July 2022 Stonebrook women’s blog
We’re back after our eight week Sabbatical! Going into the time I had all sorts of plans, desires, and imaginings of how our Sabbatical would go. And very quickly on, God reminded us that “the mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps!” Proverbs 16:9 NAS
Within three days of starting our Sabbatical, Dave threw his back out and was barely able to hobble around for two weeks! OUR plans to spend those two weeks, hiking trails at our family lake cabin and building up muscles and stamina for our Grand Canyon adventure to follow were kyboshed. We limped home not knowing if we would even be able to manage our big trip out west!
Fortunately, a professional’s help AND God’s gracious healing enabled Dave and I to pack up our luggage and camper and hit the road a few days later! Thank you Lord!!! We so enjoyed our drive to Arizona with all its changing scenery, and our campground experiences were fun, providing opportunities to meet fellow campers.
The big day arrived- our long awaited visit to the Grand Canyon came and we were pumped! As it was evening, we opted to head straight to the campground nearby and get settled for the night, PLANNING to visit the canyon in the morning. As Dave backed our camper into our site with me directing him, I didn’t notice the ledge and drop off next to the drive. I launched backwards, bouncing off a boulder and landed square on my tailbone! Both of us were in shock as I crawled my way back to the boulder to sit down. Dave and I checked me all over, hoping there were no broken bones. As it turned out, everything seemed to be OK, I was just very sore and weak and moving SLOWLY for the next couple of days! Thank you Lord!
And that’s how our Sabbatical and trip west started, ladies! Despite the “rocky” (no pun intended!) start, we DID manage to tour much of both the north and south rim of the canyon via car and bus and small hikes and were absolutely blown away with the grandeur and beauty. Through the following days of driving and visiting Bryce Canyon, the Arches National Park, Dinosaur National Monument, and Colorado, our faith was strengthened by the obvious signs of a world-wide flood and by the power and wisdom of our Creator God. Praise him!
Three take-away’s from our Sabbatical especially stand out to me. First, I truly sensed the Lord smiling over us, like a Father delighting in his kids, eagerly leading us to discover one glorious sight after another, whether landscapes, sunsets, cactus and desert flowers, or cascading mountain streams. I could almost imagine him saying, “Come here!!! You’ve got to see this!!! I made that!” and delighting in our delight with each new discovery.
Second, God loves people and wants to use us to be his channel of love. We were simply amazed at the number of opportunities we had to show care and interest in others through our little motorcycle pop-up trailer (which we lovingly dubbed, “Evangeline!”)! So many folks asked about it and we used those conversations for the gospel, sharing our personal testimony tracts and Do You Know for Certain tracts and praying with many. No one seemed offended, rather interested and thankful … perhaps one day we will meet many of them again in heaven! Our reconnecting with dear old friends in Colorado was again an opportunity to show love and appreciation and mutually encourage one another in our faith. Our time with our son, Mark and his family, was precious and bonding.
Third and lastly – the BIG take-away, was that God wants us to be people of praise. We received a small prayer book from my sister entitled 31 Days of Praise by Ruth Myers before our Sabbatical started. I took it as a little “heads up” and “nudge” from God!! It seems that the Lord knew I needed to grow in giving thanks and praising Him!!! Dave and I were tested and stretched (as you have already picked up) through various circumstances and trials – I called them “blessed inconveniences!” I was often led to ask, “Am I willing to give thanks for this? Will I surrender my plans and desires to Him, trusting that He has something else in mind, something that is better for me?” Taking a bad tumble, having our camp stove break, enduring temperature extremes, heat exhaustion, probable food poisoning, with a grand finale of probably bringing home and “waging war” on bed bugs (never saw them, just the bites!) were all platforms to test my faith and force a decision: “Will I pout or praise my God!” Notice I use the phrase “test my faith!” I admit that there were tears at times and “pouty grumbling in the tent!” But there were also defining moments of surrender and trust and praising God for “even this!” I need and want to grow as a woman of trust and praise!
So that’s our Sabbatical in a nutshell, ladies! Thanks for listening and most importantly, thanks for your prayers for us! I’m convinced God was here in Ames, Iowa, just as he was with us on our Sabbatical, doing his good and holy work in each of you as well! Praise him!!!