I have just read my blog "Route Confirmation" which I posted on 9th July and just burst out laughing !!! LoL..... :-) turn up at 3pm and follow directions for a stress free road trip - MY FOOT
Actually, as far as the information given to us is concerned and a very good Sat Nav (well almost very good) it was as easy as that BUT the lessons we have learned along the way have been invaluable. The main one being - total reliance on God.
No doubt Richard will blog along these lines at some point - when we catch up with emails etc ! But there have been a series of "unfortunate events" over the past 3 weeks that have taught us to completely trust in God to get us out of sticky situations ! Let me breifly outline a few for you:-
1. Hours before we are due to leave home - our clutch died on the very car we had registered to take with us on our 2,000mile round Europe trip !
2. On arriving in the town of our camp site in Lake Garda, we missed a turn. Sat Nav then redirected us to "Turn Right".....down an ever narrowing road, where the walls of the houses touched both wing mirrors (not in our own car either !), we pulled them in and I held my hand against my side to help Richard negotiate very Very VERY slowly past very uneaven stone walls (don't worry about my hands getting scrapped!). As we turned a very tight bend to the left we came to a dead end - Nowhere to turn the car around. Heart, Mouth, joined together, tears began to flow....panic set in in a variety of ways for each one of us...kids asking how we getting out of this - me shouting back - "we don't know, just stay calm for Daddy please !!!". Richard gets out of the car and walks back up the road - surveying the twists and turns ready to reverse back to a point where he could turn the car around inch by inch....the only way out was back up in reverse...so I walked behind the car directing Richard and all the while we are both praying our little socks off that God would somehow get us out of here - we were very tired, stressed and life was completely out of our control ! Just then a lady opened a window and smiling at us said something in Italian and pointed towards two very large doors that were opening by themselves....it was the opening to her beautiful courtyard which she was inviting us to reverse into in order to turn around and negotiate going back up this horrific road forwards.....God is closer than you think :-)
3. Arriving on site, we are told to drive to the very top of the hill for Canvas Holiday reception...we both looked up and up, saw very narrow road winding up and up - the smell from the clutch of the car that didn't belong to us was not pleasant - so we went. Half way up we decided to pull over (there was a space to do so) as the clutch really didn't smell nice. Richard decided to walk up to find reception - I was on the brink of tears once again, when a lovely English couple arrived and spent time listening to our woes and then reassuring us about the area and camp site etc (incidentally they live round the corner from Richard's family in Croydon). When Richard returned smiling - all was going to be well. We had pulled up outside our Tent and there was room to leave the car just next to us - we didn't have to take the car any further up hill ! Our neighbours turn out to be a lovely single parent family who used to live near Romford - we got on so well. She too listened as we downloaded our trauma of the journey. God is closer.....
4. On 7th August I learned that it is more blessed to give away....A new family arrived in the toilets without any toilet paper ! I gave away less than half a roll - not sure what else we had (10pm at night) but thought we could manage. In the morning I found some tissues but on my way back from the toilets - outside our tent was a FULL toilet roll ! God is closer.....
5. One of the rear tyres got a slow puncher ! Our Italian was not going to stretch that well to garage speak ! However, Richard pumped the tyre up and we took the car out in order to visit another town on the Lake and as we went we prayed....Lord point us to a tyre garage that speaks English and will understand what help we need. You guessed it, Just there beside the road was an Italian Kwick Fit type place - one man band - but this one man spoke English and within 40mins we were done and dusted and back on the road and only 20Euros lighter. God is closer....
There are a number of little stories I could tell - situations that have stretched us beyond our comfort zone and that have taught us that God is in control. Read Richard's blog for his take on it all.
This has been the most exciting, terrifying and restful holiday we have had as a family ever.... think the kids have got the message too that God is certainly closer than we think or remember.
Thanks for taking the time to read- hope I have not bored you too much :-)