Like so often, something good comes out of something not-so-great. That not-so-great thing today was the unbelievable amount of traffic on the roads going home. It usually takes me (on average) 3 hours and 15 minutes to get to my parent's house. The 15 mins is usually the amount of time we stop for a potty break (very important for our newly potty trained preschooler).
On this not-so-wonderful travel day it took us 5 hours to make a 3 hour trip. Arg.
My first thought was that I'm glad we were safe and not part of the almost 10 fender benders we saw all along the highway. The second thought was Ahhhhhh! Just get me home already!
I was very tired and I had a list of things (a small but important list, like laundry) that I wanted to do before Stephen got home. It turned out that I barely got home before Stephen did and I was completely exhausted.
During the first time we got stuck in traffic I was very calm and patient. I understood that it was just coming out of the lunch hour in a large city and after all it was Monday. We stopped for a potty break and a snack in the middle to break up the stop-and-go traffic and though it took us almost 2 hours to go 30 miles all was well. Thankfully Zoey did really well in the car despite the traffic.
However, when we got stopped again about 10 miles away from our exit when all I wanted to do was be home, I was aggravated. And tired. But I took a minute to be thankful. We were in traffic, not in a wreck and to boost the mood, Zoey was sleeping so at least that was a plus.
During this time, when I knew there was nothing I could do but wait (and pray I didn't get rear ended by people even less impatient than me) I started making a list in my head of all the things I needed to do this week to ready for our trip up north. On that list I put to make a special time to rededicate myself to God and make sure I am doing what he wants me to do.
I almost laughed out loud. Here I was, stuck in traffic with nothing to do, and I'm making a list about spending quality time with God. My next thought was...Hi God! It's me Amanda. Thanks for me so patient with me!
I have a very open relationship with God that I believe, with reassurance from him, is very strong. I pray all the time and any given moment and I know God hears me. Yet even I end up feeling silly for not realizing right away that now was the perfect time for that special moment. I just prayed for the people possibly in the wreck and others trying to get where they are going, why not pray for myself while I'm at it.
Right there, sitting in the middle of traffic, I had a little talk with God. I thanked him for blessing me so, I told him I wanted to focus more on him personally and not just about him in general. I want my relationship with him to be even stronger. So I asked, what else do I need to do. Is there something that I'm looking over or some other direction that I need to take.
God's Answer? A chuckle. Have you ever heard someone chuckle when you start a run-on sentence that only sort of has a meaning? Well, that is what God's chuckle was to me. He continued, in my spirit, to say that I was doing just fine. I am on the right path, I am headed in the right direction and all I need to do right now in my life is enjoy it. I need to enjoy my family and my friends and especially Stephen, Zoey and our little bean. God let me know that there are always ups and downs, but he is a constant, a shining star always there to point the way. Then he told me to stop worrying so much, that he's watching out for me and for us. He is even watching out for his child that I'm carrying. It meant so much to know, in my spirit, that God is watching out for our little bean.
I knew right then that God was smiling down. Though I'm sure it was no coincidence, the traffic let up just as my conversation with God came to an end. I don't think he put traffic in my way specifically to have a casual conversation with me, but I do think he enjoyed jumping at the opportunity. So did I.
I want to take a minute here to say something. I read back over this and realize this makes me sound very high and mighty, a good little Christian you would say. And I want you to know, in all honesty, that is not the case. I do the best I can. I have a strong prayer connection with God, but it took a long time to get there, to get that close with him in that personal way. However, there are still tons of ways that I fall short of perfection, just like every other human in the world. One of my greatest weaknesses is my patience and my tendency to worry over little things or things out of my control. This conversation where God tells me not to worry, is one that we have a lot.
Some people are closest to God when they read the Bible. This is a practice I've never been very good at following, though I try to do better. Others communicate with God through art or writing. There are numerous ways to be close to God. Mine tends to be through meditative conversation and writing.
I want to encourage you, as children of God, to really appreciate the ways that make you feel close to God because that is how he communicates to you, and everyone is different. Also, don't focus on the things that you fall short on. You work on improving them, but be open with God and he will work with you. I know he is still working on me.