"Help! I can't see ahead!"
Déjà vu! Every place we go, and on every road we drive, Larry and I see campers, motorcycles, motorhomes and pick-up trucks towing boats and all sorts of water sports "toys"! The sights and sounds scream out VACATION! Now that August is winding down, there is a rush to get the family vacation in before the summer ends.
Coming from a family with 10 brothers, we would usually go once a year on a family vacation. However, my dad was very adventurous so he made every weekend a mini vacation—either at the lake, camping or picnics here and there. In fact, my dad was what you call an "out of the ordinary adventurous type." He loved going where no man has ever been. Never (or rather I should say 'seldom') did he go to a public vacation area around home.
I was reminiscing recently thinking back of how on a whim he'd say "Hey kids, let's get in the car and go." Due to that, Mom always kept a clothes basket with cans of pork n beans, chips, cookies, and Koolaid packed and ready to go. She also always kept the refrigerator stocked with hot dogs for a spontaneous picnic lunch. Off we would go down the road! Many times we held our breath because we knew we weren't going to a state park, a local resort or a popular lake. No! He liked to go, as I said before, "where no man goes, except him". He would drag us all with him whether we wanted to or not! HA!
I remember one time (amidst tons of them), he drove us down to a local lake and pulled over, not into a lake parking lot, but made his own parking spot off the edge of the road. We looked and all we could see was high grass and towering weeds about 4 foot high surrounding us. He jumped out of the vehicle and instructed, "Let's go!" Oftentimes, we, kids, questioned if we truly wanted to go, but with his adventurous spirit and orders to follow him , off we went like goslings following their daddy goose. My brothers ran, pushing weeds and high stepping trying to catch up with him. Then there was me, a little Norwegian blond about 5 years old, scared of snakes. Let me tell you, there were lots of garter snakes and wood ticks! I high-stepped, pushing weeds out of the way higher than I am. I would scream "Wait for me!" to which he would reply, "Oh just hurry up and follow the path where we have stomped the weeds down."
Every step my heart was pounding so hard I could feel it in my chest. I wanted to turn back, but I couldn't see the car. I was afraid of being left behind with the snakes, mosquitoes (state bird ha!) and wood ticks so with the help of adrenaline, I forged forward. I don't know how far it was to the lake shore (it felt like miles!) When I arrived, it certainly wasn't a beach; it was nothing more than big rocks, water weeds, blood suckers and yuk! Right by the edge where dad and my brothers were fishing, thank God there was a huge rock that I was able to perch on, fighting mosquitoes and hoping I was safe from the harmless but intimidating garter snakes slithering around in the weeds. They fished°and I wished we were somewhere else.
It's a good thing my dad didn't let me fuss and whine. He wasn't being mean; he wanted to toughen me up some as he didn't want me to be a 'cry baby' girl. Needless to say, his strange ways help toughen me—not to mention, my brothers also helped to take the 'wimp' out of me. I guess God knew I would need to be tough to handle ten brothers and living on the road for almost 54 years!!!! Yikes!!!!
As I recalled this childhood memory, I couldn't help but think of other times in our lives where spiritually we feel like we've been led on an adventure we didn't ask for. We didn't ask for the trials, the pain and the disappointments that make us feel like we are being encircled and trapped by satan's tactics. He wants us to be consumed by his lies telling us we can't find our way, we won't make it, we will lose our finances, our health, our marriage and he threatens, "I've got a deadly grip on your children; they are mine!" When we are faced with those times of fear... yes... we all fight that until we cry out like I did, "Father, help, don't leave me! I can't see ahead! Wait for me! Hear me—I need your hand to hold as I weave my way through this valley!"
Going through a heartbreaking trial in our lives, I was vocally crying out, "God where are You in this valley? I can't go through it without Your divine guidance. You've got to HELP! I am scared!" And like an audible voice to my heart I heard these words, "Trust me, Gloria, trust me". It was then I threw my hands up and said, "Here it is, Lord. I can't handle it!" Then HE took over.
I so identify with the psalmist David, who was continually under attack. He faced oppression, opposition, depression, and he was always fighting battles like we do.
Yet in dire discouragement, he would always cry out to God, and God always met him at his lowest point. God didn't give David everything He cried for, but He encouraged him giving him hope and strength to go on!
David said in Psalms 34:17-19:
The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears,
And delivers them out of all their troubles.
The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart,
And saves such as [a] have a contrite spirit.
Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
But the Lord delivers him out of them all.
I also love what Peter says so bluntly and straightforwardly in 1 Peter 4:12-13,
"Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy."
Friend, I encourage you to hold on. Give it all to Him. He will walk ahead of you and hold your hand. How do I know? I'm still here—'living proof '!
Enjoy the rest of August!
September 8th we'll be in Oak Creek, WI as part of a 40th Anniversary in Ministry for Gloria's brother and sister-in-law at Oak Creek Assembly of God.
September 13-15 we'll be back to South Dakota where the Lundstroms' will be inducted into the South Dakota Country Music Hall of Fame.
Then on September 22nd, we will be taking part and ministering at The Fathers House, pastored by Londa Lundstrom Ramsey in Burnsville, MN. Jot that date down and plan to join several of the Lundstrom family who will be singing together and " telling stories " from the road.
5 lbs. hamburger
1 green pepper
1 medium onion
Salt and pepper to taste
1 T. barbecue sauce
Brown all the ingredients listed, then add ¾ cup ketchup, 1 can tomato soup and 1 can cream of chicken soup. Simmer until thick.