We lived bold as the young and invincible do.
Thinking nothing of driving home to Texas late at night, we snaked dark and lonely as the scant houses blurred past. Winding through the ebony countryside, the moonless night rendered our headlights impotent like a dull knife slicing thru the murk. Then our beams began to dim even more, and zonk, they quit all together— in the middle of nowhere, a few miles from the next pocket-sized berg in a series of Lilliputian towns.
Ok y’all, this was BCP. Before cell phones. Back in the dark ages you know?
No calling of AAA and my Daddy was two hours away. So we did what stranded travelers have done since the invention of electricity. I sat tight and prayed while my valiant husband walked up the pitch dark hill to a beacon of light winking distant.
His knock brought a wizened man to the door, who just happened to have his own alternator shop at his house. He graciously admitted this stranger into his home to call for help, and assured him by 8:00am he would have us fixed up. Can. You. Even?
Waving off the time, the local preacher arrived sporting house shoes and a good-natured grin. He ensconced us in his spare bedroom, making us feel welcome despite our eleventh-hour intrusion. Can you say beyond grateful?
When life goes south, my first response is not always a prayer. In this case, desperation and helplessness prompted an immediate prayer to fall from my lips. But I must confess, many times it was a last resort. I’d exercise all my options before I realized there was no human fix. And even now, though I know in my head to pray first, I forget. My human side jumpstarts with anxiety or convoluted plots, before I say “whoa” to my jumbled mess.
Old habits die hard.
So here I am…
I know down deep I need divine intervention daily–when I try to pull my stuff together and walk brave in this wild world,
Not just when trials weigh me down.
“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.” Ephesians 6:18
And I know that struggles are a part of life in a fallen world. To think I’m above the pain or to the other extreme, that I’m being picked on— is counterintuitive.
“I call out to the LORD and he answers me from his holy mountain.” Psalm 3:4
The long road home that skulks through the night, shaped the who I am today.
The trials and toils carved me as they conspired to break me.
They shaped and shaved and stabbed and tried to suck out my soul.
But they couldn’t.
They made me stronger though I am weak,
They made me wiser, though I still am foolish,
They made me thankful for today and every day I’m blessed to walk this earth.
Those hurtful words shaped me.
Those roadblocks caused me to stumble.
Those stormy seas threatened to upend me.
But they didn’t.
And I didn’t drown, and I didn’t remain in the potholes when I lost my footing.
And I didn’t die a slow death of discouragement and apathy when life was in the toilet.
I trod slow, and then I jogged, and then I sped like a race car,
Cloaked in prayer, with headlights on high beam to pierce the darkness,
Triumphant in a life gone wrong, yet righted by
The grace of an unfailing God
Who will never abandon me broken and alone on the roadside.