Bound for glory!
After two years of looking at and thinking and praying about purchasing a motorhome, my husband Tom and I finally did it!
We haven't settled on whether we'll call the coach "Bound for Glory" or "Glory Bound" but what we do know is that based on statistics, we are closer to glory (heaven) than we've ever been and so we aim to "bound" (walk or run with leaping strides) there while we can still "bound"...if you know what I mean!
Our "Bound for Glory" tour has a simple goal. Be with and pour into people. I think Romans 11:1-2 captures our heart so please allow me to put it in our words.
We long to see you so that we may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong—that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.
Using our gifts, abilities, experiences, and resources, we just want to be with and serve others in a way that builds up, encourages and equips. We aim to have some good ole fellowship that leaves all renewed and refreshed! So, if you want us to head your way, contact me. We believe this adventure, as with others, leads us down a highway to holiness that eventually leads us to Jesus where we will see Him face to face. Wow! This current adventure is preparation for that grand and glorious eternal adventure.
We've taken a couple of what Tom calls "test runs" in the motorhome. These "tests" were opportunities for us to learn all we need to learn to operate a moving home! Parallel that with learning how to be holy or being a follower of Jesus Christ. There is a lot to learn and hands-on training is certainly required. Sometimes you get it right and many times you don't! But you keep planning and preparing and trying because hallelujah, there is a goal and final destination in mind!
Before our "test runs" in the motorhome, we googled information, watched YouTube videos, read and reread the manual, called the 1-800 number a few times, and on several occasions wondered if we've lost our minds! Honestly, there have been moments when we thought we were not going to "get it" but then a moment would come along when everything seemed to be working, and all was well! Truly, life in Christ is somewhat the same. We study, watch, listen and learn and then we get to "test" what we know. Sometimes things work and sometimes they don't!
As we each "bound" through life we usually have a plan! Having a "plan" isn't a bad thing. I mean it's usually a good idea to know where you are headed or want to go before you head out and also consider what you'll need to get you where you plan to go. But the thing about plans is there is usually a plan B that comes into play and sometimes even a C, D, E and so on. The unforeseen, unexpected, and unprepared for! Guess what? The unforeseen, unexpected, and unprepared for can ruffle your feathers, make you cranky, tense, stressed and crazy. Or, you can roll with it and embrace these unforeseen, unexpected, and unprepared for things as "from God."
Take for instance our last "test run." Our plan was to travel to Indiana where we would meet up with friends and then caravan with them up to Minnesota. Keywords here: Our plan!
Before we set out on our "test run" in the motorhome, we naturally mapped out our route to ensure we wouldn't find ourselves on highways, on bridges or under an overpass in which we could not maneuver or fit. The plan included steering clear of those obstacles. Checking the radar for weather reports was also part of the planning. I mean who in their right mind takes a trip in a moving home on roads where they don't fit and during a severe weather alert? Obviously, you need to know where you are going, how you will get there, how long it will take, where the appropriate stops for gas, etc. will be, and determine ahead of time if and where you will stop overnight. It's all part of the plan which totally fell apart. Such is life Y'all!
We only made it as far as Indiana because Tom came down with a nasty stomach bug. We actually ended up parking and spending a week in the driveway of some dear friends and spent a day in the ER trying to get Tom much needed fluids and relief. Friends, in 45 years, I can count on 3 fingers the number of times I've seen Tom sick. This was totally unforeseen, unexpected and we definitely were not prepared for it. But...
As a result of being "parked" in Indiana, we were able to have long visits with friends and family who lived close by. These visits were such a blessing that ended up encouraging and strengthening us in our faith. We were able to attend our friend's church, hear their new pastor share from his recent book, and were greatly challenged. Thank You, Lord, for unforeseen, unexpected, and unprepared for.
No, it didn't go according to our plan. But here's the interesting part and point of this blog post. Our goal of being with and pouring into people was still accomplished! It just ended up being a slightly different people group! We had some great fellowship. And, most important of all, we had multiple opportunities to practice holiness along the way. Let me share what I mean.
When the time came to plan our return trip home, we had to time our departure so we could leave between storms. We had a tight window that closed quickly. Why? Because we kept blowing a fuse which took out the brake and taillights on the coach as well as our tow vehicle. Since we didn't want to head out without working taillights, it took almost an hour to figure out what to do. Finally determining there was a short in the tow vehicle connection, we disconnected the wire from the tow vehicle leaving us lights only on the coach. Better than nothing, we set out for home. Unfortunately, this meant we'd run into stormy weather downthe road but if we were going to arrive home ahead of storms in our area...we had to push on.
Now isn't that just like events in life? Something blows and we have no choice but to press on or things could actually get worse! Here's something else to consider. Something blows and we can blow up, melt down, or we can realize we are on a highway to holiness. Bound for glory. Rather than blowing up and allowing our feathers to get ruffled or get cranky, tense, stressed or crazy, we have the opportunity and ability (through the Spirit) to respond and be holy. What do I mean by "be holy?" Holy = peace, kindness, gentleness, patience, love, etc. Yep, you can blow up or be holy. We can respond to the unforeseen, unexpected and even the unprepared for in peace and with patience, kindness, gentleness, love, and so on!
We ran into the first storm around Louisville which slowed traffic down considerably. I considered slow traffic a good thing! Heading down the highway of life in a storm at high speed definitely ruffles my feathers! The rain poured down and the winds kicked up but steady the motorhome went. Our new plan seemed to be a good one. Until...
A gust of wind caught the driver side windshield wiper and the entire wiper mechanism went flying to the side of the coach. Stuck there. Useless. Yikes. Tom managed to navigate over to the right lane where he reduced his speed even more. Just then, we spot a sign for a rest stop that is about 1 mile down the road. Even though pouring, he was able to see out of the windshield well enough to make it to and pull off in the rest stop. There he suited up in rain gear, exited the coach, and attempted to assess the situation. My job was to watch him and follow his prompts to turn on and off the windshield wipers. Let's just say that I failed at my job. While I didn't make the situation any worse I certainly didn't help. Rather than turning off the wipers, I turned them on high. His hand was around the bad wiper when the good wiper attacked the bad wiper at high speed. His eyes were as big as saucers and from there the scene in my mind wants to play in slow motion. It was not pretty. I think at one point I saw a piece of wiper blade fly off and taken off by the high winds. Blow up or be holy? Flip out or stay calm and seek God's wisdom?
Tom determined he could not fix the wiper so we checked the radar again and decided to stick with the plan to just keep moving. So, down the road, we went ... in a rainstorm with no wipers. Oh yeah, and no taillights on the tow vehicle. Yes, sometimes in life things seemingly go from bad to worse. Blow up or be holy? Flip out or stay calm and seek God's wisdom?
Come on now, how many times has this been a description of life? Blindsided? Pelted? Can see but not clearly? Requires great concentration? Tense? Pressure? Everything in you wants to blow up, flip out or meltdown? Wondering when it will let up or stop? Running out of plans?
Our best-laid plans rarely go as planned. Sometimes no matter how well planned out and prepared we think we are for a trip or for life, things happen. And, when things happen, plans get changed. There is always the unforeseen, unexpected, and unprepared for! As a follower of Christ, I'm still learning that these are divine interruptions. Divine appointments. Divine opportunities. These change of plans test my faith and character, challenge my understanding and knowledge, teach me, and even train me in holiness. Yes, train me in holiness because in my response to the unforeseen, unexpected, and unprepared I can "be holy" by acting in kindness, gentleness, patience, love, graciousness and so on...or not.
So how did our trip turn out? South of Louisville, we finally got ahead of the rain and out of the storm. That's when I started trying to find an RV repair place that might be able to fix the windshield wiper. Guess what? The closest place was Nashville. Now our home is only a few hours from Nashville but if another storm were to blow in that would put us going over a mountain with no wipers at dusk. It seemed appropriate that a new plan would include spending the night in a WalMart parking lot and being at the RV repair place in Nashville at 8 AM the next morning.
The night in the WalMart parking lot was stormy but safe. On the road the next morning we discovered our cameras were not working. These cameras are pretty important because they allow you to see what's behind you and to the side of you. Since we are towing a vehicle, it's pretty important to see and make sure it's actually there and that you can safely change lanes without taking someone else with you. Okay, so let me get this straight. We have no tow vehicle taillights, no driver side windshield wiper, and no cameras. But, we have to get to the RV repair place so we can eventually get on home. Yes, the scenario preaches.
We did arrive safely home later that day. The RV repair place was able to temporarily fix the windshield wiper that fortunately we didn't need during the rest of the trip. As we traveled down the road, I was trying to get a radio station and accidentally toggled up on a button and voila...we had cameras. Obviously, the lack thereof was operator error. Live and learn and learn and learn. Blow up or be holy? Flip out or stay calm and seek God's wisdom?
Bound for glory on the highway of holiness. It is a bumpy but glorious ride.