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.
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!
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 on 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
Tim + Valentina