Ron and I built our dreams when bell-bottom pants and disco were the norm. Captain & Tennille sang Muskrat Love as we planned our future. Ron's eyes danced in the lava lamp glow as he dreamed of owning a classic Corvette, with me riding next to him as we drove off into the sunset.
We planned to make our dreams come true. The evidence of success would be a candy apple red Corvette on our second wedding anniversary.
Life doesn't always work out as planned. A recession was our graduation gift and a second anniversary pregnancy replaced the Corvette. Twins sent the Corvette skidding into the future. The dream glimmered if classic cars pulled beside us at stoplights. Ron cracked the window, listened to the growl of the engine, and smiled with each rumble. Another pregnancy and Ken was born. With the hit movie Corvette Summer out in theaters, Ron dreamed of finding a wrecked Corvette to restore. Music lessons, instruments, braces, and doctor bills sent the dream speeding into the future once again.
At holidays the family kept the dream alive by giving Dad a new Corvette book. Everyone suggested that he go for a test drive. Ron refused, claiming, "If I don't drive it, temptation dies." His eyes no longer danced. Ron was lowering the window less and he found excuses to avoid the Corvette lot.
My heart broke every time I saw his dreams get a little dimmer.
"Please God," I prayed, "give Ron a Corvette." I knew it wasn't a holy, save-the-world, and bring us peace kind of prayer. But I also knew that God wants us to bring all our prayers to him. My heart yearned for God to bless Ron because of what a good and faithful husband and father Ron was.
Ron loved his family and always put our needs first. He clapped the loudest at Jamie's plays, took mounds of photos when Amie was modeling, and cried as he watched Ken receive his Masters degree.
Ron gave everything so we could be successful. But what about Ron? We loved him too. It wasn't fair for him to give so much and lose his own dreams in the process. Although Ron tried to hide his disappointment, I knew he was slowly letting go.
One day as we passed a Corvette on the road, I turned in my seat and said, "Why not, Ron? Let's just throw caution to the wind and buy a corvette."
"No." He looked away as if searching for a reason. "The house needs painting and the children have needs."
I pointed my finger at his chest. "Now, you listen to me Mr. Jansen. You keep a tight grip on that dream. It will happen!" I had no idea how; I hoped God did.
Later, our family critiqued the cars at a local car show. Pausing at a Corvette, Ron stared and twisted the toothpick in his mouth.
"You should get one, Dad," one of the kids said.
Ron mumbled something about the joy of family and moved on.
Ron's 30th year with his company was set to arrive without fanfare. No band was hired or banquet scheduled. Just a wonderful man who worked mostly without recognition so his family could succeed.
I reminded God of Ron's faithfulness and begged for help.
While brainstorming with the children about a possible work anniversary gift, I remembered Ron's dancing eyes. "I wish I had the money to buy him a Corvette. I would love to give him his dream."
Jamie and Amie perked up.
"I'll give you the down payment," one said.
"Sure, Mom," the other chimed in. "I'll help too."
The idea was brilliant. If we all chipped in, we could do it! A quick call to our son Ken and it was set.
We met at a car lot across town and found a candy apple red 1977 Corvette. That's the year Ron would have purchased had he reached his original goal. As we told our story to Bob the owner, giggles and moist eyes brought joy into our hearts.
At the bank Brandon explained he couldn't loan small amounts on old cars. Again we shared our story. He slapped his fist on the desk, "I'm going to make this happen!"
On Ron's work anniversary the boys ran into our house in a flurry of excitement. "Dad, come quick," they said. "Something's wrong with your car. Come outside and see."
As Ron walked outside he spotted the Corvette. "Wow that's pretty, whose is it?"
"It's yours," we yelled. "Your dream has come true."
No eye was dry; no mouth was silent. Shouts and tears and laughter and hugs abounded.
As I watched Ron walk around his Corvette, touching it lightly and shaking his head over and over, I realized that God answered my three decade prayer. And I realized that God loves surprises even more than we do! He's often sneaky in the way he answers our prayers. Answers can come in a form that we didn't expect. How satisfying to know that each member of my family played a role in God's gift. I felt the closeness that can come only when a family works together. We all felt joy knowing God was faithful and dreams do come true.
A Scripture verse sprang into my mind: "Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart" (Psalms 37:4).
Ron took off the T-tops and we climbed in for our first ride. As I settled in, I tilted my head to the beautiful blue sky and whispered, "Thank you God. Sneaky or not, I'm glad you made Ron's eyes dance."
Debbie Jansen is author of Discipline Exposed (WinePress Publishing).
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