Yesterday, (7/11/15), I woke up at 5am and something felt different. I felt free of the stress of weighing on if we would move or not I was carrying around for the past few months. When I made the official announcement, the amount of love I received was immaculate. To know that we're following our dreams as a family is a beautiful feeling. After watering the plants and spending some time with Zophie, she and I cooked breakfast together. While we were cooking, Zophie was painting in between and she painted a beautiful picture. She said that it was the beach with lots and lots of sand. She asked me what a "real beach" looked like. I explained to her the smells, the feeling of sand between your toes, the salt air rushing through your hair, the feeling of the water brushing your feet. She looked at her picture and said "well... I want a real beach." I thought about it and remembered the last time we actually took her to a beach - it was for her first birthday. She's now four. I felt disappointed that we live so close to a beach, yet she's only been once in her entire little existence.
I packed up a bag while the family finished their breakfast and I said that we were going for a ride. I knew exactly where we were going but I wanted it to be a surprise.
Rodanthe, NC has been on my bucket list FOREVER. Any time I saw photos shared from there, my heart would long to visit.. just once! We all finished our breakfast, I finished a few errands, we got dressed and hit the road. After a stop at Chipotle for lunch to go, we hopped on 460 and drove. About an hour into our trip, we hit really bad storms with sky to ground lightning, heavy rains and high winds. I could see that in the distance, the clouds were separating and the sun was peeking, so I held on to hope.
In and out of sunshine and rain, we kept driving. We stopped at Rita's for some ice cream for a break out of the traffic going into MP1. Around this time, the kiddos were starting to get a little fussy and we realized that we were definitely way past the 3 hour mark that it should've taken us to arrive. The GPS was still showing a 2 1/2 hour drive ahead of us.
5 hours and 40 minutes later (thanks to rain and traffic), we pulled into Rodanthe, NC. We had made it! I was so excited. It looked like a place from a movie as we pulled into town. We stopped off for gas and that's when the excitement quickly turned to let down. It was 5:22pm and as Zeryk got out to fill our tank up with gas, the lightning and high winds we had been driving away from all day finally caught up with us... again. This time, they were much worse. The thunder was rattling the car and scaring Zophie. The winds were rocking us, the rain.. well, we couldn't even see two feet in front of us. I was so let down. I just kept thinking, "Please don't tell me I had us all in a car for 5 1/2 hours just for it to be a bust."
After talking to Zeryk, we came up with the conclusion that there was no end in sight for the storms. All we could see was darkness, so we decided to turn around and start heading home.
As we were driving, the rain became so heavy that I could no longer see the road in front of me and I decided to pull over to the side of the road and wait it out a bit. While sitting there I silently cried out to God; "God please, PLEASE. Allow the rain to ease up and God, please, do not allow this trip to be a bust. Our family needs this." Shortly after, the rain eased up and we were back on the road. Five minutes in, the rain cleared up to a light drizzle and in a hasty moment I realized that God gave us the window I was praying for. I pulled over safely into a pull-off onto the side of the road, told Zeryk to unload the kids and we grabbed their buckets.
Six hours into our trip, we climbed up to a high sand dune and took a look at the breathtaking view. I have no idea if what we did was illegal and if I'm being honest, in that moment, I didn't care. The kids were laughing and smiling... they were completely enamored by the sights around then. Zeryk and I were exchanging flirts, giggles and taking in the view as well. This moment... out of any moment I've ever shared with them, has to be the most special. As I stood on top of the sand dune and looked at God's beautiful creation, a bird flew over and I was reminded of one of my favorite scriptures.
25"For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 "Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27 "And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?" - Matthew 6:25-27
You see, God heard my crying out, even from a silent place within my car. He heard my heart and He answered. We were given about a thirty minute window to explore and it was more than perfect. We climbed over the sand dunes and saw that we were just a few feet from the ocean. We climbed up and over, followed a little path and made it to the shoreline. The beach was smothered with seashells of all types and the sights and smells... I cannot even explain.
We were able to stop in and grab dinner, where Zeryk was able to finally get his deep fried aligator that he has been craving for so long. The kiddos got to experience something absolutely beautiful (and we even brought some memories home with us in the form of sand and seashells). And as for me? Well, let's just say that I was reminded of just how precious God is! On the way home, I saw the most beautiful sunset peeking through the clouds and setting over the ocean. The sky was painted with hues of yellow, blue, orange, purple and pink. Breathtaking doesn't even come close to saying enough about it.
A peace came over me that day and watching my kiddos play, explore, collect shells and laugh... I would absolutely spend another 6 hours in a car, driving through storms, listening to the fussiness from being bored JUST to have that precious thirty minutes that I shared with my family.
It was completely irreplaceable and I am so grateful for a Father in Heaven who cares SO much about His children here on earth, that He would answer a simple prayer. Oh, how He loves us!