Dana Martin Writing

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A [mostly amusing] blog about travel, life, and TSA pat-downs
Dana Martin Writing

“G” is for God’s Voice

Grateful April in the A-Z Blogging Challenge

No one else was in the car with me on the day it happened. Well, almost no one.
Speeding on the freeway isn’t new to me. If I have the need for speed, blame it on either the most popular Tom Cruise movie of the 1980s or my parents. My dad brought home a shiny red Delorean in 1983, and I fell in love with the aerodynamics, the compact, two-seat design, and the idea that it just looked fast. When I reached 16, my mom persuaded my dad to buy me a 300ZX (who does that?), and after marriage, I graduated to a Mustang GT 5.0 that I drove until children started coming along faster than billboards in Southern California. I willingly gave up the zippy sports cars (and speeding tickets), and for the next seemingly endless string of childbearing years limped along in a Ford Aerostar full of car seats, McDonald’s fries, and steaming old bottles of dried-up milk.
When the Aerostar died, it was time for a new car. Sensible cars were for sensible girls, and I’m not sure I can squeeze my impractical habits into the word sensible: my hair is long, I procrastinate, speed, drink too much coffee, and I’m horrible at paying bills. A sensible girl would have chosen something with four doors, perhaps fuel efficiency, or at least a neutral color. Not me. We replaced the nondescript burgundy jalopy with a fiery red Thunderbird that screamed, “Hey cops! Watch this!” And they did. A lot.
With the exception of the Aerostar years, I averaged exactly one speeding ticket every 18 months—the window I had to maintain in order to attend traffic school to remove the familiar infraction from my driving record. When we bought the T-bird, that practice resumed. My children accepted flashing red lights behind them as naturally as they did the blur of unheeded speed limit signs along the road—just a part of life. So it isn’t a surprise that I was speeding on the day it happened.
I was a harried mother of three. I’m still harried and a mother of three, but instead of rushing from one school to another or between soccer and baseball practices, I juggle writing schedules, dinners (why must these people always need to EAT?), and my Halloween businesses that require year-round attention. Now, at least, the kids are old enough to get their own food and can even make Starbucks runs for me. But during these years, it was worse because No. One. Else. Drove. Their father worked out of town, so the details and errands—such as the one I was running the day it happened—were left to me.
At about 4:45 on a warm spring afternoon, I was speeding along the highway trying to get a backseat full of trophies to my son’s baseball party. I was the team mom, so the responsibility rested fully on me, and because I didn’t have the perspective then that I do now, I thought the world would stop its rotation if I walked in 10 minutes late. It wasn’t that I didn’t plan well; I just didn’t plan at all. I fly, drive, write and live by the seat of my pants, which, on this day, meant that I was running late.
With no one else in the car, I blasted the radio and was racing within ½ mile of my exit when it happened. The Voice. It was so loud that it muted every other noise. When I heard it, I felt my mortality stand at attention:
Slow down, Dana. Your children need you.
I was startled by the voice in such a way that I obeyed the command and yanked my foot off the gas so quickly my knee slammed into the steering wheel. It wasn’t a whisper, more the sound of one commanding from a place of authority—loud and clear, a voice that brooks no argument. I would imagine that a gun-pointing police officer ordering someone to “GET DOWN!” evokes the kind of authority I heard in this voice. Quickly, my eyes darted to the dashboard, where I watched the speedometer drop from 80 mph.
75 mph… What in the world was that? My right foot hovered over the gas pedal as my car began its gradual slow-down.
70 mph… Who was that speaking? Both hands gripped the steering wheel and my eyes continued to watch my speed.
65 mph… Was that God?
I know people who’ve lived in faith far longer than I have, people who’ve known God more intimately and had a much better relationship with Him than I did at the time in my life when I was speeding and carrying on without perspective. I was sure God had much better things to do than talk to a person who had only a mild interest in Him.
I was wrong, and He decided to prove His love (and existence) to me right there on northbound highway 99, right before the Olive Drive exit.
Five seconds after hearing The Voice and the moment my speedometer reached 55 mph, my tire blew out. As pieces of rubber cascaded around me and I could hear my pretty red fender being torn to shreds, I used lessons taught in my high school driver’s ed class to ease the car slowly off the freeway and was able to hobble up the ramp safely into a fast food parking lot.
I’m no physicist, but I can presume that a car experiencing a blowout at 80 mph would react differently from one traveling 55. We’ve all seen rollover accidents along freeways; many of them don’t turn out well.
Why me? I don’t know, but it changed me. Why would God care about one silly, impractical girl when lifelong believers are in need of His help? How was I able to hear His voice so loudly that I avoided catastrophe in my first and only blowout? 

Maybe the answer is found in John 10:27.

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”

Boy, you can say that again. When you actually DO hear God’s voice, it’s a little hard to ignore. You don’t question it. You don’t mistake it. You simply obey.

I wish I could say that I never speed anymore or that the experience made me a perfect Christian. I can’t say either of those things. But my walk with God changed that day. He really IS here, He is real, and He loves even the silly, impractical ones who speed on freeways. I know many people are still on the fence about my God, and I respect you and love you. But what if you’re wrong?

See, nothing happens to me if I’m wrong. If I’m wrong, we all end up at your party. But what if I’m right and you’re wrong?

What. If. I’m. Right?


    Comments

  • Annis Cassells


    We are all blessed because you listened. Thank you. xoA

  • Kim Van Sickler


    Definitely a life-changing moment. It really makes you wonder…and marvel…and vow to lead a better life, doesn't it?

  • Dana Martin


    Thank you, sweet Annis. xxoo And yes, Kim! haha! It's sort of hard to ignore. 🙂 Can't quite carry on with the same perspective after experiencing something like that.

  • Robin


    Powerful Dana. I can say that I have prayed and then experienced times of "knowing." I have dreams that turned out to be true. I have had conversations with dead relatives that I know were real. Yes, I know that there is a heaven, because the people who live there talk to me. And God has even talked to me in that In Between state of Sleeping and Being Awake. It didn't save my life; it just renewed my Spirit at a time when I felt hollowed out.

    The answer to your question about why God would save one impractical girl? Your children need you. He already told you. We all are here for a reason. We leave when our reason is done. I think it's as complicated and simple as that.

  • Dana Martin


    Robin, you just made me tear up. Your faith is beautiful, advanced, and a blessing to read about. Thank you for saying everything you said. It feels good to read about another's faith. xo

  • runningsurvivor


    God is AMAZING and He speaks to us everyday, sometimes more literally than others! He was telling you that you are needed here on earth still! Blessings! Following you now!

    Shannon at I Survived and Now I Run

  • Judy


    Great, great post, Dana! I'm a new follower here from A to Z.

    I think it is amazing to know that God knows each of us so well. He knows what we need. He knows that sometimes he has to yell so that we can hear him. So glad you actually listened and obeyed 🙂

    So glad I found your blog! You are so funny!!!

  • Kathy Wiechman


    One of the amazing things about His power is that His mind can be on all of us at once. So glad you listened that day.

  • A month of....Blog


    Wow – what a powerful story! It gave me goosebumps. Thanks for stopping by my Blog.
    A month of Blog…

  • A month of....Blog


    Wow – what a powerful story! It gave me goosebumps. Thanks for stopping by my Blog.
    A month of Blog…

  • Mark Means


    He works in mysterious (and not so mysterious) ways, sometimes. Glad you listened 🙂

  • Empty Nester


    And that's just the way He does it too. Mine wasn't so dramatic- I was washing dishes. But we had a similar thing happen on a youth group trip to one of the vans. God does work in mysterious ways. And I like it. I listen much better that way. My FIL used to say that God had to hit him between the eyes with a 2×4…I'm kind of like that too. 🙂 Great post!

  • Jenn Flynn-Shon


    "I fly, drive, write and live by the seat of my pants, which, on this day, meant that I was running late"

    Is the story of my life! I stopped wearing a watch years ago because they're futile accessories and take up valuable real estate that would better show off a sweet bracelet.

    As for the outcome of that day – wow. Truly a breathtaking moment for you to experience!

  • Burkester


    Wow thats amazing! You will definitely like 'Proof of Heaven' when you get to read it! I go back and forth all the time because I come from such a firm Science background but when things like this happen you just can't ignore it! Amazing! Thank you for sharing!!! x

  • Jer


    Well, Dana, I'm no physicist either, but an engineer is close enough, and you're right, things likely would have been much, much worse at 80mph.

    Also, I'm no theologian, but back when you had the tendency to compare yourself with other Christians (you have stopped doing that, right?), you were looking at things from our teeny, tiny point of view. Ours is like looking at one square inch of the back side of a tapestry, which is chaotic and nonsensical. God sees the entire front side (as we will one day) and he deals with each of us based on his unique plan for us. Maybe I would have needed a hospital trip to get whatever it was I needed through my head that day. Evidently, what you needed was his audible voice and a shredded tire. It sounds to me like that was sufficient. And like Annis said, we're all blessed you're around. Wonderful story, thanks for sharing it.

  • Dana Martin


    Jer… thank you. I love your tapestry analogy. That sounds about right. He sees the finished side and how each strand works with the others.

    The thing you made me think about is this: God gave me free will, so He couldn't necessarily MAKE me drive carefully. We have the free will in this life to be as stupid as we want. But He did need me for something, so He told me to slow down. And I heard Him. I think I did everything short of yelling YES, SIR!! 🙂

  • Dennis


    Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild, spoke at the San Miguel Writers Conference last month. A comment she made struck a chord with me: "Some times life hands you a metaphor." Whether the metaphor comes from god or from some one or some thing else, it's usually a good idea to pay attention.

    Dennis

  • Arlee Bird


    Such a blessing to have God's protection around you. I've certainly done my share of speeding, but I feel that God has always been right there with me. Even when I was getting speeding tickets.

    His blessings are abundant and diverse.

    Lee
    A Faraway View
    An A to Z Co-host blog

  • Frances Stiles


    Great post, Dana! Oh, boy was that an experience for you. This is so touching and real. Thanks for sharing it.

  • Wanda


    To think that God who created the universe is mindful of the small details of our lives is unfathomable. But indeed He loves us just that much.

  • Craig Edwards


    I'm glad you listened. I think He is too.

  • Michelle


    Wow! I believe that God does speak to us and it's great to hear of others experiences.

  • Joan Raymond


    Dana,
    I think He spoke in an audible voice because you're so darn busy it's the only way you'd listen. 🙂 Seriously, that was a beautiful story. You are here for a reason, and all of us that know you are blessed by your friendship and love.

  • Dana Martin


    haha ^^ I love that, Joan! You're right. He had to practically yell at me to get me to listen. 🙂

    Thanks, everyone, for the ultra-kind words. I'm glad you like what I write. 🙂

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