i drove to colorado last week.
my sweet roommate from college packed her whole life into a pod and crammed her car full of pillows to make the move to denver on her own. she knows exactly one person in denver, and for a girl who didn't grow up moving, this next season of her life has been pretty overwhelming.
i love marly. (my roommate.) she is such a strong, confident lady. she knows who she is in Jesus and is constantly pushing forward in her walk. i was so impressed she was moving to colorado and when she called at the last minute to see if i could make the drive with her, i jumped at the chance.
so heres the story.
we arrived in denver safe and sound and we had one full day before i headed back to nashville. that morning marly had a job interview and i worked from a coffee shop near the school. everything was smooth sailing. life was grand. she had't even cried that day. we decided that we would go to a cute little mountain town for lunch, about forty five minutes from denver. they are famous for pizza and dipping the crust in honey! (sometimes when i'm on vacation i eat the things that my body hates and i'm okay with it.)
the pizza was so good. four probiotics later i was feeling like i was going to make it and we decided that since we were at the base of mt evens, (a fourteener) we should drive up and see if we could find some mountain goats. i love goats and you better believe when we saw them i was freaking out. mountain goats are like goats that go camping. like the REI of goats. i love regular goats but of course i'm going to love mountain goats more...
what was i talking about?
oh yea. so we drove up the mountain and parked the car to get out and look around. the whole drive up was breathtaking! (literally the air is so thin up there...) the aspen trees are gorgeous right now mixed with the dark pines. it was a photographers dreamland. everything was beautiful, it was like a welcome hug from marlys new home.
then i tried to pull the key out of the ignition and it was stuck.
i tried to restart the car and it wouldn't start. i cranked it back and fourth and nothing happened. all the lights were working, the car was in park and nothing was happening. you know that saying, "now is not the time to panic?" i think that on top of a mountain, with no phone service and a dead car miiiiiight be the time to panic. i could tell marly was almost there, so i started looking around the parking lot for help. there were some hikers, some bikers and over by the bathroom i finally spotted a rangers truck about to leave. (side not: i definitely should have sprinted for the bikers because the two rangers i brought back to help us were 20 year old pot heads who know a lot about psychedelic art and alligator farms but almost nothing about cars.)
the rangers offered to drive us back down the mountain so we could call a tow truck and after praying (at the top of my lungs) the power of Jesus over this car i finally got the key out. we climbed in the backseat of their pickup and made our way down mt evens while i carried a lively conversation that ranged from forestry work, weird things in colorado, Enslo's (the boy ranger) real name, how marly and i met and donald trump. they dropped us off at the edge of Idaho Springs and waved goodbye with well wishes.
we walked to the only coffee shop in town and ordered a terrible smoothie. the girl working was so incredibly sweet and gave us suggestions about towing companies and mechanics. she even let us stay while she was closing and offered her kindest regards when we headed to the library next.
the librarian turned out to be the nicest and when i was telling her of our car troubles she asked if i had called jim yet?!
(que crickets) "...no i haven't called jim" was the only thing i said before she whipped out her landline telephone and punched in jim's cellphone number. he turned out to be the mechanic and she handed the phone to marly, her new friend. jim just told us to get it towed there and slide the key under the door "or something."
i'm starting to remember why i love small towns.
we waited in the library for marly's friend jenni (who had been working all day) and when she got there we wandered down the street to a mexican restaurant where we ate approximately three quarters of a basket of chips, salsa and weirdly enough, coleslaw before the tow truck guy told us he was almost there and we could meet him at the gas station. the waiter wouldn't even let us pay him for the chips but wished us well with our car troubles.
the gas station smelled like vomit. thats not really crucial to the story, but i thought you should have a picture of three girls walking towards a tow truck with sweaters held over their noses. thats how we met camille. a bag of cool ranch doritos in his left hand, he cleared the front seat as the three of us girls piled in his surprisingly clean cab. an ex army ranger, the owner of the towing company and obviously a dorito lover, camille could have used a shave but he took great pains to be appropriate with the ladies in his truck. we started up the mountain in the dark.
i'm sure that our buddy is a great driver. thats a lie, i have no idea if he is because driving up a fourteener in the dark at top speed in a tow truck is my only experience with his driving and after almost launching off the side of the mountain at a sharp turn he apologized and slowed way down. i apologized too for peeing on his front seat a little.
the three of us girls and camille swapped many a story on the way up and he only asked us once if we had been drinking, to which marly replied that she could proudly say "no, we are this much fun all the time." and he thought that was amazing.
we were nearing the top of the mountain when i really started listening to Jesus about the car. the whole day i had this nagging picture in my head of the shifter thingy. the PRNDL if you will. and as we got close to the car i mentioned to camilla that before he towed it, i just wanted to try starting it in neutral. he agreed and when we arrived at the top i tossed him the keys.
camille got in the dang car put it in fluffing neutral and it started right up.
i would have been mad but all i could think was that "I GET TO DRIVE MYSELF BACK DOWN THE MOUNTAIN PRAISES." cam explained that marly has a faulty neutral switch and the car hadn't gone into gear so she needed to get that fixed asap. he offered to tow it down the mountain for us to which i shouted no and it left my mouth as "thank you SO much but you know i think i'm just going to drive us all the way home now!"
he graciously followed us down the mountain to make sure we made it safely, snapped a selfie with us and headed home to his wife and dog named assassin. we loved him, wholeheartedly.
thats a very long story to make a very short point but this is it: when you're having a terrible day and you're not sure if you just royally messed up your whole life and you think its all a sign from Jesus, take a breath and think about the last thing the Lord told you. moving was so hard for my friend. we cried about it in the car, over tacos, and falling asleep. she has wondered many times if this was really what Jesus wanted for her, but he lead, he opened doors and she obeyed even when it got scary.
we could have looked at her first day in colorado and claimed it for the enemy. we could have thought this was all a sign that she hadn't done the right thing, that somehow she had mistaken Gods leading and that he was trying to punish her. but don't be confused friend, many times those hard days are really sanctification, God working in you to stretch and make you more like himself. if holiness is the goal, we have to go through days that will cause us to make the choices of being christ like or letting the chaos consume.
i told marly on the way down the mountain that if we had to go through that whole crazy day just so the Lord could show her that when bad things happen in the middle of nowhere colorado, he is going to take care of her no matter what. and sometimes he will use two hippy millennials, a terrible smoothie maker, a yankee librarian with the hookups, a solid friend named jenni, a waiter of tacos, and a tow truck driver that eats doritos for dinner.
so here's my advice for your monday. don't blame everything on the devil. sometimes God lets the rain fall because he wants you to stand under his umbrella ella ella eh eh eh. keep your eyes on jesus when your car won't start, when your job is sucky, when your friends treat you poorly, and when it feels like a one thing after another thing kind of month.
i had to drive to denver to be reminded of this truth. and i am thankful. he is so gracious when we forget, and he even lets us see a mountain goat in the middle of it.