going to be able to fulfill me in all the ways I’d hoped. Newly married, I was a few years into a high-powered public relations agency career where we worked with start-ups, dotcoms, and even went to Silicon Valley pitches for venture capital with our clients. It was exciting with lots of important clients, big deadlines, and working with major media outlets to secure press for our up-and-coming clients. Despite the excitement and growth opportunities, I felt a lingering question inside, Is this all there is?
I remember waking up one night from an especially lucid dream. In the dream, I felt God speaking to me directly and telling me that he would call me to become a mother—and that this would fulfill me in many ways. Akin to Abraham’s covenant in the Bible where God promised him that he would become the father of many nations, I had a new peace that I could continue excelling in my career until the timing was right to become a mother.
God’s assurance gave me peace in the middle of what seemed like a turbulent time. What I didn’t know was that God would use my career and experiences at a specific company to expose me to biblical Christianity and point me to Jesus.
Through a series of events during the dot-com bust, my husband and I decided to move out of Silicon Valley to Sacramento, and my previous boss hired me back to do consulting after our company shut down. My dreams of being at home with my future children inched closer with the work-from-home option and, before we could even plan, I became pregnant with our first child.
On the stage at our new church home, Pastor David baptized my husband and I while I was seven months pregnant. I was overjoyed that the Lord brought us together, unified us in common faith to start our new lives as parents.
Just a few years later, our second child was born, and we set out to get a respectable family car—a minivan. The year was 2005 and we looked high and low for a van that suited our needs and met our financial requirements. Enter our lovely new red 2005 Toyota Sienna. As I drove it off the dealership lot, I wondered if we’d ever put all eight seats to use. I loved the sliding doors and ease at which I could move the infant car seat to its base. It drove well, hauled more cargo than any SUV, and got reasonably good gas mileage.
Embracing the Minivan
While some women at the age of 28 would scoff at driving a minivan, I knew that it would enable me to care for my children more fully, engage with them and their friends as they got older, and perhaps even grow to help minister to other kids who didn’t have exposure to church.
While God didn’t give me a revelation about how he’d use me and my minivan, he did give me a vision that motherhood would be an important part of my career. He’d use me to influence the children around me in my own house and beyond and expose them to the love of God.
Over the years, I was able to say yes: I said yes to carpooling to preschool, which gave way to a lifelong friendship; I said yes to picking up extra kids for vacation Bible school at our church for more summers than I can recall. I said yes to picking up neighborhood kids for Wednesday night youth group; I said yes to driving the team, to late-night pickups, to tournaments, and even occasionally to a lost dog or two.
Nearly 17 years have gone by since we brought our trusty minivan home, and now it’s time to part with the “ole’ girl” and send her on her way to a new family. I bought a new car, a compact hybrid SUV, to replace it with, and I do love driving a sporty SUV that gets nearly 40 MPG, yet, there’s a soft, sweet place in my heart for all the years of minivan-driving where God shaped me, day by day, into the mom he wanted me to be: A mom who served well, a mom who devoted and worked her career life around her family life, hopefully in a way that extended beyond her immediate family and displayed her love for the Lord.
Now the time comes to trade the minivan in, this time for a car for the teens to drive. The used car shop I found online just happens to be Christian-owned, and they plan to refurbish our red Sienna for a single mom and her kids, one of the ways they serve God through their business. In the end, we’ll pay it forward, knowing and trusting that the next owner will use their skills and gifts to care for their family and love others as best they can.
Minivan, you’ve served me well for nearly 17 years…my lineage of service, my attitude of love, will live on in a different vehicle, but I’m forever grateful for the ministry I’ve had in you.