Sunday, June 06, 2010

Grace Citation

I was running late. My husband left early. We volunteer to cook breakfast on Sunday mornings at church. My husband does most of the cooking. On Sunday, I opted to help by keeping the kids home and letting them sleep in. We had kept them up late the night before at the local, visiting carnival. I let the morning slip by. I was running late but I wasn't stressed about it. Tardiness isn't unusual for me. However, I was sure my husband was going stir crazy waiting for us.

With all 4 kids chattering away in the car, my thoughts were interrupted by a call from my husband. I answered the call. I told him I was on my way and would be there in a few minutes. Then, I hung up abruptly. My rear view mirror was yelling at me in colors of red and blue. I was being pulled over for talking on the phone while driving.

I pulled over and calmly explained to my questioning kids that I was going to get a ticket.

The officer approached and asked if I had any idea why he pulled me over. I told him that I was pretty sure I did. When he asked "Why?" I said "Because I was on my phone." He nodded. He asked me who I was talking to. I told him that I was talking to my husband, telling him I was on my way and almost there. He asked me where I was going.

Humbly I said, "Church."

He nodded and then asked for my licence, registration and proof of insurance. With lots of effort, I located my license, registration and insurance card. He took them and said he would be back.

I sat.
I waited.

I thought to myself: I should be thankful that he is doing his job. I should be thankful that he is keeping the streets safe. I know it isn't safe to talk and drive. I should be thankful. I should be thankful. I kept saying it to myself over and over.

My oldest asked, "How LONG does it take for him to write a ticket?"

After what felt like an eternity, the officer approached.

He said, "Ma'am, how long have you lived in Oregon?"

I thought, Oh Crap.

"A couple years." (As if saying 3 years would be worse.)

He told me that we were supposed to get Oregon tags 30 days after moving to Oregon. (This is something that my husband knows. This is just something he failed to do because Washington plates are cheaper.)

Then, he said, "Not only that, your tags expired in May."

I did not know that. Crap. Double Crap.

The officer told me that with charges for cell phone use while driving, expired tags, and failure to register my vehicle, my charges should be well over $500.

Should be.

And then, he said: "I am going to give you a warning on all three accounts. Get this taken care of right away. Consider this your lucky day."

I looked at him. My eyes locked with his. The moment was heavy.

I said, "Oh, thank you. Thank you very much."


That's what's been on my mind all day. Do you know I felt relieved, overwhelmed, extremely thankful and in disbelief? I didn't deserve the grace. I deserved a rather large ticket.


Hours later, I drove into my driveway. I noticed something stuck in my doorway. It was officer badge stickers, officer trading cards and the officer's business card with a hand written note: "For the Kiddos".

Grace: Doing what's not required for someone undeserving.

All day I've been stunned by the grace I received. I am full of gratitude. I am also hyper-aware of how much it affected me. This gift of grace had an impact on my whole day.

I couldn't help but remember: I am a child of grace.

I live my life believing I have been offered the greatest gift of grace possible. I am forgiven. I have received God's grace and gift of salvation. Grace is at the heart of my faith.

Too often, I forget that I have been given an amazing gift.

I am going to carry my warning ticket around with me long after my husband gets our tags registered in Oregon. It's a visual reminder of the feeling grace left me. It's a reminder that I am forgiven.


aerotatt said...

Oregon tags were cheaper a year or 2 ago ;)

Kimberly said...

see what happens when we don't come to visit? there's no one around to tell you that your tabs have expired!!! i loved this post and how deep and meaningful this (incident - if you will) was for you but i have to say it did make me laugh just a tiny bit. more at your husband than you! thank you for sharing - it always wonderful being reminded of the grace we are given and that i need to extend that towards others more often than i do. so glad you didn't end up with a ticket!

Everyday Kathy said...

Wow that is awesome!!

John and Carrie said...

Wow. I loved your attitude through the whole thing. How neat that not only did the officer give you a warning but then later gave your kids presents. What a beautiful post on grace.

Beth E. said...

John 1:16 says, From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another.

Thanking God for blessing you in a powerful way yesterday! Also, praying He will bless that officer for his kindness, compassion, and understanding. I foresee some pictures and notes being sent to that officer from the children! ;-)

Anonymous said...

Wow. Is it weird that that post made me teary eyed? That was a powerful example for you and your kids of grace! Amazing story! Amazing grace!

Anonymous said...

Jane Anne, My daughter Shelly and I noticed the other night that you still had Washington license plates and that they were from May but we couldn't tell the year.
God's is filled with grace as He is the one who sent that kind officer to remind you. God is great and kind. The officer was also kind in letting you off with a warning.

Colette said...

What a great story. Positive thinking really does help!

He & Me + 3 said...

What a blessing & an awesome officer. I love the lesson you took away from that. I would have been like *phew*. I'm kidding...I would have shared it with everyone...truly grace and a blessing

Jamie said...

Well i guess it is a good thing that you passed the written and got that OR license a few months back. We just did Keith's car the fee for new plates here was 200.00

Jen said...

You really handled that well - I'd have been beating myself up and cursing out my husband for not taking care of things :) What a NICE officer you had, and that he dropped off stuff for your kids just is amazing!

isaiah said...

Great story!! And great reminder of Gods grace!

What a blessing that you only received a warning, and wow, he went out of his way to leave those things at your home!

Anonymous said...

I still remember the cop that let me off in El Paso county. He could have revoked my license and taken me to jail because of the amount of points but he let me go with a warning. Albeit, if I did anything wrong in a year, I'd get those tickets and the new ticket! Quite the motivation to drive well within the laws. :)