Kim Avery Coaching

Pink Vans are Not for Driving

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Pink VanThe old van had sat in the garage for months – Dad said the engine was seized and it wasn’t worth the expense of rebuilding it.  Bought at auction at the end of its working life as a Post Office delivery van, we had overhauled it and re sprayed it deep pink – well, the paint was really cheap.

Years of service in the family business delivering plants, flowers and vegetables to our customers, and taking me to school when the weather was bad were over.  Now it provided hours of practice for an eight year old boy with a rich imagination and important skills to learn.

The flat battery couldn’t start the dead engine, but the key turned, the clutch worked and the gear stick selected the right ratios as we picked up speed.  Reversing is more difficult in a van, but careful use of the mirrors helped me get into the tightest spots.

One day I came home from school to find the van had been towed away, and I don’t think it was to someone who wanted to rebuild her.  Sorry, rebuild it.  My dreams of stripping down the engine and getting the pink van back on the road when I was old enough to drive were never going to happen.  Many years later I realised that it didn’t matter.  The old pink van was for practice, not for driving.

Building Strength

David could deal with lions with his bare hands and was a great shot with a sling.  He had to be, to protect the family sheep from being attacked by the wild animals that would otherwise tear them to pieces.  He had honed the skill over years of shepherding, but although the sheep were probably quite grateful (how do sheep express their gratitude?) this wasn’t the main act.  The wild animals were practice for what was to come.

Facing wild Goliath, David used the skills and trust in God that he had developed to protect a different flock from attack:

But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it.  Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God.  The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you.” (1Samuel 17:34-37)

Turns out the bears and lions were just playing; practice for the real thing.


Isn’t much of life a preparation for the real thing?  What if the challenges and difficulties you or your clients are dealing with right now are building something of immense value?

  • Disappointments building the resolve to keep trusting
  • Failures teaching the lessons that bring success
  • Hardships crystallising the conviction that the end goal is worth it all
  • A rough climb developing the strength to go higher still

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade —kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.  In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.  These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire —may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed.  (1 Peter 1:3-7)

When dreams are shattered and hopes turn sour, God is doing a deeper work.

Did you ever have a Pink Van?

I am sure you had a Pink Van that was towed away because it was not for driving. Where did it take you?

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


  1. Kim Avery

    Hi Geoff, Thanks for the encouraging and challenging words this morning. It seems like my whole life has been lived in a pink van – and as I look back I am grateful.

    So, what your words reminded me today is to be grateful for the places in my life where my pink van is currently stalled. These places feel like a desert but they really are just preparation for the work God has called me to do.

    Nothing is ever wasted with God.

    • Geoff Cheeseman

      You are right Kim, nothing is wasted. But sometimes we have to go around with a basket and pick up the pieces. When we do that as coaches, some of those pieces are for our clients, and some are for us.

  2. Susan Fleming

    Hi Geoff — I’d never thought about the bears and lions just being practice for David. I’m sure they didn’t FEEL like practice when he was facing them! Now you’ve got me thinking about which challenges in my life have been bears and lions, and which ones have been giants! Thankfully the Lord God is with me and is my strength through them all.

    • Geoff Cheeseman

      Hmm… “Bears, Lions and Giants” – sounds like a great post title! And a useful insight Susan, that challenges don’t feel like preparation at the time. I guess that’s where passages like 1 Peter 4:12 can help: “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.”

  3. Matthew Reed

    Geoff, what a great teaching analogy.
    The ‘pink van’ training that I keep referring to lately is a professional set-back of about a year ago that has become a HUGE step-forward.

    • Geoff Cheeseman

      Check out the Amplified version of Habakkuk 3:19 – “The Lord God is my Strength, my personal bravery, and my invincible army; He makes my feet like hinds’ feet and will make me to walk [not to stand still in terror, but to walk] and make [spiritual] progress upon my high places [of trouble, suffering, or responsibility]!” Amazing how Jesus turns our set-backs into step-ups.

  4. Pam Taylor

    Your post drew me in with the title. I had to find out why a MAN was writing about a pink van. I had a feeling you were not a Mary Kay rep. lol. And you did not disappoint. Stunningly, my pink van that was towed away was the mission field. I had thought I would be there for many, many years…however,it was a mere three years. But it taught me how to use that sling shot. Lots of opportunities to practice. Then…it was time to face the giants. Prepared with new skills. Deeper faith. God had a better plan.

    • Geoff Cheeseman

      Waving goodbye to three years in the mission field sounds tough. But I imagine you can sow a whole van load of seeds in that time, even if the privilege of harvesting belongs to someone else. Ever notice how those things we expect to last are often just for a season, and the passing guests we entertain make themselves at home?

  5. Pam Taylor

    You are so right Geoff. Reminds me of that saying, “If you want to hear God laugh, tell Him YOUR plans.” 🙂

    • Geoff Cheeseman

      WOW, that isn’t a saying I had come across before! But I found the line this morning in a Mike Scott song, “Long Way to the Light” and a possible attribution to Woody Allen. It doesn’t sound to me like something from the Father’s heart; He says, “Roll your works upon the Lord [commit and trust them wholly to Him; He will cause your thoughts to become agreeable to His will, and] so shall your plans be established and succeed.” (Prov 16:3)

      I guess the kind of laugh makes all the difference. I don’t hear a laugh of derision when I talk to Father about my hopes and dreams. It’s more like a Fatherly chuckle.

      “May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.” Psalm 20:4

  6. Pam Taylor

    Yup! I see it more of a chuckle of enjoyment and delight!


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