The beautiful stately beach house stood perched on a hill with sweeping panoramic views, this lovely rental was our new location for our annual “Hugs” Bible study retreat. Bea our fearless coordinator for the yearly trip painstakingly peruses the internet for a home that can accommodate up to 11 ladies, easy beach access, comfy interior surroundings, all without costing us an arm and a leg. Along with her spearheading all the necessary incidentals and food with which has rivals an all you can eat buffet; a job that is not for the faint at heart!
At this particular home Bea’s concern was not only the limited parking but the steepness of the hill on which we needed to park. Due to the confined space, I offered to use my trusty 7 passenger van for a carpool. It had been years since I had volunteered and though I’m not a big fan of driving to places less traveled, I thought this would be a jolly good time to do it. Conquering fear and trepidation with a van full of loving gracious souls that will pray with a passion is a guaranteed recipe for overcoming life’s challenges.
The ride there was delightful with lots of laughs, our traditional stop at Annette’s for lunch, and before you knew it we were beginning to ascent up the steep hill to our home away from home in Lincoln City. Upon arrival we realized the hill was indeed steep, the road narrow, and the website toting three car parking actually translated into one car needed to be that of a circus clown. Overshadowing all these minor details was a glorious home beckoning us to open the door to savor the treasures inside. Giddy we unloaded the cars, settled into our cozy rooms, and embraced the ocean front views the steep hill brought us to.
That weekend was a rich time of sharing a temporary home with such remarkable women, who love God with such fervor and unwavering devotion. Unfolding before my eyes, was their tremendous love and care for their families and friends; a glorious enduring display of grace and unconditional love. With a steadfast commitment to weather life’s storms, confident in a Savior that calms every tempest that crashes against their souls. Such a relaxing and inspirational getaway that always ends far to quickly.
Such was the case as we bustled about on our final day packing up our belongings and tidying up the rental, quickly gathering for our customary group photo. Closing our splendid time with a prayer and the traditional hootenanny (that is worthy of a story all on it’s own ) we hugged and said our goodbyes. In all the reveries of this weekend I seem to have forgot that I parked up the hill even further to allow friends who arrived later to park in the driveway. With that realization came some apprehension of backing out of such tight conditions. Saying a quite prayer to myself my traveling buddies Lynn and Susy piled into the car. Backing up with a, “I got this attitude”, I no sooner heard a loud and disturbing crunch. I had backed into a wood pile and bottomed out the car. With each new attempt I tried, I could not get past the obstacle. By then Liz and Sharon seeing my need approached the van, Liz fearlessly guiding the front of my car with Sharon courageously navigating the back. All the while the vans tires were losing traction and spinning, as our ultra sensitive backup warning signal that beeps at the detection of an ant beneath it beeped incessantly at this added intrusion. The rain poured down drenching my friends, my nerves unraveling at each unsuccessful jockeying for position, with the help of encouraging prayerful copilots and Liz and Sharon’s enduring patience and loving guidance I was finally able me to get enough traction to pull up and away from the impediment.
Isn’t that a picture of God’s love? Tireless, unwavering love that guides us through storms while taking the brunt to bring our freedom ,cheering us on with passionate encouragement, awakening our souls to a hope that does not disappoint just like His word promises.
I am eternally grateful for God’s redemption that has saved me from the depths of despair, His love radically changed me and continues to every time I chose to embrace Him.
This profound love gift is also wrapped up in our family and friends that come along side to partner with us in life’s ups and downs. When emotional wheels spin and obstacles prevent us from experiencing His peace and purposes for our lives, Christ through them becomes the traction to propel us to our destiny .
My heart exceedingly rejoices in His tremendous unfailing love, the freedom found and the promise of more. The beautiful gifts of family and friends are heart strings of grace to the tune of God’s melodious love. A harmonious antidote to the incessant clamor of those ever intrusive beeps of life.
“I thank my God every time I remember you.In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy” Philippians 1:1-4