Laura Parker’s Thin Place: The. Perfect. Car.

Oct 28, 2010Archive

Sometimes God meets our ordinary needs with extraordinary provision. Laura and her husband Matt now have three kids and serve in Thailand at Breanna’s House of Joy. You can connect with Laura via her Life Overseas blog or on Twitter @LauraParkersays. (You can encourage others with your Thin Place Story by submitting it here.)


My thin place takes the shape of a car. A Toyota 4Runner to be exact.

Let me explain. The first five years of our marriage took us around the world and back again, twice. The second move overseas to New Zealand was a dream ministry-job that quickly turned nightmare. Three months later we found ourselves licking our wounds and living in my parents’ basement—without a job or savings, but with a toddler and a baby on the way. Without a direction for the future, but with a whole lot of brokenness to carry to it.

Included among the mound of loss that had become our lives, was my husband’s dream car—a Toyota 4Runner {the older models that claimed a closer brotherhood to truck than SUV}. He had owned two. Because of where his Christ-following had led, he had been forced to sell both in our moves.

Fast-forward two years from our life in my parents’ basement. My husband now worked as a youth pastor in a church nestled in the Rocky Mountains. With one income {and a pastor’s one at that} the financial belt was tight by several sizes. My husband’s mode of transportation for a while was a bike. With winter coming quickly, though, we found ourselves searching the classifieds and praying for a car.

But, during my morning walks in the mountain chill, I wasn’t just praying for any car. I’ll be honest. I was praying for a Toyota 4Runner. Even though we didn’t have the money to buy my husband a better bike, much less a used car, and even though we had never told anyone, ever, about his love for 4Runners—I had tentatively been asking God for the unimaginable.

Fast-forward again. Two weeks later we surprisingly found ourselves called to a local park. We were met by a large crowd of friends from church. We thought perhaps a gift of cash would be forthcoming. Maybe a new snow-blower. Maybe some practical get-the-youth-guy joke. But, then we turned. Amid yells and squeals, we saw it.

A white Toyota 4Runner. With a red bow. The older, truck-model-kind.

Words cannot say what I felt in that single moment. I still cry just remembering it. I have never before felt so seen and so known by the Living God. There were a million different makes and models that could have ended up on the parking lot pavement that evening, but it wasn’t any of those. It was, supernaturally, the perfect gift—divinely-appointed for us, on the pages of our unique Story. It was a miracle shouting that he knows the details of our hearts—even when the world doesn’t.

It was a thin place in a machine of metal.

{If you are interested, you can see the short video showing the moment they gave us the car at that local park four years ago. I’ll warn you, I’m a blubbering mess.}