My husband organized a trip for young people from our church to go to an International conference for youth and young adults. There were many amazing experiences at Generation Youth for Christ, but more than the amazing meetings and meeting people from all over the world – there was the trip itself.
Personalities not previously seen finally become known after nine people travel 14 plus hours in a van that is packed full. One way.
Traveling back home to East Texas from not so sunny Orlando, Florida, was with the knowledge learned about the personalities of traveling companions. It changed everything. We had learned about each others’ strengths as well as idiosyncrasies. We knew what to expect of each other and how to make it work better – and where firm boundaries needed to be drawn.
GYC was an incredible experience and I’m so glad that it happens again in 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona. But I learned just as much on the trip itself.
Few things foster bonding amongst a group of people that know each other at varying levels of intimacy than a road trip. The longer the trip, the greater the capacity for bonding. Hopefully it’s all good. No one likes that trip remembered for the one miserable soul that made the whole event miserable for everyone else as well.
We started off with 9 passengers in the van, heading to a youth convention, before dropping off our two youngest at my in-laws’ home. The seven of us continued to our destination of Orlando, Florida – family destination extraordinaire! By the time we got to Orlando, I was so the kids weren’t in the van.
Between Gainesville and Orlando, there is an adult establishment. Billboards attacked the eyes every few feet and sometimes from both sides of the highway at the same time. Silhouetted images and bold phrases that told exactly how far they go left very little to the imagination. The only other billboards blanketing that stretch of highway as much as the adult establishment’s advertisements, were for a facility that helped those with unwanted pregnancies.
After the adult establishment was long behind us on the highway, I kept seeing billboards to help those who were in a situation they weren’t planning for. It didn’t take long to connect the dots. All the way down to family destination extraordinaire, were signs of a society that boldly advertised that which destroys individuals and families and those dedicated to restoring hope to those caught in a culture of anything goes. What we reap, we sow. I’m thinking that if I ever decide to take my entire family to Orlando, Florida, I’ll go out of my way to take a different highway, hoping this one is safe for families on their way to one of the most popular family destinations in our country.
We hit a muskrat with our Toyota Camry. Estimates are it has done about $800 worth of damage. Not fun. Christmas, taking a youth group to a big event in Florida in January and still trying to get a son through his senior year of high school – now isn’t a good time to cough up some of that green stuff to fix the car.
And while we are at it, why do we always get stuck with used cars? How come we had to get a real winner, a Camry with a damage title, and the stupid key fobs won’t work unless we invest hundreds of dollars to replace the car’s computer system? I could go on and on, but God stopped me.
It was like He was waving His hands up and down and jumping for emphasis. “Focus Woman, Focus! Look at what you do have.”
When our family needed a second vehicle and there weren’t many affordable options, someone hooked us up with this Camry for a very competitive price. The mechanic we usually take our vehicles to gives my husband a ministerial discount. I could go on and on – and this time God probably won’t stop me. I’m much happier when I’m counting my blessings instead of focusing on a few trivial bumps in the road.
It’s really simple, but it’s sometimes very hard. Choosing to count our blessings instead of dwelling on what’s going wrong at the moment isn’t the natural choice for us folks. But that’s okay, because I happen to know Someone in the supernatural business. Through God’s grace, He can transform my life and give me a character like Christ’s. The car will get taken care of eventually. Perhaps most important is taking my heart to God’s garage for a tune up.