I always like to tell the story of how I really “met” God. Yes, I said “met” because it is the only word that I can think of to explain the moment when I felt like I got a hug from God. Every year for the last 5, my husband and I were laid off in the winter due to our jobs which were seasonal. Because we used to live in Florida, we always decided to take our layoff time and spend some time down south. We would go right after Christmas and get there by New Year’s Eve. The only way we could do this financially was to save during the summer and stay in a camper. We bought an old 1988 Ford Econoline RV…yes, we are not millionaires so we always go cheap. We had fun with the old girl, but went through a lot of problems on our 2 to 3 day drives over the years. Break downs, flat tires, heating/cooling problems, crazy mechanics, you name it, we had it happen. But, not this year, this year, we upgraded and bought a newer model travel trailer. Ok, our pickup was kind of old, 1998 model, but we had high hopes this year. No more breakdowns, no more being stranded in Georgia…we were going to make it down to Florida with no problems. Everything was reserved, all our planning with money, lists and preparation over the year was going to be well worth it. We had worked hard over the summer and we were thrilled that it was finally time to leave the cold Ohio and head south for at least 1 whole month of sun, fun and relaxation.
We made it to Georgia, then the transmission in the pickup decided to crash! Here we were, stranded in a truck stop in Ocala during New Years Eve! Not again! Needless to say, we were devastated. After trying to decide what to do, we ended up renting a uhaul to get our camper home. We had to leave the pickup with a neighbor who lived near the truck stop and told us that it was fine to leave it parked on his property. Thank God for this man! We made it home and knew that we still needed to go get the pickup. I cancelled the reservations and tried to feel cheerful. This was the trip that we had planned for all year now totally ruined. Luckily, I have a pretty awesome hubby who said, “let’s fly down, rent a car, spend a week in the keys, pick up the pickup and drive back home. At least we can salvage some vacation time.” Agreeing, I called the airlines and got us booked for the next day. I definitely felt better.
We were leaving the next day when we heard that the airport in Fort Lauderdale was in trouble. A shooter had shot people in the baggage claim! We stood looking at the tv, we were leaving the next morning and flying to Fort Lauderdale! After praying for those in trouble, we called the airline. We were pretty much in the dark as to what to do. I woke up at 5am, eager to check the flight status and see what was happening. The website said the flight was cancelled…what to do now? I remember praying very hard, trying to trust in God and let him lead us down the right path. I was feeling very unsure about what would happen next.
By 3pm, we were sitting in the Cleveland airport waiting to get on a plane. Our flight to Fort Lauderdale was cancelled and after waiting on hold forever, we finally decided to go to the airport and talk to someone. They booked us a new flight to Fort Myers which is better anyway. The only problem, we had to go to Cleveland to get the flight and not Canton. We were lucky to have a good friend take us up to the airport. We had a car rented for when we got to Florida and a hotel for the night. We were going to get up tomorrow and drive down to the keys where we have a hotel for the week. I am finally feeling more excited. We make it on the plane and because we were upgraded, we get to sit in first class. Wow, pretty nice.
We make it up in the air and this is the time when I feel like I met God. I was sitting by the window. My husband was in the aisle seat, taking a nap. It had been a crazy few days. I realized as I was sitting on that plane how relaxing it was up in the clouds. I felt like I was sitting on top of the world. I didn’t travel too much by plane and it had been a while. I still couldn’t believe what had happened in the last two weeks. I felt as if it was a test and of what I don’t know. Maybe God was trying to tell me different things especially because I had been praying everyday to be strong , listen to God and keep him in my heart. I felt like it was so hard to do that, there is negativity everywhere. People, jobs, events, they all seem so negative at times. Sometimes I just wanted to curse or punch something and it was amazingly difficult to keep positive, to keep praying and to trust in God. But, I decided then and there that I was never going to stop talking to God. It was like God was there next to me, taking my hand and telling me to keep praying everyday and to keep asking Him to help me to stay positive and to “listen” so that I would know to make the right choices and do the right thing.
Thoughts of my kids came to my mind and I asked God about them. I wished that they would “grow up”. They were adults but why did they choose to make their lives so much more difficult than it has to be? Drugs had taken over my stepson. I knew that only God could save him as he now sat in prison again. My oldest daughter was doing pretty good, but it seemed like she was always struggling. And my youngest daughter had decided to hang out with a guy who had no future, who was also involved with drugs. It literally broke my heart. I asked God to please take care of all of them and to keep them safe.
There were lots of questions that I knew God would answer in his own time. I felt at that moment so close to Him up in the clouds that He was really hearing me and that I finally was able to really meet Him and really tell Him about myself…I know that God knows me, that He made me and knows my path. All I have to do is listen to Him. At that moment, I knew He heard me and that He really knew who I was.
Now, months later, I still know that God hears me. I keep praying, asking God to lead me and help me to keep the faith. I beg for the strength to give it all to Him and LISTEN. And you know what, He does!