When things don’t go as planned…
Hello from the beautiful Rocky Mountains in CO! We are on our family vacation this week, staying in Estes Park right at the border of Rocky Mountain National Park, and are enjoying every minute, but I want to share a story this week in case you need a little encouragement as well. We’ve been planning and looking forward to this vacation for 6 months. This is our first “BIG” vacation for our family of 7. We’ve done smaller vacations and lots of trips to the lake, but we’ve always been a little leery of big car rides with young kids and have avoided any big trips thus far. However, as our oldest turned 13 this spring, I’m counting down the number of summers I have with her until she goes to college (SIX) and we decided it was time to make a bigger effort to make some traveling memories as a family.
We made the plans, got our car serviced, got lots of car ride games/activities ready, and took off. It’s a 10-hour trip from home in NW Iowa, and we were doing really well, despite the very boring drive across the state of NE and the eastern part of CO. 2.5 hours away from our destination, our suburban started acting funny. We pulled over, and long story short, our vehicle stopped working. We ended up on the side of the interstate in the absolute middle of nowhere, in 95-100 degree heat, with our 5 kids. It was a completely helpless feeling. It was Saturday afternoon at 3:30 pm, which means NOTHING in the surrounding tiny towns was open as we began making phone calls. We finally got a hold of a towing company 30 min away. They were able to tow us but told us there was no way we were getting our car fixed anywhere until Monday. We had very few options, and as a family of 7, getting an Uber isn’t an option, there’s no local shuttle service and no local rental car companies. We could hang out in the small local town until Monday and hope that they’d get to our car ASAP Monday morning, but we had no actual guarantee of that.
So we made the decision to have our car towed all the way to our destination, 2.5 hours away. We waited for 2 hours in the 95-degree heat for the tow truck to come, and then all 7 of us squished into the truck for our long trek to our VRBO. Because it was still Saturday, we had to wait until Monday morning before we could get a hold of anyone, and when we finally did, we found out our best option was to have our car towed to another town 30 min away. Most of Monday was taken up with getting the car there and getting a rental car, and our car was not fixed until Wednesday.
To say we were disappointed was an understatement. We had a stressful spring and we had been so looking forward to this perfect vacation. We were not planning on the extra expense that came with all of the vehicle problems. BUT…as we were going through all of this, I was reading through the end of Numbers and the beginning of Deuteronomy and was reminded that God IS FAITHFUL, even in the unseen and the things we don’t understand. The beginning of Deuteronomy is basically a reminder to the next generation of Israelites of all the miraculous ways He provided for His people in the desert, and how He had remained faithful to them. Yet, every time they were faced with adversity, they cried out and complained. They doubted His goodness and struggled to trust Him. After ALL He had done for them, they were so quick to forget His faithfulness.
And I was reminded again – despite the way this situation looks, HE IS GOOD. HE IS FAITHFUL. We might not understand why our car broke down or why He allowed this to happen, but we were given a choice: to trust Him and believe in His faithfulness, or complain and be miserable. We had the opportunity to recount His many blessings despite this adversity, or we could just be angry and ruin our vacation with poor attitudes.
So I started to make a list of His faithfulness in the big and small things – all the ways I could remember Him providing for us and all the countless blessings He’s given us, and we got our kids involved and we told them stories that they weren’t aware of, and we had them help us think of all the many ways God has blessed us, and our attitudes turned around. It made the days even sweeter when we got to actually drive out to go hiking, and it made me appreciate the small ways I saw His providence, like in Him leading us to pick a VRBO close to town vs. in the mountains so we could easily walk and grab groceries or go for ice cream when we didn’t have a car to use. Or the fact that we were able to get a rental vehicle that fit 7 people which is hard to find. We found a trustworthy mechanic who has been extremely helpful. Our car fix wasn’t cheap or quick but we still have our own vehicle to drive home and we won’t be delayed in returning at the end of our vacation. We weren’t stuck in a random town for 2-3 days waiting around for a repair. All of these little things show his providence despite what happened.
He IS GOOD. I know my little story is just that – minor in comparison to so many hurts and troubles and problems that might be going on in your life right now. We’ve had much bigger trials than this as well. But no matter what you may be going through, I’m going to encourage you – recount His faithfulness. Write it down. And tell your children so they can learn your family’s stories and can begin learning how to trust even when things don’t go as planned. Our vacation isn’t looking like we thought, but we still have made countless memories that we’ll never forget. And I have another story to write down of how God provided and took care of us. I have another reason to TRUST in the unseen, so when adversity comes again (and we are promised it will), I will be reminded of His past faithfulness and can trust that He will remain faithful yet again.