Shifting Gears

Don’t laugh. I’d never be able to save your life by driving you to the hospital if all you had available for us was a manual transmission car because I can’t drive a stick. So if you’re feeling on the verge of a major health crisis and have me on your guest list for a party, you’d do well to verify your other friends’ driving abilities just to be on the safe side.

There. Now it’s out in the open. Secret exposed.

The extra pedal is a mystery to me. And that stick. Oy. When I learned to drive back in the 70s it was my dad teaching me in our automatic 1969 Dodge Dart Swinger. That cute little red car had the correct number of pedals on the floor and none of that silly business with the numbers and an R on a stick somewhere down to the right of me. Oh, and my dad was a two-footed driver even in an automatic, so guess what?


No eye rolling, please.

Years later in 1989 my dear, brave friend Patty, and I were driving cross country together from Kansas City on our way to Nazarene General Assembly in Indianapolis and she had me behind the wheel of her little stick shift car out on the open freeway. I’m talking the interstate freeway. With serious traffic. Lots of cars. I’ve mercifully blocked out of my memory how we managed to get me started, stopped, and up and down the exit/on ramps and why we thought I was road worthy at all, but there we were, flying across mid America with little ol’ unsafe me in charge. Sort of makes you stop and think who’s sharing the road with you, doesn’t it?

At any rate, I’ve gotten to be as old as I am now and I seem to be outliving standard transmissions being put into cars as much as they used to be and I feel a bit victorious about that. And even though I’m oblivious as to what to do in the driver’s seat of certain vehicles with particular gear-shifting apparatus attachments, I’ve become pretty ding dang good (can I say that?) at knowing when it’s time to throw my actual life into a different gear and get on down the road.

Case in point. This coming new year will bring a change, a shift, that won’t be monumental for anyone except me and wow, it will take some getting used to because it will mean a different life than I’ve known for many years. I do not make these decisions on my own but with the consultation and wisdom from my husband and most of all through much long-term prayer and leaning deeply into what I discern God is deeming best.

For thirty years I’ve stood on a church platform and sung songs. Not necessarily wonderfully or with skill every time, but genuinely and faithfully. My song will remain strong and true, but I’ll be stepping down off the public platform in a singing role for the last time at the end of this year. It’s not a bad thing. It’s a shifting of gears. It’s allowing others to merge in and take up the song. All is well. All is well. All is well.

This is the first Sunday of Advent. I love this day of the year almost best of any day. The anticipation. The hope. The promise. Christmas is coming! The celebration of Jesus’ birth. And I also look forward to many years to come of singing about all of those wonderful things in different settings and with all my dear friends and family around me. Just not up in front. It’s time to shift to a different spot with my strong song of “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.” If you’d like to listen to this beautiful instrumental rendition of that song, I’ve put it here.

In my way of thinking, today officially begins the Christmas season. If ever there were a shifting of gears in the world’s perspective, it was with the coming of the Christ Child. These are dear and special days as we lead into the celebration of His birth. May you draw ever nearer to Him. May you sense His closeness, His loving care for you, His direction for your life. And may you sing a song of praise from wherever you may find yourself.

Much love,


Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which translated means, “God with us.”

Matthew 1:23 NASB

6 thoughts on “Shifting Gears

  1. I’m in the same boat! I’ve never learned how to drive a manual and this actually preventing me from not wanting to apply for a car washing gig at a dealership in high school. Always thought it would be a good summer job but never took the time to learn 🙂


  2. Thank you for sharing the beautiful music video. It’s one of my favorite Christmas carols. Wishing you all the best in your new season. Love you so much!


  3. I learned to drive a stick shift in a Willy’s convertible Jeep: soft yellow with leather seats! And I had the distinct disadvantage of small feet & short legs to boot! And the steering wheels in my day were so big! It took a pillow under me & another behind my back to allow me to be able to use that cranky clutch pedal with finesse!


  4. Back in the dark ages when I learned to drive, the stick was the only way. I think God gave the automatic in answer prayer for folks like me. ‘Nut said.


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