As a child, teen and young adult, I was what my parents coined, on the high-strung side. I FELT. I WORRIED. I PLANNED. Everything at 100%…crashing down when things didn’t work out. And for the most part, they really DID work out well in those days. But oh, I somehow felt like my feelings could sway situations, giving me the upper hand in life’s tug o’war. I had no clue what resting, waiting and trusting really looked like in those days. But I would learn. And that, the hard way.
There are a thousand stories I could tell. But for the past month and a half, I have felt this message burning in my heart to share. It happened on our way to Estes Park on July 2nd. I have a few videos I took of the time before the hard part happened…it was THE BEST DAY EVER I told everyone. And it really was.
As we eight sat on the side of the narrow roadway, thirty minutes past the nearest town, the only area for many miles that we actually could move off the road without being too vertical for comfort…not that I was comfortable. None of us were. I prayed. Noah prayed. Chris and Hayden called. Kylie read aloud. Windows in the suburban were open to let the breezes flow through. I thank God we were NOT in Texas, but about 8,000 feet higher in altitude. It was comfortable. I sat on a blanket outside the car and I prayed for about an hour. I told the Lord I was trusting Him.
Cars passed. Bicyclists passed. A hiker, who we had seen about twenty minutes back passed…and here I had felt sorry for him. Now it was him, feeling sorry for us. You never know when the wheels will fall off and your hopes for a vacation will be dashed.
As I sat there, I thought to myself, “I could wail and bawl my eyes out right now. I could feel really, really sorry for myself, for the kids, whose trip to the mountains got waylaid.”
But instead, I heard the faintest whisper in my soul, “Lean in.” The LORD was telling me to lean into the story He was writing that day. So I did. I leaned in and trusted. Though I began to be concerned about finding a bathroom when we needed one!
Well, tucked away in the woods across the street and up a steep, winding driveway, was the home of a family of three–father, mother and 32 year old son with Asperger’s. Their son saw us! They invited us up the hill to use their facilities (Praise GOD!) and then proceeded to make us feel right at home for the next 8 hours. No kidding. Eight hours.
You see, our transmission had given out. And car rentals were not to be found on this Sunday afternoon before fourth of July. In Colorado, people are just more laid back…and they like to celebrate the fourth with a passion. So many places were already closed for the holidays. Car lots were closed, too. And we were stuck. WHO can pick up eight people?
The folks invited us to stay the night. The sweet mom even made us tacos! She told us her husband fussed at her for thawing so much ground meat that morning. But she was prompted by God. You see, they were believers in Jesus. And they were caring, helpful folks, who showed us all the love of God in flesh that afternoon.
We had hardly any cell coverage with the mountains, but we did have wifi at their house, so we could text. And Chris found a spot to call from. One of our group had triple A coverage, so triple A would come on Wednesday to pick up our defunct vehicle. AND they would drive 100 miles for free! (It would be EXACTLY 100 miles to the lot my cousin allowed us to place it, til we could sell or salvage it. 100 miles exactly.)
To top it off, our dear friends in Monument sacrificed their Sunday afternoon plans to allow their husband and father, John, to drive nearly two hours out of his way to take us back home!
It was NOT the trip we would have asked for…not at all. But as I leaned in here are a few things I gleaned:
- Our kids were a blessing to their son, Aaron, who was lonely for conversation with younger people, who cared about the things he cared about. In fact, the mom THANKED US for loving him well. It blessed her.
- Without cell coverage, the kids sat on the back porch and just really engaged with one another. They interacted and laughed. It was a mini-vacation of the soul for me to see it.
- No matter where I am or where I am going, God is right there setting people and situations in place that will either make me grow or will bless me. This day, I experienced both!
- Making deep friendships with people is worth it…it takes a lot of laid down, sacrificial life to find them, but they are rare and worth more than gold.
- Even when making new friends, I can be at peace that my burdenous and messed up situation can be turned around, if I will just sit still, lean in, listen and BREATHE.
The next day, another dear friend went with Chris to car lots and we were able to do what we couldn’t (it was impossible) in the months before it. We purchased a new to us, old suburban. It was a great price, great vehicle and we didn’t have to pay a dime down for it. I tell you, that is the grace of God to us right there. On this same day, I rested, read and relished in the turn of events…a vacation of the heart and mind.
Though it wasn’t what I planned; somehow, God made it better than I could have imagined! And someday? Well someday we will try the trip through our favorite place again. But we will stop by and see our new friends. And thank them for the thousandth time. They made a wave of difference in a place where we were as stuck as can be!
So the moral? Lean into the story God is giving you, friends. Don’t be about looking back or getting lost worried for the future, but lean into TODAY, staying present with what God is doing right now. Put your hands up in the air and enjoy the wildest, most wonderful ride of your lives.