FAMILY | TRAVEL

RV Trip 2019 (part 2)

Finally getting around to posting PART 2 of our RV trip that we took in the summer of 2019. In this post, it’s all about the lessons we learned and what we experienced on a spiritual level.

Image of Yellowstone Geysers

dirt road-

Our first stop, once we departed from home, was West Virginia. We put in the address to the campground we made reservations for and within a few hours, we were nearing our stop. We exited off the highway and continued driving to our campground, turning onto a side street. The navigation indicated a left turn onto a dirt road and our campground being .05 mile away. We started driving down the road, it made me feel uncomfortable but the distance was so short I brushed off the feeling. 

The road wasn’t paved and our RV was 38 feet long. To the right side of the road was a huge drop off and a ravine, and to the left a thick layer of trees. Our motorhome had no room for error. About 10 minutes into driving slowly on this road, we knew something wasn’t quite right. There was no campsite in sight and the distance to our destination was not decreasing.

Fifteen minutes in, both my husband and I knew something was very wrong and we were in trouble. Up to this point, we had been driving downhill on this road. There was absolutely nowhere we could turn around and we also couldn’t go back in reverse as the incline was too steep and the drop off too dangerous on the side of us.

We began to pray for wisdom.

Our children saw that my husband and I were praying. They stopped what they were doing, huddled together and began praying with us. 

Since we were so far from the main road, there was no service on our mobile devices. 

If my husband and older boys were to run to the road for help, that meant I stayed alone with the kids in the middle of nowhere. They would be gone for hours before help would come.

We prayed, continuously driving slowly in hopes there would be an open area in the woods for us to turn around but to no avail. 

It was starting to get dark outside. 

Over the years as my walk with God strengthened, I’ve learned to trust God more and more and panic less and less. Deep in my heart, I knew somehow everything would be okay, but, the fleshly part of me had slowly started to creep in. We had 6 children with us that we were responsible for. My heart was beating a few beats too fast yet we continued praying for a way out of a very bad and desperate situation.

Friends, out of NOWHERE we come head on to about 10 men on four wheelers. I wanted to LEAP for JOY. God had sent his angels through these people to help us, we would be okay. 

My husband rolled down his window and explained what had happened and they informed us there was absolutely no campsite on this road but a dead-end street ahead that got even worse as you continued traveling down. They told us we had to go back, astonished by the concept that we were even on this road to begin with. 

We look to the left of us and you won’t believe it. There was a thin clearing with no trees, big enough just for us to turn our motorhome around in. The men drove through the area with their four wheelers to test the ground for safety.

My husband said one more prayer for God’s protection. There was absolutely no room for mistakes or we would be stuck and in more danger than we were already in. 

Branches fiercely scratched the top of our motorhome, he swiftly backed in and began to drive out. Our RV didn’t go anywhere. He pressed the accelerator to the max, yet the RV still did not budge. 

The men on the four wheelers surrounded us and it seemed like everyone held their breath. One of the men asks my husband if he switched to LOW gear? During the stress of what we were in, he had completely forgotten to. He switched the RV to LOW and we began moving, oh so slowly.

We were out of the clearing and back on the dirt road. We cheered. Yes, praised the Lord! 

The men on the four wheeler all pulled up to my husband’s window and said you are one blessed man. To meet us in just the “right” place on this road and at just the “right” time! 

It truly was a miracle!

We shared with them that this was not just being in the right place, there is a divine being whose hand was upon us. We shared with them that we belong to God and He had sent them to us to help us. They smiled in return (I’m not sure if they agreed or not, however, a seed was planted). What a testimony of the God we serve?! 

We started driving back up and we could not stop or we would get stuck. The road was bumpy, rocky and absolutely no place for a motorhome. Half of the men were in front of our RV and the remaining behind us. The dishes clashed and our belongings flew to and fro. We were all huddled together in prayer as my husband maneuvered the road. There was utter silence. 

Once our tires were back on a paved road, we erupted in praise and worship. The men stopped by us in awe that we had just made it out of there. 

We prayed for them and blessed them in the name of Jesus. 

We then parted ways. 

In about ten minutes, we pulled up to our campsite, got checked in and found our spot for the night. Once parked, my husband and I looked at each other and the seriousness of what had just happened sunk in. I didn’t even realize my fists were clenched and there is no doubt, a few new gray hairs appeared on my head and that of my husband.

My husband and I, not even a day into our trip, testified to our children about the God we serve. We acknowledged as a family how much He loves and cares for us. The kids agreed. We had all just witnessed a miracle.

What a lesson learned. Thank you, Lord. And all the people said AMEN!

Arizona image with cactuses

stranded in arizona heat-

One of the things both Tim and I really are passionate about is showing our children with our actions and lives Christ’s love for others. Regardless of color, race and religious convictions of the people we come in contact with – we want to be Christlike. 

As we stopped at different locations throughout our journey, we always tried to find ways to help others or witness and share Christ with people. 

There are too many stories to share and most don’t even need to be published as the glory belongs to the Lord. However, there is one that is absolutely beautiful and I’d love to leave with you! Not to boast, but to give Glory to the God we serve.

We were traveling through Arizona, the Grand Canyon being our next stop. The day was hot, and by hot I mean it was 115°F, not the kind of heat we are accustomed to. As we drove, my husband spotted a vehicle pulled over on the side of the road and a woman circling her vehicle. She had a towel over her head as protection from the sun, it was scorching unapologetically. 

We pulled over, prayed for God to use us to help them if it were possible (I just couldn’t imagine being stranded in that heat with an infant). Inside the vehicle, we saw a teen girl, a baby crying and an older woman. We walked up to them and the woman informed us they had been stranded in the heat for two hours. The vehicle had stopped running and they could not get it to start again. They were out of baby food and had used the remainder of their water.

Tim assured them not to worry that we would help them. If we could not get the vehicle to start, they can ride with us to the next stop where they can get inside a cool building and wait for help. 

I invited the older woman, baby and teen into our RV as Tim and the boys cracked the hood open to see if they could identify what the issue was with the vehicle.

We offered the family some food and the child some milk and water. The older woman didn’t speak English and the teen translated our conversation. We made small talk and introduced our family as they shared about theirs. She then asked me if we were believers. That came out of nowhere! I told her we were and asked how she had known? She told us she could just tell by the way we acted and our faces shone. She said she was a minister at a church and she had been praying that God would send His angels to help them, quoting Psalm 91 by memory. 

That gave me goosebumps. God works in such wondrous ways. 

After about 40 minutes of poking around under the hood, the guys miraculously were able to start their vehicle. The Lord gave my husband wisdom about what was wrong with the automobile and the sound of the engine roaring was a beautiful noise to be heard indeed. 

Before we parted ways, we all formed a circle and prayed together. It was beautiful. There we were, brothers and sisters, in Christ, who had just met but felt so related. Only the love of God could do something like that. 

We drove behind them to their first exit, the car running without problems. What a joy to be used by God to be a blessing and an answer to someone’s prayer. 

No, we were not angels. But, being obedient, we were used by God and that is just as amazing.

Sedona, AZ

it goes deep-

One of the things we really wanted to focus on the trip was bonding as a family, especially the older boys. We had many, many deep talks with them. We liked to travel late at light or bright and early in the morning while the little ones still slept. If you’ve never openly talked with your teens and young adults on any topic they want to discuss, we highly suggest it. Let them speak their mind and heart – don’t judge them for their opinions and views. This is the BEST opportunity to know where your child’s heart is and how you need to help shift his/her focus as you continue shepherding them. It gives us such a clear insight on how to pray for them. 

Growing up, I was raised in a very conservative home and wasn’t allowed just many things. This was back when there was no technology and we never questioned our parents’ logic or reasoning, we just obeyed. We live in a time where the children are so exposed, informed and have access to so much information. An answer of “you can’t do that” won’t work anymore. We have to be transparent and open with them. And, yes, even the questions that make us uncomfortable. 

Do you have teens? How do you handle these questions? It is usually the father or mother that addresses them? I’d love to hear about your experience.

Yellowstone State Park Geyser

salt and light-

We stopped at a campsite in Yellowstone and as we normally had the routine, our oldest retrieved the portable grill and started cooking the meat while the little ones set the table for dinner. I worked on the side dishes and hubby prepped the RV for our stop. After dinner, we all did our part to wash and clean up. My husband took all the kids into town for some ice cream and I stayed behind with the oldest and baby Elijah to catch up on the laundry. 

As he carried the laundry basket and I pushed the stroller and elderly lady stopped us on our way. She said, you know, we camp out all year round and have never seen anything like your family. What is it about you? How were you able to have dinner in so much peace and love with so many kids?

I took the opportunity to tell her we were believers and Christ gives us that wisdom and ability. Without him, we’d be a HOT MESS.

The importance of living a Godly life no matter where you are spoke for itself. We are called to be the salt and light of this world and NOT only when we know someone is watching us, oh no! We are called to be that on a daily basis.

Mountain and waters of Yellowstone State Park.

ugly and flawed-

Well, if you are still reading this, thank you! That was oh so long – yikes. 

I wish I could end this post on such a beautiful note. But, the Holy Spirit convicting me will not allow it. So, as I close I’ll share the raw and transparent part of what I learned on the trip as well. I learned that 3 weeks together in an RV can really show you what you are made of (unfortunately). 

There were occasions I raised my voice when I really should not have, one too many times in my mind I snapped. Many times I reacted ungodlily. Times I mistreated my husband for no reason. A few times I didn’t get things my way so I steamed inside – and the list goes on. 

Urghhh, no matter how hard we try and how close we learn to walk in the character of Jesus, we will still MESS up. Though the errors will become less frequent as we are molded and shaped into the likeness of Christ, however, we will still stumble.

To be honest, in a way, I am glad I still have these ugly moments – they desperately scream my need for a Saviour on a daily basis. As I apologized to my kids for my ungodly character at times, it’s the best kind of sermon that proves my dependency on Jesus.

Grand Canyon, Arizona.

Thank you for reading this post. Thank you for being a part of our online family.

I hope this post inspires you to SHINE bright no matter where you are. I hope it inspires you to have family bonding time and I hope it inspires you to love deeply the people God brings along on life’s journey.  

Fondly,

Tim & Valentina

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18 Comments

  1. Hi Valentina,

    I just wanted to say that I enjoyed this post, but my favorite and most encouraging part were these three paragraphs:

    “There were occasions I raised my voice when I really should not have, one to many times in my mind I snapped, many times I reacted ungodly, times I mistreated my husband, a few times I didn’t get things my way so I steamed inside – and the list goes on.

    Urghhh, no matter how hard we try and how close we learn to walk in the character of Jesus, we will still MESS up. The errors will become less frequent as we are molded and shaped into the likeness of Christ, however, we will still stumble.

    To be honest, in a way, I am glad I still had these ugly moments – they desperately screamed my need for a Saviour on a daily basis. As I apologized to my kids for my ungodly character at times, it’s the best kind of sermon that proves my dependency on Jesus.”

    From the bottom of my heart, thank you for your honesty, thank you for your faithfulness, thank you for your sincere love to Jesus (I know it is a gift from God, but you are allowing Him to use you), thank you for not pretending you’re the perfect wife and mom and family all the time- it gives us other, most likely weaker Christians hope and encouragement that we are not failures just because we often fail …we just need to keep striving for protection, relying on Jesus to work through us and change us, and know that we are on this journey together with other brothers and sisters who are on the same road. God Bless you and your beautiful family. Please stay honest ❤️

    1. Marinochka, your comment made me tear up, seriously.
      I am so moved that, being real, resonates with you. Even though it’s not something one would like to publicize for all to read, but, I cannot withhold that. Though I try oh so HARD to be a wonderful mother and wife, I fail more than I care to recount. SIGH.
      Thank you, Jesus, for loving us as we are and helping us when we stumble.
      And than you for the encouragement, it means SOOO much to me. 🙂

  2. Wow, what a beautiful post!! Our God is truly amazing! My favorite part, are the last final paragraphs. Thank you so much for your honesty. It helps me so much. I too pray and try to be a God fearing wife and mother but fail too often. Nobody is perfect. God’s mercy is much greater than our imperfections!
    May God bless you, your husband and the kids. I’ve also been thinking about your pregnancy, how’ve you been?

    1. Stop back Wed, we share pictures of our newest addition!
      It’s just amazing to see how He works and puts the puzzle pieces of our lives together.
      My heart is overjoyed that you can relate to my imperfections. And, I’m so glad we have someone that is our advocate with His perfection and we are covered with His righteousness before God.
      Thank you for being a part of our special online family.

  3. Valya Thank you for this the post!
    Looks like a wonderful trip you had with your family.
    It’s amazing when others see the light Of Jesus in us that’s what we should all strive for. Really made me tear up..
    All Praise be to our Almighty God for his unending Love and Mercies!
    I have been recently meditating more upon what it means to walk in The spirit and have the fruit of the spirit. Galatians (5:22)
    Oh ya It’s so challenging at times.
    I have 5 children and I feel like a failure so many times, but it’s amazing how my children forgive so easily and forget. Even Jesus says be like children to enter the Kingdom.
    It’s good to hear about others also having similar struggles and our desperate need of our savior to help us through!
    My oldest is 10 so I don’t have experience with teens, I’m honesty a little scared for that stage😬 But I love listening to your wisdom.
    I really enjoy your posts and your recipes. Gods Blessings to you and your lovely family💗

    1. Thanks so much for the sweet comment, Yelena.
      Though teenage years have their challenges, I actually am really enjoying this age. All those years of instilling and training them up finally show and it’s a really beautiful thing. The do’s and don’t you’ve tried to teach them over the years have kind of become who they are. I love watching them make choices and see from the side how they are blossoming.
      Wishing you many blessings as a mom and wife. <3 🙂

  4. Thank you for sharing your experiences, both good and bad. You guys are very brave to travel for so long all cramped together in the RV. The farthest I’ve ever traveled on an RV was from Washington to California. And this was before I had a baby! You are such an inspiration as a woman who truly seeks the Lord in her life. Thank you for your transparency and willingness to share such personal details with us 🙂 P.S. your food always reminds me of home.

    1. I think we would have never gone on such a long trip if we didn’t have older kids to help. The boys were amazing and made our travels so much easier (we even got one day as a date all to my hubby and I thanks to them).
      If one is to be transparent, it has to include the good and bad. So, that’s what you all get.. 🙂
      I love hearing that our recipes remind you of something so special – of home. It just makes my heart sing. Thank you for taking the time to comment, Nadia.

  5. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!! I love reading about your family! What a great trip you had! I would love if you can share how you train children, and what things are priority for you guys to instill in them and so on. May our Lord bless your family!

    1. Elena, you’re so sweet. I’m so glad you enjoyed our personal post. Sounds like a neat post, let me pray on it. (P.S. If you go under LIFE category at the top, we have some things there already :)..)
      Blessings to you and your family as well.

  6. Beautiful story, thank you for sharing your real self to us. Sometimes as christians we think we need to have it all together. That is the farthest thing from the truth. May God bless you and your family. Keep trying and keep turning to the Lord. You are doing a great job!!!!

  7. First of all, congratulations to you and your husband for your beautiful little blessing! Oh my, is she ever precious… I’m looking forward to reading more about her and how your entire family are loving this new season of your lives.

    As for the 2nd part of your trip. I’ve patiently waited to read about it. I enjoy the places you visited, but even more, I long for your beautiful words. I don’t know how I found your site, but I’m thankful I found it and I’m always drawn to it. You’ve taught me so much more about Jesus, through your family experiences, and I love it!

    Thank you for sharing some of your life’s journeys with us. You are a testament to me that Jesus truly guides us if we are willing…

    Tamra

    1. Tamara, you totally made me tear up. You sure do know how to make a lady feel special and love – THANK YOU! I’m so glad you enjoyed reading the different stories we experienced, makes them feel even more special.

  8. Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful trip. Believe me, your children will have fond memories of this trip for the restof their lives.

    1. You are absolutely right. We talk about our travels all the time. It has, by far, been our favorite trip as a family. <3

    1. You’re so sweet, Marina. Thank you for the kind words. I”m so glad you enjoyed the post. Many blessings to you and your loved ones.