I was fleeing an abusive relationship. I started 2,400 miles away from “home” (Louisiana – my parents’ house). I had managed to get to Texas. It was midnight, I had two young children with me, no money and the low fuel light on the dash was blinking at me.
I had no idea what I was going to do.
I wasn’t living for God. Sure, I tossed a prayer His way now and then. We didn’t really have a “relationship” though. It was more like a “I’ll call on you when I need you” sort of thing.
And I rarely thought I needed Him.
I was too blind – or too dumb – or both – to see how much He did in my life, how He moved, how He made everything happen.
But that is another story for another day.
I was leaving Montana after being in a horribly abusive, adulterous relationship. I was broken, exhausted and had no clue what I was going to do next. As I drove the 34 foot moving van (that I had loaded myself with stove, fridge, washer, dryer and all the furniture in my house) that was pulling my ’81 Ford Bronco on a trailer, I began to believe I had bit off more than I could chew. My daughter and son, 10 and 8 respectively, sat in the cab of the truck with me. They had no idea that I had no idea what we were going to do and how we were going to complete our journey.
We were tapped out. No money for fuel or food. We had a few more miles and it would end. We would be stranded. The cell phone I had used for the trip had died the day before and I had not been able to recharge it (this was early on in the cell phone times – we weren’t as sophisticated back then).
But my family couldn’t help anyway. They were living on a shoestring budget too.
I couldn’t go back, though, so I pressed forward, my headlights cutting the darkness to only reveal more darkness. My hope was fading quickly.
I chose this time to toss up one of those prayers to God, though. “God,” I said, “If you are really there; if you really hear me, I could sure use some help right about now. I know I am just coming to you like this out of the blue and it’s kinda weird, but I really need some help and you are the only one I can think of to call on.”
Good thing God doesn’t require flattery or ego boosts. I pretty much told Him that He was my last hope – and He was.
Not long after that, I pulled off the interstate to stop at a fuel station. Wasn’t sure what I was going to do there, but I just felt like I needed to stop. The sign was deceptive though. I did not find a fuel station at the exit (as the sign said I would). Instead it was more pitch black darkness. It might as well have been nothingness I thought as a sighed hopelessly. I slowed and swung out a little to make a U-turn.
I heard honking but did not feel anything. When I looked in my rearview mirror though, I saw that a woman had run into my trailer. She got out and was yelling at me. I just sat and let her yell. I was too defeated, too tired, to hopeless to even say more than “I’m sorry.”
Apparently, though I had not swung out far, it was far enough for her to think I was changing lanes and she did not see my blinker. She tried to pass me on the left and ran smack into my trailer – and she was hopping mad at me.
She calmed down later and we actually talked. She apologized for yelling at me. I told her it was OK.
The police came. I got a ticket because my wheels were just over the line – barely, the police officer said. He said he did not want to give me the ticket, but his sergeant said he had to.
He asked me where I was coming from. I told him. He asked where I was going. I told him. He went about his business.
When everyone had gone, though, he told me to follow him. He said he was going to show me how to get back on the interstate.
First, though, he led me to a convenience store where he put fuel in my truck and bought food and drinks for my kids and me. Then he opened his wallet and gave me $200 saying, “I wish I had more to give you.”
I will never, ever forget that night.
He got us back on the interstate and we made it to my parents’ home without further incident, arriving in the late morning.
I will never, ever forget that night. It was one of the times that I can look back and know I felt God moving although I was too ignorant to recognize it. But it lets me know that He has been there for me all along, through my mess ups, my blinding errors and now as I live for Him, through my mess ups and blinding errors. He holds me close and gives me these wonderful testimonies to share with others so that they can come to know Him. Though a lot of water has passed under that bridge, I can see God’s hand in so many times in my life when I felt alone and abandoned. I never was.
But that one night has stayed with me. That one time I cried out to God in my blundering, unbelieving way and He showed me a love that was bigger than I could ever imagine. It took me years to piece it all together, to see just what He did and how He can use the most dire times of our life to make the biggest, brightest miracles.
Certainly He knew that I would come to Him, would one day live for Him, but I don’t think that was why He answered my desperate prayer. I think He just wanted me to know that He was there and that He could move in ANY situation, even the most dire and depressing.
He made a way for a lost woman, knowing (I believe in my heart) that it would be years before she would be “found” and come to Him. Yet He still provided a way in the darkness…