Without fail every time I drive through Oregon it takes infinitely longer than I expect. Reminding myself of this proved reassuring but didn’t do much for my fatigued eyes. I pinned hope and crossing into Washington on my mental map. Unfortunately, when we look to something for hope it becomes elusive.
When I didn’t think I could drive any further without stopping to nap the Oregon-Washington border appeared. Soon, we’ll stop soon for lunch, you can do this I coached myself as I’ve done during endurance races. Even knowing in an hour we would stop I battled discouragement.
Ignored in the Church
Often we expect believers to remain strong, especially with the finish line in sight. Pressed to the max, even if it’s good, it’s easy to fall into extremes. Sometimes we become exhilarated by God’s specific action in a situation so we take on the role of God and call the shots on His behalf. After all, God’s directing things this way, right?
Other times we have a Disneyland experience: The happiest day that blends into the night. Then, on the drive home everyone crashes. Perspective is lost, babies cry, children whine, adults act like children and everyone simply needs to rest.
Rest is what I needed and when we pulled into a brewery parking lot in Kennewick, Washington the desire to smile a sigh of relief and cry were equally maxed at 100%. The outside patio offered shade that shielded us from the sun but not the sticky heat that felt like a wet kiss. Our dog joined us and our kids explored and stretched as my husband and I contemplated our next steps.
This part of our transition left me uneasy. Already our expected arrival time at the ranch generously offering hospitality passed. Grateful for a place to stay, the “studio above a stranger’s garage” made me anxious. I imagined a rickety garage with dusty curtains and a couple of pullout beds. As a natural-born people pleaser I felt like I’d already disappointed our benevolent patron with our delay and my lack of communication.
A New Road
After reviewing the directions to the ranch which reminded me of pre-Google Maps life (take a left just after you pass the bridge and follow along for about fifteen minutes. When you see the sign for grizzly bears stay right then….true story) we forged a new plan.
Concerned about driving the huge rental truck with car carrier and truck with trailer on rough roads into the unknown, let alone in mountainous darkness, we decided to stay at the casino for the night. Don’t we sound like an upstanding family right now? While at the brewery we decided to stay at the casino…I have to laugh at how that must come across to some of you or the people pleasing side of me won’t let me write on.
Familiarity can lead to complacency, but it can also bring deep comfort. In this instance, staying at the now very familiar casino hotel felt like going to a friend’s house. Engulfed in the unknown and heading into the uncertain, spending our first night in a familiar setting where we wouldn’t need to forge a morning meal, where we could lounge or crash set my heart at ease. We snagged the last hotel room available for the night (seriously) and my attitude lifted.
Pulling away for the final leg of the journey I stopped at an actual coffee stand. If you’ve made a drive through open country you know outside cities and suburbs there are not coffee shops on every corner. I can assure you fifty cent coffee-to-go from a roadside diner tastes like dirt. This iced coffee was a true treat.
Some stops you deal with puke and keep your chin up, other stops renew a ragged being.
God doesn’t always show up in the physical with coffee and hotel rooms. He doesn’t promise us anything material for following where He leads. When He blesses, those who live open-eyed (you don’t even need to be wide-eyed to see God at work) notice. I try to notice and in this instance, God blessed my depleted physical being and more.
It’s easy to overlook God at work. It’s usually in the small stuff. Don’t.