(This is Karen Kosman’s grand daughter Breanna in honor of my Grandma being in heaven for one year now I’m sharing one of our favorite true stories she wrote and I hope it touches your life as much as it did ours. We miss and love you so much Grandma! Much love and God Bless to anyone who is reading this! Enjoy!)
After my husband walked out I returned to school and became a medical assistant. As a single mom I struggled with a lack of time and money. My claim to fame was my teenage daughter and son. Their love was the spark behind my determination to make life as fulfilling as possible. With a job and good transportation, I supplied our basic needs. Even with a tight budget, my contentment revolved around my love for my kids and my faith.
As a phlebotomist (lab assistant) at a local hospital, starting my shift at 5:00 a.m. meant that I’d be home by 2:00 in the afternoon, perfect hours for a single mom. I worked every other weekend. Following those weekends I’d have two weekends off, but I supplemented my income by cleaning houses on those days.
Every moment that I could squeeze out to spend with Robbie and Linda felt like a precious gift. Like most typical teenager’s moments of unacceptable behavior sent my nerves on edge, but other occasions seemed to erase the bad ones. Occasionally Linda would have dinner ready or surprise me with a clean house. One Christmas Robbie worked at a tree lot so we’d have a Christmas tree.
On the weekends I didn’t work we’d go to the beach at Corona Del Mar or go visit my Mom. My hidden coin jar helped to supply an occasional surprise dinner out or a movie. Once the changed saved in my jar allowed me to say “Yes” to my daughter when she asked if she could buy a new dress. It was a tight but workable schedule.
My budget had little room for emergencies. A crisis hit when my Chevy broke down, and I had it towed to a garage. I had to cancel my housecleaning job for that morning, but I was more concerned about how I’d be able to keep my promise to my daughter. She had a dental appointment after school, and I told her I’d pick her up and take her so she wouldn’t be late.
My determination not to disappoint her found me at a local car dealership. Maybe I should go ahead and buy a car. After spending an hour looking at cars and talking with the salesman he asked, “Would you like to take a test drive?”
“I don’t have the time. I need to go pick up my daughter”. He smiled and handed me the keys. “Go ahead take your test drive and pick up your daughter.”
I admit I felt a twinge of guilt as I took the keys, because I had already determined that buying a car was not an affordable option—but I would be able to keep my promise to Linda.
A few minutes later Linda smiled as she climbed into the Sky Blue Ford Mustang. “Mom, did you buy it?”
“No, I looked and accepted the offer for a test drive to pick you up, but I don’t feel I can afford car payments”.
We drove back to the dealership where I thanked the salesman and we left. “Lord, I don’t have the money for repairs, and I can’t afford car payments. You’re my only source of help. I relinquish this to you.”
My mechanic called me with bad news, “Karen, for about $900 I can put a rebuilt engine in for you.”
Numbed by the news, I said, “I’ll need time to think.” Nine hundred might as well be a million when you don’t have it.
“Okay. Call me”
“Thank you. I will”
Over the next couple of days I took a taxi to work, because I had to be at work by 5:00 a.m. The whole situation was a drain on my finances. If I continued to take a taxi at 5:00 a.m. to work my monthly transportation bill would be over $200. The problem seemed insurmountable.
After work one afternoon, my phone rang, and it was a friend from church.
Jim said, “Karen, I have a car sitting in my garage that I don’t use. It’s in good mechanical condition. I’d like to give it to you”
“Oh! Jim that’s great news! Thank you.” Tears filled my eyes, and my heart beat with excitement.
That evening, Jim delivered my car. He said, “I forgot to tell you it’s a stick shift. Do you know how to drive a stick shift?’
“No. But, I’ll learn”
Under stressful circumstances I had learned to shift gears in life, so how much harder could it be to learn to drive a stick shift?
A friend volunteered to teach me in a church parking lot. Soon I was off and driving again. Our red pacer provided the transportation we needed and even brought laughter to the three of us as I learned to shift gears on hills without rolling backwards. My kids called our red pacer a pregnant turtle. But to me it was a precious gift supplied by God—and red is my favorite color.
Learning to balance my time as a working mother challenged me, but learn to laugh at some of life’s more ridiculous moments is a lesson I’ll always cherish. And in my red pacer God allowed a U-turn off the highway of worry. After all, God sits in the driver’s seat of our lives—our Father will never abandon us no matter how bumpy the road gets.