Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: ROAD TRIP (vacation) (07/02/15)
TITLE: Fabric of our Journey
By Jennifer Woodley
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Traveling with three young sons and a husband for an indefinite time in a caravan had not crossed my mind that day - not any day. Husbands and wives more often than not think very differently and this particular thought had been brewing in his mind for a very long time.
On hearing this wild idea, his significant other, very fond of creature comforts, responded with an immediate and definite ‘no’, but from somewhere deep inside came a whispered ‘yes’. My heart knew that this was the answer for a fractured and fragmented family. This was the God-given fabric of opportunity we desperately needed to gather the unraveling threads of family life, and so there was a peace about the whole mad adventure: peace about selling our home and farm, peace about leaving a satisfying job, peace about leaving a close knit community and even peace about homeschooling three boys. Not excitement though. That emotion never showed its sunny face until long after we had driven away.
My controlled and ordered life was turned upside down traveling with four males in a small caravan. Everything changed. I learnt, under protest, what it means to become resourceful, uncluttered, patient, unselfish and transparent. Nothing can be hidden from anyone when living in a space little bigger than a small kitchen with a sheer curtain between my private space and theirs.
God gave me a crash course in becoming flexible. Flexibility meant stepping away from the norm, stepping out of the box named ‘predictability and control’ and choosing a different way of being. Flexibility meant asking what really matters most: family memories or the tyranny of the urgent? And so, with God’s direction, I said ‘no’ to what can wait and ‘yes’ to what can’t. Being flexible with a happy obliging spirit had great rewards and proved loads more fun.
Flexibility meant saying, ‘yes’ to snowball fights at Mt Hotham in Victoria with the boys and tobogganing on an upturned plastic table rather than seeking warmth and comfort in the van with a hot chocolate. ‘Yes’ to wading waist deep through murky water in an underground cave inhabited by fresh water crocodiles in the Northern Territory, when all I wanted to do was scream and run the other way. ‘Yes’ to rising at 4.00 am to catch bream off the jetty at Geraldton, Western Australia, when my body cried for bed instead. ‘Yes’ to taking walks in the rain. ‘Yes’ to playing chase at night. ‘Yes’ to ice cream when it was almost dinner. ‘Yes’ became the rhythm of our journey.
Never have I lived in a season of uncertainty. Often we did not know where we would be camping that night. My husband delighted in turning down roads (usually dirt), late in the afternoon just to see where it would take us. Yet in these out of the way places, on the roads less traveled, God showed us His beauty through creation: through wild storms gathering over turbulent waterways, through rugged, isolated sandstone cliffs that rose from the Southern Ocean, through towering red gums mirrored in peaceful streams and even through the welcoming campfire of new friends inviting us to share a cuppa under wonder-filled starry skies.
New places, new people, new experiences: the God of new adventures invites us to let go of what is certain, predictable and step out into the fabric of the journey with Him. Traveling stretches us, challenges us, shapes us, transforms us. What new horizon is God inviting us to embrace? What are our hesitations? Can we face them, name them? Ask God to help overcome the obstacles that hinder us from stepping out on our own traveling journey with Him.
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