This is another post by my amazing wife, Amanda. Watching her draw near to the Lord through this journey has been one of my greatest blessings. I knew she was an amazing woman already, but my love for her has grown exponentially as we’ve walked this road together. She is the kind of wife Proverbs 31 speaks of, and I am unbelievably grateful. – Matt
Well, I’ve accomplished a first. After 20 years of going back and forth from North Carolina to Oklahoma, last week I drove the entire distance by myself! Of course that may not sound like a major feat, and granted it wasn’t one of our marathon straight-thru drives like we’ve done so many times in the past, but never-the-less it was 1,172 miles all by myself. We loaded up both the cars with barely enough room for even our own kids, and set out on our great adventure. Matt and one kid in the “White Mamba” & me and the other two in “Silver Streak” (Yes, we’ve named our cars).
Whew! Y’all! That’s a long time behind the wheel of a car! Thankfully, it’s a pretty straight shot. Head west on Interstate 40 all the way to Oklahoma City, just follow the signs. However, I knew this would be a difficult trip, not just because I was driving the whole way myself, but also because I was leaving the only home I’ve ever known for completely new territory.
A little over nine months ago, God made it abundantly clear that we were to take our family and move, to step out into the unknown. And now, finally, after months and months of waiting and more confirmations the day had finally arrived. We were to “get moving”, “break camp and move on”, go back to the land we had “scouted out”..back to Bethel and dwell there.
Tears were shed as we took that right turn onto I-40 West, but I also had an incredible, unexplainable peace that only comes from The Lord and the power of His Holy Spirit. Although day two rolled around and came at me with a vengeance, and it wasn’t long before the tears started flowing and the doubts started flooding my mind. “What in the world are we doing? I’m 40 years old!!!! I’ve left behind family, friends, familiarity….I’m 40 years old and starting from scratch! Who wants to do that?! What if… what if…what if…” Over the two day drive, I wrestled back and forth, up, down, and sideways with every emotion possible.
It was about the time we crossed the Tennessee/Arkansas border that we landed in the middle of a sea of 18 wheelers. For at least a solid hour and a half we were literally the only two cars in the midst of those big trucks. I have mad respect for those people who drive those things (my brother being one of them). They work crazy long hours, driving in all kinds of weather and traffic but I do NOT want to be driving neck and neck with them for any length of time. This time was certainly no different. In my mind I thought, “if only there was another way, a different route.”
And just like that, that still small voice reminded me of a verse I had read just the week before. One of the many verses The Lord had used to confirm it was in fact, Oklahoma.
“Stay on the path that the Lord your God has commanded you to follow. Then you will live long and prosperous lives in the land you are about to enter and occupy.” Deut. 5:33
Stay on the path, Amanda. And in this case, not just I-40 West. Remember what The Lord, your God, has shown you through His Word, confirming over and over these last nine months. And what about nine days ago, heck, nine hours ago? I walk by faith not by sight (or my feelings). Keep on the path, Amanda. For He who hems me in on every side and carries me each new day in His arms Who goes with me. Repeat after me… “God said it…I believe it…That settles it”.
You know it wasn’t long after that when the sea of 18-wheelers parted and I was able to breathe a little easier again, and just up ahead I noticed the Ozark Mountains for the very first time. I don’t think I’ve ever really seen this stretch of land before on any of our previous trips, and it was beautiful! Green rolling hills, trees growing tall, sweet farms with red barns, mama cows with their babies…like a pastoral painting in the middle of Arkansas! Of all the places! If we had gone a different route other than the tried and true path of I-40 West I would have missed that peaceful scene. Yes, it was a little scary and nerve racking for a while, but oh! The beauty that was to follow!
I want to stay on the path! His path. His way might not be the easiest but it’s always the best. Lord, help me to keep my eyes fixed on You and Your Word, the promises and whispers you’ve spoken to me! Not just to those who have gone before me but to me, 40 year old, Amanda, who’s starting from scratch. So I press on, by the grace of God, aiming to stay the course, looking to what’s ahead.