I remembered that I forgot. Don't you just love that phrase? As poor as the grammar may be, it's a true statement. I didn't just remember, I remembered again. Right?
Whatever. The point is that I mentioned in this post that there was quite the story about this picture. I didn't want to share it right away because my husband wanted to use the story at church a couple times as an illustration. He's done now, and if you heard the the story already, be sure to read the part below that my husband doesn't tell. Yup, I'm going to tell on him!
We were traveling from Missouri to Iowa about six weeks ago. It's about six hours total with the first four hours on Hwy 19, a winding two-lane country road. We were driving along, minding our business when we spied a police car sitting on the edge of the road watching traffic. You know how they do it. The minute we saw him, we knew it was too late to slow down, and sure enough, he pulled into traffic behind us and we were nabbed.
My husband was driving, by the way.
We didn't even get all sweaty-palmed, racy-hearted. We knew it was pointless. Gary started looking for a safe place to pull over and I started looking for the registration.
Funny how we drove from Iowa to California last summer and from California to Missouri right before Christmas. I drove from Northern to Southern California a couple times alone and a couple times with Gary, and we never once got pulled over. We were in California with Iowa plates for four months with a major police trap on the highway that we passed by multiple times a week in California, and we never once got pulled over.
But now on a two-lane country road, Gary's not speeding that much, and we're certainly not being dangerous to anyone else... But here we are on the side of the road with flashing lights behind us.
Mr. Policeman strolls over to the window. Gary rolls it down. Mr. Policeman starts with the typical question, "Do you know how fast you were going?"
Why do they ask that, anyway? Yeah, no, I wasn't really paying attention cuz the road was open and I know I was within a 10 mph of the speed limit. AND I'm sure you'll be telling me exactly how fast YOU caught me going, so go ahead.
Gary was really calm. Just told him he wasn't paying attention, just was excited to be going on our trip.
"Where are you headed?"
"We're heading to Iowa."
"Is that where you're from?"
"Well, we were, but we're not now." Now Mr. Policeman has questions in his eyes. He asks for Gary's license and the car's registration, which, thankfully, are up-to-date and had been easy to find in the car. He glances at them, then asks Gary to come back to his cruiser because he has a few questions for him.
Gary goes, leaving me and the boys parked on the side of the road, wondering what in the world is going on.
The boys get restless.
We talk about police cars and what's happening and why Daddy got pulled over and why there were lights but no siren, why the police man was wearing guns, etc. etc.
The boys say they need to pee. Uh-oh!
It's been about 15 minutes. Finally we see Gary getting out of the police car and head back to our SUV.
He gets in the car, puts on his seat belt, signals and pulls onto the road. He's still smiling, but not talking.
"So?! What happened? What took so long? Did you get a ticket?" I'm so curious!
"Sweetie, we talked about Jesus!" Gary was still in awe. "This doesn't just happen. The stuff we talked about wasn't just coincidence! This doesn't just happen!"
I finally got the story. Apparently the officer asked Gary where we were coming from and where we were going. Gary told him more than he bargained for, including his testimony of how God has continued to provide for us, the evangelism training in California, and going to Iowa to speak at our home church. The police man told him his brief history, including how he was in training to be a minister at one point! They shared experiences about how God has lead in each of their lives.
Then Mr. Policeman gives Gary back his license and registration. There's no ticket. "Word of advice," he says, "When in doubt, slow down!" They laugh together.
Then the officer says, "You're the second minister I've talked to today. The first guy wanted to pray for me and I'd like to pass that on. Will you pray with me?"
Yes, you read that right. The police officer prayed for my husband and Gary prayed for him.
You can't make this stuff up!
Now here's the thing. I've been married to Gary for almost seven years. I've been with him in the car when he was pulled over about four times. Yeah, he's working on it, but Sweetheart, you need to slow down, kay? The other times he's been pulled over that I've witnessed Gary has been defensive. Almost rude. Annoyed at being caught. Taking it out on the policeman when he (Gary) was the one at fault.
Isn't that how it usually is? We want to blame the authority when we're the ones breaking the law. Yeah, sometimes the law is silly and there's no reason why you can't safely drive 70 in a 55 mph zone. But that's not the point! It's the law! Just slow down!
This time, instead of being defensive and seeking to blame someone else, Gary took the responsibility and admitted he hadn't been paying attention. He was humble.
And it opened doors! Not only that, it showed me how much my man has changed. I pointed this out to Gary and he was quick to attribute it to the power of God's love in your heart. Focusing on God's love, what Jesus has done for you and daily giving your heart and your life and your will to Him changes you.
I know it's true. Do you?