As I have told people about this latest adventure of mine; to travel by myself across most of this vast country of ours and not even stay in comfortable hotel rooms but on a flimsy air mattress in the back seat of my pickup (which keeps leaking air by the way), I have had a hard time explaining exactly why I'm doing it. I haven't really been sure myself.
Yesterday was my first day, and it started out great. I was sent with a cooler full of food which my sister lovingly helped me prepare, got hugs and well wishes and even found a lovely card on my dashboard that my favorite sister (ok only sister) left for me. I felt great and primed for adventure. In the back of my mind however was the thought of the nagging leak in one of my tires that I had to fill two days in a row.
The day before, my brother-in-law had given me a tutorial of how to change my tire if need-be and where to find the jack as well as all of the other devises I needed to have. I pictured myself in the middle of no-where, surrounded by corn, in the hot sun, crying because I couldn't get the lug-nuts off to save my life. Not the adventure I was looking for.
So I went with option B which my brother-in-law had also told me about. That option was to stop in Rochester, MN and have my tire fixed. I knew I needed to do this but hated the idea that my great adventure would last for about two hours and then would hit a pause button.
So I prayed all the way down that my tire would be fixed quickly and I would get back on the road and back to my quest. Unfortunately the tire could not be fixed and the grandfather-like "tire-guy" told me that my tires desperately all needed to be replaced. But, they could get right on it and get it done in a jiffy. He said that for some reason it had been an unusually quiet morning at the tire shop.
I was back on the road in no time and smiled as I thanked God for taking such good care of me and for keeping everyone else's' tires full of air that morning so they could focus on mine.Then as I traveled across Minnesota, Iowa and into Indiana (which looks all pretty much the same if anyone is wondering) I listed to worship music, sang out loud, prayed so much that I literally felt like Jesus was sitting in my passenger seat, I started to breathe. I mean really breathe. Like slow, calm, peaceful breathes. That's when I started to get an idea on why I felt compelled to go on this crazy ride.
I had my longest day, so didn't get to my camp site outside of Indianapolis until after dark and after the office had closed. I found the instructions for late arrivals and my prepaid registration with my site circled on the map. Crud. I am terrible with maps, and it was dark no less.
As I drove around the campground, shining my headlights on RVs full of sleeping campers, nothing made sense to me and I couldn't find tent site #103 anywhere! Finally, I started to pray again and take slow breathes and low and behold I found it. Finally home for the night.
Ok, so then I had to figure out exactly where to park according to the picnic table which was no easy task and something I usually don't have to figure out on my own! I finally got settled, dug my cooler out from under my bed, found my other food container (also under my bed) and made my dinner. By then it was 10:00 and my wrap with peanut butter and banana would have to do.
I then had to dig out my bag with toiletries (also under my bed) and got what I needed out of my suit case. This is situated in my front passenger seat which works great until you actually have to open it up. Then the top part that leans agains the back of the seat spills out and everything is a bit of a jumbled mess.
Everything is so cumbersome when you are trying to live out of your vehicle and I started to get frustrated with how long every step took. That's when it hit me while I'm on this trip.
I kept telling myself to slow down, that I don't need to be in a hurry and that I can take time to do what I need to do. I discovered that I rush through life so much because I feel obligated to those around me to keep up. I don't know if they put the pressure on me or if I put it on myself but as a people-pleaser, I want to keep moving so as not to frustrate those around me if i'm not moving fast enough or getting enough done.
So day one lesson that I feel God has for me is to slow down. Slow down enough that I can breathe calmly and connect with Him better.
During the women's retreat I spoke at this past weekend we talked a lot about being whole-hearted and giving our hearts fully to God alone. I'm finding that as I'm on this trip, even though I am driving fast and furious (ok not really furious but fast and joyful) I am setting aside to just be with Him.
I'm not allowing myself to give into distractions like sight-seeing, shopping, or listening to anything that isn't Christ centered. I don't have the comfort of having someone along that's familiar and I have to figure things out on my own with only God's help. I am even sitting at my picnic table in the dark as I write this because I don't have a TV or house work to distract me. The only thing I have to distract me here are the lightening bugs in the trees which are awesome!
Ohio says that we will find what we are looking for in Ohio, but God says that we will find what we are looking for, which is Him, when we seek Him with all our heart (Jeremiah 29:13). It's taken me to get out of my comfort zone, get away from all the distractions, and be fairly uncomfortable in order to slow down enough to start to listen to what He needs to say to me.
There was plenty of that today and I'll share that with you tomorrow. Some of His words have been good and some tough, all out of His great love and desire to mold me. I also started my Propel Women material today which is incredible. If women are looking for material for church ministry it's great. You can check it out at propelwomen.org.
Now I had to dig out my toiletry bag, grab my flashlight and make the incredibly long journey to the bathrooms. Then I get to crawl into the back seat and hope my air mattress holds up until morning. It's all part of the process I suppose! Good night from Virginia!