I had a blast at my retreat! Lots of fun times and meaningful experiences, but the trip home is when the real adventure began! Even though the retreat theme was “road trip” there was very little driving involved…at least not at first. Through the generosity of the people of Owensboro, most of whom were willing to pay top dollar for my junk, God provided for me to purchase a plane ticket to the retreat in Oklahoma City. I found a great deal on Southwest and decided to fly with them…having my bags fly for free was definitely a bonus! I met some wonderful ladies from a church in Louisville who were on the same flight with me, and we were able to go through security together and hang out in the airport while waiting for our flight. I learned first-hand not to wear sequins when you have to go through the full-body scanner at the security checkpoint… It was great fun, though! 🙂 The flights were smooth and checking our bags made our travels so easy. I loved how Southwest Airlines has open seating so we were all able to sit together and chat the entire flight…much to the enjoyment of the man who shared our row.
As the retreat drew to a close I was anticipating another smooth flight filled with long chats, quick transfers and little sips of ginger ale. Guess we can rule out the gift of prophecy in my life… We arrived at the airport in Oklahoma City at about 1pm Thursday, giving us plenty of time to go through security (sans sequins) and eat a leisurely lunch before our 4pm flight. But while chatting about the retreat over Moe’s burritos (not the best thing to eat before squeezing into a packed airplane, I might add…) we began receiving text messages from the airline. “Your flight has been delayed…new departure time is 5:20pm)”… “Your flight has been delayed…new departure time is 6:05″…”Your flight has been delayed…new departure time is 6:30″…”Your flight has been delayed…new departure time is 7:20.” With each message my panic level rose. The four of us approached the ticket counter at our terminal, and explained to the lady working there that we had a problem. If our flight does not leave OKC until after 7pm how in the world are we supposed to make our connecting flight in St Louis which leaves for Louisville at 6:30pm? She stated the obvious: “You’re not going to make your connecting flight.” Can you get us on the next flight to Louisville? “There’s not another flight to Louisville today…but I can get you on the first flight out tomorrow.” TOMORROW?!? That’s when full-blown panic mode set it: WHAT DO YOU MEAN WE CAN’T FLY OUT TONIGHT? ARE YOU GOING TO PROVIDE A HOTEL ROOM? NO?!? I CAN’T WAIT UNTIL TOMORROW TO GET HOME- MY KIDS NEED ME! WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO?!? Then we all took a breath and remembered that God is in control (plus I was wearing my Nacho Average PW shirt which, by this time, I was wishing said something else…like Nacho Average Arm Wrestler or something intimidating like that!)
As we walked away from the desk, my mind began frantically shooting prayers up to heaven…not the graceful “arrow prayers” of Nehemiah, but more like the frantic “Help, Lord!” prayers of Peter. What in the world am I gonna do? Then God provided again. Not by getting us an airplane to Louisville, but by giving me 3 good friends with wonderful abilities & resources that they shared with me. By the time we finally landed in St Louis, Amy’s amazing husband had booked us a rental car and taken care of everything so we could drive from St Louis to Louisville! We were picked up by the shuttle and taken straight to our car which was beautiful and had plenty of room for all of our luggage and books. By 10pm we were starting our adventure, not even guessing that our journey would lead us through the parking lot of Hustler’s, back to the rental car company, past the Arch, across completely deserted parts of 3 different states, in and out of a truck stop for a cheeseburger & fries at 1:00 in the morning, and finally to our own cars parked in the lot at the airport in Louisville shortly after 3am on Friday! I’m sure we would have been lost several times on the trip if it were not for Sarah’s super-phone-GPS skills. That would have made for more adventures to share…but we were all glad to be home by that time. After picking up my car in Louisville, I still had a 2 hour drive to get to my home. But when Crystal stepped in and offered me a bed to sleep in for a couple of hours I did not turn her down… I’d much rather sleep at 4am than drive some more!
After snatching a couple hours of sleep I was ready to get home. I began the drive being thankful for a little bit of rest, a fresh cup of coffee, and buy-one-get-one-free pop tarts from the truck stop last night. As I drove along the Western Kentucky parkway I kept myself awake and alert by blasting the new Toby Mac cd that my sweet husband had bought for me right before my trip. There’s nothing like the combination of the MacDaddy & Lecrae belting out tunes together to keep a tired soul stirred up enough to drive a while! After about an hour I noticed my gas tank getting a little low. Note to self: stop and get gas at the next exit…too late. For the next 67 miles I drove without a single gas station in sight! My Jeep has a handy little light that comes on when the gas gets really low. I know once that light comes on I can go about 30 miles before I completely run dry. As I continued driving, desperately looking for gas…no matter the price… I began to recall the story of the widow with the jars of oil. Her little flask of oil never ran dry…and neither did my gas tank! I finally made it to Owensboro, pulled into the first gas station I saw, and looked at my odometer. I had gone 37 miles since my light came on! Thank you, Lord, for getting me home without yet another incident to write about in my blog! 🙂