I said my goodbyes to Earth Fare, picked Gabriel up from the sitter, and we were Kentucky bound. As soon as we got in the car to go, I heard the Holy Spirit say, “I am your Shepherd.”
“Right,” I said. “Awesome. Praise God.” And meant it.
Not ten minutes later, I heard it again. “Jessie. I AM your Shepherd.”
“Cool, God… Thanks.”
When I heard it the third time, “I am your Shepherd,” I knew something was up. I’d heard it just as the rain started pouring.
The plan was to get to Forerunners before Sunday morning service, and we were going in the car dropped off for me free of charge in my front yard. We loaded up our clothes, some food, and my guitar the night before. Nothing was going to get in my way. I always made fun of Danny for packing like a diva. This time, I wasn’t much better. I took more with me than what I left in Knoxville.
About fifty miles into our trip, I started to notice my headlights were pretty dim. I thought maybe it was just the city lights making them look dim. But once we died at a stop sign… You know, it’s not city lights. It’s your alternator. We turned back around to Knoxville, where I paid a guy $40 to rebuild it. He said we were good to go.
150 miles later, we were NOT good to go…
We broke down on a busy interstate, just me and Gabriel. I convinced him to go to sleep, certain someone would stop to help. 3 1/2 hours later, I lost my hope in humanity. I had an emergency flasher I set on top of my car. I waved at people to flag them down. I didn’t know where we were, so tow trucks were useless. I even broke down and dug a tote lid out of the back and wrote, “Dead battery, please help,” on it and put it on the back of the car. No one. Not one person.
I didn’t know how close the nearest gas station was, but I knew it was our only hope. I woke Gabriel up and told him to put his shoes on. He asked where we were going. I said, “I don’t know, but we’re not staying here.”
When people zoomed past us, a mother with a young son alone on a busy interstate, I really lost my faith that humanity had anything left to offer. And I was getting scared. When we were in the car, every semi that zipped past us rocked the car. I knew when the car died, we hadn’t gotten over far enough. I was worried about someone hitting us in the dark. And walking on the interstate, we didn’t even have the car to protect us.
It was on the interstate, walking alone, afraid, and in the dark, that I remembered what God had said before we left Knoxville. And this time, I heard Him say, “What about this? Will THIS be what steals the joy you’ve claimed?”
Without hesitation, I said, “No, Lord. All is well with my soul.” For the next mile we walked, Gabriel and I sang Jesus songs, prayed, and talked about how much we loved our Lord. The mile felt like minutes. I was filled with peace, and all the fear of someone hitting us, or kidnapping or robbing or killing us, melted away. The danger was real, but I knew in my heart God had the situation under control. And I learned the true meaning of sleeping in the bottom of the ship while the storm rages.
I Thessalonians 5:18 says, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” No matter how scared you might be at the time, or whatever your situation might be, God has ordained every moment of our lives. And by this ordination, we can press forward, knowing that God works ALL things for the good of those who love Him.
I’m eternally grateful for that time I had to praise God with my son. And through the frustration of having my car break down, I managed to meet a couple of wonderful guys who restored my faith in people. Thank you, Eugene, for being the first person to stop and help. He had the heart to stop when so many didn’t. And we got to ride in his 18-wheeler with him. It was awesome. He drove us to a tiny hole-in-the-wall town called Monteray, where we met Jamie, a hotel employee who treated us to breakfast and managed to find some cables, jump start the battery multiple times, and even called around to find us a mechanic. His shift at the hotel ended at eight that morning, and we got there around five. He stayed with us for six straight hours. When he finally had to leave, he wrote down some car rental places and their phone numbers, and we found him on Facebook.
(I think on the way back to Knoxville, we’ll be paying Jamie and Monteray a thank-you visit. And Eugene… Well, he asked for my phone number. And he wasn’t too hard on the eyes, either!)
Now that we’re back safe and sound in our old Kentucky home, it’s time to kick back, relax, go fishing, and catch up with some old friends. And for this time, I give thanks. Thank You, Lord.