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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Car Trip (07/18/05)

TITLE: God's Faithfulness
By Shari Brian
07/24/05


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God’s Faithfulness


“Which way should we turn – left or right?” my husband asked. As navigator, it’s my job to check the map and keep us on course as we trek across America on a trip that began almost three years ago – with no end in sight. Is God good – or what?

You never know when life is going to change. For us it began with my husband’s unexpected early retirement and resulting depression. It didn’t help that I was traumatized just eight days later when a disgruntled employee showed up at my workplace with a gun, killing one woman, seriously wounding another, then leaving her for dead to stalk the remaining female employees he intended as his next victims.

Overnight, our world turned upside down. Though we’d been friends for years working together on a ministry team at our church, we’d only been married three years. Our worries had been few. Our children were grown, our jobs secure, and we had another eight to 10 years before we had to think seriously about how to spend our retirement years. After all, I was an administrative assistant at a major university and Doug had a super maintenance job with a great company where he’d been faithful for 25 years. They even hosted a 25-year anniversary open house for him. The next day when he came home with a package under his arm I was thrilled. “How nice of them to give you a gift as well as a party!” I beamed. But he didn’t seem a bit pleased. The gift turned out to be an early retirement package he could not afford to turn down, yet at 57 years old he was not prepared emotionally or financially to spend the next 30 years or more in retirement.

“What should we do now?” we wondered. We went to the Lord in prayer together. “What is Your will for us, Lord? We know You have a plan. We want to serve You and minister to Your people.”

In time, we both began to heal. Two things became apparent as we continued to seek the Lord’s guidance. First, neither of us wanted to spend our retirement years in our current home or location, and second, we loved taking long leisurely car trips together. In fact, we always dreaded the end of our vacations and having to return home to go back to work. We knew several couples traveling full time. “Why not sell our home and give ourselves six months to see America while God unfolds His plan for our future?” we asked each other.

Armed now with purpose, Doug’s depression lifted and I slowly stopped diving for cover at every sudden loud noise. Within six months God sent a buyer for our home, and in November 2002 we bought a fifth-wheel RV and a one-ton truck, said good-bye to neighbors, friends and family, and headed south to search for warmth and a white sand beach.

Our first stop was Port Aransas, Texas. We were sold on this new lifestyle the first morning we awakened to the beautiful sound of the Gulf waves lapping the sandy beach directly in front of our little house on wheels. “Can life get better than this?” I asked myself as I picked up shells along the shore. “Yes, it can,” we thought later in the day as dolphins jumped and dived beside our ferry all the way across the channel. It was as if God was saying, “Just relax. I have everything under control.”

As we travel this great land God is faithful to use Doug’s maintenance skills to help build churches and my love of music and sign language to minister visual worship and praise in the congregations. Along the way we’ve fallen in love with the rich culture of the deep south, experienced the icy waters of the Great Lakes, and basked in the desert sun of the west.

Will we always be on a perpetual car trip? Probably not. But we will cherish forever the friendships that have been forged along the way and know that when the time comes for change we can count on our Lord to lead us in His pathway and keep us safe in His arms.


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Member Comments
Member Date
Nina Phillips07/26/05
Very nice. Enjoyed reading this story, related to it heavily.
Thank you for sharing.
God bless ya, littlelight
Shari Armstrong 07/30/05
Sounds great! :) very nicely written.
Beth Muehlhausen07/31/05
A great essay. My hubby and I are also at a cross-road right now, and I found this story encouraging!!!!