Last week my head said, “I’m gone!”
My options. Go with it OR continue doing the very things that were pushing me into a hole. I went.
I went online,
found the anticipated snow storm pattern,
found a cabin tucked away in the middle of nowhere and hit RESERVE,
packed and then I was gone.
I took some awesome pictures along the way of scenic landscapes, old homes, storefronts and barns and big ole snowflakes (that hit me wayyyyy before those weathermen had predicted and way before I got where I was going). However I lost the camera somewhere between recording the snowfall on the porch and hiking through the woods so there went that!
The most exhilarating thing however was the last bit of the drive after I quit stopping to take photos because I realized I wasn’t to my retreat and the snow wasn’t letting up. Within 30 minutes the snow was extended behind my front tires like HUGEEE, icy curb feelers. It looked like I had ran over adult coneheads if you are old enough to remember that movie.
My adrenaline was pumping as I tracked along the Mark Twain National Park road, sadly ahead of the snow trucks who were all going the opposite way. So you won’t be surprised when I share that the back of my car made several attempts to pass the front of the car. Just saying THAT’LL get you up close to Jesus Q U I C K!
It was quiet the drive however according to my GPS, I was getting close to my destination and when I finally came across a town, and a good ole Casey’s gas station, I decided to be smart and top off my tank. And since I wanted to be out in the snow feeling it hit my face and breathing in the cold air I opted to stand outside while I fueled up the car.
And feeling a bit giddy inside I turned friendly-like toward the gentleman fueling across from me and asked him how far I was from Fair Winds.
“Hun, I’ve lived here all my life and I’ve never heard of that.”
Mmmmm he looked like a farmer or rancher. Maybe I had the name wrong or my GPS had led me astray so I redirected the question.
“It’s a group of cabins tucked away between here and Cherryville. ..”
When he still looked doubtful, I became a bit concerned and I went back to the basics, “Am I even close to Cherryville?”
“Yes ma’am. Cherryville is right down the road. I reckon I just have never heard of any resort or cabins ’round here.”
As both of us were done fueling I thanked him, waved and climbed back in my Jeep.
That conversation had shaken my confidence a bit and I wondered, “Should I stop? Do I stop?”
The answer came quickly. NOPE. I hate doing a thing halfway. I was all in!
So I checked the GPS one more time and got the physical street details and distances in case I loss signal and hit the road again. I was either going to find that hidden gem or make friends with some of the locals until the storm passed.
Thankfully the GPS didn’t lead me astray and stayed on until it directed me off of the highway. Then it didn’t matter because I had a map.
Circling through the snow draped woods I passed one house, one cabin and then tah-dah there it was. Jude’s Dream. As the ground wasn’t froze and I didn’t want to get stuck, I had to do some maneuvering to get my car turned around but it has four wheel drive so I got that done. The way out was the way I had come in and if the treasuries of snow were all loosed from heaven I wanted to make sure I could get out if necessary. Smart huh? Yup, I had a moment.
Then I had to lug in all my groceries, my books and clothes from where I had left my car up the drive.
Finally it was in and all stowed away and my shabby-sheik, lil’ log cabin was inviting me to shut down. Flipping on the gas logs, I stepped outside to watch the snow which had begun to drift down again and to talk to God. And let the quiet fall upon me. No phones. No wifi. No cell service. I could actually hear the snow landing on dried, brown leaves.
Inside out it was perfect. Okay not for a city kid. As there were critters moving around outside at night but for this country chic it was perfect. And that is where I stayed for four nights. Watching the snow do exactly the opposite of what the weathermen were saying. Sitting with my memories. Accompanied by my Help. Resting in HIs promise and in His Word. Listening and being heard.
Normally I can find God if I just stop. But sometimes life happens. Sometimes my brain trauma injury from ’09 makes me ‘short out’ and being alone isn’t enough. I need to be unreachable and surrounded by silence much like someone with PTSD. And while every soul’s situation is set in motion by different things, in those times we must become more intentional if we would find ourselves at rest… in Him. And that is what I desperately needed.
Sometimes that may mean sitting up and missing some sleep or skipping lunch to pray. It may mean turning off my phone after I get home so I can hear heaven’s whisper. It may mean going to set up for our family camp-out a day before everyone else gets there so I can shut down the world and open up my heart and experience the fullness of God once again. It may mean continuing a journey through a snow storm to reach a place I can feel like I have permission to stop.
I think the need for rest lies in every heart and every journey.
Is it worth all that trouble?
Oh yes. Every time. The only reason you might not recognize it is because you haven’t experienced it yet.
It the times you set up into the late hours of the evening alone with the Lord and your thoughts, with the only sounds being that of the fire crackling beside you and the frogs and crickets echoing in the night watch?
It the days when you wake up in the early hours of morning just to sit with God and feel the sun rise up and settle upon you?
In those moments we are reminded, that their is Someone and somethings as necessary to life as breathing. And He has a name… Jesus. And the road to His rest is worth the trouble of a challenging journey.
Why? Because the journey to get still is never easy. Satan is as full of distractions as he is lies. So when we sit down in the morning (or evening) to pray or read and meet with God our phones buzz, our minds wander, our calendars call. And when the journey to His presence gets difficult often other distractions seem easier to access and so we opt out. We opt and sometimes choose a short-term, quick remedy that will take the edge off of today (just agreeing with your co-worker about whatever they are so uptight about, going shopping, grabbing a drink, hanging out on social media, sleep, grab a cigarette etc.,)
But eventually if you want ‘true rest’ you have to stop. Silence your world. Press on toward the Lord. Because eventually we all realize, I realized, I am unable to find any relief in any substitutes.
I hope that on your journey you see all the beauty around you but I pray that at your journey’s end it will be Jesus that you find waiting to meet you. And if you need a solace stop in the woods and quiet look up FAIR WINDS.
PS AND if you need a romantic respite you might want to head there as well. It is exactly the kind of place Lenny & I sought out for our anniversaries and getaways.