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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Control (01/30/06)

TITLE: When Jesus is Driving You Don't Need an IB
By Sue Goodreau


I’d already hit the brakes twelve times, which may seem odd considering these facts: we had only backed out of the driveway, and I was in the front passenger seat.

Oh, I forgot to mention that my fourteen year old daughter was driving.

In the fair state of Michigan, teenagers can get their driver’s permit as the age of fourteen years and nine months. Therefore, in response to the outcry of panicked parents, the “Big Three” automobile companies have installed invisible brakes (IB for short) on the passenger side in all of their vehicles. And, yes, these brakes work-- ask any parent who has taught a teenager to drive.

“Okay, enough for today,” I quipped.

“Mother!” Lauren, my daughter, said to me in exasperation.

“Just kidding,” I said. Okay, so I wasn’t. Forgive me for lying, Lord. And Lord, HELP!!!

“Stop freaking, Mom. I’m in control.”

I gripped the armrests, knuckles white. “Drive slowly down the road, and don’t go into the ditch.”

We moved forward, steering clear of ditches, for about a hundred feet before my daughter began to adjust her seat.

IBing like crazy, I yelled, "What are you doing? Pull over before adjusting your seat."

Lauren pulled over, slamming the car into park before coming to a stop. A noise, like a combination of a dying cow and glass in the garbage disposal, vibrated the car.

"Is it supposed to do that?" my daughter asked, innocently.

My husband is going to kill me, Lord. I asked to use his car, and now his transmission is somewhere in Lake Michigan.

Trying to keep calm, I stammered, "Let's keep going."

"Stop worrying, Mom. I'm in control."

As my daughter continued driving, I began fearing for my life. My foot and mouth began working overtime-- Watch out for that car! Don't hit the mailbox! IB, IB. Stay on your side of the road! You're looking at your hair in the mirror-- are you crazy! IB, IB, IB. Slow down!

I'm not going to make it, Lord. My stomach was churning, my fingers frozen. If I made it home alive, I'd look in the obituaries to see how many people actually died from Permit Induced Trauma.

It was after Lauren turned left in front of an oncoming car that I began pounding my head on the dashboard.

"What? I had the right-of-way, right?" Lauren looked at me, wide-eyed.

"Did you actually take Driver's Ed." I asked, "or did I dream it?"

"Stop being so melodramatic! I am in control," Lauren said with a huff. "AND," she continued, "You're the one always telling me that Jesus in with us all the time. That means he's in this car helping me drive."

"You're right! Stop the car!" I exclaimed, opening the door.

"Mom, where are you going?"

"I'm sure Jesus meets all of the qualifications necessary to ride with a teenage driver," I said happily. "I'm letting Him take over, and I'm walking home. Ta-ta!"

"Cut it out, Mom! So, okay, besides that left turn thing, I am not a bad driver." she said adamantly. "I bet you would even tell Jesus how to drive."

I opened my mouth to say that she was wrong, and slowly shut it. Did she have a point? I got back in the car, and quietly told Lauren to keep going as I reflected upon what she had said.

Jesus was in the driver's seat of my life, but did I let Him take control and trust Him? I realized that I kept up a running commentary to heaven that sounded like I was driving with my daughter-- You're going too slow! You're going to fast! You're going the wrong way, Lord-- turn around. IB, IB. Don't hit any potholes, because I don't want to be jostled from my comfy life. IB, IB, IB.

Lord, I prayed, "Forgive me. I put you in the driver's seat but keep telling you how to drive. My daughter needs my guidance, not you. Help me to trust you completely. Help me to keep my feet off of the IB.

"Mom, you're being so quiet."

I stroked my daughter's hair.

"I'm sorry I've been a such a control Mogul. You're doing great, and you're going to be a good driver."

As my daughter smiled at the wheel, I saw Jesus smiling, too.

"Don't worry," they both said. "I'm in control."

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This article has been read 843 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Schultz 02/08/06
Wonderful. The description and the emotion were very well done - I could feel the panic. And the application was a very necessary reminder. When will we stop "backseat driving" when God's at the wheel. Thank you.
Very cute story. I was there with ya. I'm still steppin' hard beneath my computer desk.LOL
Georgiana Daniels02/10/06
First, great title, it caught my eye. Second, I can totally relate, not because my daughter has a permit, but because my husband has a license! IB, IB, IB!
Beth Muehlhausen02/12/06
The only thing harder than driving WITH a teen son or daughter is handing them the keys - and watching them drive away by themselves. LOL

Point well taken. I know I trusted God with my kids when they were new drivers. :-)
Anita Neuman02/13/06
Wow! Great story! Funny, relatable, and poignant message. I love it - and congratulations on your placement. How exciting!
Kris St. James02/13/06
Excellent article! It took me back to my driving lessons--my Dad was a cop--I don't know how either of us survived! But your message hit home. A great example from real life. Congratulations on your win!
Tamara Rodrigues02/13/06
Wow! IB. I loved your story. You pulled me in from the opening sentence. IB.

I remember all too well teaching my little brother and sister how to drive. By the time my son was 16 and got his permit, I wore out the IB's.

Congrats on your placement! Well Deserved!
janet rubin02/13/06
This is awesome. Made me laugh and struck horror in my heart (I'll be doing this with my daughter who turned 15 this week soon). I use the IB when my husband drives. Congrats!
Betsy Tacchella02/13/06
This is great! I laughed out loud through the whole thing. Well written, funny, and impactful.
Grace Sempa02/13/06
Congratulations, you are guitee right, when Jesus is driving, we don't need an IB.
Great work.
Gwynn Turner02/13/06
Congratulations! As the mother of a 17 year old daughter, I can SO relate. Very well done. :)
Stevie McHugh02/13/06
Well written, poignant. It brought back a lot of memories, from beginning to end. A great devotional.
Jennifer Waddell02/14/06
I had to pause frequently for fits of laughter! Reminded me of a Rhonda Rae devotional. Excellent visuals!
Lori Braswell02/14/06
Whew! What a good reminder that I need to stop telling Jesus how to drive. Amidst laughing and panicking for the future time when I'll be teaching my children how to drive, I felt the conviction of not only the Holy Spirit; but also, the sideways glare of my husband when I use the IB with him. :) Thanks for such a great article!