I need to tell you a true story. I’ve been terrified to ride, or drive in big city traffic for years. It seems silly to most people who do it every day. The height and speed and danger of it all have mean that there are places that I just haven’t been willing to go. Yes, I’ve been along for the ride when others have driven to verious cities to visit family, or friends, or go on field trips with our homeschool group. When riding with friends, I’ve mustered up the courage to keep from losing it. But, with family, I’d cry easily, or even avoid going on the trips altogether.
I’ve had another fear. It’s related to the way we homeschool our children. We are fond of the teaching methods and philosophy of a British educator from long ago. She taught much differently than most schools in the United States. And, most homeschoolers tend to learn in a way that looks like most schools. So, every once in a while, I find myself fretting over whether my choice to use exciting living books, everyday things, and the observation of nature to accomplish our learning goals will be enough. Our eldest three children have graduated and are happy with their education based from home. Our younger two still have years to go and I know they enjoy the way we learn. Still. God has heard more than one prayer from me asking Him to let me know if I should conform to what others are doing, or continue with Miss Mason’s way of teaching.
I found out that our family would be delivering that little cutie, Cookie, to Houston quite a while ago. It was going to work out fine and I was excited for her to be going to you! My husband was going to take off; it was all going according to MY plan. But, God had another plan. I’m sorry that included the fact that you had to be in the hospital longer than expected. We are so pleased that you were able to meet her at the airport!
Here’s what happened on my end. When the original flight for your puppy got rescheduled for the same day of the week, the same time of day, all was going to work out perfectly as far as my comfort level was concerned. BUT, my husband got very sick. He ran fever for more than a week and had an awful headache. He was getting sicker and sicker (he’d still been going to work since he works for himself and can manage to schedule it so that he’s not around people very often.) Because he didn’t take the time to rest and recover, he kept getting worse. Wednesday evening, he came to me and said, “I just can’t take you. If I’m better by morning, I will, but right now, I just can’t do it. I’m sorry.”
Ahead of time, in the back of my mind, I think I knew he wasn’t going to be able to drive us to the airport. I asked God to heal him, but I realized that He might have another reason for him to be sick. I assumed it was because he’s been working so hard and needed to have rest forced upon him. But, that wasn’t the point of his sickness. It would mean that I would have to drive to the airport. I would have to depend on God to keep me safe. I would have to remember that brilliant engineers had made sure that the ramps and roads weren’t going to fall just because I was driving on them. I would have to realize that I needed to show our youngest two children that they’d have to use their shields of faith in Him to help them during hard situations in their lives.
I prayed Wednesday evening for God to give me the courage to get your puppy to you. We’ve been praying for you from the time we found out you were going to get to love her. You’ve been dealing with much more than I have in life and I just needed to remember that He works all things for our good. I got up early yesterday, did my physical therapy exercises for my back, lined out medicine and juice for my husband, and prayed for even more courage. I told God that I knew He was giving me the opportunity to do His will and that I knew He would protect us during our trip. He needed me to deliver your puppy. He wanted to bless you with her sweet, cuddly face, her tiny paws, and her sunny personality. So, the three of us got into our truck, loaded your precious cargo in her little pink crate, and headed away from our farm in the country.
I’d promised the kids that we’d grab breakfast in town. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of Whataburger, but we hit their drive-thru for some breakfast tacos and orange juice. We had our Mapquest map printed out. I was nervous, but I knew God had heard my prayers to clear a path for us to be safe and to actually even use this trip to heal me from my fear. Our youngest son, 14, was going to act as co-pilot by reading me the directions as needed. We decided to review the trip plan. YIKES! I’d forgotten to print the return trip. “Mom, why don’t we try turning around and going back home the way we came as a plan.” Smart kid. Taught him well. Such a logical solution. “Yes, that’s what we’ll do.”
I enjoyed a conversation with my sister on the phone just moments later. She reminded me that if I make a mistake while driving, I just have to turn around and try again. She also laughed that the trip would be like labor and would be over soon. I felt a little less like the scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz.
It takes three hours to drive from our house to the airport in Houston, no matter which route you take. I’d looked at three Mapquest routes the evening before. They were only two t0 three minutes apart based on timeline. No matter which I chose, it would mean spaghetti bowl traffic. “Okay. God. I’m going to pick the most technical route. The one with ramps and curves. The one that usually has the most traffic. I want you to remember that you’ve said you’d never leave me, nor forsake me. I’ve asked you, in Jesus’ Name, to clear a safe path for me, my children, and Kate’s new puppy. I know You are using this trip to heal me from my fear and that You are going to bless Kate with many happy adventures with this cutie pie pup.”
You should know that we listen to KSBJ on the radio when we are driving. We love the music, we love being able to hear little reminders of God’s love, and we love being able to pray for others who call in with needs during our listening time. Every song that played was exactly what I needed to hear to get braver and braver as we got closer to Houston. All of a sudden, we were in full blown traffic, but the funny thing is, we always had at least two car lengths’ of space in front of us and three car lengths’ room in back. The traffic slowed in the places that are usually crazy scary for me. In fact, at one point, we were only moving about 20 miles per hour. My son asked, “What’s going on, Mom?” All I could tell him was that I’d prayed that God would cause traffic jams in places that would be too much for me and He did. Whew! We all thought that was SO COOL!
We had one glitch. We lost track of where we were on the printed route and had to resort to the GPS, which took us a few yards past the Cargo area. By that, I mean that we could see exactly where we were supposed to be, but the one way street wouldn’t allow for us to just scoot right over there. Plan C. Pull into the next delivery place and ask how to get to where we were supposed to be. The little detour only took a few minutes and was another lesson for all of us. Stop and ask for directions when you need them. It’s most likely a simple fix.
When we got to the right place, we took your puppy out for a potty break and played with her for the last time. Our youngest daughter is almost 8 years old and pre-spoils any puppies we raise. She practiced fetch all evening to make sure to get it right. She was so teary eyed when she told your puppy goodbye, but she was so hopeful that you’d be pleased with her pink bow. She’s been praying for the two of you every night and was hoping that we’d get to see a picture of the two of you by day’s end.
I decided, now that God has healed me of this fear through His obvious care throughout the day, we need to celebrate and go on an adventure. Our trip had been fun, the music was a blessing, the puppy was on her way to you, and we should have a party to thank Him. We couldn’t get the GPS to cooperate. So, I told the kids to watch for a Chickfila, or Luby’s Cafeteria (treats compared to where we live.) There it was. On the side of the road. A sign that meant Luby’s next exit. I took it. Now what? No more details. GPS not cooperating. Let’s just turn left. Two blocks down, we ate at Luby’s and talked about all the adventures we could imagine you having with your puppy. It was so much fun.
With the break time over, we headed for home. It was an exciting day! My son kept patting my arm and saying, “You’re doing good, Mom. God is helping you.”
You know, I mentioned that I’d been asking God for a sign about our homeschooling choices. While other school kids have been in the middle of year-end testing, we’ve also been winding up our studies for spring. I’ve been putting our summer studies together and planning out next year’s booklists and gathering the resources we will use to learn for several months into next year. When we got home, I looked at my desk and was brought back down from my new happy clouds of courage into my daily real world full of a different sort of “traffic maneuver” life. I’m not sure why the day’s events didn’t just translate right away for me.
A while later, we received your sweet picture. ‘Then, we received a couple of texts about you and your puppy. We cried happy tears to see the two of you so happy to finally be together!
That’s when I realized my other prayer had been answered! Remember that I mentioned that the author of our homeschooling philosophy was Miss Mason? Her first name was Charlotte! God reaffirmed me with the name you’ve given your puppy.
I don’t know if you’ve ever heard this story from the Bible, but once there was a very sick man. His friends and family brought him to Jesus and asked Him what the man had done wrong, or what his parents had done wrong. They actually asked whose sin caused the man’s sickness. Jesus told them that the sickness was not due to any sin. It was God’s plan for it to happen just for him to be at that place at that time for Jesus to be able to heal him, bring glory to God, and have those who were there proclaim what they had seen.
I want you to know that God has used you and Charlotte to help us trust Him fully. He healed my fear, He answered my questions, He made a clear path of safety for us to deliver Charlotte to you. We need you to know that we are praying for you! We are asking God for your life to bring even more glory to Him as He shows Himself to you, your family, and many others through every adventure you get to have with Charlotte. May He make you healthy and strong. May He fill all your days with happiness and peace. And, may He give you the courage to trust Him with any fear, or doubt you may face in the future.
We love you!