- October 1st. I finally arrived in Little Rock, 24 hours late.
- October 1st-3rd. I had a great 3 days at the FamilyLife women's retreat, where I spent time with friends, soaked in words from God, cried some, and was greatly refreshed, both spiritually and emotionally.
- October 3rd-6th. Spent another 3 days with my BFF Karon. We talked a lot. Good, good times.
- Did 2 photos shoots for friends.
- Spent lots of time with my MIL running errands for my sis-in-law Debbie's wedding.
- October 6th. Matt, his sister Suzie, our niece, and the kiddos drove up from Orlando, pulling a 6x12 trailer to pick up the last of our stuff from storage. In between Memphis and Little Rock, he hit debris in the road.
- Our car spent our whole visit in the shop getting $1500 of repairs. Insurance paid for a rental for us.
- The wedding was October 10th. On the 8th, I learned that Debbie was planning on having me do her flowers. So I went shopping for flowers and arranged them.
- On October 9th I did a photo shoot of Debbie in her wedding dress. SO MUCH FUN!
- That night was the wedding rehearsal and a surprise bridal shower for Debbie.
- The wedding was beautiful. It was my first time as a wedding photographer, it was Matt's first time as a caterer, and it went really well. Debbie was a gorgeous bride, and the wedding was a lovely, intimate affair.
- October 11th. Time to go home...or not. The insurance company had forgotten to send payment to the shop, so the shop would not release our car.
- October 12th. Still no payment. I had the privilege of doing photos of a 5-day-old baby. Little Grace Elizabeth is so precious!
- October 13th. We finally got the check in the mail. But it was made out to us, not to the shop. Our bank does a 7-day hold on any check over $200. We took it to the bank, explained our situation, and the branch manager made an exception for us and cashed the check.
- Matt went to hitch the loaded trailer to our van, but discovered the trailer was riding too low.
- October 14th. We spent most of our gas money on new shocks for our van. Then we unloaded and reloaded the trailer to balance it better. We finally got on the road at 12:30 p.m.
- On the interstate just west of Memphis, the trailer blew a tire. It took 4 hours to get a new tire and put it on the trailer. At this point we realized we weren't going to make it to our friend's house in Atlanta that night. We were down to $50 with no place to stay and 900 miles home.
- We sent out an email to a few of our friends and supporters asking for prayer and for God's provision. Within 10 minutes of sending that email, we had received word from 3 different individuals that they wanted to help. One used frequent traveler points to put us up in a hotel for free. Two others wired us enough money not only to get home, but also to pay the buy groceries and pay 2 bills that were waiting for us at home.
- October 15th. We pulled into our driveway right around midnight.
I learned some things on this trip. Some were new discoveries; some were much-needed reminders.
First and foremost is that God's ways are not our ways, but God's ways are best. God knows what we need, and when we need it. He will go to whatever extremes He deems necessary to give us what we need. He knew that my heart needed a few extra days in Little Rock. He also knew that my heart needed the difficulties we faced in getting home. I have had a really tough time adjusting to Orlando. The extra days in Little Rock gave me time to see a few friends and to do a few things that I really wanted to do. The struggle to get home showed me how much I missed home, and made our arrival at home very sweet.
God knew that Matt and I needed to be reminded that we must be fully dependent on Him, and that He will provide for our family when there is nothing we can do. We have been raising support for our ministry full-time for 6 months now, and we are getting rather weary of it. Seeing God's amazing, swift response to our desperate situation reminded us that God is in control of the timing for our support-raising. He will provide if we are obedient to ask for others to join our team. We have renewed vigor for this task, and we are praying He will bring the balance of our funding in quickly.
We also learned that our response to trials can have a big impact on other people. Matt's sister Suzie was with us through all of this drama. She was a helpless participant in the car trouble, the insurance issues, the financial woes, and the frustration of delayed travel. But she also got to watch us react, to hear us pray, and to see God come charging in to our rescue in immediate response to our prayers. She needed too see that as much as we did.
So, my friends, I have recovered from the trip and I am once again in the frame of mind to write. I am ready to take another swing at making Orlando our Home. And I am ready to get back to support raising so we can get going with the awesome ministry that is waiting for us.