Packing, loading and finally pulling away from the house to leave for vacation can be a stress-filled, never-ending project. Even when climbing in the car, people hop out and say, “Oh! Just one more thing!” or “Oops! I forgot something!” or “Wait just a second!”
This morning was no exception as we tried to get away by 9:00 AM with two vehicles packed to the ceiling and two little ones needing constant consideration. Every adult heaves a huge sigh of relief after finally buckling their seat belts and saying, “OK! Let’s go!”
Some families are disciplined enough to set alarms for pre-dawn vacation starts, arriving at their destination in daylight with enough time to enjoy most of that first rental day. Our family has a poor track record in this department, often arriving after midnight as a result of lengthy, complicated starts. We did well today, starting our engines by 9:45.
When we turned into the long, familiar driveway of Afterglow Lake Resort, we were gratified to see it hadn’t changed much. But as we walked into the same house we’d rented for so many years, I got the surprise of a lifetime. Standing in the living room and grinning from ear to ear were Hans and Katy Nyman… all the way from England!
I gasped to see them and couldn’t hold back the tears! How did they pull that off? With three children under two, they secretly flew the eight hours to Chicago, found someone to pick them up at the airport and keep them overnight until it was time to start our week in the Northwoods, found someone willing to loan them a car, and then found their way here. And this they did with three babies who are still operating six time zones away.
I was flabbergasted! As we all gathered around the giant dining table over pizza, the details of their decision came to light. They’d thought of all of us together without them and made the decision to join us just two days before they came. Katy creatively called upon pals and her mom to help her pull it all together in a hurry, and then they came! Thanks to Katy’s resourcefulness when the twins were newborns, they already had American passports by three months of age, allowing them to make this traveling decision with the snap of a finger. And special blessing goes to Mary and Bervin for doing the airport shuttle, providing overnight housing and the borrowed car. I’m still speechless, six hours after the fact!
The only thing running through my mind is, “God is good!”
Underneath all the arranging, packing, traveling and arriving were the arms of a loving Father, firmly holding our wounded family in his tender hands. He allowed Nate to succumb to cancer for a separate set of important reasons, but in the mean time has been faithfully carrying the rest of us through these difficult weeks and months with blessings exactly when needed. He knows what we can bear and holds the limit beneath that maximum. And when a special boost is needed, he orchestrates it to come at just the right time, wrapped with a ribbon of joy.
Now all we have to do is figure out a way to pluck Birgitta from the University of Iowa and move her 500 miles north to join the rest of us. If that works, the impossible will have happened: all 15 of us together at Afterglow Lake, our favorite vacation place.
“The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” (Deuteronomy 33:27)