Friday, 25 January 2008

MY STORY Chapter 16 - On the Road

I was getting on with the routine of life when I received a letter from Pamela and we corresponded for a while. Early in the following New Year she asked me if I would accompany her on an itinerant trip around the UK when she next came over from the States. My brain immediately went into overdrive. One thing I had not shared when meeting in the West Country, and later in my letters, was my previous battles with anxiety and agoraphobia. To go away for 2 weeks without my husband, with someone I did not know that well, and to stay part of the time with people we had never met was stomach churning to say the least. All I could do was leave it in God’s hands while talking to my husband and children. I knew that if this was God’s call then it was right for me to do it so I had to trust Him to show me.

Eventually in the midst of all my fears and anxieties I knew that God was challenging me to start living from all that He had been teaching me, so I telephoned and said I would do it. I was then immediately asked if I would drive. Well this felt like a step too far. I had never driven a hire car and had only once, many years ago, had need to drive any distance outside of my area. Alan always did the long distance driving. “Lord, what are you saying to me, You know I can’t do this!” “But I can” came the reply. “If you are trusting Me to live your life then why can’t you trust Me when driving the car?” I began to panic and think about how awful it would be if I crashed the car and caused death. As I waited on God for His guidance in all of this I came to the place where I had to trust God on every aspect of the trip and know that if I did crash the car then God was in that too. He was in control and it was His responsibility. My responsibility was to do what God was asking of me so I agreed. I am not saying here that we can just get into a car and drive irresponsibly and it will be Ok. No, I am talking about believing in the power of God to be able to carry out what He is asking of us. Obviously God was pressing me to take another step, move on and live from the truth that He was revealing to me. I am not saying that I had no fear or anxiety, I did, but I knew I had t go in spite of this. When the day came to leave Alan gave me his blessing by saying that he knew that I had to make this trip. Up until then it had been a struggle for him too.

Our first visit was probably about 150 miles away and we took the journey in stages, thinking no further ahead than the next hour. We eventually arrived at the house where we were staying and where our first meeting had been planned. In my spirit I sensed that I was going to be more than just the driver, but I did not know how God was going to work this out, but it soon became apparent. After Pamela had finished speaking in the meeting that night she asked if I had anything to add. I immediately knew that God was asking me to share my testimony and this became the flavour of the trip. Pamela would speak and I would follow experientially sharing how it related to life.

There is a saying ‘ A journey of a 1000 miles begins with a single step’. I believe God knows what we can bear at any given time and He takes us on one step at a time. Our next stop was to be with a missionary friend in the North West. Another friend who had been in our fellowship here in the South had moved to that area and was going to join us. He had offered to come with us to Scotland and drive the car for that part of the journey. It came as a shock to me when we got a call to say that he was sick and would not be coming with us after all. However after the initial shock I was able to see that for me this was the next step and the next test of faith. It is important for us to realise that these initial reactions of shock and fear are OK. They are not something to be condemned about; they are what pushes us to faith. For some those initial feelings may never change but it is what we do with them that matters. They are our springboard to faith. Oh! Gosh I can’t, but God can.

The actual drive to Scotland became one of the most enjoyable parts of our journey. As we neared the Scottish border the motorway was almost empty (I will not tell you what speed I was doing) and soon we were travelling through some spectacular scenery, The next test for me came after our visit when the time came to make our journey back south. I was suddenly aware that this was the hardest part. On the way up, there was always the possibility of turning back, but on the return trip, that is not an option, one has to keep going. Needless to say, God kept His word and as well as some good meeting with folks both corporately and individually, we were able to do a little sightseeing in the Cotswolds on the way home, plus enjoying an afternoon in Oxford.

I arrived home exhilarated, glad to be home and grateful to God for the many events and experiences He had taken us through during those 2 weeks of itinerant travel. I had done it, I had proved God’s faithfulness and was ready to settle down and get back to the routine of daily life. Little did I know what God had in mind, He hadn’t revealed it yet!


Paula said...

That is so great that you actually went on the trip. A lot of people wouldn't have trusted God and been to afraid. I had an experience like that, but different. I taught at a childrens Christian camp for a week a couple of years ago. It was the hardest week of my life, very draining. I must have thought of a million reasons not to go, but in the end I went because I really felt led to and I was so glad I did.

Jeanne said...

God bless you each and every day of your life!
I love you so much!
Love Jeanne

Vee said...

I have heard that the only real way to treat agoraphobia is for the agoraphobic to "grab the bull by the horns" as it were. Perhaps your story proves that with a little extra something tossed in— the promise of the Lord that He would be with you and that your strength came from/comes from Him. Very interesting, as always, Barbara!

Anonymous said...

I had a bout with agoraphobia! It was horrible!

Your story is always inspiring, Barbara. God can do amazing things when we give him the wheel and let him guide our path.

Another cliff hanger! You are quite a story teller!


Betty said...

There is a song that says,"prove me saith the Lord of Hosts and see if a blessing, unmeasured blessing, I will not pour out on thee". He really did pour out a blessing on you and your friend....

Yes, I decluttered so that I have more space to clutter.....Betty

Cape Cod Washashore said...

I just love reading your posts about your story! Thank you for your comment on my blog, too! I find that life is much less stressful when we place our trust in Him; but when we forget to listen, that's when doubt and fear creep in. Those doubts and fears then become a reality check which reminds us we need to turn our thinking back to the right (God's) unswerving direction.

Unknown said...

May God Bless you for your courage and the ability to overcome the hardships of life.I too am learning to lean on Jesus! Love you. Lisa

Lorrie said...

Moving past fear through Christ's strength is a wonderful experience. Hard, but exhilarating when we see His complete faithfulness.
Thank you for sharing your story.


Susan said...

I marvel at our God! I love this comment:
"Obviously God was pressing me to take another step, move on and live from the truth that He was revealing to me."
We never arrive!!! Sometimes God will let us plateau for a time but then He pushes us further on toward HIS purposes. I am so glad HE does.

Teresa said...

You are most definately living out Galatians 2:20 here. Congratulations!! on you victory over the fear of leaving home and driving. God is so evident here!

I was on my way to prepare for bed for the evening a few chapters ago. The way this one ended I will still press on. I don't want to stop.

It is odd that you mention sharing your testimony in this chapter. I was going to ask you if you had ever, or if you did do that in person at meetings or something. You answered before I asked. I'll bet it is powerful when you share God's love and faithfulness with people. I am blessed by it and it is not in person.