Strike Three

Sitting on the curb listening to the deep rumble of rigs on the freeway. Tears falling on asphalt as I lean over my knees, holding them close, rocking away the feelings of failure and guilt. My dad’s new car now mangled by my one careless moment of inattention, was now towed away, but I was left to wait in the parking lot of a nearby restaurant. The sun was shining, birds cooing, people smiling as they stepped by me on break for lunch, but I only saw the shadow of black between my feet, head bowed with shame, for the scenario seemed altogether too familiar. A brief distraction teamed with too much speed, and the third of my father’s cars… totalled.

I remembered the words of my driver’s ed teacher… “You have to pass this test to get your license, but the real test begins after you pass.” I had failed the real test.

Perhaps my last failure could be blamed on the black ice, but this one… this momentary neglect while merging onto the freeway made me shake my head at the silly girl who just two years before rushed into the room proudly waving that slip of paper exclaiming “100%!” with head held high. Such a different posture from this girl waiting quietly for dad to arrive.

Empty of thought, struggling for ease of breathe, numb, until I saw a familiar set of shoes beside me and an arm of love wrapped gently around my shoulder. “Dad, I’m so sorry about your car!” Perhaps 2 could be forgiven, but 3? That was surely asking too much. 3 strikes and you’re out, right?

But my compassionate father understood 70 x 7, and his arms of forgiveness held a little tighter as he whispered words of honeycomb, “A car is replaceable. But you are not.”

That was when I first noticed the cement being prepared for pouring into a new life. The churning of thoughts, and glimpses of understanding… Cement for a new foundation. That was when God first whispered the word grace into my life.

“You are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love” 
“He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”
(Neh 9:17, 2Cor 12:9)


12 thoughts on “Strike Three”

  1. Oh, this touched me so. Beautiful post! What grace! Love how God manages to make it tangible once in awhile for us…so we continue to grasp the depths of His love for us.

    So blessed by you — thank you!

  2. What a gift to have an earthly father who grasped grace so deeply! It is a profound truth that how we live our lives and handle crisis is a far more compelling witness to our children than lectures and sermons.

  3. Hello,
    What a beautiful story! I found this blog through Twitter, and wanted to say thanks for sharing! I was wondering if you would allow me to re-post this story as a guest post on my own blog, , which is a project I'm doing for a college class I'm taking. I would include your byline, of course, as well as a link to your website. What do you think?
    P.S. You can e-mail me at if you wish.

  4. I'm so sorry you lost your dad! But such a blessing to have cherished memories to hold onto. Thank you for taking time to comment, my heart smiled to read your sweet compliment. 🙂 God bless!

  5. wow…what lovely images. I tripped on over from Write it, Girl, my latest greatest discovery. I'm so glad I did. I lost my own father several years ago, and just reading your story brought all the sweetest memories back. Thank you.
    Peace and good

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